Doc's life

Following his father's death in 1935, Garrison helped his mom take care of the farm. In 1938, he went up Pashley Road to help plow out a garden, and met Shirley Miller, who would become his wife. He then went to Cornell University and started coursework to become a veterinarian. He graduated in 1950, and his civic support kicked in. He learned from a mentor about Rotary Clubs, and Garrison decided to launch one in Ballston.

"I felt that Rotary was a good organization to get involved in because the local business and professional leaders worked together to help their own communities as well as people around the world," Garrison said, as told through Heritage.

In 1950, the family remodeled their farmhouse with the help of Shirley's father, Harris Miller, and opened the first Burnt Hills veterinary hospital, where the business was 70 percent large animal cases and 30 percent small.

In Garrison's words: "In the fall of 1950, we thought we'd need to make three calls a day at six dollars a call. We figured that on $18 a day, we could make it just fine."

The rest of the story

Heritage's book is filled with humorous and heart-wrenching vignettes from Garrison's work for 34 years as a town veterinarian.

Written in the same conversational voice as James Herriot's "All Creatures Great and Small," the book is a reminder that one person can touch the lives of many, both humans and their four-footed friends.

In a letter to Garrison from Pete Farrell, who worked with him at the Burnt Hills Veterinarian Clinic, Farrell brings the history of the animal care facility full circle.

"In 1985, we stopped doing farm calls because our area was changing from a farming community to a suburban one," said Farrell. "We began to offer more evening hours and Saturday hours to make the hospital available to families with two working parents. We now have seven full-time and three part-time doctors, and a support staff of 60." ""

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