NORWICH – Dr. Robert O’Keefe is retiring and closing down his veterinary practice after 45 years of caring for local pets and livestock.
Dr. O’Keefe has operated or co-owned half a dozen practices in that time, but it’s his office and adjacent home on Rt. 23 in Norwich that most people will recognize. In fact, he has actually operated out of that location twice, first from 1980-90 with John Mason, and then on his own from 2000 until this week.
“This job keeps you very busy,” said O’Keefe with a smile. “If you’re a single practitioner you might have to be out at one, two or three o’clock in the morning when someone has discovered a disaster in the barn ... after 45 years I decided, well, that’s about enough.”
O’Keefe was born in Flushing, but moved to Norwich as a young child when his father was hired by Norwich Pharmacal as Chief of Process Development. He graduated from the New York State College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell in 1967.
When asked what inspired him to become a veterinarian, he replied: “For one thing, I was taught high school biology by a vet, E.J. Frink ... and as a young adult I lived three houses down from the Jones who were vets, and every Easter or Christmas vacation, I would wander down the street to observe them in action or go with them on calls.”
The doctor said he prides himself on the range of animals he cares for. From household pets to farm animals to exotic pets, O’Keefe will treat anything with wings, fur and/or four legs...