When an abandoned Yorkshire terrier was found tied up in front of a Mill Basin cafe in the summer of 2014, it was brought directly across the street to veterinarian Dr. Amy Lipnicki at the Mill Basin Veterinary Clinic. The terrier, covered in dirt and urine, was suffering from a build-up of gallbladder stones, X-rays revealed.
The $1,500 in donations, received largely from neighborhood contributions, helped cover the cost for the abdominal surgery. The stones were removed, and the terrier, whom Lipnicki named Aloisius, recovered successfully and was placed with a loving family.
As a reminder of that surgery, she keeps a compacted jar of stones, made mostly of phosphorous, in the lobby.
“Even if it’s a stray cat that somebody brought in, you want to know you are doing the right thing by that animal,” the Woman of Distinction says. “If it’s something we can fix fairly easily and it’s not so bad, a lot of times we do take on that burden.”
But these stories aren’t quite as common as she hopes. Lipnicki spoke of some of the emotional difficulties inherent in the practice of veterinarian medicine, namely pursuing the best affordable treatment plan, and balancing that with emotions and maintenance practices of the owner.
“There’s a lot of information out there now about compassion fatigue because sadly veterinarian medicine can be really expensive to treat your pets, and a lot of times we don’t want to put them to sleep,” she says.
Lipnicki, who prefers to be called Dr. Amy, hosts a dental awareness month in February and performs micro-chipping, a procedure that entails subcutaneously placing a microchip that contains the owner’s or veterinarian’s contact information inside the dog. After working for more than 12 years as a staff veterinarian with the Marine Park Veterinarian Group, as well as three years as a staff emergency doctor, Lipnicki is the resident doctor at the Mill Basin Veterinary Clinic. She says her staff is very supportive, but cited financial burdens as one of her main challenges.
“It’s a challenge trying to separate your compassionate mind and what you want to do for the animal with the business side of you,” Lipnicki says. “We have to make a bit of money too and try to find a happy medium between the two.”
Jennifer Multeri, a veterinarian technician who works with Lipnicki, expressed joy at working with the honoree.
“I absolutely love it,” says Multeri. “I have the freedom to do things I want to do.”
Lipnicki, who attended Ross University in the Caribbean island of St. Kitts, said her love for animals began early on when she was growing up in New Jersey.
“I love what I do,” she says. “I love working with the animals, even some of the challenging animals that are aggressive or scared.”
NEIGHBORHOOD: Mill Basin.
COMPANY: Mill Basin Veterinary Clinic.
CLAIM TO FAME: “Rehabilitating and finding loving, forever homes for Aloisious and Agnes, two abandoned and neglected dogs that were left tied to fences in Mill Basin.”
FAVORITE BROOKLYN PLACE: Prospect Park.
WOMAN I ADMIRE: “My sister, Claire. She is selfless and caring. She has always supported and encouraged me throughout my life and career. She has a sparkling and magnetic personality.”
MOTTO: “Only a person who loves a challenge would take on a patient who can’t tell them where it hurts.”