History of The Andersons & Aldor Veterinary Clinic
In times like these we all need to see the many reasons we have to celebrate. Here at Aldor Veterinary Clinic, we definitely have cause for reflection and celebration! 2020 marks our 50 year anniversary! Back in January 1970, a very driven and determined young Langley man together with his equally ambitious partner embarked on new hopes and beginnings, much as we hope to emulate here and now in 2020!
Albert Anderson is a home grown Langley boy. Born to a family who owned a small mixed dairy farm near telegraph and 80th Avenue, Albert knew by grade 4 that he wanted to become a Veterinarian. Many happy coincidences in life aligned to help lead him to this realization. Not only was he born to the right family in the right circumstance, he was lucky enough to have the encouragement and support to participate in the youth leadership club known as 4H. There, through this club, he would create many life lasting relationships, including meeting the love of his life and perhaps his biggest supporter, his wife, Dorothy.
Albert graduated from Langley Highschool in the class of 1960. The next step in his education led to attending the prestigious UBC where he earned his first degree in Agriculture. During this time he continued his involvement with the 4H club, and officially proclaimed Dorothy as his beau in 1961. By 1963, they were "hitched" for better or worse! No strangers to sacrifice and knowing how to make the most of their time, Albert and Dorothy had to buckle down in life to reach for their goals.
Difficult decisions had to be made, some decisions would literally lead towards drastically different outcomes in life. At one point Albert had a promising possibility in an opportunity to move to Newfoundland for a secure job in agriculture, but he had to choose between that and following his dream of becoming a vet student. He had followed up with the university in Saskatchewan where he could earn his veterinary degree, but the BC government had not yet paid their portion to secure BC students seats in the program, not to mention this would be the inaugural year for the program which brought it's own uncertainties. The clock was ticking and the decision weighed very heavily on the young couple, but that deep knowing if his purpose won out, moving Albert and Dorothy to Saskatoon. Albert would not only attend the program, this small town Langley boy would be the very first man across the stage as a graduate in 1969 earning a veterinary degree! "A" for ANDERSON!!
Dorothy was right along side, supporting her husband while maintaining their small 1 bedroom apartment. Her days were more than full tending to their first child Mark who had been born the same year Albert started vet school. Making ends meet was no easy task for the couple. The cost of schooling was upwards of $2000 a year and their apartment was costing an additional $85 a month! With a goal of Albert graduating debt free there were sacrifices to be made. Other students may have gone out to parties and taken extra time for get togethers, but for the Andersons, every dime and moment went toward investing in their future. Dorothy would help earning income by typing for students in the college, charging 15 cents per page. Even the professors would eventually enlist her services, earning her a top fee of 25 cents a page. Albert and Dorothy would welcome their second child, Corine in 1967. Times were difficult but they helped build strength and persaverence which would carry the couple through their future together.
After graduation Albert and Dorothy moved back to BC right away with the goal of eventually building their own farm property. The young couple began by renting a duplex in Fort Langley. Albert had a ready made mentor, Dr. Richard J. Irwin, who used to tend to the Anderson family farm in Alberts youth. Dr. Irwin was ready to quickly hire Albert after graduation since he had witnessed first hand the skill and tenacity of the young boy. Albert had not only volunteered on multiple occasions, he had also spent two summers in his younger years working with Dr. Irwin. Dr. Irwin was running his veterinary business and home on the south side of Smith Crescent in Langley, with Albert working alongside him. Albert showed keen interest and eventually after about seven months, in January 1970, Albert would be offered the opportunity to purchase the business and property from Dr. Irwin. This led to the second big life changing decision for Albert since he had been offered and was strongly considering a job up in Prince George. Staying home in Langley won out though, and the couple had to come up with a new name for their business. They had the ingenious idea to combine both Albert and Dorothy's names - Aldor Veterinary Clinic.
The summer of that same year would mark the birth of their third child Brian, then not to be outdone, the youngest of the Anderson children Gayle, was born in 1972. Dorothy had to be on her toes managing all the children, running the home, and being the primary receptionist/administration for Aldor Veterinary Clinic. Not only was the family growing, the property investments also continued to swell as the Andersons purchased their diamond in the rough, a 40 acre mink farm in Glen valley which included 1 house, 2 barns and a lot of blackberries! They had purchased the adjacent 1/2 acre lot next to their property on Smith Crescent around 1973. Albert always had his eyes on the prize wanting to continue his growth and investments, so when the opportunity to purchase the small nursery property on the North side of Smith crescent arose he took it! There was a small house on that property which was rented to collegue vets, then within 1 year in 1974, the building we know today as Aldor Veterinary clinic had been erected.
Initially Paton and Smith Farm Services ran out of the upper back suite in the building, while the front suite was rented out to a young RCMP officer. Albert and Dorothy moved Aldor Veterinary Clinic into the main floor of the new building. This space was large enough for their dynamic practice which saw both small and large animal patrons as well as allowed room for family and friends to be involved in daily business life. The Andersons modeled their family and community oriented ideals in innumerable ways, including annual family skating parties which started in 1975 and would run for 25 consecutive years. All of the Anderson children participated in 4H. The Anderson family was also very involved in supporting various community endeavors.
It would seem at times as though the couple rarely had time to breathe. Calls would regularly start as early as 5:00 am. Farmers would come to pick up their medications throughout the day. Albert went back and forth to farm calls, alternating with a few small animal patients smattered into the schedule. The kids would make their own way to Milner elementary leaving their parents free to keep the cogs of the clinic running smoothly. A number of small animal clients would have to wait and be seen after dinner around 7:00ish. Albert's time was thinly spread. He had obligations and interest in continuing to build his veterinary skills and education. He spent as much time as he could supporting his family, all the while overseeing and participating in the construction of not only the vet clinic but their Glen Valley property. which would one day be known as Aldor Acres. Much of 1976 was spent building the main house at Aldor Acres and by 1977 the family was ready and excited to move in to their new home. They sold their 1 acre package on the South side of Smith which included their first house to the Mufford family, another of the founding families of Langley.
Aldor Veterinary Clinic employed many members of the Langley Community including Sharon Smith, Linda Davis, Nicole Molenaar, Nadine Gillis, the three Gisler sisters : Joan Carolyn & Patty, and Leanna Cardon (who eventually joined the Anderson Family when she married Mark Anderson). Also much appreciated was the registered animal health technician, Linda Van Kampen. There were many doctors who worked with Albert including ; Dave Paton, Jan Cravin, Rod Gilmer, Dominic Leung, Cherry Chatton, Mike Orser, Ian White, David Cohen, Nina Karim, Howard Thwaites, Ed Weibe & Bill Zwamborn.
Along with other volunteers Albert also found a goldmine in German veterinary students, eventually 15 or 20 of them one or two at a time successively. The first occasion was by happenstance, in 1989. Kirsten, a German friend of one of the Aldor clients, asked if she could come to see the clinic for a few days while visiting Canada. A proud Albert was happy to oblige and since he and Dorothy enjoyed Kirsten's company so immensely, they offered to have her visit the Aldor Acres property. This led to her spending the night so she could attend an early morning heard health appointment with Albert at a local farm. That visit turned into so much more! A live in practicum opportunity that left Kirsten thinking she'd hit paydirt! Once back in Germany, she regaled tales of the hands on, practical experiences that she had had with Albert in Canada. Other German students clamouring to learn wondered if they too might have a chance at this opportunity of a lifetime. The next student was Esther, followed in 1991, by a sixth year student, Christiane Pfaender. Christiane ended up staying 6 months with the Andersons sealing her love of Canada. She was to return in 92 for one month as a visit, and again in 1994. Ideas and hopes built in Alberts mind and in 1996 he was happy to sponsor Christiane as an immigrant, guaranteeing her work in his clinic.
Albert and Dorothy knew that the time of retirement would be coming sooner than later, they knew that Dr. Christiane Pfaender was respected and liked by many of their clients and friends, they could see opportunity in offering their beloved clinic/business to Dr Pfaender. She finally took those heavy keys of ownership in January 2003, allowing Dr. Anderson to cut his hours back before finally retiring in 2005.
Our little clinic has changed so much over the years. Back when Albert took over in 1970, the clinic was about 80% large animal, and only 20% small animal. When Dr. Pfaender took the reigns it was about 40% large animal and 60% small. Eventually by 2008 the large animal practice had dropped considerably and was phased out. The community in Langley has slowly but steadily grown and changed. We are now definitely more "city folk" on the whole but Dr. Anderson and Dorothy are more than happy to welcome one and all to their little piece of heaven in Glen Valley. Aldor Acres is a working farm where people can see and experience food production and the wonders of our natural world. We hope you have enjoyed reading this little piece in the history of Langley.