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Introduction

Florence Kimball
Helen Goldhaft Wernicoff
Interlude, 1910-1936

Marie Koenig Olson
Patricia O'Connor Halloran
Interlude, 1938-1939

Helen Borchmann Doremus
Sylvia Burg Salk
Interlude, 1940s

Catherine Fabricant
Helena Haight
Conclusion
Credits

Helen Borchmann Doremus, 1940

Helen Doremus was born Helen Borchmann in the Bronx on September 20, 1918. At the age of 12 her two youthful interests, animals and science, inspired her to announce to her parents that she would like to become a veterinarian. This led her, in the fall of 1935 at the age of 16, to Cornell University, where she studied veterinary medicine for five years with a class that included three other women.

At Cornell she met Henry Doremus, who was teaching biology at the time, and they were married in February of 1941. Dr. Doremus worked in the Mastitis Diagnostic Laboratory, then honed her clinical skills by interning at Trayford Animal Hospital in Huntington, New York. Following her husband's graduation in 1946, they jointly established the Doremus Animal Hospital in Cedar Grove, New Jersey and, 12 years later, the Green Mountain Animal Hospital in South Burlington, Vermont.

Helen Doremus was an accomplished horsewoman, raising and training Morgans. A delightful pictorial article that appeared in the weekend Parade magazine of May 9, 1948 featured her with a horse, a chinchilla, a cow, a dog, and one of her two sons.

As a boy growing up in Canada, I often followed news of the public protestations for the newborn harp seals, which were each year clubbed to death on the ice floes off the coast of Newfoundland for their precious pelts. Little did I know at that time that I would later meet one of the principal activists protesting this practice. Dr. Doremus, along with Brian Davies of the International Foundation for Animal Welfare, was very influential in compelling the Canadian government to halt this practice.

In 1970 Dr. Doremus joined the professorial faculty of the University of Vermont and taught Laboratory Animal Technology for six years. Many of the students from the university in that period progressed into veterinary careers, and she and her husband were able to mentor them and guide their paths.

The Doremuses retired to Vero Beach, Florida, in 1980. There they remained active in many activities, including the local humane society and all matters Cornell.

Helen died on July 20, 2002 after an extended illness. A quote from her obituary speaks of her "long career in animal medicine, which was marked by an enduring concern and heartfelt love for animals. Many owners of animals were comforted by her gentle and efficient care."

In 2003, a large and ultra-modern animal shelter costing $7 million was opened in Vero Beach as a lasting tribute to her and others with a passion for supporting helpless and homeless animals.

Helen Doremus was an extraordinary clinician and teacher, a compassionate friend of animals, and a wonderful woman. Hank Doremus, also deeply committed to Cornell, remains in Vero Beach with his 18-year-old canine companion, Paisley.

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Helen Doremus



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Cornell University
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