RAY BROOK - After 12 years of being a veterinarian, Dr. John D. Cogar opened High Peaks Animal Hospital. Now, 20 years later, Cogar and the business show no signs of slowing down.
Cogar had compassion for animals throughout his childhood, which he believes is typical of many children. However, his 34 years in practice have shown him it takes just a little bit more to become a veterinarian.
"You need to be someone that when you get into junior high and high school you have a real desire, or aptitude for biology and sciences. You have to be a good student and want good grades, too," said Cogar. "There's a lot of kids that will say they love animals, but you've got to be willing to pay the price for the tedious academic workload."
After graduating from the Cornell University of Veterinary Medicine in Ithaca in 1975, Cogar spent two years working as a veterinarian in Newburgh, finally making his way up to Bloomingdale, where he settled for another 12 years. Then, in 1989, Cogar opened High Peaks Animal Hospital in Ray Brook, where he plans to stay.
"It was definitely the first animal hospital in Ray Brook, there's no question about that," recalled Cogar. "Actually, there
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was no pro-veterinarian when I got here in any of the Tri-Lakes."
"My goal was always to go to Ray Brook ... because it's the hub of the wheel," he added.
So, in 1989, Cogar opened High Peaks Animal Hospital, which was completely state-of-the-art at the time.
"When I built the building 20 years ago, it had a nice modern state-of-the-art surgery suite," Cogar explained, "as well as a separate X-ray room and a separate ICU room and four exam rooms."
Cogar believed it would be the last building he'd work in, however, after 15 years in the building, he outgrew it and had to expand it to double the size.
Today, the veterinary hospital provides "comprehensive medical, surgical and dental care," according to their Web site, www.highpeaksvet.com. They also provide an array of diagnostic procedures with in-house testing, a pharmacy, blood testing equipment and boarding kennels with a fenced-in outdoor walking area.
But, it's not just the building Cogar believes makes the business a success.
"What makes our hospital a success, in my opinion, is the people," Cogar said. "I have a real professional staff. All four doctors are excellent, high caliber, well-trained. But, also, I'm blessed that we have four New York State licensed [veterinary] technicians."
Cogar added he has colleagues in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Albany who have practices much larger than his, but don't have four NYS licensed veterinary technicians.
"That's really a high level of sophistication and high level of expertise, and we're really fortunate to have that in our hospital," said Cogar, who added there is a total of 20 employees at the hospital which all add to their accomplishments.
"The success of our hospital is actually more the quality of people that we have than even the building or the equipment," he said.
Looking to the future, Cogar knows he'll still be in business for at least five more years.
"That's a fact, for at least five more years. I really enjoy what I do," he said. "I can't imagine trying to do it if you didn't."