Longtime veterinarian closes Snoqualmie office

Veterinarian David Hildreth recalls when, a few years ago, he put up a reader-board sign that joked: "Neuter one camel and the second one is free."

He said he actually got a call about it.

For more than 30 years, Hildreth has worked with seemingly every type of animal in Snoqualmie and has seen just about everything.

From domestic dogs and cats to horses, goats, sheep and rats; from skin and ear diseases and vaccinations to a dog that was temporarily paralyzed (except for its eyeballs) after eating scraps in a compost pile, Hildreth has a multitude of memories from the Valley and his presence has long been a town staple.

He has also been a constant in Issaquah, where he owns a second clinic location.

After more than 30 years of splitting his time between the Lake Sammamish Veterinary Hospital in Issaquah and Cascade Animal Clinic in Snoqualmie, Hildreth said he was getting tired of commuting.

Just recently Hildreth decided to close the doors to his Snoqualmie office. Tuesday, Nov. 22, was the last open day.

His Issaquah location will remain open and he said he will continue to practice Wednesday through Saturday after 11 a.m.

"With traffic getting tougher and time marching on, it's a little easier to worry about [just] one location," he said. "It was time to move on."

It's not much of a difference for his clients, he said, noting that he probably spent about 30 percent of his time at the Snoqualmie location and the rest in Issaquah. Cascade Animal Clinic was maintained as an Animal Clinic was maintained as an outpatient clinic, so surgeries were always performed at the Issaquah location.

As such, most clients are already used to having to make the drive to Issaquah and he said he hopes they will continue to do so.

His interest in veterinary medicine began while he was an undergraduate student at the University of Missouri.

Raised on a farm, Hildreth said he enjoyed learning about animals and doing the animal dissections in a biology course he was taking at the time, but didn't know exactly what to do with that.

He had a roommate who was intent on becoming a vet, so he pored over the course catalog for vet school, finally realizing he also wanted to pursue it professionally.

He attended the same university for his vet medical studies and became a licensed veterinarian in 1970.

With a sister in Aberdeen, Hildreth said he fell in love with Washington on a visit during his senior year of college, noting that "the sun shined all week that we were there."

He moved to Issaquah in 1973 with his wife of 38 years, Jacque, raising three children who reside locally.

He said he always liked the Upper Valley and intended to eventually buy property and move to the area, but that never developed.

Sad to leave the Valley, but appreciative of the opportunity to have worked with so many people and animals here, Hildreth said that he hopes his clients will stick with him in the transition to the single Issaquah location.

He said he doesn't see himself closing Lake Sammamish Veterinary Hospital or retiring for good anytime soon.

"I'm not retiring, but I'm slowing down a bit," he said.

Hildreth will continue to make farm and house calls in Snoqualmie.

He noted that staffing will remain the same. All client records have been transferred to the Issaquah location, which is 2300 Newport Way N.W.

For more information or to make an appointment at Lake Sammamish Veterinary Hospital, call (425) 392-5195.

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