The History of Ettrick
The Ettrick Animal Hospital was started in June of 1971 by Bermudian, Dr. Tom James, after completing his schooling in the UK. It took some 6 months to dig out the basement of the family home to create the first hospital, consisting of an exam room, operating room, waiting room and a kennel room with 12 cages. The darkroom for developing x-rays was in a closet in the house above.
Tom had met his wife Caroline while he was at the Royal Dick Veterinary School at the University of Edinburgh and it was she who asked for the house to be renamed “Ettrick” after the village of “Ettrick Bridge” in the Scottish Borders where she had grown up. Caroline was a Domestic Science teacher but was to be a key factor in the subsequent management and success of the practice. In the early years, clients often found themselves sharing the space with the owners’ 2 young children who effectively ‘grew up in practice’.
In 1972, a separate kennel building was added behind the house to accommodate the growing boarding business. The present purpose-built animal hospital was opened just before Christmas of 1977. At the time, the business was still a ‘one-man’ practice and the building seemed massive. Dr. James and Caroline ran the hospital successfully on their own for many years before starting to hire locums so that they could at least take a short break from time to time.
The Madeiros family used Ettrick for their dogs’ medical care and in the summer of 1976, at 16 years of age, Andrew worked for the hospital in the kennels, walking, feeding and bathing the dogs. After spending 3 years in school in the UK, Andrew moved to Canada to attend The University of Guelph with the dream of becoming a veterinarian. After graduating with a B.SC. in Zoology in 1983, Andrew entered The Ontario Veterinary College to begin his veterinary schooling. In 1987 Andrew graduated with his DVM degree and took a job in a small mixed practice in Schomberg, Canada. He was responsible for all of the small animal work done by the hospital and describes those early years as ‘baptism by fire’. He also did some equine work and was active, as a volunteer, in the Three Day Eventing circuit. The highlights for him were attending Badminton in the UK, the Rolex competitions in Lexington, Kentucky and assisting the Bermuda team at the Pan American Games.
Andrew returned to Bermuda in 1990, joining Ettrick as a third vet. Initially, he did small animal and equine work but later concentrated on small animal work only. In 2000, when Dr. James and his wife decided that it was time to sell the practice, Dr. Madeiros purchased the business. Five years later, James’ kindly agreed to sell part of their property to Dr. Madeiros, ensuring that the hospital could continue on, in its present location.
The hospital is now staffed by 5 veterinary surgeons, 4 veterinary nurses, 3 receptionists, 2 kennel assistants, and an accounts assistant. The management team currently consists of Dr. Madeiros, the practice manager, and the business manager.
We continue to upgrade the facility to meet the needs of modern veterinary practice. We are fully computerized, with in-house laboratory equipment, state-of-the-art digital ultrasound and x-ray, and other upgrades. Not only have we remodelled our reception area (thanks for all your compliments!), but we have also done significant landscaping because we recognize the importance of the whole package that is Ettrick.
We at Ettrick have a great animal care team and feel very privileged to be able to serve Bermuda’s animals. We all acknowledge and appreciate the patronage of our clients.
The new Ettrick
In late 2019, we started the massive undertaking of modernizing our hospital. Built 40 years ago the hospital has seen many changes and we had outgrown the building. Modern hospitals require a lot of equipment and staff to run efficiently and to provide excellent care to patients. We have constantly invested in new equipment and experienced staff allowing us to have the most experienced medical and surgical team on the island. We are very proud of the team and the amazing work they do every day.
Our new Hospital was designed to be cleaner, quieter and safer for our patients, clients and staff. Specialised ventilation, soundproofing, floor finishes and housing have been incorporated into the building. There are separate hospital wards for cats and dogs. Our hospital runs and kennels are heated making them more comfortable for the animals and we have incorporated a custom Intensive Care Unit. Our reception area is also much larger and offers more space and comfort for our clients.