2004_10_petersoboroff.jpgBecause we're nosy
Age, occupation, and where you live
41, veterinarian, Upper West Side

How long have you been a vet in New York City? What pets do you have?
I've been practicing here in NYC since 1996 (8 years). Came here after graduation to do post-grad work at the Animal Medical Center. And I share my apartment with four cats and two parakeets.

One of the concerns New Yorkers have about keeping a pet in the city is thespace issue. How do you see your patients coping with that?
New Yorkers address their space constraints in a variety of ways. Many simply opt for smaller dogs/pets that don't require quite so much room. But because many still like and own large dogs, there's a thriving urban industry here of dog walkers, doggie day care, canine play groups, etc. through which time-strapped New Yorkers try to give their pets the exercise they need. It's something you don't see much elsewhere.

What is one of your better animal patient stories that you trot out at cocktail parties? What is the oddest pet (as in, "I can't believe this is in NYC") you've treated? And is there animal patient-vet privilege?
People seem to love the farm animal stories from vet school, e.g. where I'm up to my shoulder in the wrong end of some poor cow or horse. Never ceases to fascinate. My best excuse for missing an important family function was that I had to perform a C-section on a cow. But here in the city I see primarily cats and dogs. Nothing too wild, though I have treated birds, rabbits, mice, rats, gerbils, hamsters, hedgehogs, guinea pigs, snakes, lizards, etc.

At cocktail parties and the like, people invariably tell me that they too once wanted to be a vet, but either a) didn't like math (a prerequisite for application), b) can't abide the sight of blood, and/or c) could never deal with euthanasia.

What do you think of the feral cat problem in the city? And who would win, in a showdown between stray dogs, feral cats, and city rats?
The feral cat problem - an issue not only here but truly worldwide - has no easy, simple, palatable solution. The most humane, reasonable, and proven remedies are "TNR" (trap, neuter, release) programs. The city has literally dozens of self-styled rescue organizations, all doing their well-intentioned best to find homes for the never-ending supply of stray and unwanted animals. But like the "war on terror," we will never truly eliminate the pet overpopulation problem. Sadly, society lacks the resolve, wherewithal, smarts, and compassion to do what it takes. We can, however, reduce and ameliorate the suffering through education and advocacy.

As for a "showdown", I'd put my money on the cats. They're smarter.

Have you taken your cats on the subway? Or would they rather have a stroller?
In general, cats just don't like to travel. They're creatures of habit, and would much rather stay in their abode or territory than travel by any conveyance. I have, however, transported cats on planes, trains, taxis, etc. when the need arises.

And to delve into the secret lives of veternarians, we
hear you are very interested in music. What kind of music do you like?

You're pandering with this one. I actively pursue and listen to music, much of which would be labeled "power-pop." This fact does nothing but reinforce the notion that most vets are geeks. Which is true.

Some questions about NYC
Favorite subway line:
1,2,3,9 - no question

Better headlines: NY Post or NY Daily News?
The Onion

Favorite NYC politician:
Drawing a blank...

Best/worst Brooklyn gentrification trend:
I'm looking forward to the future of Red Hook - it'll be a happenin' place soon enough

Best arthouse movie theater:
Lincoln Plaza

Favorite place for a slice:
Freddy and Peppers on Amsterdam

Dogs, cats or babies:
Easy one - cats