NewsLocal NewsKent


Cedar Animal Hospital expanding with 24-hour emergency center

Expansion expected to be complete by mid-October
cedar animal hospital 24-hour emergency center
Posted at 4:47 PM, Mar 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-02 18:38:47-05

CEDAR SPRINGS, Mich. — Pet care has become a priority for many people during the pandemic, but getting immediate care can be difficult right now. To address the backlog, one West Michigan animal hospital is expanding in a major way.

For Judith and Lawrence Nauta, animals are everything.

They co-own Cedar Animal Hospital in Cedar Springs. Not long ago, Lawrence was retired. That didn't last, however, because he just couldn't stand being away from the animals. So, he threw on the lab coat and came back into the field.

“I tried retirement, semi-retirement for a little while," said Lawrence. "It wasn’t me. I think this is my retirement. I want to help people as long as I’m capable.”

Helping people has become a bit harder as of late. His 60-person staff hasn't changed, but because of the pandemic, more people wanted their pets to be seen.

“It becomes what’s really important and matters to them," Lawrence told FOX 17. "They don’t want them to be in pain. They don’t want them to be sick. They don’t want them to be hurt. They don’t want them to die. They want to be taken care of.”

Lawrence said the increase in business is a welcomed sight, but it's also created quite the backlog.

“I know that many emergency clinics around have had 12-18 hour waits sometimes for urgent emergency care," he said. "Generally when I walk into a shift, I’m usually about six hours behind.”

It's a problem many vets are dealing with across the state and the country. However, Lawrence might have found a solution for his hospital.

This week, they broke ground on a brand new 24-hour emergency center, helping them expand in size and capability.

The new building will triple in square footage, allowing for a more dedicated ICU, a learning center, library, lounge area, and of course, around-the-clock care.

Plus, this expansion will allow them to create an additional 100 parking spots and fill 40 new jobs.

This kind of setup is rare to see. Cedar Animal Hospital will join just two other vets in the Grand Rapids area that offer 24-hour services, but the only one north of town. Lawrence said they get clients coming from as far as Ludington, Chicago, and the Upper Peninsula, which means this $5 million expansion is worth every penny.

Lawrence admitted it's a little scary, but also a dream come true.

“This is what I’ve devoted my life to," Lawrence said. "To see this happen feels like an out-of-body experience it’s so exciting. It almost just feels unbelievable, and I’m just so thankful that we get to be a part of this.”

The plan is to have the building open to the public by the middle of October.

Lawrence said filling those 40 open positions can be a challenge. If you're interested in applying to join the staff in a number of different available roles, you can send an email with a resume to or call the hospital directly at (616) 696-1212.

Follow FOX 17: Facebook - Twitter - Instagram - YouTube