In 1936, there were only about 2,000 people living in Glenwood Springs. Most businesses were still concentrated near the Colorado River at 7th Street when Glenwood Veterinary Clinic (GVC) was opened a mile and a half south of downtown, on Grand Avenue.
"There was nothing else around the clinic in those days," says the practice's current business manager Barry Johnson. "The building was out in the 'country.' Now, of course, that area is considered to be in-town. Glenwood Springs literally grew up and around GVC."
Over the decades, ownership has changed hands just five times. The practice has evolved continually to be able to offer clients the latest advances in veterinary medicine, and currently employs a trusted team of five caring doctors, including new owner Sam Johnson, DVM. The following are seven locals associated with GVC over the years, and their thoughts on the practice that has served the valley and its animals for multiple generations.
Sandy Jackson, Daughter of Second Owner Dr. Carter Jackson
What were the early years like when your father bought the business in 1952?
"For all of our growing up years, the goal was to eat breakfast together as we did not know if dad would be home for lunch or dinner. He traveled from Aspen to Parachute, Steamboat, Eagle. Calls would come in the middle of the night. When we lived next to the clinic, people would arrive at our door night and day. Dad always felt that the owner of his patient was as important as the patient (cow, horse, cat, dog, bird, elephant)."
Mitch and Lori Knotts, Longtime Clients
Why have you stayed with the clinic for so long?
"We love Glenwood Vet! We have used them for many years. They always have very competent and compassionate vets and techs. They are up on the latest information and techniques available, however, they use common sense first and foremost."
Dr. Dennis Luedke, Vet and Former Owner
How did the practice evolve under your leadership from 1994-2019?
"I retired from veterinary medicine in 2021 after 38 years of practice...The practice had changed from an agriculture base to a companion animal basis. The small family agriculture operations had for the most part vanished and been replaced with hobby farms. Animals were seen as members of your family and clients were more likely to spend money to offer their pets the best care available. The ability to offer most animals the best veterinary care money can buy was one change that I was happy to see occur, and it has allowed GVC to grow and modernize with the times."
Dr. Sydney Hayter, Current Vet
What are some exciting new technologies the clinic offers?
"We strive to stay up to date with the latest information, technology, and therapy options available in order to provide a wide spectrum of therapeutic plans for our patients. This could include injections or shockwave for arthritis in dogs or horses, digital x-ray to help with asthma diagnosis in cats, and even blood transfusion to save sick calves! We collaborate regularly with experts in all fields. Every day we are finding new ways to help companion animals, food animals, equine athletes, and those who care for them."
Dr. Julia Hahn, Current Vet
What do you love about working here?
"There is a youthful, vibrant energy at GVC that is unique to our clinic. We are all growing together and strive to offer an 'old school' family vet vibe combined with cutting-edge medicine and exceptional client communication. Among the doctors, it's a very collaborative and supportive environment regarding case workup and expansion of our knowledge."
Dr. Sam Johnson, Vet and Current Owner
What's next for GVC?
"As the only mixed animal practice in the valley, we have doubled down on who we believe we are: a talented team dedicated to providing all species and all clients with the best care possible. We have tripled our staff since 2017 to support a vision of providing more accessibility. Our latest update has been expanding our hours until 7 p.m. on Tuesday-Thursday. We also welcomed Dr. Stephens last month, our newest addition to an already star-studded team of doctors who I am so blessed to work with every day. We have 85-year-old roots founded in passion for animals and service to our community. We will continue to foster a team committed to our duty of serving our patients and clients with the best and most affordable care in the valley."