Robert Holveck will retire and close Chehalem Animal Clinic; second veterinarian also shutters its doors in December

Chehalem Animal Clinic has been open in Newberg for 35 years caring for many of the area's treasured pets, but has decided to call it quits.

Robert Holveck, 73, the clinic's owner and veterinarian, decided "that it is time to pay attention to my eight grandchildren, travel and relax."GARY ALLEN - A one-eared cat has been a constant presence for many years at Robert Holveck's Chehalem Animal Clinic on North College Street, but will have to find a new home after Holveck announced this month that he would close the doors of the facility after 35 years in business.

Holveck has been semi-retired for a few years already and had another veterinarian running the show, although he popped in to the clinic once in a while to keep an eye on things. This time he is closing the doors for good after a long run.

"I graduated from Iowa State in 1970 and practiced for two-and-a-half years in east Iowa, worked at the old cannery and got acquainted with a vet at the bottom of Rex Hill. He called me in 1972 and wanted me to come out and we came out. I've had this practice since 1982," said Holveck, who in his 48 years working with animals in Newberg "he has seen three generations of clients, well, maybe even four generations."

Back in Iowa he worked principally with large animals; after he arrived in Newberg he focused on dogs and cats, a few cows and some horses. He has tended to more than 37 species: "Too many to name and it has been a great ride."

Holveck started out with an Army surplus x-ray machine and has seen a lot of changes during his career in technology, medicines and general practices at the clinics. He observed veterinary science advance and expand, "From big (pharmaceutical) and supply house mergers, and increased technology development in the equipment."

"Back in the days, there were maybe two or three antibiotics that you could use, now there are dozens," he said. "Anesthetics then were rudimentary compared to what we have now. Now we have digital x-rays, cat scans and MRIs."

Holveck has many fond memories from his nearly half-century as a veterinarian.

"One of the most memorable times wasn't the most pleasant," he said. "One time I delivered a calf from a cow that was stuck in a creek that was deep in water. The calf did not make it and was already expired when I got there. The cow could not walk up the bank because of the situation, but after I delivered the calf, she was able to go up the bank."

Other memories include, "the delivery of puppies and kittens by C-section and bringing in new life to the world," he said. "Or patching up a horse that almost had his face torn off and then becomes a show winner that came in first or second in its class."

He added that he could not have succeeded if it were not for his wife and family.

"My wife has helped a lot … All the kids have worked there at one time or another, either volunteer or paid," Holveck said, adding he has a lot to be thankful for. "I need to thank my clients and employees because I could not have done this without them, and they have been very supportive."

Holveck's clients and the community will miss the clinic; more than 43 comments were left on Facebook when word came he was closing up shop. The posting that started the thread is the one that made the announcement: "It is going to be a sad day for Newberg. Chehalem Animal Clinic is closing for good. What are we going to do?"

The big concern is the lack of veterinary clinics to choose from in Newberg. Chehalem Clinic is not the only veterinary clinic to close this year. Wynne Veterinary Clinic closed in December and referred some clients to Holveck's business, "Not knowing that they too were planning on closing down," he said.

As a result, Newberg will be left with two veterinarians: the Newberg Veterinary Hospital and the Family Pet Clinic.

Chehalem Animal Clinic on North College Street will remain open until Saturday.

"We have a capable vet that has taken care of the clinic, she will probably stick around in the area somewhere, but she is not going to take the clinic over," Holveck said, adding he is trying to sell the clinic but hasn't found any buyers yet. "We are going to miss our clients and the animals. Lots of good memories and some have been with me for 30 years or more. Those are the hard ones to say goodbye to. We are staying in the community, so I'm sure that we will cross paths."

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