Since 1942, Pipestone Veterinary Services (PVS) has provided quality care to animals large and small. As we celebrate our 75th anniversary in 2017, we’d like to highlight some of the rich history of the practice that has called home to the Pipestone community for so many years.
The Pipestone Vet Clinic was founded in 1942 by Drs. E.A. Schwein and P.A. Pinkert, providing large animal care to its patrons. Dr. G.F. Kennedy joined the practice in 1960, bringing the total headcount to 5 employees. Clientele then consisted of cattle feed lots, lamb feed lots, outside pig producers, auction market clients, small dairies, beef cow-calf chute work, and an occasional dog and cat.
Today, Pipestone Vet Services stands at 34 veterinarians and 180 employees through it’s 5 locations in Pipestone, MN; Independence, IA; Ottumwa, IA; Sycamore, IL; and Rensselaer, IN. Pipestone Veterinary Services today continues to serve companion animal, sheep, beef, dairy, and swine.
Reflecting on 75 years, Dr. Jay Bobb responded, “It means a lot to those of us that have been through the ups and downs, not only of our business, but of veterinary medicine and agriculture in general. It’s an opportunity for us to stop and reflect on the progress we’ve made over 75 years, thank our employees, our customers, and the community of Pipestone for their support.”
75 years lends plenty of time for story collecting, but none more than from Dr. G.F Kennedy himself.
“In the mid-eighties, the Pipestone Vet Clinic was part of the first ever shipment of Dairy Cattle to the Peoples Republic of China.” Dr. G.F. Kennedy recalls, “We shipped three plane loads, 750 total after nine months of quarantines and testing. This was followed by shipping 12,000 dairy heifers over a three-year period to Indonesia. I was the attending veterinarian for those shipments.”
Dr. Kennedy also shared this more humorous account.
“I was working outback when I got the message that a bull had jumped the fence and was in the seats in the sale ring. Previously, a similar situation happened and the deputy was called in and muffed killing the bull. A guy got hurt as a result. This was a take charge moment for me to not let that happen again. The seats had been cleared and the concern was that the bull would come down stairs and get in the office. I said ‘Don’t call the sheriff. I will go home get my gun, and be back.’ Soon I was back with my slug gun. The bull was at the top standing in defiance. One shot to the head and the bull was dead. I figured I had better shoot again just to be sure. Second shot entered same hole in the head. I have never made a more accurate shot before or after in my life. A cattle buyer was hiding in a phone booth adjacent to where the bull was standing. I am sure he had to change his shorts.”
“We’ve grown a lot and learned a lot over 75 years,” said Hannah Walkes, President of Pipestone Veterinary Services. “Even in my 10-year tenure, we’ve taken immense strides in our mission of Advancing Animal Care Every Day.” Hannah mentions filtering sow barns, offering In Vitro Fertilization as a service to bovine customers, and even starting a Shepherd’s Choice brand for sheep & goats that is specially formulated by Pipestone veterinarians as a few examples.
“Every day I’m amazed at the passion our employees have for caring for animals. It doesn’t matter if it’s Dr. Weber caring for a small dog, or one of our customer service specialist working to get the right product for a client. It takes a team, and we are proud of the one we have built!” Walkes also speaks on the passion the company and employees have for giving back to the community- referencing such events as the Pipestone Angel Tree Toy Drive, Backpack Program, and Food Shelf. “It makes me proud to work for a company that cares so much.”
“When we reminisce on 75 years of service in the Pipestone community, we realized there is a lot to celebrate and be thankful for,” said Walkes, “We’re planning different ways over the next few years to give back, say thank you, and celebrate with the town that has been our home for all these years. I hope everyone has an opportunity to celebrate with us, but most importantly, I want them to know how thankful we are for their support that has allowed us to be in business for 75 years.”