Meet The Locals: Vet Dr Nigel Dunn

Many of you have been wondering what is going on with the Singleton Heights Vet Hospital?

And for good reason, it is such a great location for a veterinary clinic.

Well, I’m delighted to report that it is going to remain a veterinary clinic! Newcastle vet Dr Nigel Dunn, 37, has gone into business with Marcel Walsh to keep the doors open and the animals healthy!

I caught up with Dr Nigel to find out about their plans.

Congratulations, Nigel. Animal lovers all over the Singleton district will be rejoicing to hear the Heights Vet Hospital will reopen its doors and remain a vet clinic now known as the Singleton Heights Vet Hospital. Can you tell me how you came to own it?

Previously, a married couple owned The Heights Vet Hospital. They had run it for nearly a decade and closed the doors to the business in April without selling. I found out about it in June and was able to purchase the premises and the business.

Dr Nigel Dunn B.V.Sc. (VET) — Photo from Mayfield Veterinary Hospital

I believe you found out about it when you were on the golf course?

Yes, I was playing golf one weekend and a friend said, there’s a beautiful looking vet clinic for sale in Singleton. When I looked it up on the Internet, I totally fell in love with it as it is located in a beautiful 120-year-old church that had been converted into a clinic with a purpose-built veterinary hospital attached. Truthfully, I just couldn’t bear to see such a beautiful vet clinic not being used as a vet clinic. It would be a travesty.

What’s the history of this special building?

It was built in 1897 as a Methodist Chapel, by local auctioneer and butcher shop owner Henry Bailey as a tribute to his son, Cyrus Bailey, who died of a respiratory illness when he was just 24 years old. The chapel was eventually sold by the Methodist church in the 1960s to fund the nursing home. It was used as a residence before being turned into a vet clinic in the 1990s. We have the full story about it on our website.

Was it a risky purchase in the middle of the COVID-19 lockdown?

Oh yeah, absolutely. I purchased it on hope! There’s a huge shortage of vets in country areas, so it was a risk. I believe it was one of the reasons that previous owners closed their doors as they couldn’t find anyone to help them out. However, I’ve done a lot of extra studies in leadership, teamwork and how to build a great team, so I was determined to find the staff. Luckily for me, I found Marcel on the country-town veterinary grapevine and we’ve become business partners. Marcel will be the main practising vet at the clinic, offering all the regular veterinary services. I’ll be offering specialised surgical skills such as Orthopaedic surgery. Our third vet, Kirsten Ledger, I happened to find via my bank manager, who lives in Singleton next door to her. She will be working with us part-time.

Are you planning on a move to Singleton?

No, but I’m not far away. I live on a hobby farm just outside Newcastle with my wife and four children, and all the family pets. I’ve run the Mayfield Vet Clinic for 15 years. I do have a strong connection with Singleton. My mother’s family heritage is from Singleton! My great-grandfather owned the first motor car in Singleton.

How’re the final preparations going for the reopening?

We’ve been buying a lot of new equipment including much needed diagnostic imaging machines like an ultrasound. We have also employed two lovely, very experienced nurses Kristy and Angie from Singleton. We’ll be opening on 26 October 2020 and look forward to seeing all the local Singleton pet lovers then.

And do you have your website up and running yet?

To find out more visit www.heightspethospital.com or call 4047 9961 for an appointment.

Good luck, Nigel. We’re glad you and the other vets are back in town caring for our beloved animals!

Photo credit: https://www.heightsvethospital.com.au/

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