The history of Alpine Veterinary Hospital is long and fascinating. The property in Monte Vista, which is the original hospital, was actually once a sugar beet factory in the early days of the town. Dr. Arthur G. Wadleigh, a native of Missouri and graduate of the very first class of DVMs at Colorado State University (then called Colorado A&M) in 1910, moved to Monte Vista in 1917 where he continued an already impressive career. He was on the executive committee of the Colorado Veterinary Medical Association, lectured and served on many national boards, and published numerous papers and reports on livestock medicine. He built the original veterinary hospital (parts of which are still in daily use) in the 1940’s and retired in 1956.
Dr. Wadleigh sold the practice to Dr. Jay Childress, a Kentucky native and 1952 CSU graduate who had worked for Dr. Wadleigh as a student and then as an associate. Dr. Childress and his wife Maudie grew the practice immensely during his 21 year tenure as an owner, improving the facilities, adding an xray machine and autoclave, as well as founding what is now the Conour Animal Shelter next to the hospital. Read this great article about Dr. Childress from CSU: https://cvmbs.source.colostate.edu/amazing-alumni-dr-jay-k-childress/.
In 1977, Dr. Childress sold the practice to Oklahoma State University grad Dr. Bob Dugan. Dr. Dugan and his wife Carol Lee named the practice Alpine Veterinary Hospital and expanded the services while making wonderful improvements until they sold to their young, newly hired associate, CSU graduate Dr. Tyler Ratzlaff in 1989.
Dr. Ratzlaff and his wife Bonnie were at the helm of AVH for 30 years, expanding it to a five-veterinarian staff and purchasing the well-established Valley Veterinary Clinic in Alamosa from Dr. Bob Steffens in 2012. In 2016, they built a brand new, state of the art facility on that property, fulfilling a lifelong dream.
Dr. Ratzlaff decided the time was right in 2019 to pass the practice ownership to the next generation, so he could focus solely on practicing medicine and spending time with his family. Fortuitously, two of his associates, Dr. Carla Enderle and Dr. Kayla Henderson, jumped at the opportunity to fulfill their own lifelong dreams of owning the veterinary practice. They are not only the first partnership to own the practice, but also the first women owners! Read more on the Staff page!