Best of Grand Pittston: Dr. Sara McGarry loves animals … and humans


Sitting in her office with a shredder and newly adopted, Nova by her side, Dr Sara McGarry said somewhere in an old preschool yearbook was a photograph proclaiming that she would one day become a vet.

To the delight (and benefit) of the animals throughout the community, she was right.

“From the age of 4, that’s what I wanted to be,” proclaimed McGarry, who has now worked 20 years in veterinary medicine and is honored for Best Veterinary Practice in The Sunday Dispatch’s Best Of Greater Pittston.

McGarry purchased the Shoemaker Avenue Animal Hospital in 2013, following the retirement of Dr. Robert Bishop.

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Bishop was preparing to offer the hospital to his son and business partner, Danie, when Danie passed away suddenly in 2010. McGarry went to vet school with Bishop’s son and two mutual friends, but at the time, she was busy providing emergency animal care at a different facility.

“He was ready to sell the practice and I was ready to move from emergency medicine to general medicine,” she said. “Knowing her son as a classmate, I just felt the time was right and I chose to go all-in.”

McGarry was raised in Pittston Township by her parents, Patricia and Patrick McGarry. Heartbreaking, she explained that her family went above and beyond to help her dream come true.

“I wouldn’t be here without my parents’ help. They were certainly a huge support in my decision to go to vet school, ”said McGarry, explaining that they even helped her get to and attend school overseas. “It was my mother who said ‘you have to buy this practice, and you are going to do great things’.”

And she has.

Previously, McGarry was voted The Times Leader ‘Silver Award winner for’ Best Vet ‘, calling the experience one of her most humiliating experiences.

While she gave Bishop credit for building a strong bond with the community, McGarry and her staff followed in her footsteps – particularly showing their community support over the summer when they heard about Nova – an eight month old Pitbull mix that was badly overlooked before being dumped in an alleyway in Pittston.

Local groomer Maxwell’s House Resort first helped save the puppy and handed him over to the animal hospital in an attempt to save his life. At the end of the month, Nova was making great strides in her recovery and prospects, as Pittston City Police Chief Neil P. Murphy announced plans to adopt her and make Nova a d therapeutic assistance for the community.

“(Maxwell’s House) took her to the hospital, and we just took care of her the way she needed it. There was never a question of what needed to be done, it was just that we were going to do it, ”she said. “The result is worth seeing her thrive, and she’s doing so well with the Pittston City police.”

In addition to saving animals, the Shoemaker Avenue Animal Hospital also lends a helping hand by participating in community events, fundraisers and more.

While the hospital offers a range of services to a variety of animals – including being one of the only clinics in the area to offer digital dental x-rays – the goal, McGarry said, is to instill the preventive medicine to pet owners.

Keeping animals from getting sick not only helps pet owners and their furry babies, but also allows local veterinary hospitals to see more patients.

While cost may be a contributing factor in wanting to delay visits, she added that not only is it generally more cost effective, but also helps your pet live longer while providing the best possible care.

“It has always been our goal here, to try to keep the animals healthy,” she added.

As for the cost, McGarry said investing in pet insurance pays off in the long run. It is generally much cheaper than human health insurance and allows owners to take care of their animals as they wish.

“The hardest part of veterinary medicine is that you have to put a cost on their pet,” she said. “If I had to change one thing, it would be to help everyone understand that pet health insurance is a great investment for your pet.”

As Nova continued to chase after a squeaky toy, McGarry thanked his staff and patients for being so understanding with the changes brought about by the pandemic. She admitted that her favorite part of the job is interacting with people and pets, which led to her wanting a GP practice.

“Most people love animals. In my opinion, a good vet also likes people – because they all come with one person, ”she said. “That’s what I love – there’s nothing else I’d rather do.”


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