Breckenridge Texan

It wasn’t his original plan, but Dr. Gary Fambro has been a vet for 50 years

It wasn’t his original plan, but Dr. Gary Fambro has been a vet for 50 years
September 13
08:12 2023

By Carla McKeown/Breckenridge Texan

Last Friday morning, Dr. Gary Fambro did the same thing he’s been doing for the past 50 years: he opened the door to his veterinary clinic and welcomed guests — both two-legged and four-legged — inside. In the lobby of the clinic, Chi Chi the Chihuahua looked a little put out that he had to get up to check out the visitors, but P-Dot, a Jack Russell Terrier, barely raised an eyebrow from his spot under a chair.

Dr. Gary Fambro has been providing veterinary service to Stephens County for the past 50 years. Nowadays, Chasity Hash-Blevins, pictured in the background, assists him with his practice. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

After deciding that everyone was OK, Chi Chi went back to his nap spot right in the middle of the room and P-Dot decided he didn’t need to bother getting up.

Fifty years ago this month, Dr. Fambro opened Fambro Veterinary Clinic in the same Stephens County building he still practices animal medicine in today.

If you take a small animal in to see Dr. Fambro, you’ll probably be directed to the small examining room to the right of the front door. That room was the entire clinic in 1973, he said.

As his practice grew, the building grew with it. Now, the clinic at 1516 County Road 225 has an office, a reception area and a room in the back where the animals can recover after treatment. Dr. Fambro is assisted by Chasity Hash-Blevins, and often his wife, Diana, can be found helping around the office, as well.

But, the plot twist to Dr. Fambro’s story is that he didn’t set out to become a veterinarian. “I accidentally got to be a vet,” he said.

After graduating from Breckenridge High School in 1967, young Gary Fambro headed off to Lubbock. He was majoring in ag education at Texas Tech University (then, still known as Texas Technological College), with the intention of becoming an ag teacher.

In a physics class, he helped out a fellow student who was working on his master’s degree and planning to apply to veterinary school. “He never made it. I borrowed his dream,” Dr. Fambro said. “As it turned out…you talk about fate…I made it!”

Now, 50 years after earning his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Texas A&M University, Dr. Fambro says people often ask him when he’s going to retire. “I keep saying, ‘When the building falls down or I fall down,'” he said with a laugh. “And, I’ve nearly fallen down. I’ve had a lot of heart issues. I just pace myself now, and I’ve got Chastity. That makes a huge difference.”

One of the changes he’s made over the years is a switch from taking care of large animals, like cattle, to providing medical care for small animals, such as dogs and cats. The only large animals he tends to now are his and his brother’s. The rest of his clientele are smaller pets, something he never even considered when he first started the clinic.

Gary Fambro earned his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Texas A&M University in 1973.

But, customers’ animals aren’t the only ones in the office on a daily basis. “It’s kind of an animal house around here,” he said. “We’ve got three cats, and I bring my three dogs. And Chasity brings hers. We’ve got doggy toys everywhere, because they’re family. They can’t wait every morning to load up in my pickup and come in to work.”

With 50 years of practice behind him, another question he’s often asked is why he still works. “It’s fun,” Dr. Fambro said. “What I do is fun. Now, I’ve had to limit some of the things I do, but I do it because I enjoy it.”

After about 15 minutes of chatting last Friday morning, it was back to work for Dr. Fambro. The front door swung open, and a client came in carrying Mary Jane, a Maine Coon cat, who was there for her vaccinations. Once again, Chi Chi got up to check out the visitors, something that Mary Jane wasn’t too fond of.

Chi Chi was less bothered by Mary Jane than she was about him. As the little Chihuahua settled back down in the middle of the room to continue his nap, Dr. Fambro wrapped up his reminiscing and went back to work, taking care of Mary Jane in the building that’s still standing after 50 years.

In September 1973, Dr. Gary Fambro’s veterinary clinic consisted of just one room, which is the examining room in an expanded building today, 50 years later. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)


Cutline, top photo: Dr. Gary Fambro’s wife, Diana, surprised him with a new sign for his office and a matching cap, celebrating the fact that his Fambro Veterinary Clinic has been in the same Stephens County spot for the past 50 years. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan) 



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