Jim Laurita attended the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and earned his zoology degree in 1981. After several years working and performing in the circus, Jim continued his education at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. He completed his DVM in 1989. Jim moved to the midcoast area in 1990. As a student Dr. Laurita participated in research projects at the National Marine Mammal Laboratory in Alaska and animal behavior studies with elephants in India.
One of Jim’s strong clinical interests included advanced imaging. He attended multiple training courses to perform abdominal ultrasound and echocardiograms. In addition, Jim was founder and director of the NPO Hope Elephants, a circus elephant retirement home in Hope. Jim was instrumental for developing new and innovative therapeutic techniques to help Rosie and Opal with their physical ailments. In September of 2014, Dr. Laurita was found deceased in the barn at his house. Authorities believe he stumbled and fell and subsequently was accidentally stepped on by one of the girls.
Dr. Laurita had been a member of this practice for more than 20 years. He has seen many of you and your animals through tragic and extremely difficult decisions as well as the joy of a new puppy or kitten. I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work so closely with Jim. To be able to call someone with the experience and passion of Dr. Laurita my mentor, is a privilege. I have learned so much from Jim over the years – so much more than medicine and surgery. I am grateful for every anecdote, every story, and every tid-bit he has ever shared with me. I hope to carry it all with me through the coming years and one day pass it all on to my own predecessor.
Updates on Rosie and Opal can be found below at The Endangered Ark Foundation where they are currently housed in Hugo, Oklahoma:
We of course will continue to provide the best possible care to both you and your pets in a manner that I hope Jim will look down on and be proud of. Dr. Laurita has left some very large foot prints on all of our hearts. I will do my best to fill those shoes.