We are excited to let everyone in on a little secret. We are having a pretty big birthday this year. The Animal Emergency Clinic of the Fraser Valley is celebrating its 20th birthday later this year. For over 7,000 nights our doors have been open. We’ve had a veterinarian and support staff working every night, every weekend and every holiday from day one and in 2009 we moved to full 24/7 coverage. That’s a minimum of 22 full shifts per week. We’ve impacted the lives of more than 60,000 of your pets and clients, and look forward to continuing what we started so long ago.
Dr. Nadine Koreman graduated from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in 1992. After her internship in Auburn, Alabama, she was an emergency veterinarian at Vancouver Animal Emergency Clinic. VAEC pioneered emergency medicine in the Lower Mainland. At the time, it was the only fully staffed facility available for after-hours veterinary care. Nadine and her husband, Rob, had grown up in Langley and returned to be close to family once her schooling was complete. Dr. Koreman along with many of the local veterinarians saw a need for after-hours emergency care for the pets of our community. In 1996 the doors of The Animal Emergency Clinic of the Fraser Valley finally opened.
For the Koreman’s this clinic has been their life. Rob Koreman left his other ‘real’ job to manage the hospital full time in 2005 and remains the hospital manager. Their daughters were 4 and 1 when the clinic doors opened and have remained a constant within the clinic walls. They learned that as long as you love what you do, you can give much of your life to your work.
Opening day was stressfully quiet while the phone remained silent the whole night through. The members of the community weren’t yet aware we were there and the family veterinarians were unaccustomed to transferring their patients elsewhere for overnight care. It would be a long road in transforming how the veterinary community viewed after-hours care. We needed to earn their trust and convince them to have confidence in us to provide the continuing care they expected for their patients.
That first year wasn’t painless and Dr. Koreman worked a 70 hour week more often than not. The couple juggled two very full time jobs while raising their daughters and taking care of four dogs. The clinic employed six full time staff that first year and now employs over 50. We are fortunate to have many staff that have been with us for over half a dozen years. Some of our staff have worked at the clinic for more than 10 years and a few that have been with us from the very start.
Life at the clinic has changed a lot over the years. The 1,800sq ft clinic suited us until 2006 when we opened our current 6,000sq ft facility. In 2009, Boundary Bay Veterinary Specialty Hospital came on board which was a partnership that was beneficial for both of our clients. This ballooned us to almost 12,000sq ft with a combined number of employees exceeding 100! Our emergency patients now had access to Specialty Veterinary Services and their surgical or critical patients had round the clock monitoring. Veterinary medicine has evolved over the years as well. In-house blood work and blood transfusions are now commonplace. X-rays are now digital and can be sent remotely to veterinarians and specialists all over the world. More and more, owners are treating their pets like family and are seeking more advanced forms of treatment and are more inclined to go above and beyond for their pets.
AECFV provides emergency and critical care to over 100 Family Veterinarians in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley. We thank you for being part of our life, trusting us with your pets and your clients. We look forward to the future and helping your pets anyway we can, anytime they need us. Our lights are on and the door is open.