Felines Captain Jack Sparrow and Neville Longbottom are new in town, along with their owner, Dr. Sherrie Crow, who is practicing animal medicine at the Winthrop Veterinary Clinic alongside clinic owner and vet Dr. Gina Pastore.
Winthrop Veterinary Clinic (WVC, previously Winthrop Veterinary Services under Dr. Betsy Devin-Smith) has been expanding, due in part to the increasing number of new clients and to the additional services the clinic is able to provide, such as dental x-rays.
“I knew that by adding another vet we could meet the growing demand,” said Pastore, who also juggles running the business as well as family life with two young children. “Between the caseload, being on call 24/7, and running the business, I knew I couldn’t keep it up for too long without help.”
Conveniently, Crow, who grew up in Aberdeen and has been visiting the Methow Valley since the 1990s to hike and bike with friends, was interested in relocating to the valley that captivated her interest — as well as heeding the call of former Seattle clients who kept asking when she was going to move to the Methow Valley to continue treating their pets.
Both the timing and the fit were perfect, said Pastore. “Dr. Crow is a great fit at WVC because she practices high-quality, progressive medicine and is very thorough with an emphasis on client education,” said Pastore, noting that Crow’s 20-plus years of experience working at the Elliott Bay Animal Hospital (EBAH) in Seattle give her vast relevant knowledge and experience for the local clinic.
“She is also certified in acupuncture,” said Pastore of Crow, “so we are now able to offer that as an adjunct treatment for our geriatric patients and those with chronic conditions. We are excited to have her as part of the great team at WVC!”
Crow, who married her husband on their Methow Valley property in 2013 with the five-year plan to move to the Methow full-time, said that she has “always had a fondness for animals as well as an interest in science,” and thus “veterinary medicine was a natural choice.”
Crow didn’t grow up with a menagerie (“my mom only allowed one animal in the house at a time”) but she claimed her Utah aunt’s horse as her own for many years, and “spent time volunteering in multiple different veterinary hospitals and a few shelters in high school and college to further my career options.”
For Crow, “the satisfaction of solving medical mysteries and helping animals feel better was and continues to be an extremely rewarding combination.”
Crow’s self-proclaimed soft spot is for geriatric patients, and she finds it “both challenging and rewarding” to assist their owners in providing the best care, keeping them healthy and comfortable for as long as possible, even if that often means managing three or four diseases simultaneously. “Animal acupuncture,” said Crow, “has opened up new avenues of therapy. It’s wonderful to have this additional tool in our toolbox.”
During the global pandemic, both vets say that the clinic — which is considered an essential service — is adapting to social distancing protocols by changing some of their practices for seeing patients. Said Pastore, “we are currently seeing mostly urgent or time-sensitive appointments and have postponed some routine procedures. We are offering only curbside service and allow only our staff and the animals to enter the clinic. Our communication with clients is now done over the phone or via email instead of face-to-face.”
As new full-time valley resident, Crow said it “has been strange not to be meeting folks face-to-face, but all the residents of the Methow have been super gracious and understanding as we all forge our way through this new reality. I have a deep appreciation for the sense of cooperation and unity that I have experienced in our first few weeks in the valley.”
Although no Methow Valley pets have experienced COVID-19 yet, Pastore said “there have been a small number of reported cases of domestic pets testing positive for the virus that causes COVID-19. Of these, only a few animals showed any signs of being ill. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is currently monitoring the situation as there is still much that is unknown about COVID-19.” Pastore suggests that pet owners consult the CDC recommendations regarding COVID-19: http://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/animals.html.
Pastore notes that “this pandemic has changed our lives for the foreseeable future,” and recognizes that being “essential” comes with its own challenges. “While I know that the staff is happy to continue to be employed,” Pastore said, “they are also increasing their risk and exposure. I appreciate how they have taken this all in stride and adapted so efficiently to our new procedures. They truly care and want the best for every pet that comes through our doors.”
As a local business owner, Pastore is aware of the importance of supporting other valley businesses, so when it came time to design a new logo to fit the clinic’s new name, she selected Baylie Peplow of Red Umbrella Designs to create the artwork. The choice to keep dollars in the valley, said Dr. Pastore, “seems even more crucial now than when we began work on the logo.”
With Crow on board, Pastore now has a partner in treating the clinic’s primary clients — dogs and cats — as well as the rest of the small animals that visit the WVC. Crow said that she is looking to offer “the most thorough and compassionate care to each of my patients and their owners,” as well as providing client education.
“I really enjoy providing people with information that allows them to better understand their options for diagnostics and therapy,” she said. “Helping people make educated decisions as part of a health care team is extremely rewarding for all involved.”
For more information about the Winthrop Veterinary Clinic, visit http://www.winthropvetclinic.com.