Veterinarian on Wheels is a full-service mobile veterinary company based in Port Washington, serving the Port Washington, Great Neck, Manhasset, Roslyn, Plandome, Sands Point and Roslyn Heights communities. At the helm of the company is Dr. Kristen Andersen-Mercer. The company provides care to pets in the comfort of their own home, the benefits of which are plentiful. Home visits can be more easily worked into a pet-owner’s schedule and the difficulty of transporting pets to an office is eliminated.
Not surprisingly, animals are much less stressed while at home, as opposed to the vet’s office. “They are noticeably more comfortable and befriend you more easily,” Dr. Andersen said. “One advantage, as a veterinarian, is I can see things you might not observe in an exam room when an animal is stressed, quiet or stoic.”
Dr. Andersen has actually observed behaviors in the home that have helped to save lives. For example, she has witnessed a cat eating lilies, which are toxic to cats, and a child feeding a dog grapes, which are toxic to dogs. “Also, being in people’s homes makes things much more personal and the level of trust is magnified,” she said.
Dr. Andersen continued, “Working with animals is my love, my passion, my dream, my happiness.” That is the kind of dedication pet owners like to hear from their vets.
“I love animals because they are loyal, kind, gracious souls that have an infinite capacity to love and be loyal,” she added.
Dr. Andersen’s passion for animals began when she was a child growing up with four large dogs—a rottweiler, two golden retrievers and a boxer—as well as ferrets, cats, birds, turtles and more. “My grandfather always had a special way with them and called every dog he met ‘his friend,’ ” Dr. Andersen recalled. “Animals taught me unconditional love, faith, friendship and loyalty. They gave me the life and career I have today.”
Dr. Andersen considers her ability to help, heal and keep animals healthy one of the best jobs in the world.
She spent a good deal of her youth in Port Washington with her grandparents Harry and Rosemary Andersen, lifelong residents. She worked as a lifeguard at Port Washington Yacht Club and could often be found racing 420 dinghies at Manhasset Bay Yacht Club.
The community has been supportive of Dr. Andersen’s new business. “It’s almost like as much love as I have for this town, I am getting back from everyone,” she said.
Word of mouth is spreading about the vet who makes house calls. Dr. Andersen has heard from friends and acquaintances she hasn’t spoken to in 20 years who have heard about her service and want to wish her the best.
Her favorite part of the workday is getting an email or a text that one of her patients is better, or that a client is at ease knowing she will be there for them. “I am a very sentimental person, so it feels good to get all this positive feedback and to know I made a difference at the end of the day,” Dr. Andersen said.
She runs the practice with her husband, Cody Mercer, manager and marketing director of Vet on Wheels. In addition to preventative care, in-home diagnostics and supportive care, they are able to perform digital X-rays, surgery, dental cleanings, teeth extractions and hospitalization in affiliated hospitals. “We transport the animals from your home to the hospital and then back,” Dr. Andersen said. “That is just one way we are different.”
They also provide vaccinations, testing for various diseases, microchipping, spay and neuter services and offer compassionate in-home euthanasia services for sick pets.
Dr. Andersen attended Iowa State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, where she met her now-husband. The couple moved back to New York about 10 years ago when Andersen had an internship at Fifth Avenue Veterinary Specialists in NYC. They now have an array of pets. “We completely view our animals as family,” Mercer said.
Veterinarian on Wheels offers a 10 percent discount for senior citizens as well as active and retired police, firefighters and military.