"Somewhere over the rainbow," sang Tinker Bell, a double yellow-headed Amazon parrot, during an open house at the new Belvedere Veterinary Center on Saturday.
The state-of-the-art animal hospital opened Dec. 8 in the old Saigon Remembered restaurant at 5857 York Road, across the street from the Senator Theatre and around the corner from Belvedere Square.
Veterinarian Elianne Amstalden, of Hamilton, said it cost about $500,000 to open the animal hospital with four exam rooms, a fully equipped surgical suite and high-tech diagnostic equipment including a digital X-ray machine. There's a treadmill for exercising dogs, too.
Amstalden won approval from the city zoning board in April for a zoning variance to open the center.
Amstalden's husband, Tom, a contractor, did a lot of the renovation work, she said.
On Saturday, two of the couple's three dogs, Paprika and Hercules, were there to greet visitors at the open house, as were pets of the center's five employees, including assistant Amanda Lingerman's pet parrot, who also sang "Take Me Out to the Ball Game."
Amstalden said in April she chose the location in part because there's no competition in the immediate area. The closest veterinary offices are York Road Animal Hospital, about 11 blocks south, and the Cat Hospital at Towson, about 10 blocks north.
When asked why she made such an investment in the current economy, Amstalden, a former freelance vet, said, "If you start when you're down you can only go up."
The Belvedere Veterinary center is closed Wednesdays and Sundays, but is open Saturdays. For more information, call 410-999-3300 or go to http://www.belvedereveterinarycenter.com.