Larry Tung began to develop roots in Leaside as the Laird Eglinton Pet Hospital grew and flourished. The veteran veterinarian managed the hospital, which celebrates its 20th anniversary in Leaside this year, at its original location in Leaside Plaza on Eglinton next to PetSmart and Canadian Tire but found it was too small to handle a busy and growing customer base, so he moved in 2011 to the current location at 211 Laird Dr.
“I didn’t grow up in Leaside and it wasn’t until I started working here that I began to put down roots,” Tung says. “As I spent time interacting with clients, hiring local residents and taking part in local events I began to really feel a part of the community. Now my kids attend some of the local schools and participate in Leaside sports teams. You can’t interact with people for 20 years and not feel an attachment to them.”
The hospital currently has a staff of six part- and full-time vets who offer a complete range of services and procedures including annual vaccines, wellness exams, general and emergency surgery, nutrition, digital x-rays, dentistry, general grooming and pet boarding for Leaside residents’ cats, dogs, pocket pets like hamsters, as well as rabbits and ferrets.
Each of the hospital’s vets has special areas of interest, but all share a common passion to help the pets and their owners work closely as a team to provide the best level of care.
“The most satisfying situations for me are when I’m able to help pets who are facing difficult, possibly life-threatening or debilitating situations and give them a second chance at having a better quality of life with their owners and their families,” Tung says. “Anyone who has had a pet knows how special and meaningful that relationship can be. Helping to keep that relationship going a little longer can make all the difference.”
Over the years, Tung has had some unusual situations to deal with. He’s seen lots of stolen dogs or pets who are sick from eating objects or substances that their owners don’t want him to know about. Sometimes seniors want to keep their pets alive in bad situations because they remind them of a deceased spouse or loved one.
One of the biggest mistakes many owners make is to assume that their pet is slowing down or acting peculiarly from old age when in fact they may be in pain or something might be irritating them.
During his 23-year career as a vet Tung hasn’t had any celebrity animals as patients, but he has had a few celebrity owners (no names, please). “Regardless, we treat all our patients like celebrities,” Tung says. “The key to our Leaside relationship is how we interact with our clients. I can honestly say our staff is overwhelmingly the best I’ve ever had the fortune to work with. They care so much to make sure the pet or client is completely taken care of. That level of care and compassion creates a culture, and once you have that, the rest is easy.”