Growing up in Farmingdale with her parents and two brothers, Nora Kleps had the usual assortment of household pets — cats, dogs, parakeets, turtles — “anything you could buy at Woolworth’s,” she said. She also liked riding horses, but despite being drawn to animals she followed another path before eventually returning to school to become a veterinarian. It was only after becoming fluent in French, Italian, and Farsi that she became fluent in animal medicine.
In college, she majored in foreign languages and literature, then worked as a translator and consecutive interpreter in Philadelphia, sometimes on medical cases.
After living in Iran for three years, she returned to the United States determined to pursue veterinary medicine.
“It felt like it was something I hadn’t done that I had always wanted to do,” she said. She enrolled at Columbia University in a general studies program designed for older pre-med and pre-vet students that enables them to get the requisite number of science credits. She did that for four years at night while working at an Italian bank in the city, then earned her veterinary degree from the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.
It was her love of horses that made her decide to be a mixed-practice veterinarian, which means that she can treat both small animals and large ones, like horses. She doesn’t treat pet birds or reptiles, although she will treat turkeys, ducks, and geese.
A job with an East Hampton veterinarian brought her to Springs in 1993, and not long after she landed a job at the Mattituck-Laurel Veterinary Hospital, on the North Fork, where she still works. Since the mid-1990s, she has also run her own mobile practice, and is one of the only veterinarians on the South Fork who makes