Welcome back to Humans of the Clinic, our newest column at DrAndyRoark.com. Our goal is to feature a person you know through your work who inspires you in any way great or small; it can be anyone- a co-worker, a client, a teacher, a mentor, an employee, some guy you see out in the parking lot. Today, our Ann from Maryland shares the story of the veterinarian who changed her life.

“Hi Ann, this is Dr. Symonds calling.” That phone call changed my life for the better.

Don’t get me wrong, my life was just fine before that call. During that unexpected call, Dr. Symonds offered me a part time position in his practice, a couple of nights a week and some Saturdays.  No worries, we will train you to do things the way we like. I had been taking my pets to his practice for about six years since my family moved into the area. I loved the practice and loved him from the get go. He knew I had recently completed a Vet Tech Assistant program at the local college. I completed the program out of my love for dogs, never thinking I would ever seek out a position. I accepted his offer and am still a full time tech with the practice 17 years later.

I can say with complete and utter honesty that Dr. Sy, as a veterinarian, boss, mentor, practice owner, and friend impacted more lives in his life than he would have ever imagined. We lost Dr. Sy in February after an heroic 18 month battle with cancer. We lost a veterinarian that truly understood our patient’s need for our help, our client’s genuine concern for their pets as well as their ability to pay for services, as well as his staff’s needs and concerns.  He understood the meaning of compassion and he taught compassion.

He told me once that he could never imagine doing anything else with his life but veterinary medicine.  He spoke quietly and comforting to every dog and cat no matter their disposition. Dr. Sy understood when they were frightened and took care to ease their minds.


Dr. Sy understood that not every client could freely open their wallets to help their furry friends. He was willing to be conservative with treatments and tests when possible. When a pet needed an emergency surgery or procedure, he worked out a plan so that the owner could help their beloved friend.

As a boss and practice owner, I do not believe any vet could hold a candle to him. He grew a one vet, one assistant practice to a highly reputable, successful practice with seven veterinarians and a staff of 25 over 35 years. Dr. Sy showed compassion and caring towards his staff while earning the utmost respect from us. You did things right out of pride for your job and out of respect for him.

Did Dr. Sy inspire? I’m not sure the word “inspire” comes close to describing the impact he had on all those who worked with him over the years in veterinary medicine.  For lack of a stronger word, “inspire” will have to do.

Godspeed Dr. Sy, I trust you are taking excellent and loving care of our friends who have crossed the Rainbow Bridge.

Submitted by:
Ann Doherty
Mountainside Veterinary Hospital
Reisterstown, MD

Help us get the word out about all the amazing people in our world! Do you have a person you want to recognize for having an impact? Send us a photo and their story at editor@drandyroark.com with “HOTC Submission” in the subject line.