For people in Gardiner — or even people throughout Ulster County raising goats, cows and sheep — the Gardiner Animal Hospital has long been a fixture. Open in its current form since 1940, the veterinary clinic treats both large and small animals.
Veterinarian Lyle Goodnow has owned the Animal Hospital since 1975, but he started in Gardiner as the practice’s associate veterinarian and the apprentice of Dr. Clifford Hoppenstedt.
“I came here in June of 1971 and worked for Dr. Hoppenstedt,” Goodnow explained. “Dr. Hoppenstedt had associates about every two years from 1948 to ’71. That was typically what happened. It was a male profession.
“When you graduated, you went to work for somebody for two years — like an internship, externship or residency. It was nothing formal. You graduated out of school and you got a job.”
During the time the vet’s office has been open — and even during the time that Goodnow’s treated animals in Ulster County — a lot about veterinary medicine has changed (nitenpyram reviews). Once a kind of a handshake apprenticeship, residencies for rookie vets have become much more formal.
Since 1940, people have stopped using horses in farm work — equines became luxury pets. And somewhere along the line, people began to pour small fortunes into keeping ailing dogs and other pets alive.
Chemotherapy and cancer treatment for a canine — and the extreme specialized medical practices veterinarians now work in — would have been unheard of back then. Name just about any human medical specialty, and there’s a veterinary parallel to it. There are veterinary anesthesiologists, dermatologists and neurologists, for instance.
“It’s not unheard of to spend $30,000 trying to save a pet, and losing them six months later,” Goodnow said.
Goodnow will refer animals if the owner wants continued treatment, but he said he’s quick to point out when it is a dog or cat’s time to pass on — or when treatment will present a huge financial burden to the owner.
“We do the best we can. We try to do what people want us to do. I don’t try to talk people into doing something that I don’t agree would be beneficial for them,” he said. “My philosophy is that we should be treating animals to help the owner.”
How Goodnow came to Gardiner
Goodnow, who grew up in New Hampshire, remembers being one of the oldest people in his class at Cornell University when he graduated as a vet. He was 33 and had a wife and three kids.
Dr. Hoppenstedt was a well-respected vet, known throughout New York State. He was even president of the state Veterinary Medical Society during the 1960s. “He knew all the important people in veterinary medicine in New York,” he explained.
Professors at Cornell had heard Hoppenstedt wanted to sell the Gardiner Animal Hospital, and they handpicked Goodnow as the doctor’s replacement.
Back then, before he got the call, Goodnow was scraping by as a poor student going through grad school in Ithaca. He’d been living in a cramped trailer with his wife and kids all the way through veterinary college.
“In ’67, we moved to Ithaca and took that same damn 8-foot trailer with us to live in for four more years. I have tall kids, and three of them in that room. The middle room was nothing but bunks — one on top of the other. They were touching their heads and their feet on the wall by the time we got out of there in ’71,” he said.
Goodnow smiled a lot when he recalled those days making the move to Gardiner. They financed the whole Ithaca-Gardiner move on a $1,000-limit credit card Goodnow had gotten in the mail.
“Back then, you’d get in the mail a credit card that you could either use or cut up,” he explained. “To someone graduating from college, they’d just send you a credit card.”
Lenders were smart enough to know that advanced degree holders probably both needed credit and would likely have jobs to make payments on the cards they received.