We’re absolutely thrilled to introduce you to the newest addition to our Sooke Veterinary Hospital family, Dr. Andrew Crookes. With a profound passion for reptiles, amphibians, and all creatures furry, feathered, or scaled, Andrew brings a wealth of knowledge and experience from his studies at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatoon. His focus on community-centred care and creating a stress-free environment aligns seamlessly with our core values.
Andrew’s journey began with an unwavering love for animals, especially the unique world of reptiles and amphibians. Inspired by the legendary Steve Irwin, he spent his early days exploring the Okanagan Valley, on the hunt for snakes and lizards. His passion grew even stronger during his globetrotting adventures, particularly across the vast landscapes of Australia and the wild savannahs of South Africa.
Andrew is truly excited about our community-focused approach to pet care here at Sooke Veterinary Hospital. He shares our commitment to cultivating a warm and inviting atmosphere, not just for our team but for all the clients who walk through our doors. Strengthening the bonds between our staff and clients enhances the overall veterinary experience, and this is something Andrew holds dear.
During his final clinical year, Andrew had the privilege of caring for a magnificent Komodo Dragon at the Calgary Zoo, tending to a Common Snapping Turtle with a gunshot wound at the Wildlife Center of Virginia, and participating in a low-cost, remote clinic in Northern La Ronge Saskatchewan. These experiences have further ignited his passion for exotic animal medicine and a strong commitment to community-focused care. We'll have him up and running a new branch of Sooke Vet as soon as we can!
As Andrew becomes a member of the Sooke Veterinary Hospital team, he’s steadfast in his commitment to establishing an exotics-focused aspect within our practice. He is excited at the prospects of introducing alternative forms of care, such as a mobile practice component, to better serve our community’s beloved pets. Driven by a growth mindset, he aims to uphold our commitment to quality while expanding our services to meet diverse needs. Coming soon!
Andrew firmly believes in building deep relationships with clients through active listening and providing services that resonate with their pets’ unique needs. His personal experiences with anxious or debilitated animals through his pets drive him to elevate the human-animal bond for all.
With his two feline friends, Captain Ahab and Lizzie, a canine companion named Merida, and a special Eastern Box Turtle named Panzer, Andrew deeply comprehends the significance of offering exceptional care. His pets have taught him the value of consistent care and the importance of respecting pet owners’ insights about their beloved companions.
When he’s not immersed in the clinic, Andrew finds solace in outdoor pursuits such as surfing, hiking, photography, and bird-watching. He’s also enthusiastic about delving into the realms of mobile practice and telemedicine, seeking creative ways to extend veterinary care beyond our clinic’s physical boundaries.
Andrew’s excitement for animals, dedication to community-centred care, and commitment to nurturing an exceptional exotics-focused practice makes him an invaluable asset to the Sooke Veterinary Hospital team. With his passion for innovative approaches in veterinary medicine, we’re confident that Dr. Crookes will continue to positively impact the lives of pets and their owners in the Sooke community, strengthening the profound bond between humans and their cherished animal companions.
A Message from Dr. Crookes
I’m absolutely thrilled to embark on this journey with the Sooke Veterinary Hospital team! As a recent graduate, finding a supportive, compassionate team to guide me in my early career is paramount. I feel truly fortunate, as Dr. Lambert and her team epitomize these qualities and more. I eagerly anticipate getting to know each of you in the upcoming months and delivering the level of care that Sooke Veterinary Hospital is renowned for. I’m excited to be a part of the clinic’s exploration of new and refined ways to provide care to our cherished pet community!
After taking a bit to get our amazing new vets (Dr Collins and Dr. Lareau) established, we're finally opening to new clients for the first time in three years! It's still a bit snug in the space but we're opened a third set of appointments weekdays. Saturdays are still two vets, so harder to accommodate, but we have decided to take on new clients once more overall, including for short term urgent care where space allows.
This is part of a larger plan to hopefully expand Sooke Vet and better serve the growing community of Sooke over the next three years. Stay tuned for more updates!
Please remember that we are CLOSED from August 7th to the 12th inclusive however and WILL NOT be answering phones. If your pet requires emergency care during this closure, please call the Central Victoria Veterinary Hospital OR WAVES (in Langford). Both provide emergency and 24 hours care. Click on the names to be taken to their websites.
To minimize service disruptions during the summer holidays and still give our staff time to take a break, we have for years closed the week of the August long weekend. This year, that means August 7th to the 12th we will be closed! Please check your supplies and ensure you have everything you need! We'll be back on the 14th, ready to go!
We are absolutely delighted to be welcoming another new face to our teams of veterinarians at Sooke Vet! To keep up with the growth of Sooke, and to allow us to take on new clients again in the future as we grow, we were on the lookout for a fantastic vet to join us and our passion for pet care. We struck gold with Dr. Drew Collins! You'll see him on and off in the background as he gets orientated to our software and the clinic, but he'll soon be in the consult room meeting our wonderful clients face to face!
A word from Dr Drew Collins!
Greetings patrons and pet owners of Sooke Veterinary Hospital!
My name is Drew Collins, and I am looking forward to meeting you all in the coming year! Born and raised in Coquitlam BC, from a young age I was fascinated with all animals - be they cats, dogs, Great Whites during Shark Week, or following ants in our backyard. In high school I narrowed my passion down to veterinary medicine, confirming my love for the profession by volunteering at a variety of local animal hospitals.
After completing my BSc at UBC, I was accepted to the DMV program at Ross University on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts. While in some ways living in the Caribbean was as idyllic as it sounds, it was also a great challenge and amazing learning experience! After completing my DVM in 2019, I moved back to BC with my two rescue cats, Petrie and Phil, and settled in Kamloops. During my time there most of my immediate family moved to Langford. Missing my parents, siblings, and most importantly young niece and nephew, I decided it was time for a change. And so in March 2023, with my adventurous feline companions, I moved again - this time to an Island in the Pacific!
My professional passions lie in preventative care, internal medicine, ultrasound, education, and accessible veterinary care. My goal is ensuring animals undergo the least amount of stress and discomfort needed, and that owners are armed with knowledge to make informed choices.
In my spare time I am experimenting with a variety of hobbies, including hiking, camping, painting, photography, and drumming. I am new to Vancouver Island and am keen to explore as much of it as possible!
I feel blessed to be welcomed onto the excellent Sooke Veterinary Hospital team, and I am very excited to grow with them to provide quality care for your pets!
Although space is limited, we now offer one-on-one puppy classes with one of our amazing technicians for our clients! We use positive reinforcement to teach you puppy basic foundation behaviours, giving you and your new family member the best start. You can choose between single-issue session or the five-session course that includes..
Classes are held at The Sooke Veterinary Hospital and are one on one with the technician, lasting 45min to 1 hour. Call at 250-642-4413 for availability.
This is a crucial time in a puppy's life, the best time to learn how to become a happy, confident, well-rounded family member!
It's a good news/bad news kind of post...
In brief, we are so sad to report that Dr. Lauren Di Ponio is leaving us as of June 2023. She is moving to Ontario to be with family at this key time for her young family! While we are sad to see her go, we value family highly at Sooke Vet and understand. We, of course, wish her well on her adventure. If anyone's wondering, Dr Deborah Lambert will be taking back over the clinic 100% with the help of the new manager Kayla, so no worries about that!
Now for the good news: We got incredibly lucky and snagged us an amazing new vet! Meet Dr. Michelle Lareau! We asked her to introduce herself here! She'll be starting in May 2023.
Hello Sooke Veterinary Hospital clients!
My name is Michelle Lareau and I am thrilled to be joining the Sooke Vet hospital team as an Associate Veterinarian. Having moved to Sooke from Victoria in 2021, Sooke is definitely home, and I am very excited to have the opportunity to meet more of the people of Sooke, as well as the members of their animal family.
After first volunteering with, then working for the Regina Humane Society, I realized that I wanted helping animals to be my full time job, so I decided to pursue a career in veterinary medicine. I graduated from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in 2011 and moved to beautiful BC shortly afterwards. I have worked primarily in general practice, with some emergency experience in my first 5 years of practice. I have a huge soft spot for geriatric pets (an old grey face melts my heart every time), and a passion for stress free handling and internal medicine. In 2020 I completed the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society program, and will soon be offering veterinary acupuncture services to Sooke and the surrounding area. It has been extremely rewarding to practice this complementary modality alongside Western medicine, particularly with my patients who are geriatric and/or having mobility issues.
My intention is to listen carefully to and communicate clearly with every client, so that we can create a health plan, together, for your pet that works best for everybody.
Outside of work I enjoy spending time near the ocean or Sooke River, camping, traveling, live music, working in my yard, with my house plants, or on crocheting and macrame projects.
My animal family includes my handsome Basset hound Jake (always up for either adventure or a nap), and my recently adopted 12 year old cat Olive (very small, entirely toothless, but full of strong opinions).
Having known Dr. DiPonio for years, I am very much looking forward to working with her once again (though too briefly), and getting to know her Sooke Vet Hospital family.
Due to the inclement weather, yo might have noticed we're a bit limited in staffing! Yesterday we did a half day one-woman team and today (Dec 21st 2022) we plan to be open until 12:30pm to accommodate our clients' needs but then get our staff home.
Please drive carefully! We plan to be back in force tomorrow as the roads steadily improve and our staff dig themselves out.
We've got a new feature on our website; "Working with us!"
We wanted to give a sense of what it's like to work with us, plus give us a place to share any new jobs that are available. We're looking for a vet to join our growing team even now! But we're always happy to take in a resume for everything from reception, to technician, to entry level pretty much for keen individuals. Even if we don't have a position now, we'll keep it on hand until we do. We've found some of our star staff members that way!
If you know anyone looking, or are interesting in learning more yourself, check out the new page HERE and let us know what you think.