Expanded clinic helps pocket pets, even arthritic bobcats

By: Gloria Young Journal Staff Writer
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North Fork Veterinary Clinic is celebrating 25 years in business with the opening of a new, expanded facility in North Auburn. Owners Tom and Sue Sheriff opened their first clinic on March 12, 1984 on Grass Valley Highway. The new building opened March 2. “The veterinary clinic has gone from 1,300 to 3,900 square feet, so we have tripled the clinic space,” Sheriff said. “The rest was added for extra services.” The building on Locksley Lane includes pet grooming and boarding facilities. “We actually have ‘cat condos’ and we have Web cameras that are in place so people can log on and look at their animal in the kennel while they’re off on vacation somewhere,” he said. The Web camera setup should be functional in about a month, he said. Grooming duties are handled by Sharon Stahl, who previously worked in Foresthill and has 26 years of experience. Sheriff has been working with animals since he had a job as a kennel boy when he was a teenager. He also worked on a sulky horse racing farm. “(Sulky racing) is big in the Midwest,” he said. “It’s where they ride the little cart behind the horses.” When he went to college, Sheriff knew exactly what he wanted to study. “My college career went right to medicine,” he said. “My passion was medicine. Veterinary medicine became even more of a passion because I get to wear a lot of hats. I can be involved in many different areas of medicine and surgery without having to specialize.” He graduated from Purdue University and then moved west when he married a California girl. In Auburn, he initially worked at the Auburn Veterinary Clinic before opening his own business. Now, he focuses on internal medicine, dermatology and soft-tissue surgery. There are two other veterinarians at the clinic. Dr. Wes Dill, who has been there for 20 years, focuses on dermatology and orthopedic surgery. Dr. Laura Reich specializes in internal medicine. “Plus (Dr. Reich) is the veterinarian who goes to The Cat House and does a lot of the Cat House medicine,” he said. The Cat House is the Auburn Area Animal Rescue Foundation’s facility for homeless felines. Cassie Reeves, AAARF secretary/treasurer, is impressed with the new veterinary quarters. “The new North Fork Veterinary Clinic facility is beautiful and was obviously very well thought out,” she said in an e-mail. “The doctors and staff are great to work with as before, they just aren’t tripping over one another any more. As always, they are willing to tackle even the most complicated rescue cases that AAARF takes in and they go the extra mile to care for our pets. The grooming facility is very nice and has been great about accommodating last minute ‘emergency’ groomings for AAARF.” The clinic’s staff of 15 includes veterinarians, registered veterinary technicians, receptionists and the animal caretaker staff. Sheriff’s wife, Sue Sheriff, is business manager. Besides dogs and cats, the clinic sees pocket pets — hamsters, rats and mice — and rabbits. But the veterinarians also have had some unusual patients. “We also treat the chimpanzees at Lille’s Performing Chimps (in Auburn),” he said. Then there’s Wild About Cats. “They rescue large non-domestic cats,” Sheriff said. “They have a mountain lion and a bobcat that had its teeth disarmed. We put crowns and caps on those teeth (through the services of) a local dentist. We did that a few years ago. Now the cat is old and geezery, so we treat his arthritis and stuff.” Working with Wild About Cats isn’t your everyday pet visit. “We have to anesthetize those guys before we do anything to them,” Sheriff said. “Once they’re anesthetized, we’ve done surgery, blood test, X-rays.” What’s his favorite type of animal to treat? “Friendly. That’s my favorite — the friendly ones,” he said. The Journal’s Gloria Young can be reached at gloriay@goldcountrymedia. com or comment at ---------------------------------------------------- North Fork Veterinary Clinic Where: 12080 Locksley Lane, North Auburn Hours: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Saturday Phone: (530) 888-8878