NorthPaws to offer 24-7 emergency care

NorthPaws to offer 24-7 emergency care

SMITHFIELD - An expanding veterinary center on Putnam Pike has been granted approval to become the first facility in this area to provide 24-hour urgent care for pets.

Veterinarian Mark Paradise, one of the owners of NorthPaws, adjacent to the William Winsor Elementary School, told the Zoning Board of Review May 29 that local pet owners who face after-hours emergencies now have only one option - a 24-hour veterinary center in East Greenwich, where added travel time could be life-threatening.

The board granted his request for 24-hour, seven-day walk-in service confined to emergencies, and also expanded his daytime appointment hours.

Paradise said round-the-clock emergency service is a long-term goal to be phased in over time, and that he is ready immediately to offer urgent care from 7 p.m. to midnight Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

He said emergency hours will soon be extended to 1 a.m. during the week, that Saturday will then be added to the urgent care schedule from 3-7 p.m., and that Sunday's emergency hours will be extended to 7 p.m.

Routine appointments will now be offered from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday though Friday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, with no non-emergency visits offered on Sundays and holidays

Reviewing Paradise's track record since he and his veterinarian wife, Danielle, received permission in 2008 to expand their 1850s, Victorian-style building, board member Antonio Fonseca observed, "He delivered - he did what he said."

The Paradises, who established the center in 2004, helped save the original building from destruction when they opposed a state plan to raze it as part of a road project. They draped the fa?ßade of the building with a banner that read, "Don't tear me down."

The state backed off, and subsequently, the Paradises built a 3,100-square-foot, Victorian-style addition around the original structure and installed deep wells that contribute to "green" natural heating and cooling.

Paradise said the investment in the business so far totals some $2 million.

No one opposed the extended hours at the Zoning Board's public hearing, during which Paradise said the urgent care service would provide comfort not just to pets, but to the families that keep them.

"Pets get sick 24 hours a day," he said.

Lawyer Timothy Kane, representing NorthPaws, said the eventual 24-hour service will be the first of its kind in Northern Rhode Island.

According to Paradise, the maximum staffing when round-the-clock treatment is phased in will be about half the 14 personnel who work during regular business hours. The center's website contains an announcement that recently, three more veterinarians have joined the previous, four-doctor roster.

In another matter before the board, the newly opened Starbucks coffee shop on Putnam Pike lost its trademark mermaid, featured on a roadside sign near the entrance to the shop in the Commons Shopping Center, opposite the Apple Valley Mall.

The agency ordered removal of the sign, nearly six feet tall with an arrow pointing toward the drive-up window, saying it was considerably larger than standard directional signs in the center and was not board-approved.

A spokesman for the center's owner, Linear Retail Smithfield, said the sign would be replaced with a smaller one, but that he doubted it would be large enough to be noticed by drivers on the busy highway.

The company's mermaid logo alludes to the maritime flavor of its name. Starbuck was first mate on the ship Pequot in the novel "Moby-Dick;" the firm's creators used the name because they felt it evoked imagery of the ancient seagoing coffee trade.

In a separate issue, the board approved a "cross fit" conditioning center, geared to attracting employees in the town's "corporate corridor," at a former Daewoo car dealership at 300B George Washington Highway.

One of the partners in the venture, Judah Boulet, a science teacher, said the operation would involve organized classes, only, and not walk-in trade, and that class hours could range from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.

He said cross fit involves equipment including barbells and pull-up bars, and that all classes are led by trained coaches. The venture could eventually employ between 7 and 10 people, he said.

Another partner is David Campbell Jr., who owns Cool Air Creations, a Smithfield graphics company.

The building is being leased from 296 George Washington Highway Realty LLC, whose principal is Richard J. Conti.