Price's very own Dr. Doolittle and 30 Wild AAHA Years
Veterinarians, like flood insurance, happen to be one of the many things that are vital to one's life but rarely thought of. Until the need for them arises that is. In Castle Country, if you have a pet or a farm, then you know how much a guy like Boyd Thayn is needed.
For those who don't know, Thayn is the kind of guy who will wake at 2 a.m., stand in a muck and filth filled trailer while risking his life to save a 1500 lb. animal that will never thank him and will most likely try to crush him if provided the opportunity. Believe it or not, this life of service is the life Jerry Boyd Thayn choose and it's a life he loves.
Dr. Boyd Thayn started his education at the College of Eastern Utah in 1969 before leaving on an LDS Mission to serve in Argentina. He then returned to Utah to finish his undergraduate work at Brigham Young University before heading to Colorado State and vet school. Since finishing, he has led an American Animal Hospital Association Accredited (AAHA) facility right here in Price.
Thayn's career started in 1976, as his schooling wrapped up. Thayn spent a long six months in Salt Lake before he landed an opportunity to move his practice home.
"We moved back in November of '76 and rented the old white house on the corner of Mrs. Gorishek's farm and we had an office there for two years," recalled Thayn fondly. "Then we started planning the building which we still operate from today."
Dr. Thayn, who is fiercely proud of his hospital's certifications and capabilities, immediately noted the value of operating from an accredited facility. The AHAA accreditation carries a very high standard and is completely voluntary. According to Thayn, he is certified because he has always worked to provide the best care possible for is patients.
"AAHA had their convention in Salt Lake City in 1979. We were planning our building right then and they really helped us to plan the facility," explained Thayn. "We applied for accreditation in 1980 and have had it ever since. What I find significant about our accreditation is that they keep us very current with what is going on in the field. So much has changed and we have been able to change as well."
According to the doc, business has always remained steady at the hospital. Between pets and farm animals, Thayn and his staff literally are capable of performing hundreds of procedures on several species of animal in a single day.
"We do a lot of procedures and we offer a wide range of services at a reasonable price for a rural community," he said.
Concerning the bulk of his practice, Thayn sees mostly cats and dogs. However the practice does treat most of the farm animals in the area and also sees patients from other area as well as those just passing through.
"We have a ferret hospitalized right now and we see iguanas and other exotic pets," he said.
The doc reported that drug interactions as well as differing doses based on numerous factors including species, keep Dr. Thayn on his toes at all time. Human doctors deal only with one species.
"Some species are very susceptible to drugs, just as some people are more sensitive than others," he explained. But just to let you know how much things have changed, there isn't a single anesthetic which was used when I started 30 years ago that is still being used today."
According to Thayn, the internet is a great tool for today's animal doc, information is detailed and easy to find. Also, vets attend meeting where a great amount of information can be related in a short amount of time.
"One of the reasons I choose to become a vet was I wanted to do something that I wouldn't get bored with. I had jobs before where you were really pretty bored most of the time," laughed Thayn. "This job is one where things change and happen all the time. It never gets old."
Equipment has also made a major step forward, as Thayn can now process his own blood work and get the results back very quickly. This allows the hospital to treat many more patients in the same amount of time.
Talking to Thayn it is easy to see how much Thayn loves what he does. When discussing his career it is also easy to hear how much compassion he has. Thayn repeatedly puts his own well being aside to help his patients.
"Rural Utah has been so good to me, I love this area and I love my job," said Thayn. "The only thing that bothers me is that I used to see people whose parents I know, now it's starting to be their grandparents and I don't care for that."
As animals can't talk, Thayn has quite a few stories about getting in over his head.
"This one guy called me at midnight, coming from Colorado with pregnant Holstein cows. One of them was calving and he wanted me to help him," he said. "This is February and I let him know that I didn't have a pen for him to corral his load. He told me that he thought we could pull the calf in the trailer."
At this point, Dr. Thayn began laughing at the memory hard enough that he had to pause for a second.
"I told him to call me when he got here. He came and parked his truck right in the highway here on Airport Road. The trucks were hauling coal and he's parked in the road. I get my calf puller out and this cow is laying in the bottom deck of a two story trailer. As I crawled into the trailer, I was sure I was going to die. If the cow next to me didn't kick me to death, the coal trucks were going to hit us."
Thayn continued to explain that with his arms inside the cow as urine and feces dripped all over him from the deck above, he thought, "I'm going to die in here."
Dr. Thayn did not die, either that night or on the many crazy calls that would follow and after 30 years of saving the Castle Valley's animals he says he is ready to work for 30 more.
The calf in question did die but its mother lived and according to Thayn the truck driver was elated as he left with his load in tact.
With Thayn it seems as though its the details that matter.
Another of his favorite stories demonstrates this. According to Thayn, he was with Jay Chritchlow an old rancher and performing a c-section on a cow.
"They had a big ranch and we were in his barn. As I was bent over this cow, a bird from above defecated and the poop landed inside the lens of my glasses," he said laughing once again. "Here I am with my hands in blood and I've got bird poop inside my glasses."
Dr. Thayn has recently expanded his office to include the practice of another area resident who wanted to practice their trade at home after finishing school. Serena Young is now working at the Animal Hospital located at 1989 Airport Road in Price.
"Everyone who works here loves animals and we all love our community as well," concluded Thayn. "We are grateful to our patients and their owners for allowing us more than 30 years of what has been a great life."