Our History

The Norwalk Veterinary Hospital was founded in 1942 by Dr. George Alfson (Cornell '40) and was located further north on the Post Road in Norwalk. Dr. Alfson's classmate, Paul Kahl (Cornell '40), joined him in practice in 1950. As dairy farms were still active in the area at that time, the partners cared for both large and small animals. The practice was moved to it's present location upon purchase of an existing boarding kennel in 1955. The property included four separate buildings in a peach and apple orchard setting. One building was converted into a hospital. The others were a boarding kennel, a cattery with outdoor runs and an old farmhouse situated where McDonald's now stands.

The practice was well established by the end of the 1950's and ready for another veterinarian by the early 1960's. Dr. Donald Hartrick (Cornell '63) joined Drs. Alfson and Kahl as their first associate in July 1963. He became a partner in 1970 and sole owner upon retirement of the two senior partners in 1980. The facility eventually evolved into the largest one-owner veterinary complex in the Northeast. Since 1967, we have maintained a four doctor staff and many young veterinarians have begun their professional careers at the Norwalk Veterinary Hospital.

Veterinary medicine in the 1960's and 1970's "came into its own" as veterinary technology advanced and the economy boomed. Our knowledge, equipment and skills have continually kept pace with these advances. As the Practice grew in the 1960's the physical plant needed to be updated and enlarged. Our present award-winning (Veterinary Economic's 1970 Hospital of The Year) hospital was opened in January 1970. Our physical plant remains the same today as in 1970 and is still considered one of the premier facilities in the United States.

January 1995 witnessed the beginning of a new era for the Norwalk Veterinary Hospital as Dr. Charles Duffy ( Univ. of Penn.'88) and Dr. Janice Duffy (Univ. of Penn.'91 ) joined Dr. Hartrick in a partnership commitment and eventual buy-out arrangement. This partnership arrangement  insures that the Norwalk Veterinary Hospital tradition of personal attention coupled with high-level veterinary care will continue for many years to come.

Thank you for letting us serve you.


Dr. Donald W. Hartrick graduated from the Cornell School of Veterinary Medicine in 1963, and joined original owners Dr. George Alfson and Dr. Paul Kahl as their first associate in July of 1963.

He became a partner in 1970 and sole owner upon retirement of the two senior partners in 1980. In January of 1995 Dr. Charles and Dr. Janice Duffy joined Dr. Hartrick in a partnership commitment. Dr Hartrick decided to retire in December of 2000 to pursue his other interests and spending more time with his wife, children and grandchildren.