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North Bend veterinarian retires
Last Wednesday, Dec. 29, may have seemed like any other day at
the North Bend Veterinary Clinic on Boalch Avenue. Kids and parents
gathered in the lobby cradling cats and small dogs, while in the
examination rooms concerned owners hovered over their nervous and ailing canines.
From the back room one could hear the yelps of other "residents."
Yet, the day was a standout for one particular reason: Dr. Robert
V. Hogan, who had cared for and served Valley residents' pets for nearly
40 years, was retiring.
Hogan, a 1960 graduate of Washington State University, is a native
of Burien but has long-standing ties to the Valley in general and Fall City
"I used to come out to the Valley quite a bit because my aunt and
uncle lived here," he stated. "I
remember sitting on the back porch of their home in Fall City _ where the post office
is now _ on Pearl Harbor Day."
He decided early to go into veterinary medicine due to his love for
animals. However, after a short stint at Washington State University in
1950, he found he had to take the scenic route to get to his chosen career.
"I was a Navy medic for four years, during the Korean War,"
Hogan commented. "I served on a hospital ship _ U.S.S. Haven _ and a
cruiser, U.S.S. Rochester. I found I could deal with blood and surgery and
everything else, so when I came home I returned to `Wazzoo' and graduated in 1960."
Following a year's stint in Red Deer, Alberta, Hogan moved back
to the Snoqualmie Valley - "I wanted to get back near the saltwater," he
commented with a smile - and acquired an existing veterinary practice in
Fall City. In 1972, the doctor opened a second clinic in North Bend, but
closed it after only a brief period. He reopened North Bend Animal
Clinic full-time in 1977, and has been there ever since.
But now it's time for a well-earned retirement. Hogan said he'd
been thinking of sticking around for two more years, but some "health
challenges" _ he's fine now _ and other concerns contributed to his
decision to sell the business and move on. Fortunately, two other veterinarians
who were looking to expand into the Snoqualmie Valley happened along.
"Two guys came along," said Hogan, "and the rest is history."
The new owners of the North Bend Animal Clinic are Doctors
Glen Howard and Evan Crocker. They currently operate a veterinary practice
in Mercer Island, which will remain open. As part of the sale
agreement, however, the Fall City clinic will close.
"We approached Dr. Hogan a little earlier and let him know we
were available," said Howard. "It looked like a nice location, and this is a
nice area out here.
"It's been a pretty smooth transition so far, with the usual glitches.
The computer system wouldn't survive Y2K," he added with a laugh. "We
put a new one in and have also added other new equipment."
Howard said he and Dr. Crocker are looking forward to working in
the Snoqualmie Valley, but don't be too surprised if "Doc" Hogan shows
up occasionally as a relief vet.
"I'm sure I'll stay active for a while, do some relief work, then
go from there," said the retiring vet.
"I have no regrets, it's a good time to go. I've had four months to kind of
withdraw from it, say goodbye to the clients, and that's what I did today."
Hogan said the relationships he's formed have been tremendous, and
he will miss them.
"I'd just like to express I appreciated the support and patronage of
the clients and the friendships we've made," he added. "They have been,
by and large, a very positive experience."
Perhaps Terry Botolinski _ who, at 22 years, is the
longest-serving employee of the clinic _ summed it up best. She gave Hogan a big hug
and proudly told all within earshot, "He's an awesome friend."