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By Kelly Huntamer, Manager VCA Noah's Ark
Published: July 15, 2009

A letter from Dr. Garber:
     When we opened our doors twenty-four years ago Rebecca and I never imagined a Noah’s Ark as large or sophisticated as it is today. Young, excited and just two years out of veterinary school we came to Goleta with the vision of creating a modern, caring medical facility that provided the newest ideas and best care we were capable of. We loved the ideas of practicing medicine in our own clinic, applying the healing skills we had learned in school and taking pleasure in helping pets live long and healthy lives. Despite some worries at the beginning that no one would find our new small clinic, it was not long before people in the neighborhood got to know and trust us. Within a few years Noah’s Ark was the largest clinic in Goleta, Rebecca and I had settled into the community and started a family.
      What we did not foresee was that our greatest pleasure would come from the long term relationships we would make with you, our clients. We learned about your work, trips you were taking and heard of the happy and sad events that life brings. We discovered the important enriching role your pets played in your lives. We got to know your families as we watched your children grow up and go out into the world. Our business grew as we became the veterinary clinic for your friends and children. Through life, birth, and even death, you entrusted us with the care of your furry family members.
     The advice we had was not always easy for us to give or for you to accept. How do you tell someone that their cat is too fat, that cancer was taking over a friend’s body, or that time had taken its toll and those difficult decisions that come at the end of life are near? Our philosophy was to be both an advocate for your pet and also your guide and resource for making decisions on what was best for your family. We tried to never judge people for the decisions they made, knowing they were juggling a lot of factors to decide what was right for their pets.
     Although we will miss all of you and the practice of veterinary medicine, the time is right for us to start a new beginning. We want to be with our families, garden, hike, travel and pursue new adventures. We have the same feeling of creativity, passion and excitement that helped us launch Noah’s Ark all those years ago, but we want to channel them into something a little slower paced. Hopefully we will meet many of you in the neighborhood, the store or the temple and our relationships will endure.
     I am very confident that the staff, some of whom you have known for years, will continue to provide the level of quality care that you have been accustomed to. Kelly Huntamer, who has been at Noah’s Ark for 13 years and was my office manager, is continuing to steer the ship. Robyn is still in charge of the reception area. I was quite nervous about giving up control of the Ark but the new owners, VCA, have made it easier by being fair and very considerate to me during the year and a half I have been in transition as their employee. VCA has improved the practice, providing new equipment, support and medical training, while allowing us to practice essentially just like we were when they bought it. I have been impressed that, although, they are a corporation, they only buy high quality successful hospitals and then let them continue to practice in the way that fits in their community.
     Thank all of you who honored us by entrusting us with your loved pets for all of these years. This is the truly the greatest reward a doctor can have.
Ronald J.  Garber, DVM