New Castle veterinarian says goodbye after serving generations of pets
Long-time New Castle veterinarian Victoria Palmer said goodbye to her clinic of nearly three decades earlier this year, but the memories of generations of family pets will stay with her forever.
“Seeing generations of families own pets … It’s really fun to meet parents with their children and all the sudden these babies are married with a whole new generation of pets,” Palmer said. “People really are all about animals in the valley.”
By the time she retired, Palmer said her client list was more than 650 people, many of whom had more than one pet.
One particularly memorable day on the job, Palmer came back to the clinic after a short lunch break to find two fire trucks sitting in her driveway and a crowd of people looking up at a nearby tree.
Kyra, a cat that turned out to be from a home in Glenwood Springs, had gotten herself stuck and need assistance getting down.
After borrowing a ladder from a nearby neighbor, the fire department retrieved the cat and Palmer delivered her to a her owner in Glenwood Springs the same day. Kyra had been gone for more than a year and her owner had given up ever seeing her again.
“It was an amazing feeling,” Palmer said. “The cat was really happy and remembered her owner.”
Whether it was sneaking treats to dogs with strict owners or helping to find solutions for pets with chronic issues, her fondest memories remain with the animals she cared for and their owners.
One owner stood out among the rest to Palmer for a joke he played on a coworker.
The owner had brought his dog Kona for a checkup, but after learning that one of his coworkers was the next appointment scheduled, the owner dressed up in all of the surgical gear and played doctor until his colleague noticed.
Palmer said she doesn’t remember ever laughing so hard.
While growing up in California, Palmer lived across the street from a veterinarian and knew from then on that’s what she wanted to do.
“I always loved animals,” she said.
After raising her family, Palmer moved to New Castle two years after completing vet school. In 1990 she joined the clinic that would become her second home for the next 28 years.
“I found a practice in New Castle and asked the owner if I could help out with small animals because he was always doing farm animals,” she said. “A week later he got a job inspecting meats and I took over.”
She said in her first weeks and months running the clinic she used to drive around the neighborhood to count the number of pets she saw in yards to try to get a sense if she was going to make it.
Over the years, her client list grew as she helped family pets from De Beque to Aspen with spaying and neutering, wellness exams, vaccines, general examinations, surgeries and more.
While most of the pets would visit her at the shop, she recalled one trip she made to vaccinate an older feral cat at a nearby home. When she entered the home the cat, Coal, was nowhere to be found.
After getting on her hands and knees in search, the cat was located underneath one of the beds and eventually was ready for the vaccine.
While the exam took less than 15 minutes, trying to found and corral the cat took about two hours.
It is those memories, the ones that remind her exactly what she did for nearly three decades in the valley, that she will cherish the most.