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Long-time vet closing up shop

After 47 years of serving the medical needs of Lower Valley animal owners, Dr. Jonathan Mercer of Sunnyside is closing the doors of The Veterinary Clinic, located on Zillah Avenue. His last day of veterinary business will be Wednesday, July 31. "We won't be taking on any new procedures after next week, because I won't be available for the follow-up," he said. Then the long time animal care provider will retire. But to do what, he is not sure. "I've always done this," he said of his Sunnyside veterinary practice. Naturally, his wife and longtime office manager, Carol Mercer, has other ideas. "We'll be visiting the grandchildren" she said. The couple has nine grandchildren, she said, scattered from Whitefish, Mont. to Portland, Ore. Meanwhile, Mercer is settling up with his clients, giving them the sad news that when his practice closes, there won't be a new vet to take his place at the Zillah location. "We've tried selling the practice but we just had no luck," he said But closing the practice doesn't mean the longtime Sunnyside couple will be leaving the area. "Sunnyside has been our home since moving here in 1966," he said. Besides, all of his friends are here "...and I'm too lazy to move." he joked. A former Air Force base veterinarian, Mercer moved his family from Larson Air Force Base in Ohio to work in a veterinary practice in Coos Bay, Ore. After a year or two, he relocated his family and practice to Sunnyside. In 1966 he purchased the practice of the late Dr. Mulquney, which was at that time located on South Sixth Street next to St. Joseph Catholic School. Seven years later, Mercer reopened his practice in brand new offices he'd had built at the 107 Zillah Avenue location. It has always been Mercer's belief that his job has been to not only care for the needs of the animals but also serve the people who are seeking help with a very special part of their lives...their pets. Mercer said when he first came to Sunnyside 95 percent of his business was large animals and maybe 5 percent was household pets. In the last 12 to 15 years, his practice has been 95 percent pets, mostly because he has given up handling large animal surgeries. The couple raised their three children, Jonathan, James and Mary Lou, in Sunnyside, where they all graduated from Sunnyside High School. In addition to operating a successful veterinary practice, Mercer has been active in the medical community, serving on the Sunnyside Community Hospital board of directors for a good share of the last 30 years. He has also been a huge supporter of community youth programs and has been an active supporter of the Sunnyside Tennis Club. A former Sunnyside Noon Rotary Club member, he is a Paul Harris Fellow. Mrs. Mercer also gave years of service to the community, having served eight years as a Sunnyside School Board director. "I had the pleasure to hand diplomas to all three of our children." In recent years, Mercer said he has been seeing the children of clients he first served years ago. "The community has always been very supportive of us. "We never wanted for clients or people to serve. They always seem to accept us and appreciate the service we gave. "Really, our success has had more to do with this community than me," he said. "We've always appreciated this community," he added.

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