Paul Kennedy has looked after pets and farm animals in Prince Rupert for the last 41 years (Matthew Allen / The Northern View)

Paul Kennedy has looked after pets and farm animals in Prince Rupert for the last 41 years (Matthew Allen / The Northern View)

Heart of Our City: Four-legged care

Paul Kennedy has spent more than 40 years working as a vet in Prince Rupert

In the 42 years he has worked as a veterinarian in Prince Rupert, Paul Kennedy has seen it all.

From farm animals to household pets, Kennedy has taken pride in looking after the region’s furry companions.

While he is now retired, the 68-year-old has cared for more than 1,000 animals in his practice.

“Animals are taking a more important role in people’s lives than they did before, they’re being treated more as family,” said Kennedy. “So to be able to help them feels good.”

READ MORE: Heart of Our City – “Mr. I’ll do it”

Kennedy grew up on a dairy farm in Salmon Arm where milking cows twice a day was as routine as taking out the garbage. He said he was inspired to pursue a career in taking care of animals while watching the local vet tend to animals on his farm. When he was 10 years old, the Kennedy family cat was injured and the vet diagnosed and treated it.

“He told us that it was a pelvic injury, and if we took him home and kept him comfortable he would be fine,” Kennedy said.

Sure enough, after a few weeks, the cat made a full recovery and Kennedy knew what he wanted to do with his life. He went to the University of British Columbia before attending the University of Saskatchewan’s Western College of Veterinary Medicine for four years of study.

Initially, Kennedy thought he would be a large animal practitioner and work on the types of animals he grew up with on his farm, but after graduating he found himself drawn to working with smaller animals.

“I found smaller animals to be more of a challenge,” he said “You can do more surgery on them when they require it, and you can repair broken bones, which with some of the larger animals you couldn’t really do at that time.”

After graduating and spending some time at a larger clinic in Kelowna, Kennedy decided to start his own practice, and decided to open it in Prince Rupert after a friend from Terrace recommended it to him.

Six months later, Kennedy moved to what he described as “a friendly, growing community” and quickly received his first case. A younger family with several young puppies came to him because one of them was sick due to a lack of calcium.

“I hadn’t even gotten the clinic open, but they phoned me where I was living at the time and asked if I could look at the dog,” Kennedy said. “Fortunately the medication had already arrived so I was able to treat it.

“It was one of those cases where after you give the dog the calcium, they’re back to normal after 30 minutes, so they thought that was quite amazing.”

Kennedy settled into a routine of conducting appointments and surgery locally, while providing additional care in the region, sometimes doing horse and cattle work in Haida Gwaii.

As the practice grew, so too did the number and variety of his cases. Kennedy said one of the strangest animals he ever saw was an anteater that was brought in off a cruise ship from South America.

“They dropped it off for a week, and then when the cruise ship came back around they picked it up again,” he said.

Not all of his cases were quite as exotic, but Kennedy said they could still be strange.

“You see a little bit of everything, we have animals who have eaten all kinds of things” he said. “We had a lab come in with wool, a cassette case, a rock and some other miscellaneous items in his stomach. He chewed it up, but we still had to remove it.”

READ MORE: Heart of Our City – Riding for Bob

Kennedy retired from the clinic in July, and while he will still assist if they need him, he said enjoying the free time that comes with not coming into work every day.

“I walk everyday now and do things that I couldn’t do when I was working,” he said. “Forty-two years isn’t bad. As some people put it, I did my turn.”

Kennedy said he still misses his clients and working with the animals.

He may be far removed from his farm in Saskatchewan, but curiosity and love for animals will never leave.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Heart of our City

Just Posted

BC Ferries issued a reminder on May 17 that there will be no additional sailings over the Victoria Day weekend and that travel is limited to essential reasons only. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
No additional holiday weekend sailings

BC Ferries reminds travellers health orders are in place for essential travel only

Reverend Paul Williams of St. Andrews Cathedral Church stands next to the metal cross showing the enormity of the fabricated piece by a parishioner and stored away for over ten years. The goal is to have the cross mounted to the roof of the sanctuary so it can welcome those entering the harbour. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
A cross to bear for the roof of St. Andrews Cathedral Church

A fabricated metal cross made by a parishioner is seeing the light of day after 15 years in storage

Kristy Maier, Prince Rupert mom, SD 52 trustee, basketball treasurer, district PAC liaison said it is important to teach children to be part of the community. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Heart of the City – Kristy Maier

Coming back to her ‘people’ Kristy Maier now teaches little people how to be a community

It doesn’t matter where or how you received a COVID-19 vaccination, to receive the second immunization everyone must register on the ‘Get Vaccinated’ system health officials said, on May 11. While numbers are down Prince Rupert has not yet ‘zero’ cases as of numbers reported for May 2nd to 8th. (Image: BCCDC)
Prince Rupert still not at ‘zero’ COVID-19 cases

For second immunizations everyone in Prince Rupert and region must register, health officials said

Food programs such as the BC Fruit and Veggies program are important to student learning and students would be at a loss without them, Jeremy Janz principal of Pacific Coast School said, on May 13. Full tummies are the best way to start the day for Prince Rupert students, Natalia White (11) and Nikisha Johnson (12) who attended the official launch of the Breakfast Club of Canada program at PRMS on Feb. 25, 2020. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
UPDATED: School fruits and veggies may be cut, said BC Liberals — Not so said Premier’s office

P.R. students healthy food knowledge grew from the BC School Fruit and Vegetable Nutritional program

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Sicamous RCMP Sgt. Murray McNeil and Cpl. Wade Fisher present seven-year-old Cody Krabbendam of Ranchero with an award for bravery on July 22, 2020. (Contributed)
7-year old Shuswap boy receives medal of bravery for rescuing child at beach

Last summer Cody Krabbendam jumped into the lake to save another boy from drowning

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry update the province’s COVID-19 vaccine program, May 10, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays below 500 a day over weekend

14 more deaths, down to 350 in hospital as of Monday

Royal Bay Secondary School’s rainbow crosswalk was vandalized shortly after being painted but by Monday, coincidentally the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, the crosswalk had been cleaned up and students had surrounded it with chalk messages of support and celebration. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C. high’s school’s pride crosswalk restored following ‘hateful’ graffiti attack

Hate terms, racial slur, phallic images spray-painted at Greater Victoria high school

Terrance Mack would have celebrated his 34th birthday on May 13, 2021. Mack’s family has identified him as the victim of a homicide in an apartment on Third Avenue in Port Alberni sometime in April. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Family identifies Ucluelet man as victim of Vancouver Island homicide

Terrance Mack being remembered as ‘kind, gentle’ man

Vancouver Canucks’ Jake Virtanen (18) and Calgary Flames’ Josh Leivo, front right, vie for the puck as goalie Jacob Markstrom, back left, watches during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Vancouver, on Saturday, February 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver Canucks forward Jake Virtanen sued over alleged sexual assault

Statement of claim says the woman, identified only by her initials, suffered physical and emotional damages

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

(Kamloops This Week)
Puppy’s home in question as BC Supreme Court considers canine clash

Justice Joel Groves granted an injunction prohibiting the sale or transfer of the dog

Most Read