Silver Creek Animal Clinic moves to larger pad
In an organic chemistry class at Texas A&M University, the professor approached Randy Barbe.
"I can get you into med school," the professor said.
Barbe averaged 95 percent on his test scores while the rest of the class averaged about 55 percent, according to Barbe.
"I’m a chemistry wizard," Barbe said.
But Barbe didn’t think twice about his professor’s offer. "Nah," he told his professor. "I want to be a vet."
"When I was eight I wanted to be a vet and I never changed," Barbe said. "It never occurred to me to be a physician."
After graduating in 1978, he ran veterinary clinics in Texas, Idaho and two in Salt Lake until he finally settled in Park City in 1999 and opened Silver Creek Animal Clinic.
"I’d rather have lived in Park City before, but it took awhile for the population to grow enough," Barbe said.
His stay in his first office lasted eight years before he moved again, to a larger space down the street.
"Literally, we rolled our equipment down the street," said Kat Barbe, Randy’s wife and office manager.
Silver Creek Animal Clinic moved about a block away from its old location to 6443 North Business Park Loop Road, near Home Depot. It will host a Grand Opening Pet Fair April 14 from 1-5 p.m.
The event will offer free rabies vaccinations, discounted microchips, drawings, food, live music, kids activities, groomers, a pet communicator, trainers and other activities.
"It’s a pet fair, we are bringing everybody that we know of," Kat said. "There will be 20-30 people in the animal industry, it’s a big fair and we are helping them get to know the community and for everyone to see the new clinic."
The new, expanded clinic provides more workstations and equipment; more rooms and more employees and doctors to accommodate a higher demand that the clinic has experienced recently.
"Before, we didn’t have space for two full-time vets. By expanding and hiring more people, we can handle the goal we have for a larger volume of work," Randy said. "We pull in the experts to do specialty work such as ultra sounds and cardiograms."
In the previous office, Barbe was not able to provide the full range of care he wanted for pet owners.
"We didn’t turn away anybody but our schedule was full and we worked late nights. Now we can stay on a more regular schedule," Randy said.
"By 10 a.m. everything was full," Kat said. "It will be smoother to just have two full-time doctors, it will make everything better."
After 29 years in the practice, Randy isn’t slowing down
"I still enjoy doing it," Randy said. "Since I’ve come to Park City, I’ve enjoyed it more. It’s a lifestyle, you meet so many people in the community and we are recognized everywhere we go."
Part of the reason Randy enjoys Park City is because most of the pet owners "take such good care of their pets."
"People up here are more tied into nature, the outdoors and animals, it’s all tied together," Randy said.
Because of exceptional owner-care, Randy has observed an older dog and cat population than other places he’s worked. With the older ages, he’s observed many cancer cases. He’s also works on a lot of blown out knees and joint injuries from the active lifestyle that’s here.
"If you’re a dog or a person living in Park City, you’ll have a new knee before you move," Kat said.
Through his work, Randy becomes attached to the animals and the people he works with, as, he said, most veterinarians do.
"If you’ve been seeing them since they were a puppy, you can get really attached," Randy said. Because of the attachment, the work can, at times, be heartbreaking.
"Pets have short lives and there are a lot of pets here," Randy said.
Randy makes personal visits to people’s houses to euthanize dying animals.
"It’s a pretty huge part of our business," Randy said.
Recently, he’s been doing about six or seven a week and none of them are easy.
"Coming right out of school, we’re not trained to handle grieving clients," Randy said. "For some clients, losing a pet is harder than losing a parent or grandparent. We have to be tender and give them the time they need and do whatever it takes to take as much difficulty out of it as possible."
Randy approaches the other parts of his work with similar tact.
"We are extremely practical. We don’t try to push any procedure or medicine. A lot of people can approach me. People like honesty, practicality and compassion. They want guidance without telling them what to do."
Silver Creek Animal is located at to 6443 North Business Park Loop Road, near Home Depot. It will host a grand opening pet fair April 14 from 1-5 p.m. For more information, call 649-7414.
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