After solving the “mystery of the calf on the lawn” in the last issue of The Gazette, we thought to take a closer look at the Gardiner Animal Hospital where the calf was staying.
The Animal Hospital has been in business at the same location since the 1940s, making it one of the longest running businesses in town. Dr. Clifford (Kip) Hoppenstedt owned and ran the hospital from sometime in the 1940s until 1975 when Dr. Lyle Goodnow purchased it. Kip and Lyle worked together until 1983 when Kip retired.
Lyle Goodnow grew up in New Hampshire, where he raised poultry as a 4-H member. He won the top 4-H poultry prize for New Hampshire and met his wife, Edie, as she was also a 4-H member. When his employer (a poultry producer) was unable to raise his salary even five cents an hour—from a dollar and a quarter—Lyle went to work in a knitting mill. There he developed a knack for remembering colors of wool that were used for making material. He made a few cents an hour more than at the poultry farm, but it still wasn’t enough for his growing family.
It was Edie who suggested he go to veterinary school at Cornell. After graduation the family needed a place to settle down and found the Gardiner Animal Hospital in need of a new owner. The rest, as they say, is history.
In order to pay for their move to Gardiner, Edie and Lyle acquired a credit card, which were just coming out at the time, and borrowed a thousand dollars. To save money they joined two other graduates who were leaving Cornell to head back to New Hampshire, rented a U-Haul and crammed all they owned into the truck. Time went on, generations of Gardiner animals were cared for and three sons grew up, moved into careers and got married themselves. Now the third generation of Goodnows is working at the animal hospital. Grandson Matthew and his family are living in the house in front of the hospital while he manages the hospital for his granddad. The calf on the lawn belongs to Matthew’s daughter, the fourth generation.
Over the years, Lyle has brought in many young vets, many from out of state. He says they have taught him a lot, keeping him up to date on new procedures. They, of course, have also learned as much or more from their mentor.
Lyle says he stays away from “exotics” if at all possible, but did once treat a zebra that was with a travelling zoo. (He says they bite.) He is currently the only vet in Ulster County who treats ruminants; cattle, sheep, goats and what he calls “those long-necked sheep,” alpacas and llamas. Along with the small animal practice and horses, he keeps three other vets and a staff of twenty-five busy. Lyle checks all the 4-H animals that go to the Ulster County Fair from the area; each animal must be seen and examined before it can get the required health certificate, so to say that the Fair is a busy time is an understatement.
Even after nearly forty years in the veterinary business Dr. Goodnow still needs to keep himself up to date with ongoing course work. To keep his registration in force he needs another forty credit hours—another year and a half of academic work.
Asked if he was thinking of retiring as he nears his fortieth year in business, Dr. Goodnow says no. He enjoys his work, is able to do it and feels he does veterinary work the right way. He is a rare independent in a world where most vets are going corporate. Lyle likes the personal touch, knowing his clients through the years and hopes the young vets he brings in learn that lesson.
Next time you drive by the Gardiner Animal Hospital sign on Route 44/55, take a good look. The horse on the sign is son Scott’s Clydesdale, Lincoln, and the dog belongs to the man who painted the sign. The other animals are more generic, but take a good look at the pig. There is something about that pig. If you can’t drive by, visit our facebook page for a photo.