Celebrating 100 Years in 2022
The practice known as Animal Care Hospital has existed in the Cedar Rapids area since the early 1920s. Purchased by Dr. David Graeff in December 1986, it was originally established as a small animal practice by Dr. Donald Eastman in March 1922. Dr. Eastman’s practice grew quickly, and by 1928, he had purchased an English cottage-style house on A Ave NE in Cedar Rapids which he converted into one of the most modern veterinary facilities in the country. According to the professional publication, Veterinary Medicine. that same year Dr. Eastman became the first veterinarian to use newspaper advertising in an ethical manner to promote and grow his practice. Truly a man with a vision of what veterinary medicine could be, Dr. Eastman joined six other veterinarians in 1934 to organize the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), serving as the association’s president in 1940-1941.
In 1932, Dr. Eastman sold his practice to Dr. Kenneth Bogaard and moved to Florida. Dr. Bogaard continued to operate the practice on A Ave NE as the Eastman Small Animal Clinic, and in 1939, he relocated the clinic to 1st Ave NE. In 1941, Dr. Bogaard contracted to build a new facility on A Ave NE and in February 1942, opened in the new location under his own name. Approximately twice the capacity of the older locations, Dr. Bogaard took great pains to ensure his new building was as modern as possible – including concrete floors that could be sterilized with steam. A few years later, a beautiful life-size statue of a German Shepherd was placed in front of the building. The statue of is of “Uhre”, the favorite canine of local industrialist Howard Hall, who gifted the statue to Dr. Bogaard as a thank you for caring for Uhre and his other pets.
Dr. Bogaard sold the practice to Dr. Russell Anthony in 1958, but remained on staff, working with him in the renamed Anthony Animal Hospital until shortly before his death in 1967. Dr. Anthony continued to practice veterinary medicine at the A Ave NE location for more than 30 years. During his career, he became the first official city veterinarian and regularly wrote a veterinary column for the Cedar Rapids Gazette. Dr. David Graeff joined his practice in 1984 and purchased it in December 1986 when Dr. Anthony retired. Dr. Graeff continued to treat pets at the A Ave NE location under the new name, Animal Care Hospital.
In 1994, the lease on the A Ave NE location expired. Dr. Graeff decided that a purpose-built structure would best meet his needs, so he contracted with a nationally known architect specializing in veterinary facilities to design a building that would meet AAHA standards. He opened the doors to his new veterinary hospital at 1146 Blairs Ferry Rd NE later that year, and in 1996, became an AAHA-accredited facility. The new facility featured a dental as well as surgical suite, boarding facilities for dogs and cats, and a drive-up window where clients can get prescriptions and supplies without leaving their vehicles. Clients were also greeted by a familiar object – the glossy black statue of the dog that first welcomed patients to Dr. Bogaard’s practice on A Ave NE decades earlier. When he retired, Bogaard passed the statue of Uhre on to Dr. Anthony, who, in turn, passed it to Dr. Graeff when he took over the practice. A replica of Uhre was placed at Animal Care Hospital’s new location, while the original iron one was returned to Brucemore, Howard Hall’s home. Two glossy back cats joined Uhre at the new hospital, and after 25 years, the trio has become a familiar landmark to many residents in the Cedar Rapids area.