Founder and Medical Director of District Veterinary Hospital Dr. Daniel Teich says the real face of the company is his eight-year-old golden retriever, Brian ‘T’ Dog (named for Monty Python’s Life of Brian), who accompanies Teich to the hospital every day. The company includes a Brookland location (3748 Tenth St. NE) and the newest location at 240 Seventh St. SE across from Eastern Market.
Teich has lived on Capitol Hill since 2007. He and Brian can walk to the Eastern Market location, where Brian occupies the office and Teich sees patients on Mondays, Wednesdays and alternate Saturdays. Teich said he has wanted to open a neighborhood hospital on the Hill for ten years, but had trouble identifying a good location until the Hine Project got underway. He has been watching the site since it was excavated in 2014.
Teich received an undergraduate degree in animal science from Rutgers, and a degree in veterinary science from The Ohio State University in 2003. He worked for other hospitals before deciding to strike out on his own, opening the hospital in Brookland in October 2014.
The Eastern Market location, which opened its doors in November 2017, has much in common with the Brookland hospital, Teich said. They share a common database, stock similar medications and use the same protocols. Many staff see patients at both locations. At 4,700 square feet, the Eastern Market District Vet is the second largest veterinary hospital in the District.
“I consider it one common hospital in two different spots,” said Teich.
He said that the Eastern Market location sees a mix of Hill residents together with patients that started out at the Brookland facilities. Patients tend to be very loyal and stay in touch even when they move away. When the hospital sent Valentine’s Day-themed mail last month, promoting a fundraiser for City Dogs Rescue, it included more than 4,900 cards to current and former patients, hundreds to destinations out of state.
The facilities are spacious and light-filled, surprising as the location is actually below ground, with its own dedicated elevator. Six exam rooms with comfortable armchairs are decorated with butterflies from the Key West Butterfly Conservatory. There are also two operating rooms and a state-of-the-art x-ray machine, the cost of which Teich compares to the luxury sports car he doesn’t own (he doesn’t own an automobile at all).
The number of veterinarians at the facility on any day varies, but each sees about fifteen pets a day during visits scheduled to last about a half-hour. He said that kind of extended, focused attention is important to care. “You probably spend more time with your vet than you do with your human doctor,” he says of the scheduled times.
A Community Business
At the start of the day, the staff converge on the business from all over the Hill; from southeast, near the new Audi Stadium; from north of Lincoln Park; and from the H Street NE corridor.
“I walk to work. Most of the staff walk to work. We’re local,” Teich said.
This autonomy allows the hospital to be part of the neighborhood and its family of pets in a way that would not be possible if direction were coming from a far-flung corporate office. The neighborhood element is tremendously important to Teich, who sees the hospital as a community service.
“We make our own problems, but we solve them too,” Teich said. “There are no corporate overlords in Oregon telling us what to do.”
Aurelia (Aurey) is a 9-year-old golden retriever who was the first patient to be seen when the new clinic opened its doors. Her owner, Michael Abbate, said that Aurey came to him at the age of three from Oklahoma. They met Dr. Teich before he opened the first District Vet in Brookland, following him there and then to the Eastern Market location, walking distance from Abbate’s home in Hill East.
Aurey has had several health issues that have required dedicated treatment. Dr. Teich worked through a long process to discover what was causing Aurey’s stomach issues and then to determine which medications were causing her skin to itch. “Now Aurey’s symptoms are managed and she lives a healthy, normal life,” said Abbate.
“Dr. Teich is such an advocate for Aurey’s health. He and his staff take the time to listen and assess what is going on with your pet,” Abbate said. “I think that attention is very unique and special.”
Teich thinks that pets should receive extended attention, and points to the health and happiness of the patients he sees as a priority above all other concerns. “My philosophy is patient and client care,” Teich said. “If you’re doing it to get rich, this is not the profession for you.”
“I want people to love us. I want people to come back year after year, and I want them to tell their friends about us. I want our practices to be known as the best hospitals in the city for medical care, for compassion and for being good community stewards,” he said.
“I live here –this is my neighborhood.”
The Eastern Market District Veterinary Hospital (240 Seventh St. SE) is open Monday to Wednesday 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Eastern Market location is closed Thursdays. Telephone Teich and his Eastern Market District Vet staff at 202-888-2090, or visit districtvet.com