TAMPA (WFLA) – You may be familiar with the story of Doctor Dolittle, a fictitious naturalist who was able to speak with animals. But in Largo, there is a veterinarian who has a similar connection with her animal patients.
Dr. Robin Moore has a busy practice at East Bay Animal Hospital treating dogs, cats, and many exotic species, and in the process, she’s been able to accomplish some remarkable things.
Some of her colleagues believe Dr. Moore has a gift of being able to connect with all kinds of animals, and not just on a doctor-patient level. It may come from a place much more ‘supernatural.’
“So, people who like animals just connect with animals,” she says, “’it’s on kind of a spirit level. People who don’t like animals are standoffish.”
Dr. Moore says she’s always known animal care was her destiny. “I always tell people I was created in the womb to be a veterinarian. Even as a young kid I knew that was the path I was headed down.” She graduated from the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine in 1996, and soon accepted an associate position at East Bay Animal Hospital. When the clinic’s owner, Dr. Alfred Marshall retired, Dr. Moore stepped in to assume the practice.
On a recent Thursday, which is surgery day, Dr. Moore had a full list of patients needing a variety of procedures, including a cat and a dog in need of dental care, including tooth extraction. Other days follow a more set routine.
“We usually start with appointments in the morning,” she explains, “Then we have some drop-offs that we get done in between appointments. It can be anything from your regular vaccine wellness visit all the way up to a pet that is very, very sick.”
So great is her devotion to her patients, Dr. Moore will sometimes take critically ill animals to her home ICU, where she can personally watch over them, to help them get through a crisis. She has even used her innovation skills to design and build wheel supports to assist pets with walking. And once she crafted a tiny micro tweezer out of paper clip to dislodge a stone from a gecko’s stomach.
Yet Dr. Moore strongly believes her care extends to her patients’ “human” family. “Veterinarians consider themselves the ‘other’ family doctor,” she reveals. “It is a tagline that we associate with because we truly are the doctor to a well-loved member of the family. “It’s probably closest to a pediatrician, in that we depend on the parents to tell us what’s going on.”
Volunteer work with Christian Veterinary Missions has taken Dr. Moore all over the world, including work in Kenya, treating all kinds of animals, from giraffes to camels, and teaching farmers how to vaccinate and care for their livestock. Here in the U.S., she takes part in similar missions at Native American reservations.
So what does the future hold for this remarkable woman? “In five years, I’ll probably still be here. We are hoping to grow the practice, just like any business wants to grow. So maybe we’ll have a couple more veterinarians on staff, maybe we’ll have more staff, but I’ll probably still be here until they kick me out.,” she says with a chuckle.