DANVERS — An animal hospital at the Essex North Shore Agricultural & Technical School will start accepting patients again next week after closing for the summer.
Angell at Essex opened in December 2019 in partnership with the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The clinic allows students to learn how to care for pets alongside professionals in the field and will reopen on Monday 19 September for the first time since staff issues closed it in June.
“As in many industries, staffing has been a challenge,” said Essex Tech Superintendent Heidi Riccio. “However, we’ve spent the summer making sure we’re fully staffed, so we now have a full staff, including veterinary technicians and a veterinarian.”
dr Heidi Broadley was hired to fill one of two doctor’s positions at the clinic. She received her PhD from Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine and has worked in shelters and small animal practices in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine.
She has also volunteered as a veterinarian with the MSPCA-Angell at Nevins Farm in Methuen for almost a decade.
“I am delighted that Dr. Broadley is starting to accept on-site appointments,” Riccio said. “Having a vet who loves both animals and students is a win-win for our school.”
The clinic offers vaccinations, castration and spay surgery, x-rays, medication and other traditional veterinary services.
Approximately 160 students are part of the Veterinary Science program at Essex Tech. They help out at the clinic by clipping pets’ nails and brushing their fur, and they’re taught other skills needed to become veterinary assistants, said Laura Lee Shields, a board-certified veterinary technician and practice coordinator at the clinic.
“It’s an advantage to see how a real clinic works,” Shields said. “It gives them a clear understanding that goes beyond what most people think, which is that they only play with puppies and kittens.”
As high school students, students in the program can take the certified veterinary assistant exam and participate in collaborations at local veterinary clinics.
This hands-on experience is an important part of students’ professional training, Riccio said.
“Vocational training is about educating workers,” said Riccio. “These workers should be trained on the North Shore so they can stay on the North Shore instead of going somewhere else.”
The clinic is looking to hire a second veterinarian and fourth board certified veterinary technician. Essex Tech is also applying for a grant that would allow the school to expand the veterinary science program.
Meanwhile, Riccio looks forward to pets and students returning to the clinic.
“We hope the business will boom so that our students can truly continue to learn an exceptional education from the crew and staff at Angell at Essex,” she said.
To make an appointment at the clinic or to ask about medication refills, call 978-304-4648.