By Emily G. Peters
When a college-aged Sylvia Domotor told her mother she planned on becoming an astronaut, the reply was simple: You’re going to be a veterinarian.
When Domotor completed her undergraduate degree and declared herself a future anthropologist, the answer was still clear—veterinary medicine was her future.
As it turned out, mom was right. Dr. Domotor’s Animal House has served Monrovia for more than 20 years. In that time, she has expanded a small hospital to a full service practice including surgical and dentistry services, an in-house lab, pharmacy and boarding kennel. Even in times of economic struggle, “I never worried,” said Domotor. “I had a loyal client following, and I knew I’d be okay.”
Open six days a week, Domotor and her skilled staff have seen it all: from emotional farewells to the spectacular comebacks of pets on the brink. Their success rate is based largely on their cumulative knowledge of each animal.
“The treatment I recommend for a two-year-old Labrador who spends every afternoon at the dog park is going to be completely different than a lap dog that stays indoors,” said Domotor. When determining treatment, she examines their nutrition, husbandry and lifestyle to ensure her recommendations align with what the family can manage. Above all, she listens to the client’s observations.
“Even if I can’t immediately see what they’re seeing, nine times out of ten, they’re right,” said Domotor. “I’ve learned to listen and respect what the family is saying. It’s a partnership.”
Helping so many families (Domotor’s preferred term instead of “owners”) has allowed Domotor to develop proven best practices to keep pets healthy. She often gives a talk entitled “How to Put Your Vet Out of Business,” on how pet owners can extend the lives of their furry friends.
“Spay, neuter and vaccinate,” she affirmed, citing deadly health problems like cancer, parvo and pyometra that can be prevented or cured when you sterilize and vaccinate your pet. She also recommends having vaccines administered at a vet hospital instead of a pet store clinic. “Just because a vaccine is available doesn’t mean it’s right for your pet,” Domotor continued. “A licensed veterinarian will know how to analyze your pet’s age, breed and lifestyle to choose only the vaccines they actually need.”
Domotor portions her time between the hospital and people in her town. A former champion for Relay for Life, she’s extremely active with the local Rotary Club as donations chair, where she heads up charitable events, kids camps and scholarship programs. Even so, she still finds herself coming into the animal house on the weekends, too. It’s all part expanding services to meet community need.
“We’re going to be offering overnight emergency care in the next few months, including weekends and holidays, and eventually physical therapy and rehab,” said Domotor. “It’s just a matter of getting the right staffing in place.”
With so many animals in need, treating the ill and injured can take an emotional toll. Yet Domotor knows her purpose.
“Medicine works,” she said. And Monrovia’s menagerie of healthy pets agrees.
Dr. Domotor’s Animal House is located at 135 W. Foothill Blvd. in Monrovia. You can contact them at (626) 303-7881, or at www.drdomotorsanimalhouse.com and follow Dr. Domotor’s on Facebook @drdomotor.