When Tammy White opened the Lower Columbia Veterinary Clinic in 2003, she was the only doctor in her practice.
Now, 14 years later, she has two additional doctors in her employ. She’s added an advanced veterinary dental practice. And now she has large new building. In January, the clinic moved from its previous location on 14th Avenue to 871 12th Ave. in Longview. White’s dental practice, Pacific Northwest Dentistry and Oral Surgery, operates within the clinic.
The new building signifies a big step for White, her employees and her clients. White designed the layout herself, with her own vision for her practice as a guide.
When clients walk in, they’re greeted by a crisp, clean waiting room. To the right side of a check-in desk is a hallway with the word “Cats” above it. To the left a similar hallway is designated for dogs.
“This is not the typical design, but it’s very efficient and it’s very pet friendly in the sense that we’ve got the cat side and the dog side,” White said during a tour of the building. “I’ve seen the difference in the cats and their comfort, being away from the dogs.”
White enlisted the help of her father, a licensed engineer and architect, in shaping the new building. He helped her remodel her old building back in 2009.
White said she’s thought about moving locations for about four years.
“We wanted to make sure financially the business can support it and make sure that it was the right thing to do,” White said.
In the previous building, there just wasn’t enough space for what she wanted to do. The staff lounge doubled as her office, and the whole building had only three exam rooms: one for cats and two for dogs. The laundry room, dog kennels and dental area also shared one small room, while the doctor’s offices shared space with laboratory equipment.
Now, White and her employees have the luxury of space, including eight exam rooms, a separate laundry room, separate kennel rooms for cats and dogs, and a full-sized staff room.
“I didn’t realize this, but it’s been fun to see (the staff) because as I’m eating and they’re eating, we can have a conversation about life instead of about work,” White said. “It’s been a neat aspect of that to hear the personal side of some of the employees.”
The dentistry room is another added bonus: it’s the largest room in the building and has room for up to five dental tables. Right now there are only two, but White hopes to add three more.
“I would like to eventually maybe do some teaching in here and not have to travel to teach,” said White, a member of the adjunct faculty of the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine in Pullman, where she travels two to three times a month.
The new dental room also allows her to work side by side with her associate, Dr. Janni Remsberg, who performs the office’s general dentistry. At the previous location, the space only allowed for one table, making scheduling dental procedures difficult.
White also hopes to get her second associate, Dr. Stacey Martzall up to speed on veterinary dentistry, “because it’s not something that is often taught in vet school,” White said. “I just started that six years ago, teaching dentistry at Washington State University. It was brand new.”
Eventually, White would like to expand her staff.
“My ideal situation for this would be three to four doctors” in addition to herself, White said, with each working 20 to 40 hours weekly.
“Things I think have changed where people have went from one extreme to the other: They really want a balanced life,” White said. “I want to create that for them, too, and have a safe and nice place for them to work.”
And of course, it’s also about the well being of both her two- and four-legged clients.
“I like to help people,” White said. “By helping the pet, I’m helping the person or educating them to make the best decision and having them enjoy a healthier pet.”