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Samuel E. Thomas, DVM: 1926 2012
October 4, 2012 - By his daughter, Carey Tri
PHOTO COURTESY OF CAREY TRI
Dr. Sam Thomas, local veterinarian.
Dr. Samuel E. Thomas was born on December 29, 1926, in Canyon City, CO.
His father, Thomas Thomas, immigrated to the U.S. from Wales. His mother emigrated from Austria. His mother died due to complications in childbirth.
As a coal miner, his father didnt believe he could adequately provide for five children under the age of 7 so he put my father and two siblings in the Odd Fellow Orphanage and Rest Home when he was 5.
My dad enjoyed growing up in the orphanage and returned there after serving stateside as a radio operator during WWII. He avoided overseas duty because his brother, Albert, whod been with him in the orphanage, was killed parachuting onto Corregidor. His brothers death affected him deeply and he never talked about it.
After returning to the Odd Fellow Home, a mischievous path caused his parents to sit him down and tell him to decide what he wanted to do with his life. That gave him direction and he decided to attend CSU to study chemistry. Shortly after graduating, he married Janet Roufs and they moved to Texas where their five children were born. They loved Texas, especially the people, but my fathers dream had always been to be a veterinarian.
After ten years in Texas, they moved back to Ft. Collins, CO, where he studied veterinary medicine and at age 39, he realized his lifelong dream and graduated with his degree.
In 1968, Dad opened his own practice called Fallbrook Pet Clinic. He was also one of the original founders of the Emergency Vet Clinic in Woodland Hills. Dad served his community for more than 37 years. He loved his job and was always grateful he was living his dream. As devoted as my dad was to his patients, his clients were equally devoted to him.
Sadly, at 75, he began having TIAs, small strokes that only affected his short-term memory.
At 76, he was forced to retire and his dream came crashing to a halt. He couldnt comprehend not having a job and he often said, You mean I got no job? What am I supposed to do with my life? Ive always worked hard.
He passed the time with his caregiver, Carlos, golfing/putting/sitting in the cart and walking at the mall or Balboa Park. Carlos and his family adopted my dad into their family. We appreciate Carlos ten years of service to our dad.
Our dad discovered church during his retirement a shock to many, especially his own family! He loved coming to church on Sunday and being greeted by a new set of friends.
After 10 long years stuck in retirement, he is finally free. Imagine his welcome to the other side all those critters and clients and friends and family there to greet him.
Dr. Thomas was buried in Camarillo on Sept. 14, 2012. He will be missed.
REMEMBERING DR. SAM, THE WOODLAND HILLS AND TOPANGA VET
I first met Dr. Thomas in 1968 when I was nine years old and we started taking our animals to his Fallbrook Pet Clinic at the corner of Fallbrook and Oxnard in Woodland Hills. We quickly learned that the Doc was there 100 percent of the time for the animals and was a bargain to boot!
He would skillfully take care of our animals, quickly and gently, with no drama. After treatment, he usually sent them home with a two-week supply of antibiotics and a tube of Panalog ointment.
And somehow the animals always got better! He not only took good care of our animals but taught us how to care for them ourselves.
Dr. Thomas cared for our many cats over the years including Wilbur, Misty, Titus, Tigger, Tarzan, Roscoe and Timothy through shots, cuts, ear infections and cancer.
He also provided skilled and loving care for our many dogs, including our Springer Spaniels, Ginger and Minnie; our Lab, Buddy; the Shetland sheepdog, Rinnie; and our Great Dane, Lady.
The many horses Dr. Thomas kept healthy included our Palomino, Charlie and Starfire, our brave and beautiful pinto mare. He also took care of our Morgan-Arab gelding, Zayen; Larry, the mule; my Shetland pony, Blossom and my pinto mare, Amber.
One summer night, Dr. Thomas sewed up the badly cut up chest of our Arabian mare, Pisces, with the aid of a single overhead barn light and a flashlight. Pisces healed up with no scars and a month later she was entered in a horse show.
Years later, on a bitterly cold October night, Dr. Thomas came to our house to put down our dear Starfire, who had fallen in the icy mud. He wept with us when she died.
Truly, I have never found a better vet than good ole Dr. Thomas.
Animal lovers throughout Woodland Hills and Topanga will miss him greatly for all the love and care he provided for our pets throughout his career.