Posted 7/03/12 (Tue)
By Olivia Sundeen
Farmer Staff Writer
“I had a love for animals at an early age. My father was a vet, so some of it is exposure, but a huge part is you just know.”
That is the way Bruce Pedersen, who recently opened a new veterinarian practice in Watford City, describes the reason he chose his career.
Pedersen, who grew up in Nebraska, was a 1992 Kansas State College of Veterinary Medicine graduate. Afterwards, Pedersen found himself in the Montana area.
“Through a friend, I began exploring the Watford City area,” stated Pedersen. “I found I really liked the community and variety of animals. There are a lot of similarities between where I grew up in Nebraska and western North Dakota.”
Through the efforts of Vawnita Best, Calli Thorne, Gene Veeder and the Watford City Livestock Association, Pedersen was one of many interviewed for the local vet position.
“It is hard to get a vet that will start a practice and that is experienced,” stated Veeder, McKenzie County Job Development Authority executive director. “As Nelson began to get ready to hand over the reins, we had been meeting with numerous vets. But once we found Pedersen, we had to start some hard-core recruitment.”
Pedersen’s skills and goals match up with the needs of western North Dakota’s rural environment.
“One thing that really drew us to Pedersen is that he is interested in working with large and small animals,” stated Veeder. “Vets that are willing to work with large animals, such as the cattle and horses found in our area, seem to be harder to find.”
As the area is changing, a local vet is in high demand.
“To reach a full-time vet, people have to drive 50 miles either direction,” stated Veeder. “In the case of an emergency, the drive is not ideal.”
Pedersen understands the changing environment and feels that the Watford City area holds wonderful opportunities.
“I have traveled to Africa and Mexico,” stated Pedersen. “I have worked on cattle and even sled dogs in Alaska. I have seen a range of environments. And western North Dakota is as good as it gets. Sometimes we tend to think the grass is greener on the other side, but it is hard to find the quality of life that exists in North Dakota.”
Currently, Dr. Bob Nelson, who is retiring as the local veterinarian for the past 45 years, is working to help Pedersen find his footing.
“They work together very well,” stated Veeder. “So far it looks like Pedersen will be a good addition to the community.”
Not only is the community adding a new vet to the area, but a family as well. Pedersen’s two sons have been helping him this summer.
“Along with work ethic, I think the family piece is important in whatever you do,” stated Pedersen. “My sons have been great in pitching in and helping out when I need them.”
Pedersen has many details to work out as he establishes himself in the community. As he has been taking things one day at a time, Pedersen still finds himself looking at the bigger picture.
“I believe in innovation,” stated Pedersen. “The best ideas are yet to be discovered. It never stops. There is always a constant push for improvement.”
One innovation that Pedersen is very passionate about is the use of technology.
“Technology is effective when used properly,” stated Pedersen. “It is my goal to incorporate it into the business so that it can help me communicate and educate my clients.”
Not only is using more technology one of Pedersen’s major goals, but the idea of expanding the practice entices him.
“I anticipate my clinic growing into a multi-doctor practice,” stated Pedersen. “But before I get ahead of myself, my main objective is to take one patient at a time and provide the best practice possible.”
Pedersen will be hosting an open house to introduce himself to the community at a later date. In the meantime, people can stop out to visit with him at the Watford City Veterinary Clinic, which is north of Watford City, or by calling his office at 842-2037.
“We love pets,” stated Pedersen, “and the people that own them are dear to our hearts.”