by Dennis Dalman
Many animal lovers will be happy to hear that Sartell’s Pine Cone Pet Hospital will soon have a new veterinarian, which means the facility will be able to accommodate more clients and their precious pets.
Prospective customers can start calling Pine Cone Pet Hospital in August.
There has been a shortage of vets throughout the central Minnesota region – and beyond – in recent years. At Pine Cone Pet Hospital, there have only been two vets: Dr. Walker Brown, who is also the owner; and Dr. Heather Vogl. The hospital has been so busy that vets and support staff don’t take a break and rarely have time for lunch. The lack of time was particularly acute this summer because, as Dr Brown said, summer takes its toll on animals.
Now, thanks to the new doctor, the hospital can not only welcome new clients, but can also have more quality time to provide services to the pets of current clients.
The man who will soon come to the rescue is Mark Johnson, DVM (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine). Born in St. Louis Park, Johnson, now 32, grew up in Cherokee, Iowa and graduated in Animal Science from Iowa State University, Ames, and then graduated from DVM at the same university. Johnson specializes primarily in dogs and cats.
In 2017, immediately after graduation, Johnson worked for three years in a veterinarian position in Cross Lake, Minnesota. Then, 18 months ago, he returned to Iowa where he landed his current job at Creature Comfort Pet Veterinary Hospital in Ankeny. This hospital is also busy, forcing Johnson to work three 14-hour shifts a week.
He is happy with his new job at Sartell, in part because he will be able to be with his girlfriend, Abby Nelson, a Sartell resident, a mother of two young children who met Johnson while working at Cross Lake. The two began a period of distance dating. Nelson, who worked at the hospital, is now an accounting student.
“I was torn between my family in Iowa and my girlfriend in Sartell,” Johnson said in a phone interview with the Sartell Newsleader. “My mother passed away recently, the house is gone and I let go of the past.”
Johnson hopes to rent for the first year at Sartell and then find a house to buy.
“I am delighted to get to know the community, to meet the people who make it up and to be a part of it,” he said.
Johnson enjoys watching sports and enjoys the outdoors: pheasant hunting, fishing, cross-country skiing, being on the water. And unsurprisingly, he loves dogs. He has two that he treats as his best friends, two golden retrievers – Hank and Maynard.
Dr. Mark Johnson, the newly hired vet at Pine Cone Pet Hospital in Sartell, takes the time to snap a photo with his two “buddies,” Hank and Maynard.