In May of 2012, The Center of Veterinary Expertise (COVE) opened to offer 24/7 animal emergency and specialty care to the animals of Suffolk and beyond. Since then, they have had over 65,000 patient visits, grown the team to over 70, participated in dozens of community events, held over a hundred hours of continuing education seminars, and successfully partnered with primary care veterinarians throughout the region.

Co-founders, veterinary cardiologist Dr. Merrilee Small, and veterinary surgeon Dr. Jeff T. Stallings, established The COVE with the goal to not only offer advanced care to companion animals in need, but to be a trustworthy community member and provide a great place for people to work .

“Over the past year, we have had the privilege to help a few thousand ill or injured pets from across the region. Additionally, our team has stood strong during heat waves, hurricanes, and now a global pandemic. It humbles me every day to not only work for the dedicated pet parents in our area, but for our amazing and fearless staff that shows up ready to work every day no matter what.”

Dr. Small

Here are just a few of the most memorable moments from the past year:

Minimally Invasive Surgery

A veterinary laparoscopy is a surgical technique in which abdominal procedures are performed through small incisions, using a camera and fiber optic light source to view inside your animal’s abdomen. This photo was published on the The COVE’s Facebook page in March to showcase how and why the procedure is performed.

A Few Kind Words

“This place is amazing and everyone is so friendly and caring. My fiancée and I came in on Monday night with our girl, Memphis and we were so worried about her. The COVE was able to reassure us and help us through a rough time as our fur baby went through surgery to remove a foreign piece out of her tummy. After her surgery, they updated us how she was doing throughout the rest of that night and the following day. I couldn’t be happier that our Memphis is being her normal derpy self again!”

– COVE Client, Taylor C.

Thank you to Taylor and all of our clients who have shared such kind words about their experiences at The COVE. It is an honor to serve you and your beloved pets!

Working During A Pandemic

The COVE team has been working around the clock to make sure that pet parents, patients, and team members are all safe as we all navigate our way through the COVID-19 pandemic.

An Amazing Team

The COVE’s highly trained, experienced, and compassionate team members are ready to help companion animals 24/7. They make coming to work each day a gift.

“The eight-year anniversary gift is traditionally bronze and pottery. While bronze is formed by combining copper and tin (strong metals), pottery is created with soft clay that molds together to form a strong foundation. Strength is the key for both. And I can proudly say that the united “family” that has been created here at The COVE, was built one day at a time, from the strength and commitment of each and every individual. That is the perfect gift for this year.”

Dr. Stallings


The COVE provides care by board-certified veterinary specialists in cardiology, critical care, and surgery, as well as advanced dentistry by a highly trained and experienced veterinarian. Our emergency service is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year – and no appointment is ever needed. We are located at 6550 Hampton Roads Pkwy, #113, Suffolk, VA. We welcome your call anytime, day or night, at 757-935-9111.

About Us

The COVE’s veterinarians and staff wholeheartedly embrace the core values of community, collaboration, commitment, compassion, and integrity. This focus ensures that pets, the people who love them, and their primary care veterinarians have as positive and affirming a healthcare experience as possible, regardless of the circumstances that bring us all together.