Dan and Linda Marincas arrived on Waiheke last month to take over the veterinary practice in Oneroa. Diana Worthy hears about the pair’s bid to revolutionise pet care and high hopes for the future…
Just a few minutes’ conversation with new vet Dr Dan Marincas and his wife Linda is enough to know this newly-arrived couple are passionate about animals.
The pair and their two young children arrived on Waiheke last month and, already, they have made a special place for themselves at the practice in Oneroa’s Tui Street.
It was never a certain thing though.
They were “vetted” thoroughly by outgoing vet Dr John Hewitt and wife Heather before they even got as far as making an offer for the practice says Linda Marincas.
“We had been living in Methven and looking for something suitable but our response to John’s advertisement did not offer any guarantees.
“He told us he would not sell to just anyone and would have to meet us first.
“A delightful lunch and several very funny anecdotes later, we were pleased to find he approved of us,” she said.
And well John might. The couple aim to expand the practice by adding nurses and two more vets by summer as well as retaining part-time vet Dr Sally Horwood - who now works there every Thursday.
They are also keen to make their business a diagnostic world-class facility and have already bought new equipment, such as a colour Doppler ultra-sound scanner that enables pregnancy testing, heart scanning, and biopsy scanning among other things.
It means more medical procedures can now take place on-island.
“People will be able to get these things done here instead of having to pay for costly procedures in Auckland,” Dan says.
He and Linda are adamant that islanders will have a service that can be matched anywhere in the world and are, even now, planning to open a second facility in Ostend that focuses on natural remedies.
“We are determined to make our facilities the first choice for people and their animals,” both vow.
Already the phone does not stop ringing, with people wanting to bring in sick animals or book call-outs even though the surgery is supposed to have closed for the day.
Veterinary assistant Liz Dobson is late for a lunch date but has stayed on to help out - in keeping with commitment shown by other loyal staff, such as Mary Evans.
Linda says she is delighted with the experience both bring to the practice, adding Liz is working hard to complete her nursing diploma after spending time with the Humane Society and RSPCA in London.
The Marincas themselves have also worked extensively abroad.
Dan comes from Cluj in Transylvania (north Romania) and spent time as a vet in Europe, the US, and the Middle East before moving with new wife Linda to New Zealand.
The couple met in Kuwait at a ball Irish-born Linda was organising at the British Embassy.
They got married and then later came to this country where their two children Luca, 9, and Andrada, 7, were born.
The children are glad to be on Waiheke – they both attend Waiheke Primary School – but remain enthusiastic about the time they spent living in Methven and Tomarata.
Luca remembers the time his dad saved a cow from the slaughter house and milked it by hand in the middle of the Tomarata dairy-farming country.
“It was funny. All the farmers used to laugh as they drove past and saw Dan milking that one, solitary cow,” mum Linda adds.
She says the children even learned to ride on the cow – dubbed “Rosie darling moo” by daughter Andrada – before the family saved a horse.
This time, it was an aging animal destined for the local glue factory.
“Poor thing, he was nearly 30 and had hardly any teeth left. When he was eating an apple it was like it had been through a cider press,” Linda says.
For now, the family only have three pets – dog Rosabella, cat Crystal, and budgie Millie.
“But,” says Linda with a hint of cheerful resignation, “we’ll probably end up with more.”
Waiheke Veterinary Service
3 Tui Street, Oneroa
Open from 9am to 5pm each weekday and from 9am to noon on Saturdays. Call (09) 372 8484 to book appointments or find out about emergency services.
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