Who do you love? … Exploring the human/animal bond.

In times past, when posed with the question of “Who do you love?” answers of God, country and family were the most frequent reply. Hopefully, these answers still apply, but there is a new member to this triumvirate, our pets. Over 63% of homes in the United States have at least one pet, making us a nation of more than 69 million pet lovers. In 2006, in the U.S. alone, there were 72 million dogs and 82 million cats, with millions more of birds, ferrets and reptiles. Unbelievably, more American households have dogs than children. Our pets have gone from just an accessory to the family to the status level of a cherished family member for many of us. When asked, 93% of pet owners feel that they would risk their lives for their pets and as many as 75% believe that their pet would rescue them from danger.

What has elevated our pets from the yard to our beds? In this age of instant communication, where everyone has a cell phone, email address, Twitter or Instagram, we have managed to become disconnected. We often leave our homes and families to pursue our lives at a distance from those we love. Pets fill this void that our culture has created. They are a furry, feathered or scaly friend that devour more than our food, they devour our loneliness. The happy thump of a dog’s tail or demanding meow gives us purpose, a tangible reason to get out of bed in the morning. They make us laugh, comfort us when we are sad and brighten our outlook of the future. I was blessed with wonderful parents and loving sisters, but without my lumbering and slobbering 180 pound Saint Bernard Charlie my childhood would not have been nearly as loving and vibrant. As an adult, I have had the joy and heartbreak of loving five very special dogs and three irrepressible cats. Some are no longer with me, their passing a milestone on my heart, but their love will always remain.

If you feel as I do about your pet, I would like to invite you into my little world. A world centered on the people and animals at Central Animal Hospital. We are a very unique clinic that cares for dogs and cats and all those who love them. The hospital is located in the heart of the Starland District on Bull Street, just two blocks north of Victory Drive. The neighborhood is an eclectic mix of galleries, small businesses including a frame shop, a record store, an internet company and a bakery with the cornerstone being the Savannah City Mission. The office, a former print shop was designed to create an open and inviting feeling, one more like a home than a hospital. The open ceilings, voluminous windows and spacious rooms, will put animals and people at ease and engenders an open and relaxed dialogue.

But the true difference lies with the people. We have three veterinarians on staff with a combined experience of over twenty eight years in a variety of settings. Dr. Sara Taylor, a 2012 graduate of the University of Georgia, has spent 4 years in her hometown of St. Simons, honing her skills and developing special interest in behavior problems and their treatment. Dr. Cara Ann Hammons is a 2004 graduate of Auburn University. She has been developing her skills here in Savannah since graduation. Her calm and soft-spoken style, belie the breadth of her knowledge, experience and compassion. I am Dr. Alex Hill a 1997 graduate of the University of Georgia, School of Veterinary Medicine and have garnered a broad range of both worldly and clinical experience. An undergraduate of Harvard University, I tried my hand in the workings of Wall Street, before finding my calling. I would like to think that I bring together a love for animals and a sharp mind to create a comforting, common sense approach to my patient care. The extensive knowledge, experience and compassion extend to the other members of the staff as well. Our technicians, assistants and receptionists have been in the veterinary field for many years, providing a loving touch for your pets and a helping hand to our clients. Without them, we could not provide the personalized attention that we strive to achieve.

We offer state of the art care for your dogs and cats, from surgery to preventive care, dental cleaning and surgery, radiology, ultrasound, ophthalmology, MLS Laser therapy, chemotherapy and the diagnosis and treatment of metabolic disease. Senior care and treatment and end of life care are a major aspects of our practice. The treatment of ear and skin disease and allergies are some of our most common cases. With the use of in-house diagnostic equipment we can quickly find answers and begin a course of treatment. For the difficult problems, we have outside laboratories for advanced testing. With a large in-house pharmacy, we can prescribe and provide your medications for immediate treatment. For special needs, we work with a number of compounding pharmacies, if we do not have it, we will get it! When we encounter a problem beyond our capabilities to treat, we are able to refer you to specialists who can help. We work closely with specialists in surgery, internal medicine, neurology, oncology and ophthalmology to ensure that your loved one gets the absolute best treatment.

The Savannah area is blessed with an abundance of excellent veterinarians, but if you are looking for a group of caregivers to make a part of your extended family, stop by and say hello. You may find that we can make a difference for you and your beloved furry companion.

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