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Dr. Suber Looking at History Photos

Our Legacy

Poster Project Ignites A Passion

How a simple school project helped restart an animal hospital.

An Unexpected Impact

When Jonathan and Amanda Suber’s 5th grader, Izzi, came home one afternoon with Mrs. Young’s annual family legacy assignment, their only expectation was to help Izzi get that prized “A” at the top of the report. Little did they realize, this project was about to spark something much more life-changing for the Suber family.

Izzi, the Suber’s second-born, is a spunky, friendly, and determined girl who loves life - and animals. Listening to their daughter’s excitement as she explained the project around the table that night - to prepare a presentation on their family legacy of veterinarians, Jonathan and Amanda exchanged an understanding smile. It was time to dig out those dusty shoeboxes of black and white photos and introduce Izzi to her grandfather, from whom she bears a resemblance.

Izzi Suber History Photo

Continuing a 70-Year Legacy

Izzi’s father Jonathan (Dr. Jonathan Suber, DVM, DACVS) came from a line of veterinarians (his father Andy and his grandfather Pat Suber before him). Nearly 70 years earlier, Pat Suber had started Columbia, South Carolina’s Capital Animal Hospital in 1951 in an old, nondescript, single-story, brick building on a street corner on the outskirts of the city. It wasn’t a large practice (only a few rooms really), but Dr. Suber had a huge heart for his community and the dogs and cats in it. After many years, it came time to retire and Andy Suber, his son, took over the practice. It wasn’t long before Jonathan, his 14-year-old son, came of age and started working alongside his father, cleaning kennels and walking dogs. It was to that era that Jonathan attributes both his love for animals and a hard-earned work ethic. Jonathan soon ended up in vet school and then in a corporate surgery practice that provided his young family with the safety and security of a steady paycheck. By then, Jonathan had become a successful surgeon and medical director in a different practice in town.

Dr. Suber Reviewing X-rays

A Crisis of Faith

Every night as father and daughter gathered around the dinner table, they laughed till they almost cried as Jonathan recounted funny stories of the Suber’s past with each new photo they taped to the project’s poster board. For Izzi, her love for animals made the project come alive, and her love for her grandfather drew her in. For Jonathan, with every photo, he was reminded of the special touch his father and grandfather had on the families of the community, and every morning he would go back to work, knowing deep inside he wasn’t quite happy where he was. As the school project came to a close, the pressure continued to mount inside him while the questions remained: “Am I really helping the community like my father and grandfather? Should I really restart Capital?” Just the thought made him nervous. “How could he step away from the stability and security of a corporate job and risk his family’s financial security?”

But the family didn’t let him dwell on those thoughts too long. “I had been telling him for a long time that he should go out on his own and open his own place,” Amanda remembers with a smile. Even Jack, their oldest got in on the action, joining Izzi in encouraging him to move forward. Over the next few months, Jonathan began to warm up the idea. “I think that project was the spark that got him to think about those before him and his family,” says Amanda. “And I think not only was he excited, but he was kind of like, 'I have to do this.’”

The First Week Was Telling

Making the decision to quit a stable job was difficult. What if no patients came? Would they make it? As each day ticked by, Jonathan and Amanda felt the angst and wondered if they had made the right decision. No one knew what to expect as the doors re-opened that first week, but call by call the schedule started to fill up, showing them that their decision wasn’t a mistake. The Subers remember how Andy, Jonathan’s father, came by every day “just to check the schedule and see if we had enough work.” Andy was a big part of helping them get re-established.

Jonathan remembers his first surgery well — a dog that had injured one of its legs and was owned by two blind people. The couple was never able to notice the limp, but a neighbor brought this to their attention and the couple took their dog to Jonathan. The surgery was successful, but the dog needed daily care to make a full recovery. Jonathan and Amanda remember discussing what to do. It was quickly decided: this couple’s dear pet needed to have the love and care that was necessary for a full recovery. Amanda and one of her staff would personally visit the home of the couple multiple times to ensure the dog was healing properly. That simple act made a lasting impression on their new client, setting the bar for how their new practice would care for its community. “I think our spirit of service and caring really comes from making relationships with the clients that bring their dogs and cats in to see us,” says Jonathan. “We have a broad sense of community here at Capital Animal Hospital, and that's one of our core values.”

Month after month, the business grew on a reputation for caring and today has become a thriving practice. “Capital Animal Hospital is my heritage,” says Jonathan. “I’ve known it my whole life. It’s been around, it’s been part of me, and it’s been part of the community.”

Small-Town Feel, Warm-Hearted Care

As you walk in the front door, you’ll stroll past a glass display case that collects instruments from Capital’s past (a must-see). Just like days gone by, you’ll be greeted with the same small-practice charm and warm Southern hospitality that has characterized Capital for over 70 years, yet now with all the technological advancements of a modern-day practice. As you sit down for your initial consultation with Dr. Suber, Izzi’s family heritage project hangs gracefully on the wall behind you, a striking reminder of how an unsuspecting assignment inspired a third-generation legacy of caring for its community.

Team Photo in Lobby

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