Gill vet Patrick Cotter enjoys the peace, quiet and animals

By LISA SPEAR

Recorder Staff

Published: 04-18-2016 2:51 PM

GILL — A new veterinarian practice in town is dedicated to keeping four-legged friends healthy while keeping their owners’ wallets in tact.

After living and working in New York City for about 40 years, Patrick Cotter opened a new small animal practice on a farm in Gill, surrounded by hilly fields of corn and alfalfa crops.

Drive down Munns Ferry Road and Cotter’s practice is just about the only business that can be found.

The waiting room, surgery room and exam space are in a converted barn. Cats and dogs are his specialty. Sometimes he sees a few rabbits. Pop music plays over the radio in the background.

This mom and pop business is run entirely by Cotter and his wife, Natasha. She isn’t a vet, but she is everything else. She answers the phone, deals with the cutomers and mans the front desk.

“There are always new people coming in everyday, different pets, and different problems. It keeps you stimulated and it keeps you going,” said Cotter, who likes to get to know both the people and the animals that he works with.

A calico cat that probably has pancreatitis sits in the back room waiting for treatment. A dog came in a day ago with a ruptured salivary gland. Cotter loves the detective work that goes into the diagnostic process.

“This doesn’t even seem like working for me. This is what I do. This is what I am. You tie your identity to what you do,” Cotter said. “It’s not really a job for me. It’s just a lot of fun. If you can be of service and help people, that is always good, too.”

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He finds cats fascinating, but never quite got along with horses. Antique veterinarian tools hang on the walls.

To escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, Cotter sold his practice on 65th Street and 2nd Avenue in New York City about a year ago and moved to the area. He said the prices in the city kept rising and the phone kept ringing.

“After 20 years of the phone ringing constantly, everyday, it just drives you nuts after awhile. It’s just nonstop. It gets exhausting,” he said.

Coming to the Pioneer Valley allowed him and his wife to take a breath and slow down. “For me, it’s perfect up here.”

He spent six months renovating the barn that would later house his new practice.

Since he opened, the practice has gotten busier and busier, he said. He knows that paying vet bills can be a struggle and tries to give his customers the best prices possible.

He sets his prices by calling around and seeing what other area vets are charging. In some cases, he can charge less because he doesn’t have a huge building and doesn’t have a large staff.

“Sometimes the prices are mind boggling what people have to pay for their pet, so I try to help out with that,” he said.

He lives in the farmhouse next door with his wife, their three dogs, two cats, and two turtles. He said it’s not a bad morning commute.

Cotter can be contacted by phone at: 413-203-4422

You can reach Lisa Spear at
lspear@recorder.com
or 413-772-0261, ext. 280

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