Del Mar animal hospital gets renovation, new ownership

By Claire Harlin

A walk to Dog Beach, a stroll through the San Dieguito Lagoon and a stop-in to Free Flight Exotic Bird Park. Sounds like not only a nice Del Mar outing, but also a typical day at the veterinarian for clients of Animal and Bird Hospital of Del Mar.

“Our clients love to walk to the beach while their pets have services done,” said Layne Havens, co-owner of the hospital. “It’s not dreadful for our clients to go to the vet. It’s really fun, and if they have kids, the kids love it too.”

Havens, along with fellow veterinarian Steve Mira, took over ownership of the hospital, located at 2132 Jimmy Durante Blvd., only a few months ago, and they say the experience has already been incredibly rewarding. Not only that, but they are in the process of an extensive renovation.

The two previously worked together for three years at Pacific Petcare in Carmel Valley, and they came together with a common vision of offering comprehensive care and top-notch boarding in a comfortable, high-quality, friendly environment.

Situated next to the nonprofit Free Flight bird sanctuary, Animal and Bird Hospital of Del Mar is very unassuming from the outside. Small and boutique-like, the facility strikes visitors with cleanliness, colorful artwork and the caring smiles of staff members upon entering. Hidden behind the quaint entrance is a high-tech and surprisingly vast 5,000-square-foot facility that offers much more space than many animal hospitals — the reason why Havens and Mira want to make use of that space by offering full-service boarding.

“It’s a good peace of mind to know if anything goes wrong there’s a vet on site,” Mira said, adding that the medical and boarding aspects of the business really fuel each other in being able to provide comprehensive care.

The hospital has an 800-square-foot outdoor play area for dogs, 12 large outdoor runs and 13 indoor runs (a “run” is basically a very, very big cage). Havens and Mira are in the process of building an upstairs cat ward for both hospitalized and boarding cats. Not only will the feline area have cat condos, toys and beds, but it will feature TVs to keep the kitties occupied with recorded videos of fish, wildlife and other things a cat may like to watch.

Havens graduated from veterinarian school at Virginia Tech about five years ago and landed in San Diego when she completed an internship at a local emergency hospital here. She loves the owner education aspect of veterinary medicine, and encourages clients to get involved in the health of their pets. Her clinical interests include internal medicine, soft tissue surgery, dentistry and ultrasound imaging.

Mira, a Michigan native, also came to San Diego when he completed an internship at a Mission Valley emergency animal hospital. He has practiced in North County for nine years, and his professional interests include wellness care, preventative medicine and educating pet owners on all aspects of veterinary care.

For more information, visit; call (858) 755-9351. The Animal and Bird Hospital of Del Mar is located at 2132 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar, 92014.