Clinic business

Norfolk vet takes clinic on the road to help senior pet owners – The Virginian-Pilot

Tara Golden, veteran and veterinarian, has served her country and spent eight years providing compassionate animal care. Now the Norfolk resident serves her community with a vet practice on wheels.

She recently opened Golden Paws Veterinary Services and Housecalls, a full-service mobile veterinary practice designed for assisted living seniors and home visits.

Before his last deployment, both of Dr. Golden’s grandmothers were in memory care facilities for the elderly. She spent many days and nights visiting her grandmothers and saw how residents with pets held a special light about them.

“I’ve noticed that COVID is impairing many seniors’ ability to get outside, and it’s making it more difficult for them to get veterinary care,” Golden said. “For most seniors, animals are emotional support, and I knew I wanted to provide quality veterinary care to senior communities.”

Golden’s mobile veterinary clinic is a 26-foot La Boit Ford E450 named Mary Etna, after her two grandmothers who loved their dogs and cats. The Mary Etna is similar to a brick-and-mortar veterinary practice with an exam table, surgical and dental suite, digital x-ray, portable ultrasound machine, microscope, and centrifuge. Mobile unit has decorative packaging with a variety of Dr. Golden’s rescue pets.

The traveling veterinarian can accommodate all types of appointments ranging from wellness, dental cleanings, cryotherapy and minor illnesses. The sterile surgery room can perform sterilizations, mass removals, and minor surgeries.

Earlier this month, Golden Paws held its grand opening in Atlantic Shores, a senior community in Virginia Beach. They spent several hours seeing eight furry clients. Rosie, a 4-year-old teddy bear mix, had the first date of the day. Linda Vande Kolk, Rosie’s owner, said she loves the convenience of bringing a vet to Atlantic Shores.

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“Dr. Golden was friendly and service was quick,” Vande Kolk said. “I’m still driving, but it’s so much easier.”

Another Atlantic Shores resident, Susanne Lundsgaard, brought 9-year-old Pomeranian Kiki to see Dr. Golden for a wellness visit. Lundgaard was excited about the mobile vet because her previous vet was 30 minutes away.

“It’s so convenient, and I’m so impressed with the company and Dr. Golden,” she said. “The mobile setup has it all and is so effective.”

Golden said his mobile office will also help anxious or fearful pets get to a veterinary clinic. Golden Paws will be available for concierge house calls.

“We have the ability to do most exam procedures and diagnostics at home if it takes the stress off,” Golden said. “We can perform the remaining test procedures in the mobile unit after the exam. This is an invaluable product for aging, nervous or hospice animals.

Golden’s services are available throughout the Hampton Roads area. See for more information.

Lee Belote,