Pet Lover Programs

West Wendover Pet Owners Grateful for New Local Veterinary Care

By Dianna Troyer

When Enzo, a 7-pound terrier cross, needed to be neutered, his owner Carolyn Santillanez was relieved the procedure could be done in West Wendover.

For the first time, local veterinary care services for pets are offered at the city’s animal shelter at 1100 Logistics Drive in the West Wendover Industrial Park.

Since November, 2 veterinarians from Steptoe Veterinary Services in Ely have been providing spay and neuter services, wellness visits, and minor surgeries from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the first Wednesday of the month.

“It was a relief that I could drop off Enzo and still go to work,” says Carolyn, director of the West Wendover Senior Center. “Before Steptoe came, I would have had to drop him off at a Salt Lake City clinic, then find something to do while I was waiting a couple of hours.”

With the new clinic, local residents no longer have to make lengthy drives when their pets need routine health care. Previously, veterinary care was an all-day endeavor with roundtrip choices of 244 miles to Salt Lake City, 214 miles to Elko and 240 miles to Ely.

“When a friend offered to give Enzo to me, he just clicked with me and our other dogs,” Carolyn says. “He was instantly part of the family. Our dogs are the loves of our lives.”

Enzo joined her canine family of Earl, a white Labrador; Bear, a black Lab; and Gemma, a Shitzhu.

Offering veterinary services to residents was a goal of West Wendover Mayor Jasie Holm, a self-described pet lover. She knew Steptoe veterinarians periodically came to town to see clients at the local equestrian center where horse owners rent stalls.

“We talked to them and asked what they would need to come regularly,” Jasie says.

At the local animal shelter, exam rooms are suitable for surgical procedures. The city budgeted $20,000 to buy medical equipment.

“Our staff is committed to coming to West Wendover,” says T.J. Borghoff, Steptoe’s office manager.

When the clinic’s owners, veterinarians Clinton and Whitley Henriod opened their practice in 2022, the couple made a commitment to travel throughout northeastern Nevada to provide care. They also go regularly to the Ruby Valley and Deeth areas to see clients.

Growing up north of Ely on his family’s cattle and hay farm, Clinton set a career goal of caring for livestock and pets in remote areas. He met Whitley when they were students at Texas A&M Veterinary School. The clinic’s third veterinarian, Dr. Courtney Bellander-Spear, is also a White Pine County native.

“Steptoe’s vets and techs are skilled with all types of pets and get an A-plus from me for their care of my crew,” says John Hansen, a West Wendover resident.

“I’m a pet person, and all my dogs and cat were rescues,” he says of Keek the cat; Bo, a mastiff and pit bull cross; Rocky, a chocolate Lab; and Maggie, a Chihuahua. “They all get along.”

Other Pet Projects

The veterinary services are not the only new pet project coming to fruition in West Wendover.

John and other volunteers are building a pet park on 3 acres of Bureau of Land Management property designated for recreation, parks, or playgrounds.

Since launching the project 3 years ago on the north side of Florence Way Boulevard, they erected a building and 2 fenced areas designated for large and small dogs, and are working on restrooms.

A third pet program for local residents is WendRover Pet Connections, a nonprofit adoption service. Through a Facebook page, volunteers help pets find homes.

“Since we started in 2018, we’ve been able to place more than 500 dogs and cats, and even some snakes, into caring homes,” Jasie says.

1 of those homes is her own. Bruno Mars, a Chihuahua cross, was a stray and so was Sophie, a shepherd/border collie cross.

“We’ve had them since they were puppies,” Jasie says. WendRover Pet Connections offers a $50 discount for spay and neuter services.

“The vets do about 4 or 5 every time they come,” she says. “It may not sound like a lot, but every little bit helps prevent unwanted dogs or cats from being born and eventually euthanized.”

WendRover Pet Connections’ discounts are funded by contributions from Nevada Gold, individuals, and Maggie’s Pet Project, a national nonprofit.

“We’ve even had people leave a donation in their will,” Jasie says. “There are a lot of caring people in our community.”