We recently celebrated Dr. Gates’ career as his retirement is just around the corner. Former Cuyahoga Falls Veterinary Clinic staff members Penny, Becky, Kristen and others joined us as present staff honored him as a veterinarian and businessman as well as a mentor and advisor. The opportunities he’s provided through the jobs he’s created for employees and the wisdom he’s shared with all of his hard workers through the years is remarkable, and it was on display at the party.
There are many different things I can say and directions I can go when speaking of my father, but on this blog I’ll focus on my dad as the veterinarian, businessman and mentor I’ve had the privilege to grow up with, work under and eventually beside.
A variety of statistics and rates to measure the success or failure rate of small businesses can be used, but they all agree that a majority of small businesses close their doors within five years of opening. Dr. Gates started Cuyahoga Falls Veterinary Clinic from scratch in 1981 and it’s grown through the years because he has provided excellent service for his patients and clients day after day for 33 years.
He’s taught me the value of hard work, of treating clients and patients with respect, and of being an ethical businessman. He’s built upon and re-enforced my veterinary medical training, modeled excellent surgical technique, and shown the importance of listening to both clients and staff.
Rachel and Ashley spoke with some of our long-time clients, ones who have been with us from the early days, about sharing their thoughts about being a part of Cuyahoga Falls Veterinary Clinic through the years. What they shared was very touching. For example:
*On this occasion of your retirement, we all want to thank you for the many years you have cared for us with dignity, good humor, and superb advice and a solid base of knowledge. Your good and wise counsel is not just about the animals, but also about the owners. You carefully, calmly, intelligently and compassionately lay out the options available. The high standards of work ethic you set for yourself, staff and practice are known far and wide, and are so much appreciated by those of us for whom it is a pleasure to make up your practice.
*You are a great vet and a great friend, and I remember that you wept with us when [our dogs] were put to sleep.
*Thank you for all ways being there for our family and our beloved pets. Dating back to when you were our vet for our first dog, back in the late 70’s.
*After thirty years, it is difficult to adequately express our appreciation for the relationship we have been blessed to share with you both professionally and personally. You have been our trusted doctor – always thorough, always wise and always compassionate.
*We and our multitude of animals (cats, dogs, mice, birds) have grown toward retirement all along the way with you and we are very sad to see you leave. You stood by us on some of the toughest days of our lives when we had to send a beloved animal to the Rainbow Bridge. You also gave our ragtag, moth-eaten Heinz rescue dogs the same care, compassion and excellent veterinary care that was provided to the pure breeds.
While Dr. Gates will be officially retiring at the end of 2014, he’s not giving up his license to practice. In fact, I’ve already lined him up for some relief work in February as I attend Western Veterinary Conference for continuing education! So while he’ll be traveling more, visiting his southern grandchildren more, and mastering the fishing at Leesville Lake, he’ll make some appearances now and then at the clinic.
It’ll be different with less Dr. Gates at the clinic, but Dr. Kirt and I, along with our first-class team of technicians and assistants, will continue to provide the excellent veterinary health care that all of our four-legged friends deserve. We all thank Dr. Gates for all of his years of hard work establishing the Cuyahoga Falls Veterinary Clinic and building it into the place that we enjoy working today, and we wish him the best in this next, exciting phase of life.