(In case you are wondering, this is not the history of the Domestic dog or Domestic Cat, but the history of My Dog and My Cat.... the two figure heads for Russell Vale Animal Clinic.)
Like any other young, dedicated, passionate person, I started Vets on the Move, a mobile veterinary practice, which was the first one for the Illawarra. This was very family friendly, as I could work hours that suited my family and me... I could be there for school drop off and pick up, be there for the sports events, and still work in the evenings and early mornings when clients needed me... I was not restricted by 9 to 6 in a bricks and mortar business.
But, Vets on the Move (or VOTM - pronounced VOT - M), as we would affectionally name it, needed an image, a brand. And, so I asked a guy I knew, who I shall call Alex, to come up with a funky logo.... and it was a cat and dog sitting in a car, waving, smiling (like I am always smiling and waving!)
As time goes on, business grew, and Russell Vale Animal Clinic was developed. Which meant a dog and cat sitting in a car was not much use for a bricks and mortar fully fledged fully operational veterinary hospital. So, Dog and Cat were transformed into a slightly different shape.
And then they were in colour. You can't be black and white stars forever!
But, as I don't do things half baked, I didn't like Dog and Cat continuing a public life without full body shots, so I had Alex again, finish their bodies off. As you can see, they do pose quite well - very happy, dressed like the consummate professionals they are.
So, time went on, and the logo was used on all things that needed to be branded - the letterhead, the building, the clothes. They had their own web page too. And so it went on from 1998.... all a very happy animalclinic family. Now Dog and Cat are just their stage names - they do have proper names, but we felt that being famous does have its drawbacks, and I wanted to respect their private lives.
Fast forward to 2013. This is where the story gets sad for me. A few weeks ago, Dog tapped his nose on my elbow, nudged his head under my arm, and said he wanted to have a quiet word with me. Cat was slinking around behind him, as if to agree with him.... a discussion was necessary between the three of us.
The short version is - they wanted to retire. They had been the face of Russell Vale Animal Clinic for over 15 years now, helping us look after other dogs and cats. Now, after the tears streamed down my face, with the thought of losing Cat and Dog, they re-assured me that they were not gone forever... they put their paws on my heart.... and promised that it would be all OK.
And so, was the birth of our current logo, which I fondly call Paws. Now, the paw prints belong to Dog (not Cat, as she wouldn't stay still long enough to allow her feet to be drawn, and well, she doesn't like her feet being touched, even to trace or copy. We can honestly say, Dog and Cat have left their permanent mark on Russell Vale Animal Clinic.
Happy Retirement, Dog and Cat. We love you, we will miss you... and we hope that you enjoy retirement.But your paws will always be in my heart....
And so, let us hope for another 15 years (and more) of Russell Vale Animal Clinic, a family based veterinary hospital in the northern suburbs of Wollongong (with Dr Liz, who just loves her dogs and cats).