Changing of the vets in Ticonderoga

LOHR McKINSTRY/P-R PHOTODr. Katie Alexander stands with Dr. James Mack, whose veterinary practice in Ticonderoga she’s recently purchased. Mack has retired after four decades of furry patient care. 

TICONDEROGA — Dr. Katie Alexander says she knew when she arrived at the Ticonderoga Animal Hospital it was the place for her.

She soon purchased the veterinary business from Dr. James Mack and worked with him before he retired.

“I couldn’t have taken over for a better person than Jim Mack,” she said. “His dedication to his furry patients was enormous. It makes me feel good.”

EVEN A RACCOON

Alexander has returned to northern New York, where she grew up, after spending the last 12 years in southeastern Idaho.

She previously operated a mobile veterinary clinic providing in-home care to dogs, cats, goats, horses, cows and even a pet raccoon.

“People become veterinarians because they love animals,” she said. “I’m excited to return to the area and serve the animals of Ticonderoga.”

TRAVELING FAMILY

Alexander has a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Clarkson University in Canton and earned her doctorate of veterinary medicine from Ross University in St. Kitts.

She has three older bird-hunting dogs, an orange and white cat, a three-year old daughter, Maven, a four year old son, Theo, and her husband, Ash.

“I grew up in Mayfield, a small town in the southern Adirondacks,” Alexander said. “After getting married, my husband, Ash, and I moved to Idaho for the recreational opportunities and the mountain beauty. We spent 12 years living in southeastern Idaho, taking a break for me to attend vet school in the Caribbean, then in Texas.”

THERE AND BACK AGAIN

After graduation, she worked with another veterinarian to get experience, then went out on her own.

“I started up a mobile veterinary practice serving pets and livestock in Idaho,” she said. “The mobile practice was very well received, but I felt like I was spending too much time driving and not enough time with clients and their animals.

“By this time we also had two very young children and wanted to move closer to family. I began looking for practices for sale in the Northeast and found Dr. Mack's. Our family visited Ticonderoga and the animal hospital twice and decided it was the place.”

ACCEPTING, WELCOMING

The Alexander family made the cross-country journey in five days, with everyone and everything packed into the largest U-Haul available.

“We received a warm welcome in Ticonderoga. Dr. Mack, his wife, Noel, and all of the staff have been so helpful in transitioning the business,” Alexander said. “We are in the full swing of summer, seeing lots of pets and owners everyday.

“The Macks are definitely missed at the clinic, but I am thankful that everyone has been so accepting and welcoming to me,” she continued. “I'm looking forward to continuing their legacy of comprehensive, compassionate, personalized veterinary care for many years.”

SAW A NEED

Dr. James Mack is originally from the Philadelphia area, graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary School in 1975, and joined a private practice in Pennsylvania.

In 1978, he moved to Ticonderoga when he married his wife, Noel.

He said he recognized a need and opened his own veterinary practice, the Ticonderoga Animal Hospital.

Now, more than four decades later, he’s retiring.

'THIS WAS MY LIFE'

“I have to get used to not working here,” Mack said. “This was my life, it was where I came for the last 41 years.

“Now I’m going to be working on my house, doing other things. I always thought when I retired I’d hike the High Peaks, but I don’t know if I’ll do that now.”

He said he’ll never forget different animals and their owners.

“What I’ll miss will be the people who came here, who brought their pets in year after year and I got to know them,” he said. “You become a vet because you love animals. That’s why I was here."

PETS AND OWNERS

Mack said he enjoyed interacting with everyone.

“Pets take on the characteristics of their owners. If their owners were laid back, their pets were laid back, and so on. I really enjoyed interacting with pets and their owners.

“Now I have a whole new life. I’ll miss coming in here every day.