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Emergency animal clinic moving to new, bigger digs

The Red River Animal Emergency Clinic is planning a move to a larger space in Fargo. Special to The Forum1 / 2
The former Golden Corral restaurant in Fargo will soon become an emergency hospital for animals. Forum File Photo2 / 2

FARGO—The Red River Animal Emergency Clinic is planning a move that will provide it with more space and allow it to do more to help animals deal with health emergencies.

Whether it was ingesting rat poison, getting struck by a vehicle, or being wounded in a fight, animals have been getting help at the clinic since 2006, the year it began operating at 1401 Oak Manor Ave. in Fargo.

The clinic is typically open from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. Mondays through Thursdays and from noon Fridays to 8 a.m. Mondays. It is also open 24 hours on holidays.

The clinic plans to move to its new site, the former home of the Golden Corral at 4491 23rd Ave. S., in Fargo, sometime around Aug. 1.

Once it's in the new space, the clinic will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, according to Bill Walker, manager of the clinic.

"We need to move to 24/7 operation because of the volume of emergency cases in the area," Walker said, adding cases can come from 100 miles away, or farther.

Walker said the clinic's odd hours are by design in order to take pressure off other veterinary clinics.

"The mission initially was to provide the kind of service that regular veterans couldn't provide. All the unscheduled things that happen to come in the door," Walker said.

The additional space available in the new building will allow for a number of new services, according to Walker.

One of those services will be an in-house blood bank that will serve a region with a radius of about 150 miles.

Walker, who worked in other businesses for decades before taking a job with the clinic about eight years ago, said it is inspiring to see the work done there.

"It's just so fun to watch them save animals that otherwise would not have been saved, especially on weekends. It's just so difficult," Walker said.

Although it can be a stressful job, Walker said the staff is dedicated to saving lives.

"That's everything thing to them. They all have rescue pets at home," he added.

When the transition to the new building happens it will happen fast, according to Walker.

"The whole community and especially the veterinary community depends on us. We have to do the timing just right," he said.

Natalie Gruchow, office manager at Animal Health Clinic in south Fargo, said the emergency clinic fills a critical need.

"It's life saving, actually, to have the emergency clinic available," Gruchow said, adding that it also saves veterinarians at other clinics from having to constantly be on call, which she said had been the situation for many years.

The former Golden Corral, which opened in 2008, had 10,720 square feet of space.

The business changed its name to Iron Kettle in 2011 after the owners severed ties with the North Carolina-based Golden Corral franchise.

The restaurant reopened as a Golden Corral in 2012 and closed in mid-2015.

Dave Olson
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