When searching for a Vet for your furry friend, it’s hard to really understand why your Vet became a Vet, what their specialties are, and their background. That’s why we have begun a series of interviewing local Vets in NYC. Please find below an interview with Dr. Dan, Owner and Veterinarian at ABC Animal Hospital with interviewer, Jamie Ruden, founder of Dog Spotted.
Dr. Dan, thank you so much for joining us! Can you start by telling us a little bit about yourself?
I’m a native New Yorker that grew up in Queens and was raised in a big Italian family. I have two human children, a son and daughter, who have left the nest and have gone onto big careers in NYC. In addition to my human children, I have two dogs Pepsi and Scooter (which I bring to work some days) and two cats Henry and HeHo (who live full-time at the clinic). Henry and HeHo’s hobbies include roaming the downstairs of our clinic to greet and keep company of the other animals.
Before becoming a Vet, I majored in Performing Arts at NYU. My initial dream was to be on stage, and my favorite show I was in was the Nutcracker. However, after four years of performing, I realized performing wasn’t my true passion. I reflected on when I was happiest and that was with my childhood dachshund, Coco. So, I applied, got accepted, and attended Veterinary school at Wisconsin-Madison to help more dogs like Coco.
Another passion of mine is reading. My favorite author is John Steinbeck, in particular his book Cannery Row. His depictions of California transport you to the sunshine state and it has motivated me to plan a trip there sometime in the near future.
So what started it all? Why did you become a Vet?
Since I was young, I’ve loved animals, and my first pet was a dachshund. I developed a passion for Veterinary science 48 years ago when I worked as a North Shore Animal Hospital assistant. I have always enjoyed helping animals and their pet parents. Watching pets leave my practice feeling better than when they came in as well as their parents feeling relieved, is the best feeling in the world.
What is it like being a Vet? What is your favorite part of the job?
My favorite part of my job is being a part of the Lower East Side community. Many of my clients have been coming to my practice since I first opened 23 years ago. I have enjoyed watching pets grow over the years, developing relationships with my clients, and working with my assistants. These two decades have allowed me to not only help the community, but become a part of it.
I see on your website you have your own line of dog products. Can you share with us what the products are and how they were developed?
Of course! Dog shampoo is the main product of my pet care line. The key elements I set out for my dog shampoos are that they smell great, clean dogs exceptionally well, and provide them with the standard of care they deserve. I created my Dr. Dan’s Pet Care line as I could not find a comparable dog shampoo that thoroughly cleanses a dogs’ fur and hair using all-natural, gentle, and high-quality ingredients.
I determined what ingredients were best by starting with the idea of making the shampoos simple and practical. We harnessed the benefits of natural ingredients, using a coconut and corn base as a solid base to provide the thick foaming power to bathe your dog and lanolin’s ability to moisturize and protect their skin. We then added essential oils for additional benefits, such as spearmint’s anti-inflammatory properties, lavender to calm and alleviate anxiety, and the antibacterial properties of citrus fruit.
What is something you wish dog parents knew when coming to the Vet?
It’s essential to build a trusting relationship with your Veterinarian. Besides the pet themselves, your relationship with your Vet is the most important one to keep your furry friend happy and healthy. This relationship is necessary for your pet’s health as your Veterinarian will know what is normal for your pet and what signals may reflect early signs of an illness. This relationship develops over time with frequent visits to your veterinarian throughout your pet’s life.
Can you share a little bit about the work you do with rescue organizations?
I partner with the ASPCA and ACC to serve shelter animals and pets from low-income homes. This includes both medications and services to both shelter partners with their pet parents. My cat, Heho, was an ACC case with a broken leg who turned into a long-term boarder and, eventually, my cat. It’s very fulfilling to use my resources and facilities to help these shelters continue their valuable work.
Income should never be a barrier to adoption. It’s crucial to support caring pet parents who struggle to afford veterinary care and help pets who haven’t yet found that forever home.
What is something really special and unique about your practice
ABC is a small business that I run myself, rather than being part of a larger corporation. Owning my practice allows me the autonomy to use my judgment on a case-by-case basis to find the best solutions for pets and their owners. Also, it provides me with the bandwidth to take on additional projects, like the aforementioned Dr. Dan’s Pet Care Products.
ABC is not just a workplace to me; it’s a lifelong passion project.
When ABC first moved into its current location at 200 Ave A, my brothers and I built the walls, flooring, and even the front desk ourselves. It’s a home for my pets and me; sometimes, when we have a severe hospitalization, I will stay overnight in my cot and make sure the pets are doing well.
If you didn’t pursue Veterinary medicine, what do you think you would have done?
If I didn’t pursue a career in Veterinary medicine, I likely would have become an architect. I love building something new and beautiful. Outside of helping my favorite dogs and cats (a.k.a my patients and my own pets), a big side project that I’ve been working on for the last three years has been completing construction on my fixer-upper house in Brooklyn. When we first approached the fixer-upper, it had a dirt floor and other ailments that needed refining. My wife and I are excited to move in later in 2022. Other activities I like to do are sailing and ballet dance.
Dr. Tufaro is a Veterinarian in NYC and has been practicing in the East Village community for over 20 years. Dr. Tufaro is passionate about the health and wellbeing of pets and created Dr. Dan’s Pet Care Products, a line of shampoos, scrubs, and dental care made with all-natural, gentle, and high-quality ingredients to serve your pets hygiene needs. Dr. Tufaro advocates the importance of a Veterinarian Client Based Relationship and strives to provide pets and their owners with the best care.