It was 1993 that Veterinarian Dr. Robert Marquis (mar’ kwis) opened Tiara Rado Animal Hospital. Dr. Bob, as his friends and family knew him, was known for his good natured personality, his sense of humor and his dedication to finding a way to treat even the most challenging conditions. His staff members remember him saying “There’s a way to fix this” and “I’m willing to try” to help animals who had health conditions he hadn’t seen before. He was always on the phone with others who had specialty training and constantly learning and improving his skills while innovating with the latest technologies available.
One thing he was well known for was his willingness to take regular flights in his own airplane to pick up an ailing pet from another regional community and transport those patients to the animal hospital here in Grand Junction. He would also provide coaching through a procedure over the phone from time to time and his range of surgical skills kept him well provided with unique, challenging and fascinating cases.
On one occasion, Dr. Bob got a phone call from Dr. Rebecca Lemmon at Sky Canyon, asking for some guidance on a surgical procedure underway and he drove to the clinic to assist with the procedure while it was happening. Another time, during a heart surgery on a pet, Dr. Bob’s friend, who is a human-medicine cardiologist, came to assist him with surgical placement of a pacemaker in a dog with heart trouble. Rehab medicine was also a high priority and half of the building was converted to the “rehab house” that still provides recovery services as part of the hospital’s comprehensive care.
His family and friends, patients and their people knew Dr. Marquis as someone larger than life and then he was gone all too suddenly. On May 11th, 2018, Dr. Bob tragically died in a plane crash.
Five years later, his legacy as a ”fearless human” continues with great strength. He would often tell pet owners who needed a specialized procedure for their pet, “I haven’t done this before, but I’m willing to try.” He created a culture of quality in the way he believed the best about his people and their abilities. He expected a lot but showed great confidence and that culture remains.
Birdie, his wife, said that she often saw him be first to take on new innovations and one of his most notable was the green Tesla car he bought - probably one of the first in the Grand Valley. He had a dog, Enzo, that loved that car and since Dr. Bob always left the hatchback open for him, Birdie said “This was maybe the only Tesla that got infested with mice because it was Enzo’s spot. He was often seen driving with the dog riding shotgun and he would be talking to Enzo like he had a human passenger." Enzo always got the copilot seat in the plane too and like Dr. Bob, Enzo always gave of himself. Enzo donated for blood transfusions and saved the lives of many animals that needed surgery.
VCA bought the practice around 6 months before Dr. Marquis’ death and he functioned as the medical director, overseeing all aspects of care daily until his death. After Dr. Bob passed away, VCA provided resources to continue the legacy: Urgent care, more surgical services and a fully enclosed dental suite continue to be available today.
With the vacancy for Medical Director, Dr. Caylie Schena stepped up right away. She said it was intimidating to try to fill those shoes but an honor too. She also said it’s a little bit amusing to her that Dr. Bob finished veterinarian school the year she was born.
Dr. Bob loved people and set up ways for people to get their pets the best care possible even when they couldn’t afford all the cost. Shortly after his death, the Marquis Miracle Fund was established in his memory. Dedicated pet owners needing costly procedures for their pets now have access to the Marquis Miracle Fund which assists financially when owners cannot cover all of the cost for specialized care.
This legacy appears to be on solid footing for generations to come. What an honor to have a conversation with the team as they shared their commitment to care for pets and their people.
His staff members remember him saying “There’s a way to fix this” and “I’m willing to try” to help animals who had health conditions he hadn’t seen before.