One of Sheila Delijani's earliest memories is feeding cats with her grandmother in Italy.
"I always loved animals as a child," she said. That love manifested as a career in veterinary medicine, and Delijani's new Glen Cove practice is one centered around the idea that the animals she treats aren't simply her clients' pets; they are patients.
Delijani's husband, Jason Samel, manages the practice.
"It's about what's best for the animal. We also look at their mental state - it's not just thinking about their physicality," he said.
Samel owns JayMar Insurance Agency in Jericho. He runs that business with a strong sense of social responsibility in the forefront of his mind, he said, and brings the same attitude to his wife's venture.
The couple, who live in Great Neck, chose their Forest Ave. location for its proximity to Petco across the street.
"All the dog owners in the area are coming to this spot organically," Delijani said.
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She worked in two Nassau County veterinary offices before striking out on her own. She found the building at 120 Forest Ave., formerly home to NYPC Services, two years ago and loved it, she said. With renovations complete, the Glen Cove Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon-cutting ceremony there Friday.
The practice features some of the latest in veterinary surgical technology, including a full-body digital x-ray machine, cages that supply extra oxygen and a drier that doesn't use heat to dry animals after they get washed.
Delijani described her practice as one that "veers toward integrative medicine," an approach that combines medical philosophies of Eastern and Western culture. She is trained in veterinary acupuncture and tries to look at her patients "more holistically," she said. She wants to refrain from prescribing antibiotics arbitrarily, though the industry provides the financial incentive to rely on medications.
Delijani insisted that a real concern for animals' long-term health is a better business model than prescribing quick-fix medications.
"I firmly believe that if you practice good medicine, you will attract a loyal following," she said.
Samel told a story about his wife visiting a client's home to put down their dog.
"Usually it's 10, 15 minutes, you know? Put the dog down, done," he said. Delijani spent an hour and a half with the family. That kind of attention is what she is banking on will see her practice to success.
Community members are invited to an open house at the office Sunday from 12-4 p.m. for a chance to tour the facility, enjoy refreshments and take home some pet gift bags.
"It's an opportunity for people to get to know us, our staff, and to get to know our philosophy," Delijani said.
For more information, call the office at 516-676-4838.