After four decades serving Greeneville as a veterinarian at Crestview Animal Hospital, Dr. Bob Thorpe is retiring.
Her last day of work was Tuesday.
His wife Chris Thorpe, who also worked at Crestview during this time as office manager, also recently retired this summer, and Thorpe said he and Chris were eager to focus more on family, leisure and religious and civic engagement, and that they were planning to stick around.
“I’ll be 71 next week and have been here since 1981, so I thought it was time to go,” he said Thursday.
Thorpe said he graduated from Georgia Tech and worked briefly as an engineer in the early 1970s before going to veterinary school at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and eventually coming to Greeneville.
“When UT started vet school, I was in second class. I graduated in 1980, interned in North Dakota, worked in Kentucky for a year, and then came here, ”Thorpe said.
He said the veterinary practice at 1543 Industrial Road was established by Dr John McGruder in 1974 and took over seven years later.
“I bought it from him in 1981 and have been here ever since,” he said.
From the treatment of a dog that appeared to have stepped on a landmine to a cat with injured feet which Thorpe said came from a collision with a car, but which turned out to have been caused by a fall from the top of a barn during an encounter with a hawk, Thorpe said he had seen it all.
“Things happen, and unfortunately they can’t just talk to you and tell you what happened. Sometimes you find strange things, ”he said.
One story that stands out, Thorpe said, concerns a dog who followed his family across the country.
“Someone came in with a dog and asked me to check for a microchip. I said “what’s the story” and they said they left California and had to move without their dog because he was scared and they lost him at the first stop. rest where they left off, ”Thorpe said. “They said they thought he could go back to their old house, so they went back and talked to the neighbors, but after a few months they thought he was gone. Four years later, the dog showed up. We checked, and of course, it was him.
He said it was in the early 2000s.
“It was very unusual, but dogs are supposed to have a connection in their brains or an extra sense of where their owners are. There isn’t a lot of evidence for that, but I think it is. is pretty good proof, ”Thorpe said.
Reflecting on his long career, Thorpe said he didn’t necessarily plan things as it had happened, but was happy in Greeneville.
“I kind of thought about it and I know when I got here I didn’t think I would be here 40 years old. I just didn’t think about it, but I really enjoyed my time working here and all the people I have worked with, and I plan to stay here, ”he said. .
He said that upon retirement, along with Chris, he was eager to become more involved in recreation, civic organizations and family.
“We’ve been dancing for over 20 years now, and we’ve gotten pretty good,” Thorpe said. “If COVID ever goes away, we plan to do more dancing and probably teach a few. “
He said they’ve done many types of dancing, including ballroom and country-western dancing, but their goal is the Carolina shag.
“It’s a swing dance that originated on the beach,” Thorpe explained. “There’s a lot of footwork but not a lot of movement over the waste. “
He said he had also recently ventured into the world of beekeeping after many years of growing roses, for which he and Chris have won national awards.
“My wife and I are quite famous for our rose garden, but we don’t grow as much anymore. Now I have bees and I turned the rose garden into a pollinator garden, ”Thorpe said. “I started this last year. I do this just for fun, not to make money selling honey, but now I have four beehives, and it’s an interesting hobby. It’s just a little something to keep me out of trouble.
Besides dancing and beekeeping, Thorpe said he and Chris also plan to visit their families more and get more involved with many civic organizations and their church.
“We want to visit friends and see more of our children and grandchildren. In the last year and a half we haven’t been able to visit much, so we definitely want to try to visit more, and we will probably get involved a little more in religious and civic activities, ”Thorpe said.
Teresa Berryhill, who recently took over the practice after Chris Thorpe retired, and client services representative Molly Derry said the office would be different without Thorpe, but that they would expect to see it and keep in touch.
“He will be missed by us and the customers,” said Berryhill.
Berryhill said she had worked with Thorpe for around 30 years and prior to that he was her pets doctor.
“I really enjoyed working with him and learning from him. He is extremely competent, ”she said.
“I really enjoyed working with him and appreciate that he has taught me everything he has over the years,” admitted Derry. “I’m just grateful for the opportunity and hope he and Chris enjoy their retirement. I’m sure they will have fun with their grandchildren, and we will always see them. They are definitely lifelong friends even though they are no longer co-workers.
Thorpe still owns the building at 1543 Industrial Road and has said there are no plans to close the practice.
“Boarding, vaccinations and surgeries are still ongoing, and we’ve covered it for now,” Thorpe said. “Dr. Robert Brewster has been working with us on and off for about two or three weeks a month since May, and he will stay here for a while until everything is finalized.
Berryhill and Derry said they both plan to stay in Crestview.
“We ask for patience and understanding during the transition,” said Derry.
“I have worked with a lot of wonderful people, and I will miss them, my clients and their pets,” Thorpe said. “You kind of see them growing up from the age of 6 weeks and then the hardest in about 15 years. The worst part of the job is having to euthanize pets or see those that have been seriously injured. It’s still very difficult, but that’s only part of it, and I’ve enjoyed helping people and their pets over the years.