From a very young age, William B. Henry knew he wanted to be a veterinarian. His parents raised, showed, and judged dogs as a hobby, so he spent a great deal of time around dogs and vets alike while he was growing up. In high school, he landed his first job working in a veterinary hospital outside of Cleveland, Ohio. While working there he did a lot of studying on the veterinary field and decided to write a letter to a Angell Memorial as many of the authors in clinical veterinary texts were from Angell to find out more information about them. They had the only internship program in veterinary medicine at that time.
Henry was accepted to Ohio State University’s veterinary program and graduated at the top of his class in 1961. After graduating, he was one of only six doctors accepted into an internship program at Angell Memorial. After completing that internship, was asked to remain on staff and spent four years training in surgery.
While he enjoyed what he was doing, his dream was to found a group veterinary practice. The idea came from an article he read while in veterinary school describing a new kind of practice, utilizing a 24-hour central facility with multiple outpatient clinics. Henry began researching, with the help of his father whose career encompassed civil and planning engineering. Henry set his sights on three locations after noting they had some of the lowest ratio of veterinarians to population, plus a highly educated population.
In October of 1965, South Shore Veterinary Associates was born. It encompassed a central hospital building in South Weymouth, an outpatient clinic in Quincy, and a second out-patient clinic in Cohasset. The practices grew rapidly and in 1970, a new 7500 square foot hospital was built on a plot of land in South Weymouth.
In 1968, Dr. Henry took the first American College of Veterinary Surgeons exam. He was the only private small animal practitioner who took that first exam; all the others taught in veterinary colleges. In the years following, newly board-certified veterinarians joined South Shore Veterinary Associates and in 1974, the hospital began the first AVMA approved internship program in a private practice. Due to the number of specialists at the practice, South Shore Veterinary Associates attracted a large number of interns, many of whom went on to become board-certified themselves.
In 1979, Dr. Henry was asked to teach at Tufts Veterinary School and a year later was offered a part-time position as a Clinical Professor of Surgery. At the time, Tufts was not able to get accreditation from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) as a veterinary school because they did not have a facility to teach the clinical sciences, so they approached South Shore Veterinary Associates and Angell Memorial about providing this training. SSVA added on to their original hospital to do so. Due to the partnership, Tufts was able to get a preliminary approval from the AVMA and they were then offered a location for their veterinary school in Grafton. Shortly after, they became a fully accredited veterinary school.
In 1995, Dr. Henry sold South Shore Veterinary Associates when he and his partners began moving in different directions. He worked for the company for a year, and within 6 months they closed two of the clinics, one in Dedham and one in Buzzards Bay.
Seeing a new opportunity arising, Dr. Henry bought the two clinics back in 1997 and turned them into general practice veterinary hospitals. At this point, Dr. Henry’s son, Charlie, was also in the veterinary business on the management side and joined his father in growing the family business.
Shortly after, Dr. Henry decided to dedicated part of the Dedham hospital to a surgery referral practice and Boston Veterinary Specialists was born. Dr. Catherine Briere joined the practice in 2008, after completing two internships and a competitive residency. Dr. Henry and Dr. Briere have worked side by since ever since, building BVS into the high-level surgical hospital that our clients have come to know and love.