By Kimberly K. Fu
Move over, Vacaville veterinarians, there’s a new pet doctor in town.
By the start of the new year, Dr. Celina Hatt also will rename her thriving practice and move it to a newer, bustling location.
Hatt, owner of Mid Valley Vet Hospital on Davis Street, came to Vacaville a little more than a year ago from Hawaii by way of the East Coast.
She has always loved animals, she said, and enjoys seeing people interact with their pets, the type of bond that connects them.
“I always knew that I believed in the human spirit,” she said.
Following college she spent time as a wildlife biologist in Yosemite. In Hawaii, she operated her first practice, Animal House Veterinary Clinic, in 2004. She still owns the business.
In 2013 she felt the urge for a change. A subsequent visit to East Coast friends now living in Vacaville sealed her future.
“It is a small town with local love, just like Hawaii,” she recalled.
She wandered the downtown area, recognized the need for a veterinary clinic, chatted up merchants and found everyone friendly.
“I was honestly very casually just scouting,” she remembered.
She connected with a vet selling his practice, though their timelines didn’t mesh. She later met Mid Valley’s previous owner and bought the practice.
“It had the right feel for me,” Hatt explained. “It just had the warm, welcoming feeling.”
In Feb. 2014, she took over the practice and focused wholeheartedly on generating new clients. From cold calls to former clients to all kinds of advertising to social media and word of mouth, the client base grew from 50 to about 700.
The location, though, is a bit nondescript and Hatt wants her practice to grow. She also wants to offer more services to the community. So, she’s kept an eye on the downtown area and recently found the perfect forever home — the old Chandler building on Dobbins at Kendal streets.
“I wanted a location where my clients could go get a cup of coffee or walk around while their pets were getting worked on,” she said.
Her longtime dream — to mix vet services with a playground for socialization and training, pet boutique and grooming services all in one spot. She talked to local merchants again, who were on board with her plan.
“People thought it was the cutest idea,” she said.
Especially since she’ll soon also offer emergency services. The closest ER clinic for pets right now is in Cordelia.
Hatt also will host educational seminars and offer a mentoring program for kids. That is, allow them to come watch procedures and actually learn about pet care.
“I really want to empower young kids,” she said. She wants to offer opportunities to check out the veterinary field and see if there’s an interest. Or, just teach them to have a strong work ethic.
Hatt said she’s excited to live and work in Vacaville and plans to be around for a long time.
“I just want to extend my gratitude. The welcome I’ve received in this community has been overwhelming,” she said. “I can’t wait to give back.”
The new location, to be named PAWSH, is slated to open in January and will operate from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. six days a week, Monday through Saturday.