Surface Creek Veterinary Center - February 2021

February 2021 970-856-4474

point, but that familiarity didn’t always turn into friendship. With Susie and me, it took a while. SCVC Pawprint Common Interests, Opposite Traits HOW DR. SUSIE AND DR. JEFF MET

It’s February, which means love is in the air, and Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Usually, Dr. Susie and I write this cover together, but this month, I’m taking the reins and writing to tell you the story of how we met. (Forgive me in advance, Susie, for any details I share that might not match your memory!) Susie and I met in veterinary school. We were both in the class of ‘97 at Colorado State University. Our class had about 130 students, so most of us knew each other by face at least, if not by name. We all had classes together at some

But, of course, she did eventually hold my hand, and we’ve been together now for over 20 years — we’ll celebrate our 21st wedding anniversary this May! Plus, we have four kids together. I think a big part of the reason our relationship works is because we have a lot of similar interests but our personalities are very different — and because she puts up with me! Susie and I both love animals and being active outdoors. And we both love spending time with our kids. But when it comes to personality, Susie and I are polar opposites. She is a free-spirit who takes things as they come. Whereas I’m, let’s just say, less of a free-spirit. I like being on time, and some might compare my demeanor to a drill sergeant. Somehow we balance each other out and things work. (And have I mentioned, she puts up with me?) All these years later, I’m really thankful to have Susie in my life and to have had the chance to build a business and a family with her … even though she didn’t hold my hand that one night.

When we were first in school, we didn’t really hang out together. It wasn’t until we both volunteered to help coach in the local youth soccer program in Fort Collins that we really started to take notice of each other. That just happened by chance, too! I signed up and learned there was one other person who had also signed up, and it happened to be someone in my program. It happened to be Susie! Through volunteering and school, our friendship slowly grew. In fact, it’s hard for me to pinpoint when exactly our first date was or when we became a couple. My memory isn’t as good as Susie’s, but I do remember drinking margaritas at the Rio, a local place we liked, and when we were walking around afterward, we had our first kiss. (She’s probably going to kill me for writing that!) I also remember a time when we went out to a nice dinner together, and afterward, I tried to hold her hand but she jerked it away! To this day, she swears she just tripped because it was one of the few nights of the year she wore heels and we were walking on gravel! Even though I felt totally dissed, I still really love to tell this story … even if Susie holds firm to her position.

“I think a big part of the reason our relationship works is because we have a lot of similar interests but our personalities are very different — and because she puts up with me! ”

Happy Valentine’s Day, Susie!

Dr. Jeff



Our Newest Registered Veterinary Technician Meet Amy Cortez! The Best Companion

The Benefits of Spending Time in the Mountains In the famous Swiss novel "Heidi,” a little girl recovers from her fragile health — both physically and mentally — by spending time in the mountains. There are plenty of anecdotal stories about the medicinal effects of mountain air, but how much is supported by research? Here's what there is evidence for so far: Cleaner, Pollution-Free Air One basic but important benefit of getting to a higher altitude is the escape from city pollution. It may surprise some city dwellers that air pollution is linked to asthma attacks for those with sensitive lungs and also to more serious conditions. Research suggests that prolonged exposure to air pollution may lead to chronic illnesses such as cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema, and other lung diseases. Up in the mountains, you’ll likely be able to breathe a little easier. Reduced Risk of Obesity and Heart Disease People who spend more time at high altitudes may also experience a decreased appetite and lower risk of obesity. One study from 2017 even found that living at a higher elevation is associated with a lower risk of metabolic syndrome, which is a cluster of conditions that include high blood pressure, excess body fat, and abnormal cholesterol. Even more interesting, mountain air may passively improve your weight loss journey as well. Natural Weight Loss One German study followed 20 obese men who lived in an environmental research station below the highest peak in the country. The subjects reached the peak effortlessly by railway or cable car, and they were allowed to eat as much as they liked. By the end of the week, however, each had lost an average of 1.5 kilograms or 3.3 pounds. Two factors are thought to have contributed to the weight loss: A naturally decreased appetite from the altitude (the men ate nearly 700 fewer calories than usual) and an increased metabolic rate. While there is still more to learn about the potential benefits of spending time in the mountains, these three studies give the greenlight for more high-altitude adventures.

The last few months have brought a lot of change for Amy Cortez, our newest veterinary technician. At the beginning of

December, she moved from her home state of

Indiana to Colorado and started a new job here at Surface Creek Veterinary Center.

Amy’s love of animals, coupled with her desire to learn a new skill set, drew her to a career as a veterinary

technician. Though she has a degree from Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia and worked for a time in that field, a change was in order. That’s when she got the idea to become a veterinary technician from some friends in Indiana who were techs. She graduated from her tech school in Indiana in 2010 and never looked back, just as she and her partner, Matt, haven’t looked back since relocating to Colorado in December, only days before Amy started her job. “He’s more into the country life, and we always felt like Colorado was the right place for us,” Amy says. They found a house they loved here, and so far, they’re adjusting just fine to the winter and loving that, despite cold temperatures, the sun is often shining.

“One thing that drew us to Colorado is the sun,” she says.

Living here allows Amy and her partner to enjoy outdoor activities — kayaking and hiking being two warm-weather favorites. They also love visiting breweries and art shows and going to the theater, which is no surprise since both Amy and Matt have art backgrounds, and Matt is a large-scale oil painter. Though it’s only been a few months since she started here, Amy says her favorite aspect of her work is simply getting to do a job she loves every day. She likes working with companion cats and dogs and having the opportunity to help them. Because of this, it’ll come as no surprise that there are three pets in her household. Her yellow Lab, Hudson, turned three last month, and he’s part of a pack that includes two cats: a polydactyl tuxedo cat named Pilgrim and a long-haired cat named Luna.

Next time you come into the clinic, be sure to say hello to Amy and welcome her to town!



It’s Time to Brush Up ON YOUR PET DENTAL CARE KNOWLEDGE If you’re like the majority of American adults, you typically visit a dentist at least once a year. But when’s the last time you made an appointment with Dr. Susie for a dental checkup for your pet? Keeping your pet’s teeth clean is a sure-fire way not only to give them a longer life but also to give them a better quality of life. And it’s a great way to avoid bad breath that makes you cringe when Fido comes in for a Valentine’s Day kiss! need less frequent visits. You can supplement Surface Creek’s cleanings by brushing your pet’s teeth at home!

Speaking of bad breath, if you’re unsure how to assess whether your pet is due for a dental checkup, the breath test is a good place to start. Aside from the relatively odor-free bliss of puppy breath, dog breath doesn’t exactly smell good, but if your canine’s breath is particularly foul, consider making an appointment for a checkup. You should also regularly check their lips, gums, and teeth. Their gums should be pink, not red or white. If they are swollen or bleeding, that could be a sign of an oral health problem. Also, do their teeth look clean? If you can see brownish buildup on their teeth, it might be time for a cleaning. Keep in mind that different breeds have different needs. Smaller dog breeds tend to have more dental problems than larger breeds. Some animals need to come in every six months for a cleaning, while others will

Be sure to buy a toothbrush that’s designed for the job and

toothpaste made specifically for animals. Ask us for tips next time you’re here or look online

for resources about how to get your dog used to having their teeth cleaned. February is Pet Dental Health Month, so there’s no

better time to learn more about how to care for your canine’s chompers. As we often say, if you don’t want to spend the time cleaning your pet’s teeth

at home, you can spend the money and let us do it here. Either way, make sure you have a plan to get your pet the oral health care they need.

Who needs a Valentine’s Day date when you have a furry friend at home? This Feb. 14, show your pooch your love with these frosty strawberry dog treats. Use a heart- shaped silicone mold to make this snack extra festive. ‘My Furry Valentine’ Pup Snacks Inspired by

Clients Spreading the Word Thanks so much to these clients who referred new patients to us last month: Larry George Darold & Jeanne Sloan


1/2 cup plain yogurt

Nate Hawkins Polly Jo Wick Galina Miller

1/4 cup frozen strawberries, puréed


1. Fill each heart in the mold 3/4 full with yogurt. 2. Freeze the yogurt hearts for 1 hour. 3. When the yogurt is set, add the puréed strawberry on top of each heart to fill the rest of the mold. 4. Freeze for another hour, then share the tasty treats with your dog! Note: If you don’t have a heart-shaped mold, you can freehand your treats on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Freeze 1 tbsp dollops of yogurt for an hour, then top with 1/2 tbsp of strawberry purée and freeze another hour.

We Reward Referrals!





How Dr. Susie and Dr. Jeff Met inside this issue

1 2

Can Mountain Air Actually Improve Your Health?

Meet Amy Cortez, Our Newest Veterinary Technician


Brush Up on Your Pet’s Oral Care

Clients Spreading the Word!

‘My Furry Valentine’ Pup Snacks


A Tiny Dog Is Crowned the Biggest Hero


The American Humane Hero Dog Awards competition is an annual celebration that honors some of the world’s most extraordinary canines. The awards recognize dogs that have gone above and beyond the call of duty, whether it’s saving lives on the battlefield, comforting the ill or elderly, or demonstrating just how powerful the bond between humans and animals can be. Winners are crowned in several categories, but the “American Hero Dog” is the top winner selected by expert panelists and a popular vote. It most often goes to dogs who show astute bravery in what they do, and in 2020, that bravery came in a 4-pound package. MacKenzie the Chihuahua bested over 400 competitors to be selected as 2020’s American Hero Dog. Born seven years ago with a cleft palate and severe pneumonia that nearly took her life, MacKenzie fought hard to overcome her sickness and birth defects. Soon after she defied all odds, her owners noticed her affinity for other animals — despite being tiny compared to many of them. That’s when they gave her a special job: caring for baby animals born with birth defects just like she was.

genuine interest in each baby from the moment they’re introduced, no matter its species or size. She plays

nurse, cleans, and comforts them through their recovery, becoming a pseudo-mother that teaches them how to socialize and play. She’s nurtured countless puppies, kittens, birds, squirrels, mice, goats, and turkeys. Despite her tiny size, she’s even mothered a Great Dane.

In addition to caring for rescued animals, MacKenzie also helps kids learn to be open-minded about both animals and people with physical differences or disabilities. The Chihuahua teaches the kids kindness and patience and shows them that no matter how small you might be, you can make a big difference. MacKenzie lost her ability to bark very early in life, but she has one of the loudest voices when it comes to speaking for disadvantaged animals. Heroism truly comes in all shapes, sizes, and forms, but MacKenzie demonstrates that the most heroic act of all is exuding compassion for others, no matter their circumstances.

Many of the rescue animals MacKenzie helps care for have medical problems that prohibit them from staying with their mothers, but MacKenzie takes a

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