Anyone who knows me even a little knows I love my cat more than basically anything. So much so that when my boyfriend asks me “who do you love more, me or Daisy?” there is an awkward silence before I answer, “it’s a different kind of love…” Surely I’m not the only one who loves her pet that much?
Obviously, making sure I take care of my pet and keep her as healthy as possible is one of THE most important things. Trekking to the vet is always such an ordeal, especially in the city. But what if you didn’t have to? What if the vet came to your apartment? What if you could TEXT your vet? Enter Dr. Lisa Lippman, NYC’s sought-after home service vet. From fashion bloggers’ dogs to a furry patient actually named John Stamos, she has seen it all.
Dr. Lisa shares answers to the top-asked pet questions, and tells us what it’s like to take care of pets in celebrity homes and beyond.
Tell me a little about your background.
I’ve wanted to be a veterinarian for as long as I can remember. I’ve always loved animals, and somewhere along the line I realized I loved medicine. I didn’t even have a pet when I was little, but every picture I ever drew of myself had a dog in it even though I didn’t have one. So finally my parents felt so bad for me, they got me a dog. Every self portrait, I drew me with an animal. Then I got a poodle on my 10th birthday. I went to Syracuse undergrad at Newhouse and I studied Public Relations. My concentration was Biology because I always wanted to study veterinary medicine. I happened to do really well at Syracuse and went to a Pre-Med program in California, so then I came back here to do my one year. Then I spent a year doing emergency veterinary medicine. I had a friend who started an at home veterinary practice, so I joined her and I love it so much. It’s so personal, intimate, you get to be one-on-one with a client, you get to not be rushed, you get to take your time, it’s so much less stressful for the pet. All around, it’s great medicine.
That’s a good point, sometimes pets leaving the apartment is so stressful for you but also really for them. My cat hates it.
Exactly, and then you have to sit in a waiting room with dogs sniffing her carrier. It’s always so much calmer and easier to be in the animals’ home, and we can figure it out from there. Obviously, you can’t do everything in a home, but any outpatient then tends to be a lot quicker. So I started with the house call practice a year ago, and I love it. Then I started my podcast called Pets and Punchlines. I host it with my boyfriend (comedian Richie Redding), and we have comic friends come in and talk about their pets. It’s funny but also really informative.
What pets do you have now personally?
I have one Rhodesian Ridgeback, her name is Chloe. I am pathologically obsessed with her, I love her so much. She is my quasi-rescue. I have been involved with Rhodesian Ridgeback Rescue for a long time now, over 10 years. A breeder got her and thought she needed a surgery, and I knew she was a breeder who cared about where her dogs went. I got her when she was 10 weeks old, and it turns out she didn’t even need the surgery. It was destiny.
Have you ever watched My Cat From Hell?
I think he (Jackson Galaxy) does some great things and it is really needed. Cat training is an atypical field for sure, it’s not as intuitive as dog training, and it takes a lot of time. So I think he does a lot of really great things for cats and the field.
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever encountered in someone’s home?
One of my client’s had to have a transfecal transplant. (Editor note: Google that yourself.) I have also had clients who are interested in cloning their pets, which is a weird trend. You have to understand that you’re not getting the same animal personality-wise. But the at-home vet experience is always fun – we have had people opening the door half-naked, we’ve had pool boys offering us drinks, all kinds of fun stuff. It’s interesting and has it’s challenges. I have a lot of fun clients, fashion bloggers, financiers, personalities, and all kinds of different fun and colorful people.
My clients are people who don’t have the time, want the individual attention, can’t always go out, and don’t want to be bothered by the press or paparazzi. I do late nights, I do weekends, I am very flexible with my schedule.
What’s the best or weirdest pet name you’ve ever heard?
I have a client named John Stamos, he’s a dog. When he comes to the hospital they will say “Dr. Lippman, John Stamos will see you now.” I once saw a cat named Hip Hop which I loved, and I have seen vulgar, terrible things. I do really love John Stamos… I posted a picture of him on my Instagram to show what a reverse sneeze was.
What is a reverse sneeze?
It’s when a dog has a little irritation where their nose meets their throat, so they make a strong sniffing noise. They breathe in for a few seconds at a time, and it looks really scary. It looks like choking or you’re having a hard time breathing, but it’s completely normal and fine. It usually goes away after a few minutes, but it’s definitely been a cause for some late-night visits.
It’s cool that you can use Instagram to convey important pet info.
I like to make it really light and funny and informative. That’s the whole point of the podcast too. I always say stick with my veterinary education and not Mr. Google. Because Mr. Google can be tough. I always tell my clients don’t Google, text me. They all have my cell phone number, and much to my boyfriend’s chagrin I am way too available right now. Send me videos, send me pictures, don’t be shy.
What are a few of the most common pet questions asked?
I am starting Youtube channel and we actually just looked up the most Googled pet questions. We had my boyfriend answer them and then I answered them. But I say, a really common thing I always get is “why is my dog’s nose wet?” They are worried that it means that they’re sick or there’s something wrong with them. The answer to that is they’re fine, a wet nose helps dogs take in smells, and if their nose is dry it doesn’t mean that they’re sick. Another one is how long are dogs pregnant for. The answer is 2 months. Really short – another reason why cloning is kind of strange. You can get your new dog real quick. It doesn’t guarantee the health of the dog, it’s weird. There are just so many dogs that need to be adopted out there. I am working with Animal Lighthouse Rescue to adopt animal who have lost their homes due to Hurricane Maria. Please adopt!
Listen to Dr. Lisa’s podcast Pets and Punchlines!
Follow her on Instagram!