BY KATE BUNSTER
NISKAYUNA — On Sept. 25, community members gathered at River Road Animal Hospital for a ribbon cutting in celebration of its fifth anniversary.
Three years of planning preceded the opening of River Road, and it has grown significantly since then — it’s not just an animal hospital now but a source of pet daycare and grooming.
The founder, Dr. Deborah Snyder, had always been an animal lover before receiving her degree in zoology from The University of Massachusetts at Amherst and also doing research studies at the University of Colorado Medical School in Denver.
In Colorado, she studied primates and animal behavior, something which she enjoyed, but found the research became too involved. This is when she started to think seriously about pursuing a career in veterinary medicine, which had been on her radar for quite some time.
“When I was 17, my uncle gave me the book ‘All Creatures Great and Small.’ I was like, ‘I could do that!’ So it’s always been in the back of my mind.”
Snyder began practicing veterinary medicine in Niskayuna in 1991. A mother of two sons, she never thought she would have the bandwidth to both run her own practice and be there for them. She continued to work part time until they left for college.
The empty nest syndrome left her with ample time and a new four-legged family member, “Sundance,” whom she affectionately refers to as her “empty nest” dog. Sundance is considered a part of the staff and comes to work with Snyder every day.
Having the ability to bring Sundance to work is just one of the many perks of the job.
“I always say that I’m so blessed to have a job where I get to work with animals. They are the ones that keep us smiling and coming to work every day.”