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Old 09-10-2016, 03:18 PM
 
13 posts, read 8,932 times
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My wife and I are considering moving to Colorado and are trying to figure out which areas would be best for our family long term. We are both veterinarians currently living in Ohio and want to buy a veterinary practice in Colorado... Currently unsure about which cities to consider, though it will likely depend on which cities end up having practices for sale that interest us.

I am originally from Miami and my wife is originally from Indianapolis. There were a lot of things I disliked about Miami and have no interest in moving back there. Everyone was rude. The traffic was horrendous. I could go on and on... However, I'm sure I will miss the warm, sunny weather that Florida offers.

So which major cities (and surrounding great neighborhoods) can anyone recommend?


We plan on starting a family very soon, so obviously we're looking for very "family-friendly" neighborhoods. We have found that we love communities with a "small town" feel that are convenient enough to larger cities. I'd love to live somewhere with relatively low crime, where I can trust my kids to be safe riding their bikes around the neighborhood.

Which cities are the most "pet friendly"? Being vets, this will probably be an important factor in the best locations to buy a practice. We also love including our dogs on our adventures so areas with lots of pet-friendly restaraunts and stuff would be great. I'm assuming Fort Collins may be off the table, simply due to CSU's veterinary school being there. The area is probably quite saturated with veterinarians.

Education is another major factor in our moving decision. We'll figure it out if we absolutely have to send our kids to private school to get a decent education, but if there are areas with great public schools, please mention them.

We suck at being healthy. Exercise and dieting attempts don't seem to last very long. Mostly because we enjoy eating out at delicious restaurants and we enjoy craft beer. I'm hoping to get into the outdoorsy activities of Colorado like hiking, rafting, snowboarding, or rock climbing.

Other things we love to do: Take the dogs to the park, boating, swimming, scuba diving, water sports, ski/snowboarding, photography, hiking, drinking craft beers, live music, and festivals.

Thanks for the help!

Last edited by zpearl.dvm; 09-10-2016 at 03:40 PM..
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Old 09-10-2016, 05:38 PM
 
11,256 posts, read 43,191,290 times
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the key to possible locations in Colorado for you will be "where a vet practice is for sale" ... and at what price. That's the be-all and end all of this discussion.

Colorado has long been a popular destination for vets to open up a practice here, or to buy existing practices upon retirements. The scope of practices here ranges from large animal clinics, with some very prominent ones along the Front Range in addition to the presence of CSU's well known clinic of national reputation, through vets specializing in livestock practices, to small animal clinics with some specializing in cats or dogs only.

Many of the vets I know of in the area couldn't find a practice to buy and went to work for the USDA in the food industry. With the closure of some of the red and white meat processing plants in the area, some of them have had to relocate to other areas of the USA for employment. Preferences for places to live became secondary to needing to accept a job posting. But once you're on that career track, you're pretty much locked in to the income/benefits/retirement programs.

on your other points:

I'm not aware of "dog friendly" restaurants except for a few that have a "hitching post" out in front.

SCUBA diving in Colorado sucks ... most of it is done in water storage res's such as Horsetooth Res, where visibility and things of interest to see are very poor. Of passing interest is that Colorado has a very high percentage of divers in the population, among the highest in the USA. But travel out of the area is where they go to dive except for training. At that, The Blue Hole in NM is a very popular destination for training & cert dives.

Compared to where you're coming from, Colorado boating is a whole different experience. Plains res's are typically a seasonal use as the water is drawn down for irrigation purposes. The recreation pool is secondary to the water storage for other purposes. Even the mountain res's which are popular for boating are primarily water storage facilities, such as Dillon for the Denver Water Board. The mountain lakes are cold and typically present highly variable winds throughout the season and oft times in a given day. I've sailed Dillon Res (in my Laser and on several keelboats, mostly J-24's and Catalina 22's) since it was built and filled, and it's one of the most challenging sites in the world ... you can have drifters, modest breezes, and 60 mph blow-outs throughout a summer day. You'll not be doing "water sports" (such as wakeboarding or skiing or jetskiing) on such lakes ... cold temps mitigate against such activity, or in places like Dillon are prohibited. The extreme variable conditions preclude using small craft such as kayaks and canoes ... except for the white water rafting river locations in the state where my preference is to use an appropriate raft or drift boat. In any event, the amount and size of water bodies here is very limited compared to the coastal/riparian areas of the USA.

Swimming is a very limited activity ... cold water in the mountains precludes this. The warm water lakes on the Front Range and Plains may/may not be your "cup of tea" for a place to do so. Beach areas are limited and IMO ... swimming is at a conflict with the boating on such res's as Cherry Creek or Chatfield (to name two very popular res's), so is limited to a very small swim beach area delineated by a close-in buoy line. Of course, there are pools ... public and private ... to take advantage of.

Your other choices ... hiking, rafting, snowboarding, or rock climbing ... present a lot of opportunities in their respective seasons. Parks and open spaces, BLM or NF lands abound where you can take your dogs ... properly leashed, of course ... in most of these places. Many of these public area lands will be shared with other users ... ranging from hikers to equine to bicyclists ... so it's essential that your pets be under your physical control (which is NOT "verbal" as some dog owners are wont to claim ... take it from an equine trail user that you have little control over your dog at times with an equine encounter that can lead to an accident/injuries for the horse/rider. At least that's been my experience in mountain trail riding and I've known more than a few riders that got hurt when a loose dog snapped at a horse on a narrow trail.)

PS: With the prominence of CSU's vet program, many of their graduates have aggressively sought to remain in Colorado upon graduation. Relatively speaking, there's a huge pool of vets here in Colorado that are already here making connections and contacts. Many are working in existing clinics on the hope that they'll someday be able to buy that practice when the owner retires or decides to move on; ie, they've got long term existing connections established well ahead of your inquiries. Mrs Sun had several CSU roommates that were involved in equine activities that were vet students ... the equine training programs and "paying their dues" as wranglers, trail guides, trainers, farriers ... were just a waypoint along their dream journey to have a vet practice here in Colorado. These people are highly entrenched in the biz here already. Your primary advantage over them may be limited to your financial ability to close a deal on a practice.

Last edited by sunsprit; 09-10-2016 at 05:50 PM..
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Old 09-11-2016, 01:04 AM
 
3,797 posts, read 3,987,784 times
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Are you looking for a large animal practice or for pets?


Small town feel... can that by a place with 20,000 plus people or are you looking for under 5k?


100% fixed on CO or would you consider other western states?

For what they are worth are school ratings of 7-8 good enough or is it 9-10 or go private?

How big is the "larger city" you want to be near? Over 1 million? At least 200k? Smaller? How close is close? 20 minutes? 20 miles? 50-100?

Last edited by NW Crow; 09-11-2016 at 02:06 AM..
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Old 09-11-2016, 08:42 AM
 
Location: Black Forest, CO
1,510 posts, read 2,224,772 times
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Colorado Springs will have the first dog friendly restaurant soon - Pub Dog

A number of dog parks here. Not sure about the vet practice possibilities here, but towns that you may like near Colorado Springs that have a smaller town feel - Black Forest, Monument, Palmer Lake.
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Old 09-11-2016, 09:58 AM
 
831 posts, read 648,768 times
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BringFido.com - Pet Friendly Hotel & Dog Travel Directory

DogFriendly.com® - Pet Travel Guides and City Guides for Dog/Pet Owners
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Old 09-11-2016, 01:38 PM
 
13 posts, read 8,932 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NW Crow View Post
Are you looking for a large animal practice or for pets?


Small town feel... can that by a place with 20,000 plus people or are you looking for under 5k?


100% fixed on CO or would you consider other western states?

For what they are worth are school ratings of 7-8 good enough or is it 9-10 or go private?

How big is the "larger city" you want to be near? Over 1 million? At least 200k? Smaller? How close is close? 20 minutes? 20 miles? 50-100?

Small animal practice, so dogs and cats.

Small town feel can be any population size really... I'm just interested in the neighborhoods with a sense of community, friendly neighbors and safe streets etc.

I'm not 100% fixed on CO if you have other states you think I should consider that would be similar. Always open to suggestions.

Public schools rated 7-8 would probably be okay, but obviously I'd prefer better schools. I'd have to go private for anything less than 7 though.

If I lived outside of the main city, I wouldn't want to be further than 20-25 minutes.
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Old 09-11-2016, 02:43 PM
 
Location: Eastern Colorado
3,768 posts, read 4,619,029 times
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As Sunsprit said there are a ton of vets around Colorado, especially along the front range which goes from Colorado Springs north to Fort Collins. With the Vet school in Fort Collins being so well known and respected they draw students from across the country and they do not want to leave when they are done with school. I have spoken to several Vets and they all complain that their rates are basically Petsmart rates when compared to Vets they have met from around the country.
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Old 09-11-2016, 03:38 PM
 
11,256 posts, read 43,191,290 times
Reputation: 14905
Quote:
Originally Posted by zpearl.dvm View Post
Small animal practice, so dogs and cats.

Small town feel can be any population size really... I'm just interested in the neighborhoods with a sense of community, friendly neighbors and safe streets etc.

I'm not 100% fixed on CO if you have other states you think I should consider that would be similar. Always open to suggestions.

Public schools rated 7-8 would probably be okay, but obviously I'd prefer better schools. I'd have to go private for anything less than 7 though.

If I lived outside of the main city, I wouldn't want to be further than 20-25 minutes.
given the funding sources for public school districts in Colorado, there's a tremendous conflict between your desire for high rated public schools vs small town (ie, lower tax base) community living. If you want the top tier public schools, you'll have to move to where "the money is".

As well, the private schools that you'd likely choose as an alternative are also to be found in the denser population areas ... for the same reason, that's where "the money is"; ie, a greater population base to draw upon for their funding.

If this is a deal killer for you, in light of your other requirements on your wish list ... in particular, a "small animal" clinic which would rely upon a pet owning clientele rather than a rural clientele (with a completely different animal mix) ... you'd do better to seek a location in other states which fit your paradigm of "small town" near to "city population center" with all the amenities that you seek for your residence and your practice.
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Old 09-11-2016, 09:19 PM
 
3,797 posts, read 3,987,784 times
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The following suggestions may not meet all of your criteria but they seem to me to be among the better options:


Live in Berthoud and work in fast growing Johnstown (or probably lower competition Milliken).


Live in Erie and work in Brighton or Fort Lupton.

The idea behind these pairings is better schools in the home town / less competition in nearby growing work towns. Many of your competition might turn up nose at the work town and not consider the short commute. If you did it, you might want to do something like sponsoring a youth sport team to show involvement in the work town. If you felt like working in a more upscale town, open a second location or sell the first one.



Live and work in Conifer or Woodland Park.


My understanding is that the public schools are generally very good in Berthoud and Conifer, good in Erie and Woodland Park.


A few other places that you might want to consider would be Spearfish South Dakota; Helena, Montana; Laurel MT; Livingston MT, Rio Rancho, NM; Star, ID; Sandpoint ID; Whitefish, MT and maybe Liberty Lake or Issaquah WA.

Last edited by NW Crow; 09-11-2016 at 10:23 PM..
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Old 09-11-2016, 09:55 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,401 posts, read 39,713,740 times
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Look beyond Colorado.

You are in your 'earning years' so an income tax free state will be of value.
U like watersports, skiing, climbing. And a place where pets take very high priority, so.... Bellingham or Fairhaven Wa on the Puget Sound, near Mt Baker and Whistler. Great colleges (3) FREE FT college instead of wasting time in High School (available in WA, also in HI, but not free there). Decent schools in most of Bellingham, very good near WWU.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Running_Start

Other WA options (nice communities with decent schools near community colleges for RS / HS )
Wenachee
Camas / Hockinson
. (20 min to Portland (pet and food truck culture)). 9% income tax in OR, biut no sales tax. Banfield Hdqrts in east Portland, near airport.

What about international destinations? Great to live and raise family in a culture that honors children. Spain and Italy are nuts about pets. Ireland is over the top. One of our family (from CO) ventured to Indonesia to open a medical practice and is very happy. I thought that was a strange place to go.... We have lived in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Spain, Framce, Canada, and Switzerland while we had kids. You will need to stay put, unless you are opening a franchise of practices. (Possible!)

There are plenty of international places filled with US and UK expats who might like an english speaking and us trained Vet. These places are growing fast after ACA, and will blossom when full ACA costs are realized.
Give it all a thought. Great diving in the Philippines! But you will need to be in a ex-pat area to have people spend big bucks on their pets.
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