Gratitude and Blessings

As we look back on 2013, we are grateful for our blessings even as we acknowledge our losses. Losing Dr. Riggle after 33 years due to illness and Dr. Earley after 15 years due to his need to care for family in West Virginia has saddened all of us, but we are thankful that a great team of experienced veterinarians remains.  Drs. Dave and Betsy Thompson, Dr. Plankenhorn, Dr. Duncan, Dr. Wootten, Dr. Golden and Dr. Kiss have all worked hard to make sure that each and every patient received the best of care all year long.

We are grateful for the changes that took place to allow us to continue to provide our high standard of care. To ensure that all of our patients could get appointments as needed and receive excellent care when Dr. Riggle left practice, our own Dr. Caroline Kiss moved from her dental surgery position into the exam room. Dr. Kiss, who has the rare distinction of being Board Certified in Feline and Canine Medicine, is enjoying getting to know all her new patients and clients. We are also thankful that Dr. Matthew Goetz joined us this year. He has won our hearts with his sincere and extreme love for his patients and all animals, as well as his constant desire for new knowledge. We are also grateful for the work that his veterinarian wife, Dr. Nellie Goetz, is performing at Humane Alliance to decrease the number of needy dogs and cats in our community.

Also high on our list of blessings are our wonderful staff members both on the Patient Care Team and the Client Care Team.   They have made a special effort to help each and every patient and client through the transition. We have built a great, experienced team of people who have worked at AHNA, on average, for over 10 years. Each one is a very special person with great skill and knowledge, but what sets them apart is their true love for our patients and clients. They are never too tired or too busy to do that special little thing that may make all the difference to a pet who is ill, suffering from injury or just feeling lonely during a hospitalization. They do everything they can to make clients feel at home here, and they treat each patient with the same gentle, tender loving care that they provide to their own pets. A big thank you to these wonderful people!

Counted in our blessings this year are two new programs that started in 2013. Dr. Duncan’s Exam Room Assistant, Dot, and one of our Registered Veterinary Technicians, Evelyn, have launched our fantastic puppy preschool. Socialization to other dogs and new experiences is critically important while puppies are young, so Dot and Evelyn have dedicated their Thursday nights to puppy preschool in our Education Room. Thank you, Dot and Evelyn! 

We are most grateful for our new friendship with the fine folks at Pet Behavior Aid. Pet Behavior Aid is a non-profit whose mission is to increase the retention of companion animals in their homes in Asheville and Western NC through education and training programs for pet families and for animal shelter and rescue workers. Tristan Rehner, MS, CPDT-KA of Pet Behavior Aid has so generously devoted many hours to providing excellent, free presentations in our Education Room so that our clients have the opportunity to gain great new knowledge about the behavior of their pets. Jenny White, CPDT-KA of Dog Ed has also begun to offer wonderful, free behavior sessions for our clients. Thank you, Tristan and Jenny, for making 2013 a bright year for us!

So, in spite of our losses this year, we are very grateful and energized as we end 2013. Watch for great things at AHNA in 2014!


I had not heard what happened to him, is he going to alright??

Thank you for being concerned about our dear Dr. Riggle. He is doing well now, but according to his doctor’s orders is not able to work as a veterinarian caring for patients. He misses all his clients and patients terribly and wants everyone to know that he did not retire: leaving practice is not something that he chose to do. He would very much like to be right here attending to the needs of his patients and the people who love them.
Betsy Thompson

Dr. Riggle was one of the first veterinarians we encountered when we first came to AHNA -- the year it started. We both wished that he were our doctor, too! Our animals loved him and we loved his care for them. Thank you, Dr. Riggle, for all you have done for us and for our animals. We hope to see you around.

We, too, miss Dr. Riggle & his unique personality! He gave wonderful, loving care to Houston, our tabby cat, when we first moved to Asheville in 1985; and, again he has been so awesome with Lucky, our 15-y.o. black Lab mix rescue dog, who Dr. Riggle liked to call "our Eveready Bunny." Lucky is still hangin' in, not so spry, but, ready with the tail wag!
So many years! We all sincerely hope Dr. Riggle is well & happy, and, we, too, hope to sometime, "see you around!"

Thank you to everyone who has written in to express their appreciation to Dr. Riggle!