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Animal haven 

After a lengthy process that medical director Dr. Steven D. Paulick described as a “rocky road,” the VCA South County Animal Hospital has finally moved into its new location at 205 El Camino Real in Arroyo Grande. The move is a major upgrade for staff and patients as they transition from a 50-year-old, 2,500-square-foot, concrete and windowless structure on North Halcyon Road into a new 8,500-square-foot location.

- SWANKY NEW DIGS :  The VCA South County Animal Hospital has moved to a new, larger location, complete with state-of-the-art veterinary equipment. -  - PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
  • SWANKY NEW DIGS : The VCA South County Animal Hospital has moved to a new, larger location, complete with state-of-the-art veterinary equipment.

The newly constructed veterinary hospital is an improvement both aesthetically and functionally. Because of the move, the hospital was able to expand from three exam rooms to seven. According to Hospital Manager Mandy Honer, the waiting room has been greatly enhanced as well.

“We used to have a little waiting room with two benches,” she said. “Now we have a waiting room for cats and a waiting room for dogs.”

Hospital employee Tammie Kasicki said that at the old location “you could basically high five anyone in the waiting room from behind the counter.”

The path to a new hospital proved a more arduous journey than expected. The original plan was to build it on the same lot as the old one. However, that would have meant cutting down a row of eucalyptus trees on the lot. Some governing bodies, as well as several community members, considered the trees to be part of the “urban forest.” Though the plan involved replacing those trees with twice as many native trees, the original idea was scrapped.

They eventually settled on El Camino Real, home to a spooky-looking dilapidated hotel that had been converted into a low-income housing project.

Now, after a month in their modern and spacious building, the VCA South County Animal Hospital is up and running, serving the animals of the Five Cities, as well as many from San Luis Obispo and Santa Maria. Paulick explained that the hospital maintains a strong relationship with Pacific Wildlife Care and works “closely with San Luis Obispo Department of Animal Services to assist lost or injured animals.” He said the hospital is always striving to “prevent unwanted pets” and provides low-cost spaying and neutering in an attempt to stabilize the local animal population.

Because the new hospital is structurally as well as electrically up to date, it can use cutting-edge technology in the veterinary field and make the experience more effective for both patients and staff.

“We are monitoring a lot more things that would previously be done in a laboratory or research,” Paulick said.

The VCA South County Animal Hospital is open Monday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. It can be reached at 489-1361 or through its website at

Fast facts

Zero waste will be a theme for the Friends of Elephant Seals Grand Old Soupabration fundraiser, which takes place Sept. 10 at the Cayucos Creek Barn in Cayucos. Reducing waste focuses on the need to clean plastic waste out of the oceans that are home to marine mammals. The event will host a demonstration of a device called P2fuel (plastic to fuel). Tickets are on sale now at $40 per person—children younger than 10 get in free. Call Friends of the Elephant Seal at 927-1628 for more information. …

The San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department wants to remind parents to make sure their children are up to date on immunizations required for starting school. This year, there’s a new state law requiring all students entering seventh through 12th grades to show proof of immunization with a pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine booster called Tdap. For more information, visit or call the San Luis Obispo County Health Department at 788-5500. 

Intern Jack Johnson compiled this week’s Strokes & Plugs. Send your business news to [email protected].

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