In January 2014 Dr. Lauren Smith had been a veterinarian for over 20 years and was looking for a new job. She was frustrated with bad experiences being an employed associate veterinarian and had some pretty engrained opinions on how to run a veterinary practice. The options of relief work and looking for another associate position had lost their appeal so she reconsidered practice ownership. Due to her life-ling passion for cats and prior experience in a cat practice she considered a Feline-Only Veterinary start up. After analyzing and consulting on the market in Washington County she was advised to look for an existing dog and cat clinic in her desired area. In a fortuitous coincidence, the closest clinic in her neighborhood was up for sale. After 6 months of business training classes (Self Employment Training through the Federal Unemployment Program), many meetings with bankers, attorneys, accountants, insurance agents the dream of clinic ownership became a reality.
Hart Road Animal Hospital was established in 1989 in the Summercrest neighborhood of West Beaverton by Dr. Gary Heckman. When Dr. Smith took over as owner in July 2014 the practice had gone through 3 changes of ownership. It had a good reputation but was suffering from an aging facility, declining income and low staff morale. Dr. Smith hired some trusted former coworkers to join the existing team, gave the place a thorough face-lift and decluttering and the business began to slowly turn around.
One of the first big projects the new HRAH the team undertook was becoming a Cat Friendly Practice. The American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) has laid out training, handling and design specifications required to attain this designation. A Cat Friendly Practice creates a safe and low-stress atmosphere for feline patients with a separate waiting area and exam room for cats, happy feline pheromones, soft mats on the exam tables, catnip, treats and gentle handling. We proudly achieved our AAFP Cat Friendly status in November 2014.
We love our canine patients, too and along with many in the profession have realized that there are often things we can do to help our doggy friends have less anxiety at the vet. The “Fear free” veterinary movement is something we have embraced for both species we care for. With dogs, it can be a little easier due to many of them are food motivated- don’t be surprised if we offer your dog a delicacy- meat baby food, squeeze cheese or some other tasty treat during their visit here. It helps us all to bring your dog to the clinic hungry! We offer a complimentary Puppy Socialization Class for our patients on Saturdays after we close- an opportunity for the pups to play and romp in the clinic and for us to unwind at the end of the week. We have clearly seen that the puppies with this experience grow into dogs that enjoy coming here as adults. We have even had pets get out of their yard in the neighborhood and come right to the clinic!
Hart Road Animal Hospital offers full-service veterinary care for both dogs and cats and pride ourselves on being a cohesive group of friendly, compassionate professionals that love what we do and wouldn’t want to work anywhere else. We practice excellent medicine with modern equipment and are always willing to give treatment estimates, help prioritize and provide alternatives if needed for your pets' care.
From kitten/puppy to geriatric care, frequent checkups, early screening leads to earlier diagnosis and more effective treatment, support better outcomes and control of common chronic conditions. Regular monitoring of disease with regular owner-veterinarian communication, exams and diagnostics are imperative in order for the veterinary team to individualize the pet patients care . Judicious use of appropriate vaccination individualized for each pet’s lifestyle. Nutrition optimization, weight control/exercise and environmental enrichment are as important for pets to live long happy lives as they are for people.
Our Mission Statement
The mission of Hart Road Animal Hospital is to maintain and support the human-animal relationships by providing the highest quality medical care available for our animal friends while working in a compassionate, positive and relaxed environment.