Tri-Cities Voice Newspaper - What's Happening - Fremont, Union City, Newark California

February 14, 2006 > Family of vets

Family of vets

by Vidya Pradhan

Tucked away in a small strip mall located in north Fremont, the Ardenwood Pet Hospital serves the needs of pet owners who live in this residential area. The first thing that meets your eye when you walk in the door of the pet hospital is a beautiful black cat sleeping in a basket; however, a sign warns that, at times, this snoozing feline can be a bit grumpy. Another cat with a mellower disposition catches "zzz's" nearby. This pleasant and pet-friendly atmosphere is presided over by Dr. Theodore Rue, a veterinarian with over 20 years experience.

Meanwhile, in south Fremont, stained glass windows and a picture of cat on the computer screen welcome you to the Irvington Pet Hospital, run by Dr. Rue's wife, Dr. Deborah Rue. The same sense of loving care pervades this facility and it is no surprise when the relationship between these veterinarians is revealed.

The couple met on the first day of college at Cal Poly, Pomona, where each studied veterinary medicine. Both earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology; then they began the difficult path to becoming veterinarians. There are approximately 30 veterinary colleges in the United States and only three schools west of the Rocky Mountains. Admission is competitive; about 700 candidates compete for 100 vacancies at each of the schools. Residency restrictions also make it difficult for out-of-state candidates. Fortunately, Dr. Theodore Rue was eligible for admission to Washington State University (WSU) where his father was an alumnus. The couple married, moved to Washington, and Dr. Deborah Rue entered WSU the following year.

Following graduation, they hoped to practice together but soon discovered that jobs for two new veterinarians at one practice were not easy to find. Certified and licensed to practice in California, they began working for different veterinary clinics. Separating personal and professional lives turned out to be a positive experience for them.

Eventually, Dr. Theodore Rue bought a practice in Ardenwood and Dr. Deborah Rue did the same in Irvington. "We can both be chiefs in our respective domains," Dr. Deborah Rue said. On occasion, when one helps the other, they say it's hard to take on a subordinate role.

The two pet hospitals care for dogs and cats. In addition to treating animals with tumors and fractures and other ailments that require surgery, both pet hospitals offer general practice services including yearly exams, flea control, spaying, neutering and vaccinations. They also board pets for up to two weeks for vacationing owners. Boarded pets are taken for walks three times a day and looked after by caring staff.

With the help of organizations such as Furry Friends Rescue and NORCAL Golden Retriever Rescue, both pet hospitals help place pets for adoption for owners who can no longer take care of their animals. For those new to the care of dogs and cats, Dr. Deborah Rue estimates that the typical veterinary cost is approximately $300 to $500 a year. While pet medical insurance is available, only about five percent of pet owners insure their pets. Both vets agree that self-insurance i.e. putting some money away every year for pet emergencies is a good alternative, since most pet costs occur toward the end of a pet's life, when premiums are highest.

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the Rues took responsibility for some of the rescued animals through the auspices of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in San Francisco. These animals were treated and placed in neighborhood homes and shelters.

The couple's love of animals extends to their personal lives. Luke, their collie, and Meisha and Lila, their two cats are integral players in their family. "Luke is the joy of my husband's life," says Dr. Deborah Rue, adding, "If there was ever a fire at our home, I had better look out for myself because I know who my husband would be helping first!"

Occasional visitors from the wild to their home in the Mission San Jose district of Fremont include raccoons, opossums, deer and even a cougar from time to time. Feral cats are another matter. Dr. Deborah Rue says the best way to deal with animals such as feral cats is to catch them and take them to a vet to be spayed. She keeps a trap at the clinic for this purpose. She also suggests that pet owners be careful about not keeping pet food in the garage where wily raccoons can gain access to it.

Dr. Theodore Rue is available at the Ardenwood Pet Hospital, 4900 Paseo Padre Pkwy., Fremont (510) 791-8235 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays. The clinic opens at 7 a.m. for pet drop-offs and is closed on Sundays.

The Irvington Pet Hospital, under the direction of Dr. Deborah Rue is located at 3992 Washington Blvd., Fremont (510) 657-4060, and open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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