The votes are in and the region has voted for the top three animal hospital veterinarians. Munster Animal Hospital came in at number one with Hobart Animal Clinic and Community Pet Hospital voted second and third best.
Whether it’s excellent staff, state-of-the-art facilities or convenient hours that make these animal clinics standout, one thing is for sure: Northwest Indiana is covered when it comes to veterinary care.
Munster Animal Hospital
For the fourth year in a row, Dr. Won Han and the Munster Animal Hospital have been voted the best in the region.
Han, the owner, said the reason the hospital comes in at number one is that the staff all believes in the same mission.
“Our mission is to ease the suffering of the animals and give their owners peace of mind,” Han said.
He said the whole staff comes together as a team around this goal and continues to work on improving the service the hospital provides.
“The team effort is very important,” Han said. “We continually look at ourselves to see what we can do different to get the job done. We keep our standards high as motivation. Our clients trust us, and we don’t want to lose that trust.”
The hospital received an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau and is certified by the American Animal Hospital Association.
Offering full veterinary service, the hospital provides dental care, digital x-rays, endoscopy, surgery, ultrasound, therapy laser, vaccines, and prevention and wellness services.
The Munster Animal Hospital also offers boarding, grooming and obedience training.
The hospital also takes into account what clients are looking for in veterinary service. Han said he gets letters with suggestions or concerns, and he tries to respond to those concerns, as well as possibly add a new service based off a client's suggestion.
When talking about the most important thing that goes into taking care of a pet, Han said it has two parts.
“You have to have passion, and knowledge and skill,” he said. “You have to have both. One is not enough.”
While the hospital uses traditional medicine to treat its furry clients, Han said he also uses some alternative medicine techniques to go along with traditional ones.
Recently, Han was treating a small dog who was unable to walk. On top of the traditional treatments, Han administered acupuncture to help the dog regain its strength.
By the end of the acupuncture treatment, the dog, though still a little wobbly according to Han, was able to stand and walk around.
“We take on the harder cases to see if we can make a difference,” Han said. “It makes the owners happy, and seeing the joy on their faces is amazing.”
Han said another aspect that makes the hospital stand out is its long hours. They have doctor’s hours Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. But, Dr. Han said most of his staff gets there at 6:30 a.m. and don’t leave until 9 p.m.
“We work harder and longer, and it’s more difficult,” Han said. “It makes us stronger.”
He said he knows how difficult it can be to find time to get to the vet, so the hospital doesn’t make appointments. Clients are able to come it whenever is convenient for them.
“We’re here for them,” he said. “Just come on in.”
Overall, Han stands by the fact that because the Munster Animal Hospital works together as a team, that is what makes them the best in the region.
“We work as a team, on the same ground.” Han said. “It is not easy to work here, but once you make it through, the end result is very gratifying.”
Hobart Animal Clinic
Since 1954, the Hobart Animal Clinic has served the Region, and offers convenient hours, a strong staff and personable care.
Dr. Edward Javorka said he attributes the staff at the Hobart Animal Clinic to be the main reason the clinic one of the best in the region.
“This staff legitimately cares about people’s pets,” Javorka said. “When they take the pets in back, they hug and kiss and cuddle the pets and show them around. They don’t get paid for that.”
The clinic has 10 veterinarians on staff and more than 50 non-professional employees. Javorka said the number of vets they have on staff makes the clinic stand out from others because the vets are able to specialize in different areas like orthopedics or feline care.
With so many veterinarians around, Javorka said an advantage lies in being able to get second opinions about a case right there in the clinic.
“Most cases are getting more than one opinion, and most people don’t even realize that,” Javorka said.
He said this special care adds to how clients feel about the clinic.
“Our clients trust us,” Javorka said. “We have everything they need right here.”
The Hobart Animal Clinic is also a no-appointment clinic, so clients and their pets can come in when convenient.
Javorka said most people find that shocking because a busy day for the clinic means seeing around 200-300 clients. But, Javorka said, because there are so many vets and other employees on staff, the average wait time for a client is 22 minutes.
Other than wait time and the actual care the pets receive, Javorka said communication with the client is one of the most important thing that goes into caring for a pet.
“Pets can’t talk, but their owners can,” Javorka said. “Subtle things the owners say when telling us the situation can determine the route we take when caring for the pet.”
Javorka said listening to the client could avoid unnecessary tests on the animal to find out what’s wrong.
The Hobart Animal Clinic offers prevention and wellness care, laboratory services, surgical procedures, radiology and endoscopy, dental care, and euthanasia and cremation. The clinic also has emergency services capabilities during normal business hours along with boarding and grooming services.
“People like what we do and are satisfied,” Javorka said. “It’s a big place, but feels like a small place.”
Community Pet Hospital
Located just off the intersection of Calumet Avenue and Ridge Road for more than 25 years, Dr. Paul Dobrescu and his wife Olga run their pet hospital centered around community, family and a bird.
Community Pet Hospital has two part-time technicians with Paul as the head veterinarian.
Olga said running such a small business allows them to form very close relationships with their customers.
“Our customers become our very close friends,” she said.
The hospital is a full service veterinary clinic with medical, surgical and dentistry services. It also provides vaccinations, examinations, wellness programs and geriatric programs for its animal clients.
Olga said the geriatric program is one of their biggest programs, which provides care for older adult dogs needing extra attention due to heart problems, kidney problems, arthritis and other issues that develop due to age.
Paul went to veterinary school in Romania, where he and Olga are originally from, but passed the veterinary exams in the U.S. after they moved here in 1986.
Paul said Community Pet Hospital is one of the best in the region because customers get the best service for their pets at the best price.
“Our clients come here with confidence that we’ll have the best care,” Paul said.
But, according to Olga, to truly know Community Pet Hospital is to the doctor with the bird on his shoulder.
Bly, a 36-year-old Blue Crown Amazon Parrot, came to be a regular in the hospital’s waiting room in a rather unconventional way.
Ten years ago, a man brought Bly in to be euthanized because of tumors on the bird’s beak, which the man was told were fatal.
After looking at the bird, Paul decided he could try and save it. So, after removing the tumors, reconstructing the beak and three months of intensive care, Bly was healthy again.
Shortly after, Olga said Bly’s owner stopped by for some heartworm pills for another pet and discovered Bly was still alive and well.
Olga and Paul tried to give Bly back to his original owner, but after seeing how close the bird had gotten to Paul, the owner decided to let Bly stay at the hospital under the condition that he could come visit.
Since then, Olga said Bly is the “welcome bird,” who gets spoiled by Paul feeding him fresh fruits every morning.
“He loves that bird,” Olga said. “And the customers love Bly. They always ask how he’s doing and want to say hello, especially the kids.”
Olga said stories like Bly’s are not uncommon at the hospital where Paul and his staff go above and beyond to help the animals and their owners.
“What really matters is the well-being of the pets,” she said.