Barbara Lawlor, Nederland. In 1985, Nederland gave birth to a bank, a shopping center and a second veterinary office. The town was on the early cusp of growth and with the new families came new dogs and cats.
Mike Clements, a 1977 Nederland High School graduate, a former wrestler and football player had graduated from Western State College studying biology and then earned his veterinarian degree from CSU. While he was in college he volunteered with veterinary clinics, learning the business from the bottom up.
His father loved the mountains and Mike grew up with dogs and cats and when he finished his school, he saw the opportunity to do what he was trained to do in his home town. He set up business in the blue building on Second Street and went to work.
The business was successful from the very beginning. Mike married Michele and decided to start a family. He was also spending his time coaching wrestling and football at the high school, a full circle from his youth. On call for emergencies 24/7 Mike realized it was time to focus on his family, and in 1994 made the decision to sell the business. Guy Newton stepped up to the challenge, bought the clinic and within a year hired Mike part-time.
Guy had practiced as a veterinarian in Forth Worth, Texas, taking fishing vacations in Colorado. When he came to visit in 1994, he wished there was a way he could live in the mountains and when he saw Mike’s ad for a veterinarian business for sale, he knew he was where he belonged.
From then on the two vets worked together; Guy a lot and Mike a little. Over the years, both of them saw the changes in town and the changes in technology. Guy says that Facebook makes it so much easier to get lost or stray dogs back to their owners now.
“Over the years, people have also expected better care for their pets, higher standards. The internet has made it easier to do research. When I hired Mike he worked one day a week.”
But times change, the years go by and Guy decided that he didn’t want to miss another summer of enjoying the mountains, of fly fishing. Things had gotten too busy and he felt like he was getting too old to keep on working.
Now his career goal was to retire, to play golf and ski and have fun.
With Mike working part-time and knowing the business and the clients, everything fell into place. There was a brief couple of days when Guy thought he would just have to shut down, but Mike, with his children grown, decided to take his career back. Another full circle.
“I am very glad that Mike is going to stay here. I have been blessed to run a small business, lucky to be in this wonderful place. I might even visit Mike once in a while, but he is not going to talk me into working one day a week.”
The changeover also worked out well for Tara Mathias, the receptionist who has grown to love her job, her two bosses and all the animals she gets to meet.
She did fall prey to the attraction however when a dog was brought in to be boarded for two weeks and now, a year and three months later, the dog, Crazy Pants, is still with her. “He is the best dog ever,” she says. It is one of the hazards of working with animals.
The two vets and Tara say one of the most fun things was bringing in the Little Bear kids, showing them the jars filled with eyeballs, bones and worms and bugs.
Guy chuckles at the memories and says, “It has been fun, but I’m glad to retire.”
The switch will take place at the beginning of March.
Everything Comes Full Circle
Maureen Steele, Nederland. That was not the wind in the trees you heard last night. It was a collective sigh of relief that resounded over our beloved mountain town as the good news spread that Dr. Guy Newton DVM was not closing the doors of Peak to Peak Animal Hospital. Dr. Newton is retiring, but re-taking the helm as owner/operator is once again Dr. Mike Clements.
For those of us residing here long enough to remember the history, Dr. Clements opened Peak to Peak Animal Hospital in 1985. He sold the practice to Dr. Newton in 1994 and this duo has been practicing together since.
After 38 years sharpening, polishing and honing his brand of veterinary medicine, Dr. Newton has touched the lives of our beloved pets and the hearts of their owners. He is well deserving of his service withdrawal and looking forward to his retirement with his beloved wife Leslye. “I’m going to fish more. Golf more. Ski more and have a good time!” says Newton.
Guy approached medicine with a practical, sensible, and compassionate style we all have come to depend on and appreciate. When asked about passing the torch to Dr. Clements he replied happily, “Best thing in the world! Mike’s the only person I wanted to take it over.”
Dr. Clements mirrored Guy’s enthusiasm. “I’m thrilled. My roots run deep in Nederland. I started this practice 32 years ago when I was only eight years out of graduating Nederland High School. I sold this hospital 22 years ago to Guy. My wife Michelle and I were just starting our family and I needed a relief from the crazy hours. Now our kids are older and I am thrilled to be able to come back to Nederland full time”.
When asked what was the tipping point for him to consider taking over again, Mike readily replied, “Tara. Tara is a cornerstone in the practice and in the town. It is her expertise that will make this feasible for me to do”.
It was a unified, mutual and mass heartache felt at the thought of Peak to Peak being no more. It is the establishment we came to love, trust and highly value. Loyal clients no longer need to ask “What now?”
Like their long time relationship, this transition will be seamless and effortless. “We worked so well together, we shared common philosophies and a true friendship. I’m so thankful to Guy for the opportunity to make this happen”. So are we Dr. Clements, and so are our furry friends.