When Sniffer Died: A Defining Moment

By Dr Craig L. McLahan


When Sniffer passed away, my mother took me to the Muppet Movie, hoping that it would lift my spirits. I cried through the entire movie. Sniffer was my pet hamster. I was eight years old when he died and I had developed quite a bond with him over his two year life. We held a funeral for him in our back yard, just like we did for Helen and George, my frogs, a couple of years prior.

My rabbit Hazel was a gift from the zoo where I volunteered when I was fourteen. Fortunately, her only trips to our back yard were to graze on dandelion leaves. She was adopted by a colleague of my mother when I left for college.

When Sniffer became ill, I felt helpless and sad that I couldn’t do anything to make him feel better. My mother rushed him to our veterinarian but unfortunately, he died on the way. I knew from that moment that I wanted to be a veterinarian. It would be several years before I realized that being a veterinarian would not be enough. I needed to have my own practice so I could apply all of the teachings of my mentors along the way.

Lifelong dream

My father planted the entrepreneurial seed in my mind. Besides his primary job as a Philadelphia police officer, he opened a laundromat that he named after me: Craig’s. As the business became profitable he opened another laundromat and then another one. He was a real entrepreneur and taught me some important lessons about owning a business. My parents both worked full time and managed four laundromats. Their hard work and sacrifice sent me to college and vet school and made my lifelong dream possible.


My father passed in 1994 but I know he would have been proud to see me open my own veterinary hospital this week. My mother and I regularly discuss how if he was still alive all of Philadelphia and the surrounding counties would have heard about Bridgeport Veterinary Hospital from him. Mom will certainly be there, beaming with pride!



By |2018-07-18T20:14:50+00:00July 18th, 2018|Uncategorized|2 Comments

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  1. pitsa Hartocollis PhD July 25, 2018 at 4:34 pm - Reply

    when you dream high and you persevere, you succeed. And of course, love for what you do, is what makes the difference.
    Congratulations, all the best.

    • Wendy August 11, 2018 at 11:40 pm - Reply

      Thank you!

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