BONNERS FERRY — Pets are family; livestock a livelihood. When they are injured, sick, pregnant, or just need a check or vaccination to stay healthy, people turn to their veterinarian. Standing behind that vet is a team of people who keep the clinic running.
In Bonners Ferry, one person has been a part of that team for the past 31 years. Jean Hawkes has been with Bonners Ferry Veterinary Clinic, but has now retired and is ready for new adventures. A party at Mugsy’s Tavern and Grill was thrown for her on Saturday, Dec. 29.
Hawkes will take with her many memories of the people and the animals that she grew to know and love over the years — like a friendly St. Bernard, named Barry, owned by Pete Wilson. In the old clinic, Barry would often greet them, awaiting their arrival on the front porch.
“He was a drooler, big time, and he loved Roland,” explained Hawkes. “He traveled from Pete’s home, about a mile away. We would then call Pete, who would show up in a suit and tie, in his leather seated vehicle. Barry was always so happy to see him and would jump into the back seat, drool flying.”
Hawkes said some of the things she will miss are her co-workers, the clinic cats, bottle baby kittens, C-sections, the many items found inside of dogs, and the chaos that ensues during emergencies.
Her job at the clinic found her playing many roles — from answering the phone to cleaning kennels, going on farm calls, restraining animals, billing, and more.
“Thirty-one years ago you didn’t have to be licensed, so we were techs, basically,” said Hawkes. “We do everything.”
Many people, from clients to coworkers, showed up to help Hawkes celebrate her retirement.
“I am here to honor a person who has meant a lot to animals in our county and the people who are their caregivers,” said Denise Thompson, “and she is the caregiver supreme.”
Coworker Becky Lowther said she will miss Hawkes’ compassion and loving heart the most.
“She is a very sweet, kind-hearted person,” said Veterinary Assistant LaRae Rice. “I am going to miss that.”
Hawkes still plans to go back and visit with her former coworkers and animals at the clinic, but she looks forward to changing direction in her life.
To her employer, Roland H. Hall, DVM, Hawkes said, “Thank you to Roland for your intelligence, work ethic, and your profound care of the creatures in Boundary County.”
“It has been my privilege to meet and serve so many clients and their pets. We have shared so much, from extreme sadness to hysterical laughter over animal antics,” said Hawkes. “Thank you for so many memorable moments.”