— By BRIAN SMITH
BROCK — Despite a change in ownership, pet owners can rest assured of the same top quality service at Riverstone Companion Animal Center.
New owner Dr. Ryan Cate bought the business from his friend Dr. Braeden Benson in late December, officially taking over on Jan. 1. He met Benson while in vet school at Michigan State University. Cate said with the exception of him, all the staff is the same staff that was with Dr. Benson.
“Technicians (Pam Johnson and Monica Ardoin) have placed their trust in me and have decided to remain with the practice,” Cate said. “Those two faces out front are the face of the practice.”
It’s been a long travel back to Texas for Cate, who graduated from Michigan State University vet school in 2009. Following his internship in equine medicine and surgery at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, he and his wife Stefanie moved 3,000 miles to the island nation of Grenada where he taught at St. Joseph’s University there.
The allure back to the area became too strong and the couple moved back to the area. After taking a job in Argyle for six months, Cate and Benson began talking about him taking over the business, which became official on Dec. 27.
“I like being part of a small town atmosphere,” Cate, a 2000 graduate of Boyd High School, said. “I definitely want to become part of it.”
Stefanie, who graduated from Weatherford High in 2002 and whose family has been in the Brock area since 1996, is also a part of the business in handling the books. Brock High student Mollie Withers is a part time employee at the clinic.
Cate received his associate’s degree from Weatherford College in 2002 and his bachelor of science in Animal Science from Texas A&M in 2005.
Cate said the first few weeks have been a whirlwind trying to get things organized the way he wants them. He focuses mainly on smaller animals right now but will provide vaccines to larger animals upon request.
“I hope to become a mixed animal practice (both small and large pets) in the future,” Cate said.
The facility not only offers vet care but also pet boarding. Cate said the facility boards between two and four pets at all times.
Some of the changes he hopes to make in the coming months include hiring of a groomer and increasing the number of vets on staff which would allow for weekend openings. Sometime in March he wants to open one Saturday morning a month for both appointments and walkins. If that takes off, he would then be open every Saturday.
“Right now, we’re trying to take care of what the practice always has been and we will go from there,” Cate said.
He said he can refer patients (and their owners) to orthopedic surgeons and vets who specialize in internal medicine if the need arises. In time, he hopes to acquire equipment that will allow him to handle X-rays digitally.
With the new ownership, Cate is offering 10 percent off a canine annual visit right now. With February being Pet Dental Month. Cate is offering a free dental exam before Feb. 1 to see if a pet qualifies for a new non-anesthetic teeth scaling service. If the pet qualifies, there will be a $20 reduction on the procedure price.
Even more specials are offered by “liking” the Facebook page, Cate said.
Bridgestone Companion Animal Center is located on 1421 FM 1189 about a mile south of I-20. Hours are from 7L30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays. For information or to schedule an appointment, call 817-599-8085.