Creature Comforts Veterinary Service was founded in 1986 by Dr. Karin-Susan Breitlauch. The name was registered in June, 1986. The name was created during a particularly long and boring pharmacology class in 1984, when creature comforts were not a priority for students! It is a “service” because it has always been the intention to offer more than just a hospital. The first patient was a skunk, named Chanel, who was owned by a local artist, Hilda Espy, in Delaware Water Gap. Dr. Karin was employed by a veterinarian in Northampton and the business was not officially launched until January, 1987. Pennsylvania passed its first rabies vaccination law which meant that there were many animals not yet vaccinated for the disease. Dr. Karin started the service by offering house calls. There were various vaccination clinics and one of the more memorable ones was at Jeff Borger’s cold house in Kunkletown on February 13, 1987. Also, there was a clinic done at the Flyte’s Schoolhouse in Saylorsburg in March, 1987. By September of 1987, the business had grown to the point where Dr. Karin resigned from her job in Northampton.
Surgeries and hospitalized patients were housed in a building which was still under construction. That building has since become Dr. Karin’s home. After her marriage in 1988, a small surgery was built with a kennel room directly adjacent to her kitchen. Many clients spent mornings at the kitchen table waiting for visits and procedures. Routine surgeries were often picked up and delivered. The rest of the day’s work was spent on the road. The first employee was hired in 1988. It became obvious that another location would be needed. While Dr. Karin was a teenager in Saylorsburg, she always thought that the Saylorsburg Post Office would be a really great office. Through a series of fortunate events, the building was acquired on September 6, 1989. It took better than a year to convert the building into the AAHA certified hospital that it is today. The first patients were seen at the current office in January, 1991 and the final move was accomplished on March 15, 1991. AAHA inspected and certified the hospital in 1992, making Creature Comforts the first hospital certified in Monroe County.
The next big change, besides the addition of staff, came in 1992 when Dr. Kulwant Bindra became the first hired associate. Gradually, more doctors were added to make up the current staff of 5. The next big change happened on August 15, 1993, which marked the beginning of 24 hour staffing and was the last time that the office was officially closed. The whereabouts of the front door key have become unknown. There have been three occasions where the doors were closed in that time, twice due to influenza and once due to a staff development day. The staff has been very dedicated to keeping the doors open. Nowadays, there are interim staff members who help out whenever needed.
Dr. Mary Van Horn joined the practice in January, 1994 and Dr. E. Jefferies Hathaway joined in July, 1994. Other associates have joined and left the practice, since that time. As time went on, it became very obvious that more space was needed. In October, 2001 the house next door to the clinic was purchased and is still in the process of being renovated. It currently houses the entire business office, a staff room, the laundry, central stores and an ancillary laboratory. It has provided some much needed parking, as well.
Creature Comforts has always been on the forefront of new developments in practice. In 1989, it became the first practice to own a Vettest chemistry machine, which has since become the most popular clinical analyzer in the country. CCVS was the first practice to offer laser surgery in Northeast PA in 1998. In 2016, the practice acquired a brand-new surgical laser. CCVS remains the first and only one of three 24/7 practice in Northeast Pennsylvania. Ultrasound technology has been part of the practice since 1991, but in December, 2003, a new color digital ultrasound was acquired. In 2014, that unit was updated to include 3D digital technology. When pain management became an AAHA requirement in 2006, no protocol changes needed to be made because pain management was already an integral part of the practice. Besides traditional medicine and surgery, this practice offers chiropractic, acupuncture, physical rehabilitation, homeopathy, Western herbal medicine, and Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine. The ultimate goal is to offer the patient whatever it needs to maintain good health.
In 2017, Creature Comforts will be honored for its 25 year commitment to excellence at the national AAHA meeting in Nashville, TN.
Creature Comforts employs more than 55 people. It has seen over 126,000 patients in its history and currently has about 8,000 active clients. There were 29 CCVS patients entered in the Westminster Kennel Club Show in 2007. In the future it is planned to continue to offer cutting edge technology rarely found outside of a major metropolitan area.