Steamboat vet clinic changes hands after almost 4 decades of treating people’s pets |

Steamboat vet clinic changes hands after almost 4 decades of treating people’s pets

Carolyn and John Rule have sold Mt. Werner Veterinary Hospital after 37 years of taking care of Steamboat's pets, but they have no intention of leaving the community.
Tom Ross

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — After working side by side with her veterinarian husband, John Rule, for the last 37 years, Carolyn Rule hopes she never sees another sick snake.

The Rules have sold their practice at Mt. Werner Veterinary Hospital to a new veterinarian in town, Reese Odenwelder, most recently of Carbondale.

The Rules’ devotion to taking care of their customers’ pets — she favored toy poodles at home and he’s a Brittany Spaniel man — made the Rules one of the most relied-upon couples in town.

When John Rule and his staff helped to ease someone’s beloved pet out of this world, they came to know how compassionate they could be.

But when your boa constrictor comes down with a sore throat, you can’t call Carolyn for an appointment any longer.

Which begs the question: How does a veterinarian treat an upper respiratory infection in a large snake anyway?

John explained that the dicey procedure requires a nebulizer — picture a good-sized glass terrarium. Once he stuffs the snake in the box, the vet sprays a mist containing suspended antibiotics to cure the reptile’s not-so-common cold.

The Rules have always been willing to come into the Mt. Werner Veterinary Hospital on weekends and even holidays to take care of injured animals and family pets.

“One year we ate Christmas dinner two or three days later,” John recalled.

“It’s toughest on the kids,” Carolyn said. “Every time you have something planned, you just couldn’t plan on it.

“It was a way of life we just got used to,” Carolyn rationalized.

She was the front office manager and receptionist at the clinic, who could help out in the operating theater when called upon. John also takes satisfaction from his active role in veterinary organizations at both the state and national levels.

Veterinary assistant of nine years, Diana Yeagher, is remaining in her position.

Now that the Rules are imbedded in the community, with two daughters living in the area and grandchildren coming home for visits from college, the couple have no intention of leaving their home on the west end of Old Town for a milder climate.

“We’ve got a lot of reasons to stay,” John said.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1.

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