There’s an easy way to the heart of Nakusp’s new veterinarian.
“People have been very generous with their welcoming, they’ve been coming in, having conversations and stuff,” says Amber Robinson. “And some folks dropped off chocolates, which were very much appreciated. Chocolate is appreciated any time.”
Joking aside, Robinson says it’s been relatively easy to slip into the position left empty when Nakusp Veterinary Clinic owners Bill Sones and Laurie Page sold the business two months ago. Robinson, a small-town person originally from Chemainus, says she and her family have been settling in well.
With three small children — the oldest is eight — Robinson says that ability to have the house and practice under one roof, with gardens and other activities literally on their doorstep, was very appealing.
“When we came out here we thought this would be a great fit for us, so here we are,” she says. “We’re coming to Nakusp because it gives us a chance to spend more time with the kids.”
Robinson is a relative newcomer to the profession, graduating from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the U of Calgary in 2013. She’s worked at veterinary clinics in Alberta, and for the Calgary Humane Society, where she was responsible for hundreds of animals’ health.
Before veterinary school, Robinson was a field biologist, working for various resource companies. Her post-secondary education was in biology and geography, a double major. For her masters’, she used her passion as a birder to study the calls of songbirds on the prairies.
“But song birds don’t have a wallet, so I had to switch tactics,” she says, explaining why she eventually moved toward field biology, and then veterinary school.
Taking on a full-fledged, mature practice like the Nakusp Veterinary Clinic can be daunting, but Robinson says support from her family is helping.
“I haven’t run my own business, but my husband and his family have,” she says. “So I am relying on his business acumen, and I’ll handle the medical side of it. So I’m optimistic about it.”
Her philosophy in caring for animals takes into account the health and social state of both the pet and its owners, she says.
“When it comes to veterinary medicine, I take a very long view, and one that incorporates public health as well as the individual’s pet,” she says. “It is my objective [for clients] to have the healthiest pet within their lifestyle. Not necessarily the healthiest pet that money can buy, but the healthiest pet within their lifestyle.
“A lot of people can spend a lot of time and resources on their pet, others cannot. I am here to support everybody and their pets.”
Robinson will be busy with domestic pets, and likely won’t be taking on any agricultural clients. She says some mobile veterinarian services are working in the area, and she can refer clients to them when they need medical help for their animals.
With small children and a busy practice, Robinson doesn’t have much time for other pursuits, but enjoys gardening, reading, and birding, when she can.
“I haven’t added any to my life list since coming here,” she says. “But I have been doing this a long time, so it’s hard to add to it.
“But it’s been lovely to hear the thrushes, robins and sparrows here in Nakusp. Spring is back, and they’re doing their morning song.”