Since its beginning in 1955, the Wheat Ridge Animal Hospital has never been afraid of growing.
The practice began in a single room, expanded in the 1980s and moved to its 12,000-square-foot location at 36th and Kipling in 1996.
“At the time, we were panicked about filling a space that was three times bigger than our previous one,” remembered Dr. Don Ostwald, a partner at the animal hospital. “And now, 21 years later, here we are doing the same thing again, and we’re nervous all over again.”
The “here” is the hospital’s new, state-of-the-art home at 10140 W. 44th Ave., which was unveiled March 28.
Staff, community leaders and a few pooches were all on hand for the event, which was a chance to show off thespecifically designed facility before the general health, specialty and emergency services opened to patients on April 1.
“We had a dream of building a brand-new hospital for so long,” Ostwald said. “We’ve spent years working on this project to make the building become a reality.”
The 38,000-square-foot facility will be home to 45 doctors, 18 specialists, four emergency doctors, more than 60 nurses and veterinary interns as well. In its two stories, the building equals practically all of the services offered at human hospitals like Lutheran Medical Center.
“Lutheran is one of the top hospitals, and it’s wonderful to know we have a complementary facility for our citizens and their pets,” said Wheat Ridge Mayor Joyce Jay. “I know from my experiences out knocking on doors that almost everyone in the city has a pet, and I’m so proud to have this hospital in our city.”
Among the many offerings are 24-hour emergency services, a dental suite, radiology room with an ultrasound, MRI and CT scan machines, 27 exam rooms, an oncology department, blood bank, physical and sports therapy area and a prosthetics and braces specialist.
“This is very much a human hospital for pets,” said Tammy Burton, referral liaison with the animal hospital. “I couldn’t believe it the first time I saw this place. The comparison between human services and animal services here is so close.”
The well-being of staff was also a key factor in the development of the new animal hospital — there are 185 parking spots and an employee atrium for quietly unwinding after stressful procedures.
“Everything we did here, we did for our patients and staff,” Ostwald said. “We are the Wheat Ridge Animal Hospital, and we were going to stay in Wheat Ridge.”