On the Record
by Jeffrey Harmatz
Mar 10, 2009 | 2808 views | 0 0 comments | 35 35 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Robert Raider has always worked with animals. In addition to his 30 years of professional veterinary medical practice, Raider considers working with animals to be in his blood, having grown up in Far Rockaway with a grandfather who trained animals during World War I.

From an early age, Raider knew that he wanted to work with animals too, and took a job at an animal hospital when he was only 13. He described his early work as “cleaning a lot of [excrement.] But you do whatever they ask you to do when you want to get ahead.”

After studying veterinary medicine at the University of Bologna in Italy, Raider returned to New York to practice. Initially hoping to work in Brooklyn, he found that too many of his colleagues were running practices in the borough, and so he went north to Maspeth, Queens, where he has been running an animal hospital on Grand Avenue for more than 25 years.

“Working with animals is satisfying,” said Raider. “They always offer unconditional love, and when they are sick or injured and they get better, it’s very rewarding. To see, for example, a puppy with hypoglycemia and give it a shot when it is moments from death and then see it walking around 10 minutes later, it’s a cool thing.”

Among his most interesting operations have been the removal of foreign objects from the stomachs of household pets.

“I’ve seen everything: engagement rings, cash and coins, underwire bras, panty hose, corn on the cob, baby bottle nipples, golf balls, everything,” he said. “Somebody brings in an acutely sick animal, we x-ray them, and cut them open.”

Raider explained that veterinary medical science is improving more rapidly than the average pet owner may suspect.

“Advances in veterinary medicine follow human medicine very closely,” he said. “We don’t do it here, but animals undergo cataract surgery, spinal surgery if they’re paralyzed, receive CAT scans and MRI’s. It’s pretty sophisticated stuff.”

Regardless of the science behind the medicine, Raider really just enjoys helping animals and their families live healthier, happier lives.

“Saving a life is a daily routine in an animal hospital,” he said. “I love it.”

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