KINGSTON TOWNSHIP -- A prominent veterinarian and humanitarian from Luzerne County has died. He was the founder of The Lands at Hillside Farms, a place for the public to learn about farming and an animal hospital that has saved countless pets.
Ask just about anyone who knew Dr. Doug Ayers and they'll tell you how incredible he was.
"If you look at the choices he made, he could be driving around in a Ferrari and living in a mansion and he would rather be here shoveling chicken manure. That's how he was, hands-on, passionate, outdoorsy, very passionate about family, community, the environment, the whole deal," said Chet Mozloom, executive director of The Lands at Hillside Farms.
Dr. Ayers died this week after battling leukemia for more than a decade.
"We certainly have lost a friend, a good mentor, a father figure. Dr. Ayers, everything about him was inspirational, even the way he battled his cancer," said Dr. Michelle Damcott, a veterinarian at Plains Animal Hospital.
Dr. Ayers was a veterinarian and owned the Plains Animal Hospital in Plains Township, but his life's passion was the farm.
In 2005, he founded The Lands at Hillside Farms in the Back Mountain area of Luzerne County.
"If anything, he gave everything he earned to the farm, completely sacrificed for it."
His goal was to educate people about sensible and sustainable life so that future generations can enjoy the environment we have now.
Dr. Ayers' friends and family say his death will not stop them from continuing his life's mission.
"He's left enough to do for a lifetime and we're going to make sure what he wants to happen, happens."