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Pill Hill adds a place for cats and dogs to its roster of hospitals and clinics

Dr. Trusheim (Images: Bernard/CHS)

For four years, Dr. Cherri Trusheim worked at the veterinary equivalent of Harborview Medical Center’s emergency room, providing critical care for animals that were in very bad shape. The experience left her feeling sorry not just for her patients but for their owners.

“The specialty care clinic I worked at is expensive. I’ve seen some people take out a second mortgage on their house… It just didn’t feel good anymore,” said Trusheim. “Just because you can’t afford chemo for your dog doesn’t mean you don’t love your dog.”

Disenchanted and emotionally exhausted, the 13-year veteran of veterinary medicine decided to strike out on her own and “do it my way.”

Trusheim has opened Urban Animal near Broadway and Madison, a clinic she hopes will serve as a new, more affordable model for veterinary care.

And Floyd

“We want to provide pet owners with options, regardless of funds,” Trusheim explained in the waiting area when we visited recently. “We will treat what’s wrong and nothing more. We’re not going to try to push someone to do something they don’t want.”

“You have to feel good about yourself at the end of the day,” added Taya Maes, who is the clinic’s office manager and Trusheim’s wife. The two met eight years ago while working at another veterinary clinic in Seattle. 

Urban Animal, by the way, is a CHS advertiser.

Unlike most doctors’ offices — for pets or people — Urban Animal is open nearly every day (closed Wednesday) and does not require an appointment.  The basic exam fee is $45. Trusheim says UA’s prices for tests such as blood panels are cheaper than comparable clinics.

Aside from more affordable costs, Trusheim says Urban Animal offers a healthy dose of compassion. 

“I think you have to have a personal conversation. For example, not every pet needs an MRI,” said Trusheim, who offered another scenario: If an owner can’t afford a major surgery to treat a terminal condition, we would be frank with the owner and explore ways to keep the pet comfortable and keep the quality of life. It’s about looking at the whole picture and not being rigid about it.

Urban Animal’s compassionate brand extends to the clinic’s soothing interior. Inside the four exam rooms, old family pet photos – purchased at estate sales – adorn the walls. Vintage medical cabinets and chairs, recycled wood and warm orange paint round out the rest of the décor. 

Maes consults with a patient

“We don’t want this to be a scary place,” said Trusheim. “We want it to feel comfortable, but not cheesy.”

This is Trusheim’s first business venture. She admits it is more than a little intimidating to have to figure everything out. But she is confident it will work out. 

“If you believe in what you’re doing, the money will follow,” she said. “It’s about doing it the way that makes sense to me.”

You can learn more at

More Capitol Hill pet-focused businesses:

  • Mud Bay has moved onto Broadway and can also be found on E Thomas (CHS advertiser)
  • The Feed Bag and boutique Happy Endings also cater to Capitol Hill pets and their friends
  • Downtown Doggy Lounge and Rex (CHS advertiser) offer grooming and goods
  • The Capitol Hill Animal Clinic on 15th Ave E and 12th Ave’s Broadway Veterinary Clinic are also there to lend a paw
  • City Cat Mobile Vet (web site) and Cosmic Home and Pet (web site) are two of many mobile pet-related providers in the neighborhood. Holler in comments if you’d like to add your Hill business to the roster.
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4 thoughts on “Pill Hill adds a place for cats and dogs to its roster of hospitals and clinics

  1. Following seeing this blog, I took my cat (Capt. Jack Sparrow) in to be treated. He has developed some sort of upper respiratory virus and these people/this place treated him so well that I would not hesitate to recommend Urban Animal to one and all. My fur-buddy was thoroughly treated without being OVER treated, for which I am eternally grateful. I want to thank Dr. Trusheim, Taya and the terrific veterinary assistant (I’m so sorry — I didn’t catch his name and it isn’t written above) for their kindness to my cat and for helping him. Just a great place with great people!

  2. I should add a note to my original post advising all that I called in advance to let the Vet know about my cat. They took great pains to quarantine him so that no other cat could possibly be exposed to his respiratory problem in the event it might be contagious. Neither one of my other cats has had a problem so, it may simply be an allergy but I wanted to assure others that Urban Animal was extremely conscientious to safeguard all other patients while providing excellent care for my cat. As I originally stated, I was very impressed with both the staff and the cleanliness of the clinic.