By Derek Maul

When Drs. David and Lorie Thomassy purchased the popular Valrico Animal Clinic in 2005, they immediately started imagining the possibilities for future expansion.

Five years later St. Marks Church on Lithia Pinecrest closed, and the clinic found the perfect site. Today the completely renovated 9,200 square foot space houses a state-of-the-art facility and features the expanded menu of services Thomassy dreamed about for years.

The new space opened in the summer of 2011 and still wows clients who remember the days of two exam rooms and cramped quarters.

The former church now boasts six exam rooms, a separate area for exotic pets, a staff longue and training room, a surgery area literally bristling with the latest equipment and a dedicated recovery area.

The accommodations more than meet the needs of the clinic’s 3,000-plus clients.

“We hope to grow that base,” Thomassy said. “This is a great place, we have great staff, we care about pets and will treat them like our own.

“In the past, people always asked us for recommendations for grooming and boarding; now we are equipped to provide those services. We offer luxury boarding and grooming and – eventually – we plan to offer doggie day-care.”

Climate-controlled kennels include 16 standard runs for dogs plus six “hotel rooms for pets.” “Luxury cat condos” are also available.

There is also a dedicated room where owners can accompany pets if euthanasia is the only viable option. The compassionate service includes a separate entrance so grieving owners won’t have to leave via the lobby.

Most importantly, Thomassy appreciates his top-notch team, led by practice manager Christine Karow. “They’re well trained, knowledgeable, smart, intelligent and good at communicating with clients,” he said. “They love the pets and they’re the bridge between the doctors and the clients.”

Other vets on staff include Lorie Thomassy and Katie Fischman. Visit, or call at 681-6389.


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Derek Maul has written for many news outlets, including the Tampa Tribune, The United Methodist News Service, All Pro Dad, FOCUS Magazine, Newsweek, USA Today, The Christian Science Monitor, Presbyterians Today, Guideposts, Chicken Soup for the Soul and many other publications. Read Derek Maul’s daily blog posts at