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Sells, longtime G.C. veterinarian, retiring

6/26/2013

By SCOTT AUST

By SCOTT AUST

saust@gctelegram.com

After 33 years, longtime Garden City veterinarian Dr. David Sells is hanging it up.

Sells' last day at Garden City Veterinary Clinic was Sunday.

At 61, Sells said he just felt it was time, and also said he and his wife, who has also retired from the Finney County motor vehicle department, wanted to spend more time traveling.

"We're moving to Wilson, so we're going to be at the lake a lot," he said.

Sells said the lake will be about 10 minutes away, so he hopes to do a lot of fishing, and a lot of golfing, noting that three golf courses are situated within 20 minutes of their house in Wilson. The couple plans to travel to see their grandchildren more, as well as to see the country and even parts of Kansas they've never been to before.

"That's kind of our plan. To just relax, do some traveling and enjoy ourselves before we get to the point where we can't physically do it," he said.

Sells said some physical issues with his knees and neck also played a role in the decision to retire.

Seven years of crawling around on his knees twice a week conducting blood tests on 800 head of hogs for Seaboard Farms has taken a toll.

"That, and playing racquetball just blew out the knees," Sells said. "Just destroyed them. I had a knee replacement about three years ago and now the other one is giving me fits, so I'll probably need another one in a year or so."

About five years ago, Sells started having trouble with numbness in his hands caused by problems in his neck. He ended up getting four vertebrae fused together.

Sells said he will miss seeing clients and their animals and the day-to-day interactions. Many clients became friends over the years, Sells said, and he was able to share the joy of things like a new puppy, as well as the lows of making a tough decision to put a beloved companion down.

It's hard for Sells to name a highlight. He said he's mostly just proud of providing the care people needed for so many years for their animals.

When Sells first started, he had a mixed-animal practice and worked with both large livestock animals and small pet-type animals. Around 1994 or 1995, Sells began exclusively taking care of small animals.

Sells was a charter member of the Finney County Humane Society, and also provided veterinary care for animals at Lee Richardson Zoo for about five years. Sells provided annual exams, teeth cleaning, blood work and general check-ups.

"It was a fun experience. Every day was a learning experience," he said. "One day I had a lion that I thought was under anesthesia decide to sit up and stick his face in my face. When 500 pounds of cat looks you eye to eye you kind of go, 'Oh crap,' and get out of there as quick as you can."

Sells said he has had some weird cases over the past 33 years. One involved a dog who ate an entire VCR tape. Sells said the owners weren't sure what was wrong with the dog, but upon examination Sells found a piece of tape wrapped around its tongue.

"When I cut the tape, it went down into his stomach, so we had to do surgery to clean it all out," he said. "Those things happen over the years. I've been knocked down a few times by horses, or had them kick (me). It's just part of the job. You get up, go back to doing it, and think nothing of it."

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