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Longtime vet retiring after 40 years

After 40 years at Atmore Animal Hospital, Dr. Tommy Moore is stepping away from a career that has meant the world to him.

Atmore Animal Hospital employees threw Moore a surprise retirement party on Jan. 29, complete with party favors and goodbye gifts.

“He’s been a great boss,” Receptionist Kristina Morris said. “He’s going to be missed a lot.”

Moore graduated from Auburn University, where he went to veterinarian school.

“I went there and my sophomore year married my wife (Laurie),” he recalled. “Laurie and I went through vet school together (he quipped). She helped put me through vet school. She graduated before and worked at an accounting school.”

When he graduated, Moore said he thought about where he wanted to go.

“I was born and raised here,” he said. “My great grandfather came here from Georgia and he was in the longleaf pine business. Longleaf pines reseeded themselves well here, so that’s why he ended up here. I have a familial history here.”

Moore said Tennant got in contact with him to come practice veterinary medicine in Atmore. Then, there were two clinics, he said.

“Six months after I was in the business with Dr. Tennant, Dr. Ash and I got together and bought Dr. Tenant out,” he said. “That was in 1980-81.”

After being in business with a third partner for five years, the doctors split.

Moore said he took on the small animal part of the business.

“I’ve been here for the long hall,” Moore said. “I was born here, went off to college and I’ve been here since 1980. I’ve had several associates, and a few partners.”

Three years ago, Dr. Steven Shirley came on board, Moore said. Shirley will be taking over the business in Moore’s stead.

“He’s a wonderful partner,” Moore said. “He’s a good, Godly man. My wife taught him in high school. We have loved every minute of it. We have a wonderful clientele. The people in the Atmore community and the surrounding community have been wonderful to work for and with.”

Moore said what kept him getting up and going every day to care for animals was a love for the job.

“What kept me going every day is absolutely the love of the job,” Moore said. “The love of the job wasn’t just the love of the job. It was coming to work, and going to see people I love and care about.

“I’ve had a working family, where some of these girls come to work for me, like Chandra (McMurphy) in 10th grade,” he said. “I’ve watched them grow and get married and have children.”

McMurphy, who has been working for Moore as a technical nurse between 24-25 years, said she began volunteering at the hospital. She said she had an aspiration to go to veterinarian school.

“I started volunteering and ended up loving it,” McMurphy said. “I started working for him in the summers. I grew up here. I graduated high school, went to college, got married and had kids. I loved the job and I like doing the tech part.”

McMurphy said Moore took her under his wing and taught her everything she knows.

“I thank him for giving me an opportunity to grow with him,” she said. “I want to thank him for raising me. He played a large part in my growing up years. I’m thankful for the opportunity to be here for as long as I have been.”

Moore will be moving to the Auburn area, where he’ll be working part time at a veterinarian’s office there. He said he is still on First National Bank and Trust’s board, and will be making monthly trips to Atmore for meetings, and will relieve Shirley if the new doctor needs some time off from work.

Additionally, Moore will be helping manage his property in Lottie, where longleaf pines grow.