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New veterinarian in town focuses on ‘fear free’ practices

Dr. Reese Odenwelder, recently bought Ski Town Animal Hospital with her dog, Doug.
Matt Stensland

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — There’s a new veterinarian in town and she’s bringing a new way of practicing veterinary medicine.

Dr. Reese Odenwelder recently bought what was known as Dr. John Rule’s Mt. Werner Veterinary Hospital, which is now Ski Town Animal Hospital.

Growing up in Florida, feeding the iguanas or saving the neighborhood animals — one fish, rabbit, kitten and puppy at a time — Odenwelder’s career path led her to Colorado where she’s practiced medicine for the past six years.

During her time on the Front Range she also acquired another element to her craft known as “Fear Free” practice, which she brings to Steamboat along with her staff.

“Basically, it’s a holistic approach similar to the situation where if a kid was scared to go to the dentists office,” said Odenwelder. “Fear Free is meant to make the visit a more positive experience at the vet, get the fear out of it so we can get to the root of why they are here in the first place.”

From the way they approach and talk to the pets, this particular method is a relatively new way of practicing veterinary medicine that strives to prevent fear, anxiety and stress in patients.

At the Ski Town Animal Hospital the relatively small staff is certified and trained to recognize the signs of stress and fear triggers for dogs.

“I believe Dr. Odenwelder brings some great new skills and services to the dogs, cats and other small pets of this valley,” said Stacy Hunt, veterinary nurse for Odenwelder.

According to a Fear Free news release, this practice was founded by Dr. Marty Becker, known “America’s Veterinarian” and 17-year veteran of “Good Morning America,” and has been available to individual veterinary professionals since 2016.

In addition, treats and pheromones are an example of two techniques with which it’s closely associated. Not only that these practices allow for more accurate vital signs, examine pets and perform diagnostic procedures without fight or bite.

“Our mission is to provide a practice that advocates for the pets in Steamboat where they can get high quality medical care in a friendly fearless way,” Odenwelder said.

Located at 35825 U.S. Highway 40, Ski Town Animal Hospital is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

To reach Audrey Dwyer, call 970-871-4229, email adwyer@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @Audrey_Dwyer1.


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