Visitors walking into the Red Bank Veterinary Hospital in Tinton Falls, N.J., immediately know it’s not your typical trip to the vet. The building—one of the largest private animal hospitals in the U.S.—is a stately labyrinth of care rooms circling a lobby with a sprawling fish tank column at its center. There are auditoriums where practitioners present research on advances in veterinary science. Even the clientele of the facility, one of 42 practices operated by Compassion-First Pet Hospitals, are top-shelf: Bruce Springsteen’s dogs have been treated here.
“What I told everyone was that I wanted this group to become the Mayo Clinic of veterinary medicine,” says John Payne, who founded the company in 2014 after previously running veterinary hospital operations at Mars Inc. and Bayer AG’s animal health divisions. “It wasn’t just the quality of the medicine, which everyone says they practice, it was advancing specialty and emergency medicine that mirrored human care.”