Thai-ing the knot with Dr. McDreamy |

Thai-ing the knot with Dr. McDreamy

April E. Clark
Special to the Post Independent
Ben and Jaspen Mackin share a romantic moment on their
Submitted Photo |

CARBONDALE — It’s a peaceful Sunday at the Mackin household, and Carbondale power couple Ben and Jaspen are enjoying a day of relaxation together.

The Mackins enjoyed a nice breakfast, attended yoga class together at Kula on Main Street, and walked their dogs to Dos Gringos for energizing green tea lattes. Later, she drew a nice hot bath while he took in some fishing before dinner. Eight years ago, the Mackins may not have imagined such marital bliss.


Back in 2007, both Ben and Jaspen were single young professionals living in the valley. She worked at Phat Thai as a server. Ben, a veterinarian who runs the Carbondale Animal Hospital just down the street, was a frequent customer at the southeast Asian eatery.

“All of us servers gossiped about Dr. Ben. I believe Jason Wessels (who officiated their wedding) even called him Mr. McDreamy,” recalled Jaspen, on meeting the bearded vet eight years ago. “’He’s so hot. He’s so tall. Think of him with all those puppies!’ It’s all I could talk about in the back way station because he came in for dinner at the bar almost every night.”

Jaspen remembered one particular night, as she was quietly falling for Ben, when the restaurant was showing “Taxi Driver” with Robert De Niro at the bar TV.

“If you haven’t seen it, De Niro has this kind of sexy mohawk, and we were all glued to the TV talking about it. Surprised by just how sexy all the girls thought this hairstyle was, Ben leaves the restaurant, returns a half and hour later, and thanks to a beard trimmer and a next-door neighbor, he has a super sexy new mohawk style,” she said. “I couldn’t keep my eyes off him. Not only is he incredibly funny and wildly intelligent, he keeps getting hotter, too.”

The attraction was mutual, and they were engaged on Sept. 17, 2011. Jaspen credits the popular Carbondale restaurant, often a hotspot for couples on Valentine’s Day, for their chance encounters.

“Now that wasn’t exactly the first time I met Ben at Phat Thai, but the stories are endless because our love grew every day within the walls of that restaurant,” she said. “Thanks to my friends and all the extraordinary regulars who spelled it out for him and didn’t let him get away, that was eight years ago and we’re still in love like we were back then.”


Today, Dr. Ben and Jaspen share a love of good food, animals, traveling and the outdoors. They share a cat plus two dogs, which they love to take hiking and camping.

This summer, the couple is expecting fireworks of their own on July 4: a baby boy.

In their time together pre-parenthood, the Mackins have enjoyed rafting and tubing on the Colorado and Roaring Fork rivers, hiking up Mushroom Rock and at Lake Powell and the sand dunes, and hanging out for dinner and Halloween parties with their close set of friends in Carbondale. In January, the couple attended their first Colorado Avalanche game against the Boston Bruins, one of Ben’s favorite teams, in Denver.

“I grew up in a small fishing village just south of Boston. You’ll see one of my remaining Boston traits if you ever have to get blood work on your pet,” Ben said. “I will tell you that I still have a healthy superstition regarding two things: the Red Sox and blood draws. You just don’t say, ‘Hooray, we got the blood’ until you get it all, and you never say hooray about the Red Sox until they win the World Series.”

Ben graduated with a doctorate of veterinary medicine from Colorado State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences in 2003. He moved to the Roaring Fork Valley in 2004, after working at animal hospitals in Denver, Boulder and San Diego, to be near friends and the mountains. He served as an associate veterinarian at the Aspen and Carbondale animal hospitals and Valley Emergency Pet Care until late 2006, purchasing the Carbondale Animal Hospital in early 2007.

As the single vet in town, Ben met Jaspen and their love quickly grew. In 2008, Ben surprised her with tickets to his beloved hometown.

“I’d never been to the East Coast and was pumped to see Ben’s hometown,” she said. “Awesome weekend.”

Jaspen is a Carbondale native who graduated from Roaring Fork High School in 2003. She studied professional photography at Colorado Mountain College, graduating in the class of 2007, and most recently started working for Whole Foods. She loves the color yellow — Ben bought her a pair of yellow Converse tennis shoes as a gift when they married. And her favorite flower is the lily, which her thoughtful husband is known to surprise her with as the romance continues to bloom in their relationship.

Since casually meeting at Phat Thai and later marrying on Sept. 15, 2012, at Coryell Ranch, the couple has made many memories with family, friends and, most importantly, each other. Jaspen said the comical initial meetings on Main Street in Carbondale were just the beginning for a fun lifetime together as Mr. and Mrs. Dr. Ben Mackin.

“There’s actually a lot more detail that usually has listeners in stitches,” she said. “There’s a Vets of the Valley nude calendar, an emergency visit to Carbondale Animal Hospital, and Ben’s pure oblivion to a woman hitting on him, just to give you a sneak peek,” she joked.

Easy Sunday mornings are also on that list.

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