Friend’s Witness: Cooper says goodbye to animal hospital | Local news
Dr. Larry Cooper traded in his stethoscope for a fishing rod.
Cooper retired on Wednesday after owning and operating Pasquotank Animal Hospital for 44 years. About 60 family members, clinic workers, and clients surprised Cooper with a retirement party at the hospital on US Highway 17 South.
Several of Cooper’s former patients – dogs – also attended.
The next step for Cooper, 71, is to spend time with his wife, Pat, and their four children and seven grandchildren.
âI’m going to go fishing,â Cooper said.
âEveryone knows he loves to fish,â added Pat Cooper.
But Cooper said he’ll be doing more than just fishing in retirement.
âI also have a lot to do with seven grandchildren,â Cooper said. âMy wife will also have ‘buddy’ jobs (for me). I’m sure I’ll keep busy. ”
Cooper said he and his wife have also planned trips to Florida and Maine in the coming months.
âWe’re planning to go to Maine in January because we want some snow when we can get some,â Cooper said.
Cooper said he kept his veterinarian license and did not rule out practicing it during his retirement.
“I might have to work to buy gasoline for boats,” Cooper joked. âI don’t plan on doing (training) regularly at all right now. “
Cooper has said he will miss working with all of his “clients” and meeting their needs.
âThe patients are also a lot of fun,â Cooper said. âIt’s been a wonderful thing and this community is just great. It has been a real joy to serve them and it is hard to believe we have come to this.
Cooper said when he opened Pasquotank Animal Hospital in 1977, he wasn’t always so sure the practice would fare. One of the reasons Cooper opened in Elizabeth City was that there was a program that would help him pay off his student loans if he practiced in an underserved area.
âIt was uncertain at first and I wasn’t sure if we would be successful here in the community,â Cooper said. âI couldn’t see the number of clients that I needed to see to continue. But it turned around and it just exploded from there. We made the best choice to come here.
Cooper sold his Pasquotank Animal Hospital practice to Florida-based American Veterinary Group, but still owns the building.
âAVG has been great and the transition has been wonderful,â Cooper said. âI couldn’t have chosen a better group to buy the practice. They are really good at management – much better than me. “
Town resident Debi Williams has been a client of Pasquotank Animal Hospital for over 40 years. On Wednesday, she dressed up as a clown to wish Cooper a happy retirement.
âI dressed up as a clown because I was happy,â Williams said. âI’m sad too. But Dr Cooper deserves it, I just love him.
Pat Cooper said she was feeling a mixture of emotions as her husband retired.
âI’m happy because he worked so hard for it,â she said. âIt went quickly, and Elizabeth City was really nice to us. He loves his clients, and I know he will miss them. But we can’t wait to do some things together.