In 1952, Dr. Harold T. Rose, who operated the Darien Animal Hospital, saw an opportunity for a new veterinary hospital in Greenwich. He knew that the town was growing rapidly, with many animal lovers, who would need medical care for their pets. After purchasing property on the southwest corner at the Post Road and Salem Street in Greenwich, Rose began construction of the Blue Cross Animal Hospital in the fall off 1952.
Of vaguely neoclassical design and modern masonry with a brick facade, the building was completed in the spring of 1953. Its neighbors were an empty lot to the east and the long-forgotten Howard Johnson's restaurant to the west. With an eye to opening the practice on July 1, 1953. Rose hired John Robinson - a veteran of World War II infantry in Europe and a recent graduate of the veterinary school at Cornell - to manage the new facility. As planned, the building opened on schedule, practice began and continues to this day.
In 1959, Robinson purchased the practice and real estate from Rose. In 1961, Robinson hired his first assistant veterinarian (who soon became a partner in the practice), Dr. Gordon C. Johnson. After almost 26 years at Blue Cross Animal Hospital, Robinson sold the business in January 1979 to Dr. Rick Mitwalli and retired from veterinary practice.
In 1980, Dr. Mitwalli hired Dr. Neil C. Wolff as an associate. After many years of practicing veterinary medicine at Blue Cross, Dr. Wolff acquired the business. Over the years, other associates of Blue Cross Animal Hospital have included: Dr. Ed Fleischli, Dr. Myles Leeds, Dr. Bill Agresta, Dr. Tom Downey, Dr. Rick Esquivel, Dr. Howard Rothenberg, Dr. Janet Potash, Dr. Joan Kobalka and Dr. Anna DiCicco.
After 34 years of practice at Blue Cross, Dr. Wolff sold the practice to Dr. Maria Violi, a lifetime local resident and a veterinarian of over 20 years. Today, Dr. Violi, Dr. Faigle, Dr. DiCicco, Dr. Aberle and Dr. Triplett practice at Blue Cross.
What's in a name?
In 1870 The British National Society for Aid to the Sick and Wounded in War, was to give medical assistance to the wounded men on both sides of the Franco-Prussian War. The society was given a distinctive Red Cross as a symbol which would be easily recognized and offer protection to both sides of the conflict. In 1905 the organization changed their name to the British Red Cross.
In 1897 an organization by the name of Our Dumb Friends League formed to care for the working horses on London Streets. They launched the Blue Cross Fund in 1912 to offer veterinary assistance to the horses sent off to war in the Balkans and then the following two World Wars.
The Blue Cross was used because it was a similarly recognized symbol to the Red Cross, but offering veterinary care to the horses wounded in war rather than to the men. Not until 1955 (two years after our Greenwich, CT Blue Cross Animal Hospital was created) did the organization change its name officially to Blue Cross since the blue cross had become such a universal symbol of animal care. Today you can find blue cross animal hospitals throughout the world. Although we share a similar name and goal in caring for animals, we are not affiliated with any other hospital.