The first week of owning an eight-week-old puppy, I was terrified she'd get hurt or sick. She was my new baby (a little 11-pound apricot Labradoodle), and I needed a good vet. I'd work like a dog to find one if I had to.
Luckily, I didn't have to sniff around for long before digging up the perfect place. Rover the Rhine, a full-scale veterinarian hospital on Race Street, assuaged my fears after the first visit, mainly because they specialize in a different breed of health care for pets.
GREAT CARE FOR GOOD BOYS & GIRLS
It features all the standards of a typical animal hospital: surgery, dentistry, x-rays, diagnostics, exams, vaccines, and more. But that's where RTR stops being standard.
Located in an unassuming, former wine seller's building in Downtown, it immediately does away with convention upon entering the waiting room. A massive, overhead stained glass light illuminates the entirety of the espresso-shelved room that's decked out with pet-related decor. The place feels more repurposed, handsome lounge than stereotypical, sterile doctor's office of a regular vet.
The atypical nature of the place doesn't end with the waiting room. My puppy was instantly greeted by warm, enthusiastic staff who wanted to meet her. Sure, that's not wholly atypical for a cute puppy, but imagine going to the doctor's office and being treated like your presence is desired.
She quickly realized the vet equaled fun. They weighed her, introduced her to peanut butter, and administered a comprehensive checkup that didn't upset her. Continuing on the unconventional route, RTR staff sit on the floor with their patients instead of placing them on a cold, stainless steel table. This unique approach to examination totally put my dog at ease, which ultimately put me at ease, too.
By the end of the checkup, I had everything I needed to know, and she was in love with the place. The only difficulty I had in RTR was getting my puppy to leave. Her pulling towards the door every time we walk past the building underscores how much she loves her vet.
RTR isn't just a veterinarian hospital, though. There's a whole separate-yet-connected building next door dedicated to hosting dogs of all breeds for the day.
If a little pup can't hang with the big dogs, they're placed in a separate room to keep them safe and occupied. A trained attendant keeps a watchful eye on the groups to make sure everyone gets along; and if there's an issue, someone jumps in.
Many Downtown residents and workers take their pets to RTR for checkups and/or a day of extended play because they know their furry family members are in good paws. Throw 'em a bone like the rest of us and consider doing the same.
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Rover the Rhine doesn't just see dogs; it also sees cats and other house pets. Additionally, it makes house calls for those who cannot make it to the hospital. It is located at 910 Race Street (45202).