Pet care expands in SoKno this week as Dr. Leah Wulforst opens Riverside Veterinary Clinic, 1111 Sevier Ave.
Wulforst is starting office hours Thursday – 8 a.m.-4 p.m. weekdays – with three employees. The clinic has separate waiting areas for cats and dogs.
Riverside Veterinary Clinic will have a grand opening 2-6 p.m. Saturday, with activities and prizes for kids and treats for dogs.
There will be live music by Kirk Fleta, barbecue provided by Joseph Construction, food from SoKno Taco Cantina, dog treats and cake from River Dog Bakery, giveaways of dog gear and dog-care products, and support from neighbors Uncle Lem’s Mercantile & Outdoor and Alliance Brewery.
At the clinic’s official ribbon-cutting on Monday, Mayor Madeline Rogero welcomed Wulforst and noted that Sevier Avenue is “ground zero” for economic redevelopment in SoKno.
“It’s the South Waterfront’s Main Street,” Rogero said. “It’s an exciting time for us South Knoxvillians but also for our whole city.
“It really helps the whole city when you bring back under-functioning areas, underutilized areas.”
Wulforst said the growing emphasis on health in SoKno inspired her to open her clinic here.
“Everybody’s so health-minded now in South Knoxville … and I wanted to try to extend that to our pets.
“I don’t want to just sell vaccines; that’s not what I’m really about. I want to make sure we treat the whole animal. Quality of life is going to be the most important aspect, I think, to me.”
A native of Oyster Bay, N.Y., Wulforst earned her bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Pennsylvania in 2001, and her DVM from St. George’s University in Grenada in 2005. She did her final clinical rotation at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine in 2004 and started her career working at Seymour Veterinary Clinic, during which time she lived in South Knoxville not far from her new clinic.
Trying to pay off her school loans, she and her husband, Aaron Curtis, moved to New York to stay with her parents, Bob and Lucille Wulforst, and she worked at a vet clinic there. But after having son Charlie, now 4, they decided to return to Knoxville so they could bring him up in a less stressful environment.
They settled in West Knoxville, where she worked at another clinic before deciding to open her own. Curtis is self-employed.
“I think eventually we will move back to South Knoxville,” she says. “I just love the older houses, with more history and more character to them.”