Cardiff vet specializes in TLC

On the southeast corner of San Elijo and Aberdeen in Cardiff-by-the-Sea rests a charming brick building with a shingled roof that once was the home of an Atlantic Richfield Service Station. Today it is occupied by the Cardiff Animal Hospital where Dr. Monica Laflin treats furry friends with tender loving care.
Dr. Monica knew while attending Visitation High School in St. Louis that she wanted to be in the medical field but after working for a dentist and in a hospital, she decided human medicine was not for her.
In high school she had worked for the family veterinarian as a kennel assistant, a receptionist, bookkeeper and technician. She loved all aspects of the business and knew she wanted to be a veterinarian.
However, prior to 1970, few women were accepted into veterinary school. The rural schools have a higher percentage of male students. The two veterinary schools in California have classes that contain about 90 percent women.
Dr. Monica attended Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., for three years and in 1974 she was accepted at the University of Missouri, Columbia Veterinary School.
The years 1978 to 1980 found her in a St. Louis emergency clinic and moonlighting as a relief veterinarian during the day.
In 1980 she made her way to Encinitas and in 1985 purchased Cardiff Animal Hospital. In 1974, an Atlantic Richfield gas station (built in 1920)
was converted into a Veterinary Hospital by Dr. Blackburn.
In 1992, the hospital was remodeled and 900 square feet was added to the original 1,600-square-foot building.
Her family consists of her husband Norm Smith, daughter Kelsey, three brothers, two sisters and not surprisingly two Burmese cats and a golden retriever. Besides spoiling these animals, she also enjoys hiking and attending her daughter’s sports events.
She attends eight veterinary conferences a year to maintain her certificates in acupuncture, chiropractic, Chinese medicine, herbal medicine and veterinary homeopathy.
In 1993 she branched into other alternative therapies including Reiki, cranial-sacral therapy, muscle releasing techniques, applied kinesiology, nutraceutical therapies, physical therapy and veterinary allergy elimination techniques.
I met Dr. Monica when I moved to Cardiff-by-the-Sea in 1982 and my Cameo Persian needed medical care. She nursed him through an infection and a broken leg in his 18 years.
She is a community-minded person and is a past director of the Cardiff Chamber board and participates in the Cardiff 101 MainStreet Dog Days of Summer each year.
Visit www.cardiffanimalhospital.com/doctors for a picture and a wealth of information about Dr. Monica and be sure to say hello to her at Dog Days on Aug. 14.
We are most fortunate that Dr. Monica chose Cardiff-by-the-Sea 26 years ago as the place she wanted to practice veterinary medicine because Cardiff-by-the-Sea is the place we all love to call home.

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