Dr. Robinson marks 50 years as vet

BLOOMINGDALE – Examination bay 4 at Crestview Veterinary Clinic has a sign that proclaims it is the other family doctor, the veterinarian.

There also are displays on the walls of some humorous doggie sayings to read during the brief wait to get a beloved pet examined.

The clinic is where an energetic Dr. David Robinson is celebrating 50 years in practice, with no thoughts of hanging up his stethoscope for some time.

Upon graduation from Steubenville High School, he attended Ohio State University and earned a DVM degree and a bachelor of science degree in agriculture. Graduating in 1962, he went to work for Dr. Wise handling the large animal clinic – meaning the farm animals, such as cows and horses.

“I traveled many miles through Ohio, West Virginia and parts of Pennsylvania on the older roads, that later became new highways, in a Volkswagen Beetle,” he said with a smile. When he was able, he purchased a truck.

“There are only a couple of dairies in the county now, where there were once many more,” he said of his early years of caring for cows.

He served as the Jefferson County Fair veterinarian for 25 years, looking after the animals of youth with 4-H projects. And for some of that time, his children, Carrie, David and Kristen, were involved with 4-H animals as well. Their dad never had that pleasure. As he said “I was a city boy. They didn’t have 4-H there at that time.”

When asked about his most memorable case, Robinson said without hesitation, “Doing both a Cesarean section on both a chinchilla and then a cow in the same day. The cow’s delivery was done while she was standing up and injected with local anesthesia,” he said.

“I’ve never cared for poultry,” he said, “but I have done exotic animals like turtles, snakes and hamsters. Most of the time turtles are ill because of dietary reasons. They are not fed the proper food,” Robinson noted.

“I was a city boy raised in Steubenville, but I was friends with the son of Dr. Haverfield. I became interested in caring for animals while watching the doctor work. I think of the kids in my graduating class who went into the mill and spent their life in an occupation they were not happy with. I know that I chose the right occupation. Fifty years later it is still fun for me,” he said with a smile.

For a time Robinson worked out of his home, and then rented a house on Lovers Lane was used for a clinic. His wife, Marlene, was his only staff member then, serving as receptionist and assistant. In 1963, he bought a house that was a former chicken farm and cared for his animal patients there.

In 1978, the present Crestview clinic came into service and there are now three technicians, a secretary and an office manager.

“I can’t do things alone anymore. I’ve cut back some and Kurt Johnson does more than me now, he said. Robinson explained that the clinic carries the initials AAHA behind its name, standing for American Animal Hospital Association, with only 2,000 in the United States. “You have to meet strict specifications to become one,” he said.

In a tour of the clinic, Robinson showed off the kennel room; the treatment area; the surgery room, with a therapeutic laser that does less invasive surgery; an X-ray room; and four exam rooms. The clinic was built with specific plans for all the different areas, he pointed out.

When thinking back over his 50 years in caring for animals, he said, with a smile on his face, “I wouldn’t have changed a thing. Time just flew by. I intend to stay for awhile.”