Veterinarian Larry Tung was not always a Leasider. But he has been one now for more than two decades, at the Laird-Eglinton Pet Hospital.
The Toronto-born Tung initially headed for the Maritimes, and a while later, enrolled in the Veterinary College at the University of Prince Edward Island in Charlottetown, graduating in 1994. He found his way back to Toronto and worked at a few different vet clinics before being hired by Laird-Eglinton Pet Hospital as a young vet.
Tung realized he liked the culture of the clinic as well as the neighbourhood. When the previous owner decided to sell in 2001, Larry was able to buy the animal hospital.
He and the other three DVMs at the clinic, as well as the additional 12 or so full-time and 10-12 part-time staff “work well as a team.” There is little staff turnover. In fact, one of the vets has been at the clinic since taking a co-op placement in high school. All understand “that clients want to be part of the decision-making for their animal, so they can feel comfortable with a treatment plan.” They feel “lucky to be in Leaside. Leasiders love their animals, and want to be informed.”
One vet is particularly skilled in dentistry and caring for exotic animals, but not birds. Much of the practice, unsurprisingly, involves dogs and cats. Most of the dogs walk in willingly, but for those who are more reticent or stubborn and refuse to come in, treatment sometimes shifts to the client’s vehicle.
There is a small boarding facility for cats, but not enough room to board dogs. However, two of the team do dog grooming on site: “From Suds to Studs.”
The clinic was fortunate during the Covid restrictions to be considered an essential service. It wasn’t easy, as owners weren’t allowed in the clinic with their pets, but the pet hospital managed to survive the restrictions.
It is probably true that most vets have one or more pets, and Larry Tung is no different – but none is quite like Tung’s dog Reilly. Reilly came into the lives of Larry and his wife, Rita Rusu, when they were in Buffalo and went to a fair where a rescue group called Joyful was one of the exhibitors.
The dog Tung and his wife initially applied for ended up going to someone else, but they saw a photo of Reilly, who was then in Virginia. Reilly was smiling, and Larry says, “I’ve never seen a smiler I didn’t like.” The family ended up adopting the dog. They even took a road trip with her the year after she came into their family to be able to say “thank you” to the original rescue group – something that happens rarely. Reilly’s now 7 or 8, and enjoys spending her days as the mascot for the clinic. She may look as if she has energetic Border Collie relatives, but she is a very calm, placid dog – and right at home.
The clinic is immediately north of what is now a demolition site from Parkhurst south. Luckily, their recent lease was renewed, so Laird-Eglinton Pet Hospital’s future seems assured, at least for the time being, much to the relief of the many passionate pet people who walk through the doors.