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First of all, I can tell you this, I have a great job. Wonderful people bring their treasured pets to my hospital for veterinary care. We honor the connection that you have with your pets and do our best to provide the quality of care that you both deserve.
Rick White DVM
For those of you who might be interested, I thought I’d jot down a brief bio. I am the sole owner of Cedar Mill Veterinary Hospital and have practiced in the Cedar Mill community since 1979. Maryanne and I moved here from Ft. Collins, Colorado with Aaron, our one-year-old son, Joshua, the coonhound, and Mitzi, the cat who perched on the rear seat of our 122 Volvo station wagon for most of the trip. That was interesting.
I graduated with my DVM from Colorado State University in 1978 and worked in a large animal ambulatory practice while Maryanne finished her PhD thesis at CSU. She took a post-doctoral fellowship at the Oregon Regional Primate Center in 1979, which brought us to Portland. I went to work for Pacific Veterinary Hospital as an equine veterinarian where I was under the wing of John Metcalfe, a local legend in the horse world. My first official farm call was across the road from Cedar Mill Grade School.
When John left PVH, the surgical referrals went with him, and I decided to go on my own. From 1981 through 1986 I owned Damascus Veterinary Clinic, and continued to do large animal ambulatory work all over, from Estacada to Hillsboro, Cedar Mill included.
1986 was a watershed year for our family. Maryanne received tenure at Reed College where she was teaching in the biology department, our second son Zak was born, and I purchased Cedar Mill Animal Clinic. I worked during the day out of Damascus doing large animal farm calls and remodeled Cedar Mill Animal Clinic late into the evenings with the invaluable help of my father.
My first clients were Otis and Lillian Bales. My dad and I were in the clinic, hammers in hand when there was a frantic knock on the door. Their cat had been run over by a car and was, unfortunately, dead on arrival. Otis and I became friends and I did all of his veterinary work including his small beef cattle operation. His cows were his real passion and an escape from the day-to-day business of operating his grocery stores.
In 1992 a representative from the American Animal Hospital Association visited the now renamed Cedar Mill Veterinary Hospital. The building at the time was a flat-roofed 1960’s structure. Despite the physical appearance, the AAHA examiner awarded CMVH its highest award, a 3-year accreditation with a special letter of commendation. Apparently, her evaluation of our quality of service trumped the ugly building. The hospital has remained accredited with AAHA since that date.
On a lighter note, I decided to give that first hospital tour wearing a pair of giant rubber chicken feet while the examiner struggled not to glance downwards. After flopping around the hospital for the better part of a half hour, I thanked her for not mentioning my obvious physical challenge. She did say that it was the first time that anyone had taken the “white glove” AAHA examination wearing such apparel.
That year was pivotal in another regard as well. It began my pursuit of understanding of the biomechanics of joint function. With the help of John Hayhurst MD, I set out to reference the center of rotation of the canine knee, or as we veterinarians call it the “stifle” joint. This pursuit has resulted in a patented surgical approach to stabilizing joints utilizing a tissue graft fixed to the center of rotation of the joint structure. This isometric referencing and surgical technique has been presented in several national and international meetings. It has been published in Veterinary Surgery, the publication of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons.
In 2007 the current hospital was in its final stage of completion and we hosted our open house. The new structure is a modern facility with features that rival any veterinary hospital, anywhere. I was giving a tour to a retired cardiac surgeon. He commented: “I could do a heart transplant in this surgery suite.” I thanked him for the comment and replied: “I cannot”. We laughed. What a moment.
The summer of 2007 also brought Dr. Alec Bailey to my hospital. He was a newly minted Oregon State University graduate, eager to begin his career here with me. He is a bright guy with a reserved way about him that complements my extroverted personality. We are the Yin and Yang of the practice and enjoy a collegial relationship that began as a mentorship and has evolved into a friendship.
In 2013 Dr. Christine Stuart joined the hospital. She brings a “woman’s touch” to the practice along with her previous clinical experience in both mixed animal practice and general small animal practice. Although she enjoys a light atmosphere she finds the challenge of tough cases and diagnostics enjoyable and rewarding. We have welcomed her with open arms.
The “magic” of my 65th birthday is in my rear-view mirror. Most people dream of retirement. I cannot imagine what I would do without the joy that my practice brings to my life. We do enjoy our time off. Maryanne and both mountain bike, ski, hike and sail. I do a bit of surfing and have been a white water kayaker since 1972. I will admit that I do play hooky from work on lunch breaks and throw the Frisbee to our beloved dog, “Finn” in the fields near the hospital. He helps me remember the importance of my job and wonderful relationship that we all have with our pets.