Jennifer Berg, local veterinarian, has died at 49

Jennifer Berg, who cared for the neighborhood’s pets starting in 1998 as a vet at Tribeca Soho Animal Hospital on Lispenard and again in 2016 when she opened her own practice, Tribeca Veterinary Wellness, here on West Street and Laight, died on Nov. 10. She was 49 and the cause was cancer.

She owned the practice with her husband, Lionel Closson; their children, Tristan, 14, and Juliette, 11, were fixtures there, along with the family’s little white rescue pup, Seeker. The family lives in Harlem.

Jennifer started her career in the veterinary profession in high school, working as a “kennel girl” at the local animal hospital in her hometown of Milwaukee. As a young child, she spent summers on a dairy farm in northern Wisconsin, bottle feeding calves and tending to the the barn cats’ injuries and infections. She received her formal training at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine, graduating in 1997, and completed her internship at the Schwarzman Animal Medical Center in Midtown. She then spent the next 10 years at the Tribeca Soho Animal Hospital and another eight years at Animal General on the Upper West Side.

She brought all the best practices she had gleaned over the years to Tribeca Veterinary Wellness: she kept medical tables out of the exam rooms, to keep the animals relaxed (big dogs were treated on the floor and small dogs and cats in their owners’ laps). All the rooms have two doors, since pets are more comfortable if the owner leaves through one door and then follows the vet through the other. The kennels are arranged so clients don’t have to face each other, especially the dogs and cats. And she built in quiet rooms for recovery.

And she knew that building a relationship with the owner was as important as the one she built with their pet — as in any partnership.

“The first step is to spend a lot of time talking with the owner, finding out what’s wrong so we can get on the right track,” she told the TC when she opened the practice. “I’ve heard people say they wanted to be a vet because they don’t like people,” she added. “That’s not going to happen. When you’re a vet, people are dependent on you — they’re fearful, anxious. That’s why it’s important to build relationships and to build a culture. I want this to be the kind of place where everyone will hold the door open for everyone else.”

The business was her dream and her life’s work, alongside her husband. It will continue to serve the community under his supervision.



  1. met her a couple of times, her practice was in the ground floor of the building I live in, She was a wonderful, kind soul. She will be missed. My condolences to the family.

  2. Dr. Berg was the first doctor I met who truly cared about my four legged baby. She helped us through our first real veterinary emergencies in NYC and was truly an incredible doctor who always listened never wavered in her support of both animal and pet parent. We are grateful to have been in her care. Thank you Dr. Berg, for taking care of our community. Your legacy and strength will be remembered. To her wonderful family – thank you for sharing her with us, our heart is with you.

  3. Dr Berg was such a wonderful Vet. She was like a country doctor of the old days where you and your pet were taken care of together with such warmth, knowledge and understanding.

  4. I am so saddened by this. She fought so hard. Life is precious, cherish it while you can.

  5. Jennifer Berg was a remarkable vet and a truly wonderful human. I was struck by her open and welcoming energy and her attention to care for both animals and their owners. Our hearts are with her family.

  6. I had the privilege of working with Jen for 7 years. She was not only clinically the best veterinarian I’ve ever met; she was the most patient, kind and generous with her time. The latter is, sadly, very rare in veterinary medicine these days. She was a wonderful colleague and fortunately for me, one of my dearest friends for the past 13 years. What I will miss the most, however, is her brilliantly keen, utterly unique intelligence. The world is a much-diminished place without that mind. I grieve for her family, her friends and her patients. This is truly a terrible, heartbreaking loss.

  7. So sad to see this. Dr. Berg was great with our dogs and we will miss her. She was so kind and took so much time to really care for them.

  8. I am heartbroken to see this. She had taken care of my pup since he was 12 weeks old. She was the kindest soul … words cannot express my sadness – truly a gem of a person. She was always so understanding and caring and knowledgeable on everything that was going on in the world of healthcare. Her knowledge extended beyond that of veterinary medicine, you will be missed a lot.

  9. Cannoli , met Dr Berg 7 years ago, my wife and I bought that beautiful French bulldog 7 years ago for my daughter that lives in New York city. We were lucky enough to find Dr Berg ,cannoli has seizures Dr Berg navigated the best possible treatment & loving care for my daughter ,cannoli now lives a very very happy life ,& we owe to the TRUE LOVE AN COMPASSION Dr BERG GAVE from her ,,,,❤️We truly thank you Dr Berg and I pray for you , your entire family and all your animals that love you.❤️

  10. This is so devastating – she was an extraordinary veterinarian and a remarkable human being. What an incredible loss. I’m so sorry.