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Elevating patient care.
Creating better outcomes.

the power of us

The best opportunity in veterinary medicine.


Priority on People

Joining Compassion-First means being part of an even bigger family.

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Medical Leadership & Development

Our hospitals attract experts who keep up with the latest advancements—and often push medicine forward themselves.

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High Satisfaction Scores

Without a scorecard, can we truly know if we’re living up to the highest standards possible?

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A Great Culture

We’re what you could call a “highly functional family.”

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New Capital

Partnering with Compassion-First unlocks the capital to continue offering your team, your patients and their families the very best in veterinary medicine.

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Support Services

We suspect that it was your passion for pets, not paperwork, that led your career choice.

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Consider joining the Compassion-First family

If you’re curious about joining our family of specialty and emergency hospitals, we invite you to take a closer look. Protect the legacy you’ve built and learn more about how we partner with people who are passionate about pets and their people. Contact our team by filling out the below form or give us a call to see if we’re the right fit for your hospital – 732.724.4100.


Hear from the founder of Animal Emergency & Referral Associates about joining Compassion-First Pet Hospitals.

During his more than 35 years’ experience in veterinary medicine, Dr. Michael Palescandolo has seen expectations for animal healthcare approach standards for humans. But providing care at that level can be difficult as a single practitioner. He joined Compassion-First Pet Hospitals to better serve his clients and patients, and enjoys his autonomy along with the backing of greater assets.

Listen to his take on what happens when independence finds balance with interdependence.

Find out how Red Bank Veterinary Hospitals in Tinton Falls, NJ teamed up with Compassion-First to provide the best possible medical outcomes.

From the specialists to the clinicians and support staff, everyone at Red Bank Veterinary Hospital shares the same daily goal: to provide outstanding patient care. The leadership team at Red Bank Veterinary Hospital fosters support and growth, enabling staff to thrive as professionals—and as people who love animals.

Learn why Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists partnered with Compassion-First.

With hundreds of patients examined in their clinic each day, as well as more than a dozen surgeries performed, the doctors at Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists are passionate about innovation and providing the highest level of care. Their partnership with Compassion-First Pet Hospitals has enabled the staff to have all the state-of-the-art tools and equipment necessary to practice the very best level of medicine possible. By joining Compassion-First, GCVS has been able to collaborate and share ideas with other network hospitals across the country.

Since the beginning of our relationship Compassion-First has supported my specialty and provided me support to pursue advanced training. The Anesthesiology and Pain Management service at Red Bank Veterinary Hospital practices cutting edge medicine and is collaborative with other hospitals throughout the country. I am proud to be a part of Compassion First Pet Hospitals and to be on the forefront of veterinary medicine!

Melina Zimmerman, DVM, DAVCAA

Red Bank Veterinary Hospitals

Melina Zimmerman, DVM, DAVCAA

Red Bank Veterinary Hospitals

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The Compassion-First response to the huge crisis in Houston has been incredible. I was really impressed by how everyone came together to minimize the impact on the people and animals affected by this disaster. It shows that this group truly cares about the well-being of their employees, and that it will go the extra mile to support them. Compassion-First’s pursuit of collaboration between practices to build a true network and community of highly advanced specialty practices is commendable. It inspires the hope of building an exceptional group of hospitals unlike any other in this country.

Ingar Krebs, DVM, DACVS

Upstate Vet

Ingar Krebs, DVM, DACVS

Upstate Vet

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Compassion-First Pet Hospital has given me the opportunity to practice the absolute best quality of medicine and surgery with state-of-the-art equipment with managers that understand the "ins and outs" of veterinary medicine as well as the pressures of a busy neurology and neurosurgery practice. This has enabled me to build a team of like-minded doctors and staff that want the very best for the patient and their owners. In the end, I not only get to help the patient but have advanced veterinary neurology and neurosurgery with cutting edge clinical research and publications. I could not imagine a more fulfilling work atmosphere.

Eric N. Glass, MS, DVM, Diplomate ACVIM

Red Bank Veterinary Hospitals

Eric N. Glass, MS, DVM, Diplomate ACVIM

Red Bank Veterinary Hospitals

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Our history: hometown care with heart

After 40 years spent caring for pets, John Payne discovered an opportunity to revolutionize specialty pet care. Rather than the traditional model of working in isolation, outstanding pet hospitals could be linked together to share knowledge and resources with each other, elevating specialty care to new levels.

He brought this vision to life in 2014, and since then the family of Compassion-First Pet Hospitals has expanded across the country.

His approach has proven to be a win-win situation—our hospitals retain the identities and relationships that they’ve established in their own communities, while benefiting as members of our dynamic network. We’re dedicated to individual growth and advancement for our employees in everything we do. And we’re proud that this unique approach consistently delivers the best possible outcomes for the pets we serve.

  1. September 2014

    John Payne founded Compassion-First Pet Hospitals with the mission to provide the very best medicine and services to pets and their owners, while empowering individual growth and advancement. Compassion-First hospitals retain their unique identities and autonomies regarding medical decisions, while benefiting from the opportunity to share knowledge and maximize their resources as part of a dynamic network.

  2. September 2016

    Ten new hospitals representing Colorado, Connecticut, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas were added to the Compassion-First Family. These hospitals represent the company’s first expansion outside of the Northeast and an increased presence in Pennsylvania.

  3. December 2016

    Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists (GCVS) in Houston, Texas, premiers on Nat Geo WILD's new series Animal ER. 

    Nat Geo WILD’s new series goes behind the scenes at the hospital to follow cases on the cutting edge of veterinary care. GCVS is one of the most respected — and busiest — animal hospitals in the world, with more than 200 staff treating over 50,000 patients a year, 

  4. January 2017

    Introduction of the Fear Free training and certification initiative designed to reduce the fear, anxiety, and stress that pets so often experience when receiving veterinary care.

  5. January 2017

    Compassion-First Pet Hospitals adds new roles to help boost hospital collaboration and improve medical outcomes, thus charting a course where veterinary medicine is defined by collaboration, cooperation, and compassionate care.

  6. January 2018

    Compassion-First propels career growth for non-credentialed veterinary professionals through partnership with two AVMA Accredited Veterinary Technician programs: Penn Foster College & Cedar Valley College. In addition to the veterinary technicians program, a ground-breaking, employer-supported development program for veterinary nursing teams was implemented, allowing them to choose their educational program and career path. 

  7. January 2019

    First in veterinary industry to recognize front-line employees with special recognition in January during Client Service Representative Appreciation Week. The event will happen every year in January.

  8. January 2019

    To ensure the health and wellness of America’s service animals, Compassion-First hospitals began offering free emergency veterinary medical care to those service animals impacted by the ongoing government shutdown.

  9. June 2019

    Care Center in Dayton opened a new state-of-the-art veterinary hospital, adding surgery, interventional radiology and acupuncture to their specialties. The new location was also upgraded with cutting-edge technology such as an MRI, CT and fluoroscopy.

  10. June 2019

    Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists receive the 2019 Pinnacle Aware by the Better Business Bureau. This marks the sixth consecutive year of being honored for excellence and quality in the workforce. 

  11. July 2019

    Animal Emergency Hospital of North Texas (AEHNT) in Grapevine, TX and Florida Veterinary Referral Center & 24-Hour Emergency Hospital (FVRC) in FL joined the Compassion-First Pet Hospitals family. Both hospitals are well-known for providing exceptional specialty and emergency care to pets and their owners.

  12. September 2019

    First ever veterinary nursing conference held at Compassion-First home office. Created and launched by our own Veterinary Nursing Development team, ‘IGNITE!’, which stands for inspire, grow, nurture, invest, train and empower, brought together over 30 veterinary nursing leaders from across the organization. This first-ever, three-day mini-conference connected our VNTs and provided just what they needed. 

  13. October 2019

    Kerri Marshall, DVM, has joined the Compassion-First team as the Vice President of Innovation. Dr. Marshall will be responsible for implementing technology that will streamline collaboration across all the veterinary hospitals in the Compassion-First family. 

  14. November 2019

    Three renowned Florida hospitals join the Compassion-First family. 

    Specialists in Companion Animal Neurology (SCAN) of Clearwater and Naples are the only veterinary practices on the Florida Gulf Coast that exclusively treat medical and surgical disorders of the brain, spinal cord, nerves and muscles. 

    First Coast Veterinary Specialists and Emergency is a referral specialty and emergency center with board-certified veterinary surgeons providing advanced care to pet owners throughout Northeast Florida and South Georgia communities. 


John Payne

John Payne

President and CEO

John is an executive with 40 years of experience leading companies in both the human and veterinary healthcare industries. He is the former CEO of Banfield Pet Hospital and past President of Bayer Animal Health North America. His background includes the establishment of start-up companies and the growth and development of established companies. John is presently the Chairman of the Board of the American Humane Association.

Alison A. Cornell

Alison A. Cornell

Chief Financial Officer & Executive Vice President

Alison is an executive, business leader and strategist with significant accomplishments in the healthcare, chemicals/consumer products and telecommunications industries. After 19 years with AT&T, she served as Corporate Senior Vice President and CFO for Covance Inc. (NYSE:CVD), a global drug development company, and Executive Vice President & CFO for International Flavors & Fragrances (NYSE:IFF). Alison has her MBA and is a Certified Treasury Professional (CTP).

Ryan Buck

Ryan Buck

Chief Operating Officer & Executive Vice President

Ryan is an executive with 20 years of experience in the healthcare industry including human and veterinary medicine. Ryan’s veterinary experience spans the functions of hospital operations, sales, marketing, business development, talent development, and strategy. Ryan was instrumental in the start-up of Compassion-First’s hospitals in Austin and San Antonio and the rebuilding of the Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists practice and hospital in Houston following Hurricane Harvey.

Hana Wolf

Hana Wolf

Chief General Counsel

Hana is an attorney with more than 15 years' experience in employment law, commercial litigation and contract law. Before transitioning into her role as General Counsel, she served as the Human Resources Compliance & Training Manager. Prior to joining Compassion-First Pet Hospitals, she worked at a financial technology start-up and the law firm of Skadden Arps, where she focused on labor and employment law, as well as commercial litigation, representing public and privately-held companies in a broad range of industries.

Dr. Kerri Marshall

Dr. Kerri Marshall

Chief Information Officer & VP of Innovation

Kerri is a second-generation veterinarian with more than 10 years of private practice and more than 20 years innovating technology projects within veterinary medicine. She is a former founding member of Banfield Pet Hospital’s management team and the inventor of Trupanion Expressä, a patented software. She is recognized as an industry leader in developing integrated systems and was honored in 2018 with the NAVC’s Veterinarian Innovator of the Year.

Doug Brooks

Doug Brooks

VP of Business Development

Doug is a seasoned leader with 25 years of experience in the Animal Health Industry. He held various sales and sales leadership roles with IDEXX, Bayer and Elanco, including international experience as a General Manager for Elanco’s UK and Irish business. Most recently, Doug was Elanco’s Senior Director, Eastern Sales for Companion Animal where he managed 13 District Sales Managers and had indirect responsibility for 140 sales representatives. He will lead the Business Development team for Compassion-First focusing on creating an expansion strategy to increase the footprint in targeted geographies.

Val Washington

Val Washington

VP of Customer Development

Val is a sales leader with more than 30 years of experience. She held various sales leadership roles in her 22 years with Hill's Pet Nutrition. Most recently, Val was the Director of Sales, Eastern U.S., where she was focused on enhancing selling skills and the customer experience in an ever-changing environment. Prior to Hill's, she held sales leadership roles with consumer products companies, Rubbermaid and Gillette. Val directs all sales interactions with the referral veterinary community across the Compassion-First Pet Hospitals network.


Compassion is more than just part of our name—it guides everything we do.

Across our team, Compassion-First hospitals value their local communities and take part in initiatives to support them. We participate in a variety of programs that make life better for pets—and their families.

Hear the latest from Compassion-First

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