- Dr. Edward Decort at Better Lives Animal Hospital
Pet owners everywhere love their four-legged fur babies. That’s a given, as is the fact that there are veterinarians all around the world who dedicate their careers to providing the greatest possible care for all breeds of animals to the best of their abilities. And there are certainly many excellent veterinary care facilities here in the Hudson Valley. But among this year’s Chronogrammies voters, it’s Better Lives Animal Hospital in Red Hook that leads the pack.
“Our motto is ‘Our patients are our pets and our clients are our family,’” says Kathleen Decort, the practice’s manager and the wife of head vet Dr. Edward Decort. “And that’s really how it feels here. Besides really getting to know the pets we see, we love getting to know our clients on a personal level: ‘How’s your grandma doing? How’s it going with those home renovations you were telling us about at the last visit?’ That wasn’t really possible at the bigger, busier animal hospital the doctor and I both worked at before we opened Better Lives.”
A member of the American Veterinary Medical Association and the New York Veterinary Society with 11 years of veterinary-medicine experience, Dr. Decort opened Better Lives in 2016. Since then, the practice has become a staple of the community, nurturing a devoted client base via the expert, deeply compassionate care administered by the couple and their small but dedicated crew.
With the COVID crisis upon us, however, Better Lives has needed to adapt in order to be able to keep providing its much-needed services. As of this writing, the technician and kennel attendant who normally assist the Decorts are on temporary furlough and their facility’s lobby is closed to visitors. But the clinic continues its mission, unabated, by accepting curbside dropoffs of patient animals and with the doctor conducting outdoor diagnoses on the large, easily accessible porch and through FaceTime. Dogs and cats, are, naturally, the chief focus here, but Better Lives also cares for domestic birds and wildlife.
“The doctor always makes sure to educate all the pet owners we see, to explain to them—in terms that are easy to understand—what their pet’s illness is, what’s causing it, and how the treatment works,” says Kathleen. “We love to see happy faces on our clients and their pets.”