Meet Your Neighbor: Baer Bechtel of Fruita’s Kokopelli Animal Hospital |

Meet Your Neighbor: Baer Bechtel of Fruita’s Kokopelli Animal Hospital

Dr. Baer Bechtel of Fruita cares for Sebastian, the dog. Bechtel works at Kokopelli Animal Hospital.
Denise Hight |

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Denise: What is your occupation?

Baer: I am a veterinarian at Kokopelli Animal Hospital in Fruita. I opened the clinic in October 2005, so we have been here nine-and-a-half years.

Denise: Did you always want to be a veterinarian?

Baer: My father and grandfather were both physicians, so medicine was always in my blood. I combined that with a life-long fascination with animals and a job at Tiara Rado Animal Hospital and decided to go into veterinary medicine.

Denise: Are you from this area?

Baer: Yes, I grew up in the Redlands and went to Broadway Elementary, Fruita Middle School, and Fruita Monument High School. After I graduated from high school I went to CU Boulder for my undergraduate degree and CSU Veterinary School. My first job as a veterinarian was in Mesa, Ariz., but my wife, Carrie, and I wanted to return to this area, so we moved to Fruita in 2005. Carrie works as a third-grade teacher at Shelledy Elementary School.

Denise: What do you like about living in Fruita?

Baer: This is a great place to raise our kids. Carrie and I have two sons, Grant and Michael. We all like to mountain bike and hike in the area. Carrie and I are involved in our sons’ activities, and we are also involved in the community. Carrie volunteers for Sacred Heart Church and I am the treasurer for Boy Scout Troop 323. This is also a very friendly and giving community. Every year for the past six years, the animal hospital has conducted a pet food drive to benefit local animal shelters. It gets bigger each year — in 2014 our staff collected 5,000 pounds of pet food.

Denise Hight is co-author of Images of America: Fruita, which was published by Arcadia Publishing in 2011. She is currently working on another book for Arcadia, Legendary Locals of Fruita, which will be published in 2016. She can be reached at

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