PASSING THE TEST OF TIME: Needham Animal Hospital celebrates 40 years, raises money for animal rescues

“We have grown drastically over the years,” says Jennah Bosch, registered veterinary technician at Needham Animal Hospital, of their upcoming 40th anniversary. “No matter how big our building gets, we want our clients (and their pets) to feel they are individuals. We want to share a lifetime bond with them. We want our clients to trust us with the care of their pets, as they are a part of the family.”

LASTING LEGACY: Doc Tom Needham (above) started the Needham Animal Hospital back in 1976. Courtesy photo.

Needham Animal Hospital’s 40th anniversary bash is scheduled for Sunday, Oct 2, from 1-5 p.m. The practice isn’t just celebrating their long history in ILM, but also their beloved customers and animal-rescue groups they’ve come to work closely with throughout the years.

Originally started by “Doc” Tom Needham and his wife, Peggy, the first Needham clinic opened on 41st Street in 1976. Since, Bosch says their philosophy and core values have not changed much, if at all.

“We have always been proud of practicing high-quality, progressive medicine and trying to offer the most cutting edge technologies for our patients,” she explains. “Dr. Needham loves veterinary medicine and he was one of the first in Wilmington to offer advanced procedures such as endoscopy and ultrasound.”

Needham was known for bringing in specialists from all over the country in order to provide the most advanced treatments for his patients, the spirit of which carries on with Dr. Nathan Batts, DVM, who bought the practice in spring of 2005. With primary areas of interest in surgery, ultrasound, internal, and referral medicine, the Wilmington native has grown the practice in terms of treating patients and in services it offers.

Since they moved to a more expansive space on Federal Park Drive in 2010, they’ve offered luxury boarding, doggy daycare, and  grooming services. Plus, their house Wilmington Animal Fitness and Rehabilitation Center is one of the area’s only rehab resources for dogs, cats and (sometimes) exotic pets.

“Our goal is to keep growing and learning so the Wilmington community has excellent care options here at home,” Bosch says.

Bosch has worked in the veterinary industry since 1995 and directly for Dr. Batts at Needham since 2009. She credits Needham’s longevity to the value placed on connecting and educating the veterinary community and (human) clients alike. One way she gets to do so is mentoring/teaching veterinary technicians before they graduate, or having high-school students shadow their work for a senior project. “

Continuing to educate on the importance of great care is one of my priorities,” she adds. “It’s so exciting to be a part of this company that has stood the test of time. Over the years we have grown in almost every way imaginable: in our number of clients, staff and services that we offer. . . . Our hope is to continue to improve and grow, focusing on the client and patient experience. We never want to lose touch with the members of this community that we hold so dear.”

Bosch is joined by practice manager Carly Wittstein and client service manager Christina Lopez. Between the three, they have more than two decades experience working within the Needham family. “I feel so lucky to work, not only in this industry, but for such an honest and morally sound company,” Wittstein says. “I feel so lucky to call this place home, and I am very proud of the work that we do here.”

“Our reception area is my main focus,” Lopez adds. “I want to make sure every client knows how important each and every one of them is to us, and they know their pets are very well cared for.”

Like this weekend’s anniversary party, past fundraisers have always been associated with Needham’s Customer Appreciation Day, as well as a fundraiser for three local rescues. Bosch says they offer raffles, food, clinic tours, and discounts, while raising a few hundred bucks for each rescue involved. This year they’ve invited several more groups associated with Needham—some of which service different kinds of animals. Friends of Feline, Cape Fear Parrot Sanctuary, Bullies 2 the Rescue, Canines for Service, Pleasure Island Sea Turtle Project, and Rescue Animals Community Shelter (RACE) in Shallotte, NC, all are a part of the event.

“There isn’t really a goal for this year,” Bosch says, “just a ‘thank you’ for great patronage to our clients and a ‘thank you’ to all the hard work the rescue groups do.”

All proceeds from raffles on October 2 will go to the rescues, and all of the craft vendors have agreed to donate 5 percent of their sales. Some raffle items include six months of heartworm and flea prevention from various distributors, a gift bag from I AM Salon, coffee basket, free lab work at the clinic, a movie basket, cornhole boards made by loyal client Phillip Blethen (Phillips Custom Cornhole Boards), and various gift certificates. Craft vendors will be onsite throughout the day as well, including Glynne Soaps, Jennifer Mangiacapre’s Dear Life Designs Jewelry, Nikki Mears’ stamp jewelry, Aunt Kerry’s Pet Stop, and homemade dog treats by local 10-year-old Noah James.

“I am most excited for Noah James,” Bosch says, “because he is, at such a young age, donating his time and money to help others through his treats.”

There will be catering from Chick-Fil-A (Monkey Junction), Incredible Pizza (17th Street), Subway, Flaming Amy’s, John’s Popcorn, Pelican Snoballs, and more. Plus, festivities will cater to children of many ages, too, with a dunk tank for Needham staffers, a bounce house and face painting for the younger crowd. Lots of food and raffles for “big kids”  will be available, too. “The kids will also be able to complete a scavenger hunt of sorts for their own prizes,” Bosch assures.

Folks may RSVP or find more information on Needham Animal Hospital’s 40th anniversary event on their Facebook event page. For more about Needham Animal Hospital, visit

Needham Animal Hospital
40th Anniversary Bash
Sunday, October 2, 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Needham Animal Hospital
3720 Federal Park Dr.

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