ST. ALBANS –– Dr. Jennifer Hull discovered early in her career that being a veterinarian is more than just about loving animals.

After all – animals have owners.

“If you don’t like people,” this is not the job for you, said Hull, of Northwest Veterinary Associates, located at the intersection of Routes 36 and 104, at the bottom of Fairfield Hill Road, in St. Albans.

Hull is one of five doctor/owners at Northwest Veterinary Associates, a dairy-exclusive, large-animal practice that covers Franklin County, parts of Lamoille and Chittenden Counties, and Champlain, N.Y.

The other owners are: Drs. Kent Henderson, Stephen Wadsworth, Peter Averill, and Allison Maslack. Rounding out the staff is: Dr. Blake Nguyen, an on-staff associate for two years; Office Manager Denise Choquette; Assistant Office Manager Julie Bean; Cara Parizo; and Morgan Dodd, vet tech.

Each doctor at Northwest Veterinary Associates has several herds that they attend on a scheduled basis. These preventive appointments cover herd health, calves, reproduction, and other work. (Hull’s specialty is in embryo transfer.)

Northwest Veterinary Associates also provides 24/7, on-call clinical services, such as sick cows and calving emergencies.

Hull said it is important for all the vets at Northwest Veterinary Associates to continuously educate their clients about changing health information and trends in the dairy industry. Healthier dairy cows translate into higher quality milk, which meets the demand of today’s consumer, Hull said.

“Milk quality is a large part of what we do,” Hull said. “It’s a large focus.”

Hull is the only working dairy farmer on the staff at Northwest Veterinary Associates, which first opened in St. Albans 31 years ago. The practice has operated out of its current location for several years.

Hull’s husband, Matthew, is a fourth-generation dairy farmer at Dalestead Farms, in Enosburgh. The Hulls milk 85 registered Holsteins and also run a maple sugaring operation, boiling 14,000 taps worth of sap annually.

A Connecticut native, Hull grew up working on a dairy farm – though she did not live on one – and always wanted a career in a dairy-exclusive field. An externship at Northwest Veterinary Associates led to her joining the staff.

Dr. Allison Maslack and Hull are both the youngest doctors/owners on staff – in their early thirties – and have started assuming business duties at Northwest Veterinary Associates, to start building a foundation for transition as their slightly older business partners consider retirement in the future.

“It’s a nice give and take and feeling of respect that we have here,” Hull said.