The History of Washington Boulevard Animal Hospital
The photographs on this page tell a small portion of the story of Washington Blvd Animal Hospital. This is a hospital rich in history, both of the community, of Whittier and of veterinary medicine as it grew as a profession in the latter half of the 20th century.
Washington Blvd Animal Hospital was founded by Dr. Richard Fink and his wife, Yvonne. Dr. Fink graduated from the veterinary medical school at the University of Illinois in 1951 and then started this practice, initially known as Fink Veterinary Hospital in 1952. Originally, the hospital was downstairs and the upstairs was living quarters for his family. The pictures here depict that beginning. There is also a picture of the hospital that includes one of Dr. Fink’s kids playing in the backyard of the veterinary hospital.
Included in this set of photographs depicting the history of the practice are several worth mention. Individual pictures of Dr. Fink and Yvonne Fink on opening day in 1952.
Another shows an aerial view of Washington Blvd, with the hospital prominently pictured. No buildings are seen on either side. The side to the west of the hospital, initially was purchased by the Whittier Union High School District and for many years was the location of the district’s bus barn. It was eventually purchased by Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital and serves as some of their administrative offices. The side to the east of the hospital, was at one time a used car lot, before being purchased and converted into an automobile body repair and paint shop.
Another photograph, depicts Dr. Fink receiving an award from Walt Disney, you can see two other prominent individuals with him! Roy Disney, Walt’s brother, who took over the Disney Magic Kingdom when Walt passed away in the late 60’s, and the gentleman next to Dr. Fink, is Don Mahan. Mr. Mahan served as executive director of the Southern California Veterinary Medical Association for many years and is an architect of organized veterinary medicine.
Dr. Fink was passionate about veterinary medicine, and most especially about the professional organizations that fight for animal and people health, that protect the profession, that educate the profession and do so many other things for the individual veterinarian. Dr. Fink served as president of the Southern California Veterinary Medical Association, the California Veterinary Medical Association, and the American Veterinary Medical Association. In the mid 80’s at the close of his career he was honored at halftime of a homecoming game as a distinguished alumni of the University of Illinois.
In the mid-1950's Dr. Fink took on an associate, and although he never became a partner, he worked his entire career here as an associate and his influence is still felt at this practice. His name was Dr. Robert Whitford. One of the reasons that we have become known as a general practice that continues to take on difficult surgical and medical cases comes from Dr. Whitford. As Dr. Voorheis puts it, "one of the finest veterinarians I have ever known".
In the early ‘70’s Dr. Fink took on a partner, Dr. Jim McKitterick. Dr. McKitterick was equally passionate about veterinary medicine, joining Dr. Fink after practicing for more than 20 years in Mexico, Missouri. Dr. McKitterick was a president of the Missouri Veterinary Medical Association prior to joining the practice. He continued to serve organized veterinary medicine in Southern California.
When Dr. McKitterick joined the practice the name changed from Fink Veterinary Hospital to Washington Blvd Animal Hospital. These men left their mark on every future owner of this practice. We are passionate about both the practice of veterinary medicine and the profession of veterinary medicine.
In the mid 1970’s Dr. Gary Throgmorton joined Washington Blvd Animal Hospital as an associate and then very quickly became a partner. Dr. Voorheis joined the practice in 1983 and in 1986 became a partner. Doctors Throgmorton and Voorheis were the two primary owners of the practice moving forward until Dr. Throgmorton’s retirement in 2016.
Dr. To became a partner with Dr. Throgmorton’s retirement. "Dr. Throgmorton had great influence on me as to both the man I grew up to be and the veterinarian I became. On the day he retired he was still an excellent veterinarian committed to patient care. I think he forgot more about veterinary medicine than most general practitioners will ever know. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t recognize his influence".
As we move forward our mantra continues – patient care (now round the clock), progressive medicine as defined by the science and art of medicine.