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Dr Robert Bogan, Faribault County’s only veterinarian, stands outside his clinic, the Makotah Veterinary Center in Blue Earth, above. Bogan, who is now 74, hopes to retire soon. However, he doesn’t want to leave the county without a vet. As a result, he decided to hand over his clinic to a promising young vet who agrees to move to Blue Earth upon retirement from Bogan.

People retire at different ages. Some retire at 62, others at 65. Others retire earlier than that, and some continue to work until they are much older – for various reasons.

Dr. Robert (Bob) Bogan, the veterinarian at Makotah Veterinary Center in Blue Earth, is 74 years old and still serves the community.

“I am ready to retire, even though I like what I do” he says. “And I don’t want to leave the community without veterinary services.”

Dr Bogan is the county’s only veterinarian.

“I guess I don’t want people to have to transport their dogs and cats anywhere to get to a vet,” he says. “It would be embarrassing. And cattle can’t really be easily transported. So I want a local veterinary service to be available here in the county. “

Bogan has been trying to sell his veterinary clinic since 2017, advertising in the American Veterinary Association Journal, on websites, at veterinary colleges, and in the area.

“I may have one call per year” he says. “And no real apps, and no one to come see it.”

The problems are that it’s now a one-vet operation and it really takes at least two, and it’s located in a small town in a rural area, he explains.

“They don’t want to work after hours, no call all night for emergencies” Bogan said. “They want 9 to 5 and no weekends. Even though they only make dogs and cats, they don’t want to work nights and weekends.

So now Dr. Bogan has decided to give up his practice, for free, just so he can continue and the Faribault County area always has a vet nearby.

“I worked with Blue Earth EDA (economic development authority) and Amy Schafer (EDA specialist)”, Bogan said. “I’m very grateful for what Amy did, and Mary Kennedy (former EDA specialist) did too, to get to where it is now.”

The EDA helped the Dean of Veterinary Medicine from Iowa State University come to Blue Earth with two students to visit Dr. Bogan’s office.

“They both decided not to consider such a practice for their careers”, Bogan said. “But it was a start.”

Dr Bogan admits that one of the reasons they weren’t interested was that his office didn’t have “all the bells and whistles.”

“For example, our X-ray machine is the one we received from the hospital” he says. “We are not taking enough x-rays to justify an investment of $ 35,000 in a new digital model. “

However, there was eventually new interest in the free deal offered by Bogan.

It was Schafer from the EDA, says Bogan, who knew Boyd Huppert from KARE-11 TV in the Twin Cities and convinced him to come to Blue Earth to do a feature film on Dr. Bogan for the “Land of 10,000 Stories ”by Huppert. on the TV channel.

“Amy must have twisted my arm – very hard – to convince me to let Boyd Huppert make a fuss about us”, Bogan said with a smile. “I’m not the type of person who likes to be in the spotlight. “

But between Huppert’s disease and Dr Bogan’s busy schedule, it was a year before the story was filmed and broadcast on television.

“They did a good job” Bogan said. “They were very attentive to my schedule and it was a pleasant day when they were here.”

This has also done the trick, with Dr Bogan reporting that around nine resumes have been received from current and future vets interested.

“Some are graduates and others are second, third and fourth year students”, Bogan said. “Now we are trying to organize a Saturday in September where they can come here, see the practice and we can meet them. “

There was another person interested recently. Veterinary student Leyton Becker spent the summer interning at the Makotah Veterinary Clinic.

“Leyton is from Northrup, and his father is a big hog farmer,” Bogan said. “Leyton has been here for two months and he is an exceptional person. But he still has three years of school left.

Dr Bogan says it would be great if he could find one or two people interested in the clinic over the next year or so. And then, Becker could also join the firm in three years, if he is still interested. If there were three vets, they could share the workload, Bogan adds.

When Dr. Bogan first arrived at Blue Earth in 1974, he became the third veterinarian on the staff of the Makotah Veterinary Service.

Bogan was born and raised in State Center, Iowa, and graduated from West Marshall High School in State Center.

“I went to Iowa State University, in Ames, just 30 miles from my home,” he remembers. “I did two years of pre-veterinarian there, then four years of veterinary school and I graduated in May 1971.”

It was in the state of Iowa that he met his wife, Kay, who was a student there majoring in elementary education.

“Kay graduated on February 27, 1971 and we got married the next day, February 28, 1971”, Bogan said with a smile. “We lived in student accommodation until I graduated in May 1971.”

The couple moved to Osage, Iowa, where Dr Bogan became the third vet at a clinic there.

“Kay, who is Lutheran, held a teaching post at the Catholic school there,” Bogan said with a small laugh. “We stayed there for two years.

But one of the other vets had a son who had just graduated and became a vet and was going to join the practice, so Bogan had to look for a new location.

“I wanted to go to another three-person office, preferably near Ames,” Bogan said. “But that didn’t happen. Instead, we came to Blue Earth in June 1973. We bought a house for $ 16,500 and we still live in that house. Of course, we’ve added and made a lot of changes since then. “

Dr Bogan joined Dr John Landman and Dr Florian Ledermann at the Blue Earth clinic.

Dr Ledermann left in 1980 when his wife developed MS and the couple moved to their hometown of Alexandria. Dr Bernie Malone came here in January 1982.

Dr Landmann left in 1984 and went into semi-retirement and served on the State Council for Animal Health for 10 years, helping to eradicate pseudorabies.

There have been one or two young vets who have joined the staff for a year or two.

“We have also had veterinary technicians here over the years”, Bogan said. “Cheryl Owens was in the first class of Waseca College, and they (the college staff) came over and begged us to take one of their tech graduates. We weren’t sure what to do with a vet tech, but we hired one.

It was 1974 and Owens is still working in the Makotah Veterinary Service to this day.

“She does a lot of things and is very talented”, Bogan said. “So that turned out to be a good deal for us. “

There are currently two other veterinary technicians working at the clinic, and both are graduates of Blue Earth Area High School. Brianna Ziegler has been there for five years and Adree Gustafson has been there for four years.

Bogan says he is fortunate to have a great staff to work with, that he has always loved what he does, and that he is happy that he came to Blue Earth 48 years ago. But it’s time to retire, he adds. Kay taught early childhood and family education at BEA for 21 years. She still goes to daycare and teaches small children, says Bogan.

“If we retire, we will certainly spend more time with our children and grandchildren” Bogan said. “We only see them once in a while now, and only for a little while.”

The Bogans’ son, Matt, is an emergency room doctor in Woodbury. His wife, Becky, is a nurse. The couple have two sons, Jonah, 10, and Jacob, 8. His daughter Michelle Brown is a physiotherapist in Clive, Iowa, near Des Moines. Her husband, Andy, works in the woodworking industry. They have a son, Caleb, who is 8 years old.

To visit either family, the Bogan leave at 6 a.m. and head north or south for two and a half hours, visit until about 3 p.m., then return home.

Dr Bogan calls these occasional day trips “take a holiday” adding that it would be nice to have a little more time for that.

Hopefully that will happen, especially if a few vets come to Blue Earth and enjoy living and working here as much as Dr. Bogan.

About Hector Hedgepeth

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