Blue Cross Animal Hospital was established in the early 1930’s by Dr. Vincent Robinson from Iowa. The original practice saw both small and large animals and was located in a house next door to where our current building stands. Dr. George Hartle, another Iowa State graduate, took over the practice after Dr. Robinson passed away. During the 1940’s the practice changed to focus on small animals only and Dr. Hartle hired associates.
In April 1955 Dr. James A. Smith joined Blue Cross as an associate and eventually became a partner, then the owner. Dr. Smith retired in 1988 and continued to visit Blue Cross until his recent passing in January 2017.
The current owner is Dr. Debra Hlavka (“Dr.Deb” since her last name is hard to pronounce), a 1982 U of M graduate.
Currently we have a total of four doctors, all University of Minnesota Veterinary School graduates.
Over the years Blue Cross has changed from a wooden house to our current building that was a variety store until 1958. Adding an addition and remodeling in 1960 doubled the size. In Spring of 2016, Blue Cross began its newest renovation project, giving the building an exterior face lift. This included adding new windows and an updated front door as well as new stucco to the front and side of the hospital. Blue Cross is full of gratitude to all of our clients who’ve helped make this renovation possible. We have had the opportunity to see many changes in our neighborhood – from horses to cars, hardware stores to banks, pharmacies to coffee shops, theaters to restaurants – we enjoy being a part of the history and we will be here long into the future.