New vet practice offers care fit for humans

The Heartfelt building's design emulates a human hospital.

The Heartfelt building's design emulates a human hospital.

When you take your pet to see Dr. Thomas Mackowiak at Heartfelt Veterinary Hospital, don't be surprised if you're looking down at him the whole time.

"He’s so personable," says Mackowiak's personal and professional partner and Heartfelt’s business manager, Ryan Hesketh. "When he walks into an [exam] room, the first thing he does is get down on the pet’s level. If they’re on the ground, he’s on the ground with them."

Dr. Mackowiak — whose name is pronounced mack-OH-vee-ack — is originally from Germany. After studying veterinary medicine in Chile, he received his doctorate at Oregon State University, then began practicing at a corporate facility before starting Heartfelt.

"He wanted to create an environment that's more specific for each pet’s needs," Hesketh explains. 

Which is why they chose the name Heartfelt — because they approach their practice by treating their clients' pets with the same gentle, professional care they would their own. 

Mackowiak and Hesketh also modeled Heartfelt after a human facility, with three exam rooms and a human-grade surgery suite. Unlike many vet hospitals, however, the patient doesn't go straight from treatment center to surgery. Instead, there are separate prep rooms just like in a human hospital.

Dr. Mackowiak's patients love him.  Photo courtesy of Heartfelt.Veterinary Hospital.

Dr. Mackowiak's patients love him.  Photo courtesy of Heartfelt.Veterinary Hospital.

"It keeps the surgery room totally sterile," says Hesketh. "It’s not at all a typical setup."

Heartfelt also has an in-house lab, an isolation suite for pets that are contagious, and separate canine and feline wards. "They're completely soundproof," says Hesketh, "so the cats don't get stressed from hearing the dogs." 

Heartfelt offers pet care plans with monthly premiums ranging from $30-$40 for felines and $40-$50 for canines. Hesketh says the plans are a good deal. "It covers all vaccines for the year, all of the typical testing, like ear cytology and urinalysis, and other preventive care."

Good deals aside, Heartfelt's main attraction is its dedicated veterinarian. Hesketh says he’s been amazed at the number of patients who have found Dr. Mackowiak from his previous job. "They just love him," he says.  

* Heartfelt Veterinary Hospital * 1127 NE Broadway St., Portland * 503-765-1210 * 

Vanessa Salvia's love for animals began as a child, when stray kittens just seemed to follow her home.  She now lives on a sheep farm outside of Eugene, Oregon, with a llama named Linda, a dog, a cat, a rabbit, two kids and a patient husband.