San Pedro Animal Hospital officially opened its doors on Christmas Eve, 2009. It is San Pedro’s first and only private veterinary hospital. Owned and operated by Laurie Droke, DVM, and Peter “Pedro” Lawrence, of Pedro’s Inn, it seeks to offer something the island has never seen before: a permanent small animal hospital offering modern veterinary care similar to that found in the United States, Canada and Europe.
“Dr. Laurie”, originally from Fort Worth, Texas, first came to San Pedro in 1998, during Spring Break of her fourth and last year of veterinary school. She became a certified scuba diver on that trip, and returned several times over the next ten years with her family for vacations. While visiting the island, Laurie was told by the residents of San Pedro how much a veterinarian was needed. At that time, San Pedro only had a veterinarian once a week. During those years, Dr. Droke was working as an associate veterinarian in up-scale Palo Alto, California. Unfortunately, after eight years of employment there the clinic was sold, and Laurie chose to look elsewhere for a place to practice. As luck would have it, she stumbled across a job notice on the internet for Saga Humane Society, in San Pedro, Belize. Thinking it would be a nice change from the intensity of Silicon Valley as well as a new adventure, Dr. Droke applied and accepted the position as Saga Humane Society’s veterinarian, becoming “Dr. Laurie”. From October of 2008 to December of 2009 Dr. Laurie worked at Saga as a private practitioner and shelter veterinarian. The working conditions were difficult, and finances often limited the quality of care she was able to provide. With financial assistance and encouragement from Peter Lawrence, owner of Pedro’s Inn and Hotel, the idea for San Pedro Animal Hospital was born and became a reality after just three weeks of construction.
Peter, or “Pedro” as he is well-known, is originally from Amersham, England. He has lived all over the world running hotels, bars, and time-share operations. Before arriving in San Pedro in 2000 he was living and working in Moscow and China. Peter is an avid animal lover and Jaegermeister drinker. Of all the places he has lived, he loves San Pedro the best.
Dr. Laurie lives and works in Santa Clara, California as well as San Pedro, Belize. She has a Golden Retriever named Jambo and a cat named Thelma.