South Deerfield Veterinary Clinic expanding services under new owner

  • Dr. Samantha Clay, owner of the South Deerfield Veterinary Clinic, with two of her staff’s canines, Bonnie and Linus. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Dr. Samantha Clay of the South Deerfield Veterinary Clinic, Licensed Veterinary Technician Shayla Fiedler and staff canine Bonnie. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Dr. Samantha Clay has purchased the South Deerfield Veterinary Clinic from Dr. Robert Schmitt. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Dr. Samantha Clay, owner of the South Deerfield Veterinary Clinic, poses with Tilley in South Deerfield. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

Staff Writer
Thursday, August 12, 2021

SOUTH DEERFIELD — The South Deerfield Veterinary Clinic is continuing to expand its services as its new owner settles in after owning the practice for half a year.

Dr. Samantha Clay, who was born and raised in Belchertown, bought the South Deerfield Veterinary Clinic on Elm Street in February. The changeover has been ongoing since then.

Clay, who is in the third year of her career, having worked previously at the Mill Valley Veterinary Clinic in Belchertown, said the chance to purchase the South Deerfield practice was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“It was always the goal to own a practice,” Clay said. “If I didn’t jump on it when I did it, I don’t think it would have come back around.”

Clay works with both small and large animals, which made her a prime candidate to follow in the footsteps of Dr. Robert Schmitt — who, at 80, is still working part time and has not set a date to retire — as a multispecies specialist. She is grateful that Schmitt was willing to sell the practice to her because he put his “heart and soul into this business.”

“I’m so thankful for Dr. Schmitt for the opportunity. It was a big deal for him to sell his practice,” Clay said. “It has not been an easy transition for him to take a step a back, but I am happy he chose me to do it.”

The clinic treats animals ranging from cats and dogs to llamas and horses. Clay highlighted this multispecies aspect as one of the practice’s essential qualities.

“It’s very important it stays mixed animal,” Clay said. “It’s a win for both of us. His practice will go on and I get the opportunity to be a part of it.”

Since Clay purchased the clinic in February, the changeover has “gone really well” as they shift over to electronic medical records and add new technology.

Clay said the South Deerfield Veterinary Clinic is preparing to add or has already added new services such as ultrasounds, endoscopies and portable X-ray machines for large animals, while also renovating the surgery suite.

The clinic is also hiring another associate and adding a third truck to increase its mobile coverage. Clay said these additions will greatly increase the number of animals she and her staff can treat.

“We’re in the middle of just a couple projects,” Clay said. “We’re going to have a lot more appointment availability. With Dr. Schmitt part time and me full time, it doesn’t leave a lot of room.”

As for her personal transition to South Deerfield, Clay said the “community in general has been extremely welcoming.”

“I’m making connections,” Clay said. “It’s nice to be a part of a small-town feel, which I think is very New England.”

Chris Larabee can be reached at clarabee@recorder.com or 413-930-4081.