Those dogs and cats that have visited Dr. William Leed for the past several years have seen a recent change in their doctor and their doctor’s office.
The Blue Cross Veterinary Hospital has had a name change, the office has a new sign and a new veterinarian. Dr. Jennifer Jellison purchased the practice and moved in May 1 and now heads For Paws Blue Cross Animal Hospital.
Jellison's background includes graduating from Ohio State University, serving as Jack Hanna’s veterinarian for his personal animals, chief of staff and partner at Banfield Pet Hospital (inside PetSmart stores) and making regular appearances on Good Morning America and on the Live! with Regis & Kelly show.
And if you've ever met Jellison, you'd likely notice her love of animals and her passion for promoting animal health right off the bat.
Jellison was drawn to helping animals from an early age.
“When I was 4 years old, we were driving down Cleveland Avenue and someone hit a dog in front of us. So my dad and I got out of the car to help the dog and I started crying. My dad said if I was going to cry to go back to the car or if I wanted to help, then I could stay with him,” Jellison said.
She has seen changes over the years in the practice of veterinary medicine, including a larger number of women entering the field. Jellison said 30 of the 110 graduates in her graduating class at Ohio State were women. These days, those statistics have flipped.
Purchasing the practice has been a longtime dream.
“I like the idea of molding veterinarian medicine with compassion and kindness. Getting to know the clients over a long period of time is also a big plus,” Jellison said.
Moving back to her hometown was also an initiative for her.
“I graduated GlenOak High School in 1976, then I went to Ohio State and stayed for 20 years in the Columbus area and practiced there,” Jellison said. “My parents and brother are still here in Canton so I returned to Canton. And, now two of my three children have graduated from GlenOak.”
The practice is also getting involved with the community through the and the Canton Chamber and by sponsoring an annual dog walk with the Aultman Grief Center. Plus, she would like to set up scholarships for local high school graduates going into any kind of animal health-related fields.
Jellison plans to continue with her TV appearances as well. She appears on the Live! with Regis & Kelly show once a year, Fox 8 several times a year and does radio interviews across the United States.
“You have to make the decision to be a television personality or a practitioner. With television, you can educate a lot of people at one time. Being in private practice, you can make a difference every single day in a pet’s life,” Jellison said.
Dr. William Leed opened the Blue Cross Hospital Veterinary office on the corner of South Main and Easthill streets in 1944, and his son took over the practice in 1987. Both veterinarians were well respected and both contributed to building a strong practice in North Canton, Jellison said.
Jerry Johnson, office manager and Jellison’s husband, said services for the animal hospital will remain much the same as the past 60-plus years.
“We will continue to offer physical and regular examinations, general surgeries and we can provide all of the medicines to prevent heartworm and fleas and ticks,” Johnson said.
Future plans include building the practice so that a second doctor can be added and possibly setting up a small shelter in another part of the current building, mainly to temporarily house cats. Jellison thinks that cats sometimes get overlooked when they get abandoned and become strays.
“I just want to say that the North Canton community has been very welcoming and accepting, especially Dr. Leed’s patients.” Jellison said.
The For Paws Blue Cross Animal Hospital is located at 1396 S. Main Street in North Canton. For more information, call 330-494-0611.