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Volume 73, Number 23 | October 8 - 14, 2003

New Village veterinarian aims to be a breed apart

By Ashley Winchester

Villager photos by Akiko Miyazaki

Dr. Mary Xanthos had a look at Alfie last week after his dogsitter, Barbara Van der Swaagh, feared he might have been hit by a car. Xanthos’ diagnosis: Alfie was not hit by a car and was O.K.

Eight-year-old Benny enters the hospital and immediately runs to his mom, who is waiting in the examination area. He then trots down the hallway to greet Daisy, a young, longhaired blonde in the next room. Benny meanders back to the waiting room where he sits and stares outside, observing people as they walk along Hudson St. Occasionally, Benny moves from his watch in the window to greet incoming patients as they’re buzzed into the hospital, grinning as he wags his stubby tail.

Benny is Dr. Mary Xanthos’ Britney spaniel, and has become the Greenwich Village Animal Hospital’s unofficial mascot since its opening Sept. 10. Daisy is a golden retriever on a stay while her owners are away. After nearly a year of planning, the husband and wife team of Dr. Xanthos, veterinarian, and Bruce Martin, general manager, opened the animal hospital in the former Uplift Lighting store just north of Christopher St. The location has been gutted and completely renovated over the past three months to accommodate animal visitors for emergency and routine care.

“It’s extremely rare that a new practice opens, but we’re here and we’ve seen a positive reaction from the neighborhood,” Martin said.

Xanthos, who received her degree in veterinary medicine and surgery from Cornell University, is trained in the treatment of most domestic animals. She has been practicing at hospitals on the Upper East Side and Queens for seven years, but wanted to work somewhere closer to her home in the Village.

“This was an ideal location in a high-visibility area close to our home,” Xanthos said. “This is a true neighborhood practice, where visitors know they will be seeing the same doctor every time they go.”

As a full-service animal hospital, the practice is capable of routine or emergency treatment. A typical day is likely to include anything from yearly vaccinations and checkups, to minor surgeries such as spaying and neutering. Recovering animals are placed in one of two kennel areas, where they can be monitored overnight if necessary. There are also facilities for canine dental care.

Although her practice focuses on typical household pets, Xanthos admits she also has a hidden interest in potbellied pigs, and has been listed on several pet pig Web sites through her previous work at the Estates Animal Hospital in Jamaica, NY.

“There aren’t many potbellied pigs walking around the Village,” Xanthos said. “So my forte is dogs and cats, but I can also treat some pocket pets like hamsters, gerbils and rabbits.” The only creatures Xanthos won’t treat are birds, which are a specialization animal, she said.

In certain circumstances Dr. Xanthos will also make house calls. Last week, Xanthos explained, she was called to a household on Barrow St. to help catch a cat. Other incidents that might merit a house call include elderly animal visits or sensitive situations, such as euthanizing a pet.

Speaking of house calls, the Animal Hospital will be hosting an open house Oct. 19 from 1-4 p.m. The event, intended to introduce area residents to the hospital, will include food, entertainment, door prizes and kittens for adoption from a local rescue organization.

The hospital is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mon. through Fri., and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. Appointments can be made in person or by calling 212-691-1100.


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