Chilmark: Animal Health Care Associates and Up-Island Council on Aging

—MV Times

This week is spring break. Many are off on adventures. Many are enjoying home. Some are starting seeds.

I am sick with a head cold. I am grateful for broth and yummy Island-made heat-up meals for my mum. I am grateful for clean sheets and lavender pillows.

My dog has recovered completely and I am so grateful to Dr. Janet Ross and all of the staff at Animal Health Care Associates. He would have died without Dr. Ross’s examination, infusion of fluids, and referral for a scan at a place prepared to do emergency surgery.

Dr. Atwood sent us notice that Animal Health Care Associates is attempting to extend their facility lease at the M.V. airport. They have been there for 40 years and must compete against others, including bids from non-veterinary businesses for a new long-term lease.

While they are putting together the best bid they can including a huge increase in rent, we know that an animal hospital has a limit and a real threat exists that those with large resources who want to tear it down and construct a commercial building for something else might outbid them. There is no way to know.

It would be a tragedy to lose them. It has been shocking to notice the exponential growth on the Island in people and pets.

There is so much loss in this community and losing people and businesses that provide talented care, expertise, and services that support our living must be given more weight. There is an exponential cost to the principle of following the highest bid.

Dr. Atwood and Dr. Ross and their staff are a vital community resource, providing everything from the full range of veterinary services including surgery and large animal care, serving as the animal shelter for several Island communities, hosting students, and community events. We need them and they need our help.

They ask us to write a short email or letter, expressing our support for AHCA receiving a new lease for their facility, including a story about our experiences with them. They will include these messages as part of their new lease proposal to the Airport Commission.

We want to help them and bashing or contacting the Airport Commission directly is not supportive and could instead burden the commission. DO NOT call or otherwise contact them about this matter.

The deadline for our messages of support is March 5, 2024. Please email all messages to by March 5, 2024 or drop off your letters directly at Animal Health Care, 20 Airport Road, West Tisbury, Dr. Steve Atwood, with Vet Tech Deanna Whyte.

I am finally putting together in my brain that the Howes House is the Up-Island Council on Aging. We recently had trouble with my mother’s computer. I was able to get it going for her and wonder about those who aren’t living with friends or family.

Up-Island often has spotty cell service, internet, cable or sometimes power. The Up-Island Council on Aging wants us to know there is free in-home help from someone who has been vetted with anything related to technology from worries that you’ve been hacked to printers, computers, internet, phone, TV, etc. for family, friends, and neighbors over 60. It is worth a call — 508-693-2896.

Wishing everyone a good week and hoping my nose stops running.

If you have any Chilmark Town Column suggestions, email Claire Ganz,