Dr. John Dugan Sr. takes a look at Ghost on Friday afternoon at the Red Deer Veterinary Clinic. Dugan has been named the Vet of the Year by the Alberta Veterinary Medical Association.

Dugan named Veterinarian of the Year

Red Deer can lay claim to the 2014 Veterinarian of the Year. On Saturday night, Dr. John Dugan Sr. received the prestigious award from the Alberta Veterinary Medical Association at the ABVMA’s membership recognition banquet in Calgary.

Red Deer can lay claim to the 2014 Veterinarian of the Year.

On Saturday night, Dr. John Dugan Sr. received the prestigious award from the Alberta Veterinary Medical Association at the ABVMA’s membership recognition banquet in Calgary.

Veterinarian of the Year is one of the highest awards the association can bestow on a member, and is presented to those who make outstanding contributions to veterinary medicine or veterinary science.

Dugan, who has been practising for 61 years, said he decided to become a veterinarian at age 15 while working on a dairy farm in northern Vermont, where he saw the local veterinarian perform what appeared to be “miracles.”

Dugan saw the veterinarian save a cow suffering from milk fever; successfully treat a horse with a badly swollen neck; diagnose blackleg in a deceased heifer to protect the rest of the herd; and save the life of a mixed-breed collie by amputating its leg.

“By miracle number four, I was hooked and I decided then and there somehow, someway, I’d be a veterinarian. And I did,” said Dugan, who is the veterinary surgeon at Red Deer Veterinary Clinic, at 7171 50th Ave.

But Dugan didn’t expect to be practising twice as long as he anticipated — with no retirement date circled on the calendar.

“I learn something every day. I suppose that would be the time to quit, when I cease learning,” said the veterinarian, who was given an honourary life membership by the Alberta Veterinary Medical Association a few years ago.

“I never know what’s going to come through that door. There’s all kinds of challenges.”

Animal care is a way of life for Dugan, who started his practice in Red Deer in 1955.

With an estimated 4,000 patients on file, they include families who have been bringing their pets to Dugan for three generations.

“It’s been great. It’s not a job.”

Dugan, who attends an annual veterinary conference in Banff to stay up-to-date on what is new in animal care, said veterinary medicine just continues to evolve.

But one thing that never changes is the amazing relationship people can have with their pets, he said.

“The human-animal bond is very important. For some of the older people, that’s all they have.”

Dugan was nominated for his latest award by veterinary toxicologist Dr. Robert Coppock, of Vegreville, Both Dugan and Coppock have volunteered with the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Veterinarian Medicine to interview students vying for admission.

Dugan said news of his latest award came as a complete surprise.

“You could have knocked me over with a feather. I was caught flat-footed this time.”


Just Posted

Red Deer city council to consider starting a bike registry this spring or summer

Coun. Buck Buchanan suggested it would help police return recovered stolen property

Complaints about Michener Hill apartment revealed at Red Deer rezoning discussion

More details will be heard at a public hearing on April 15

Rimbey-area landowner believes earthquake damaged his electricity supply

Underground line was damaged at same time quake hit, says landowner

Open call for musicians to play Ross Street Patio Parties in Red Deer

The City of Red Deer is inviting musicians from various different cultural… Continue reading

Rocky Mountain House citizens recognized in awards show

Mayor’s Recognition Awards handed out in ceremony last Friday

WATCH: Celebrating francophone Canadians at the 10th annual Red Deer Winter Carnival

The event was hosted by the Red Deer region of the French-Canadian Association of Alberta Saturday

Family: Time to shed winter clothes and inhibitions

It has been a long, crazy cold winter. But, if the thermometer… Continue reading

Chelsea Carey rink registers two wins at world women’s curling event

SILKEBORG, Denmark — Canada’s Chelsea Carey rebounded nicely Sunday at the world… Continue reading

Canadian Bianca Andreescu has her first WTA title, winning BNP Paribas Open

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. — Canadian Bianca Andreescu has her first WTA title.… Continue reading

‘Captain Marvel’ soars even higher with stellar 2nd weekend

LOS ANGELES — “Captain Marvel” has continued to dominate the global box… Continue reading

Budget to focus on affordable housing changes on supply, demand, regulation

OTTAWA — The Trudeau government will take steps in Tuesday’s federal budget… Continue reading

Kenney lieutenant denies running ‘puppet’ candidate in party leadership race

EDMONTON — The staffer at the centre of a spreading scandal over… Continue reading

RCMP find ammunition, machete after searching for ATV reported stolen

FROG LAKE, Alta. — Police say they found 600 rounds of ammunition… Continue reading

Most Read