The good doctor |

The good doctor

Dave Frank
Appeal Staff Writer
Photos by Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal Dr. Woody Allen, left and above, talks Tuesday about his veterinary career at Sierra Veterinary Hospital. Allen was recently named as the 2008 Veterinarian of the Year by the Nevada Veterinary Medical Association. Right, vet technician Brandi Gramolini and Dr. Gary Ailes examine Gus.

A cocker spaniel charged Dr. Woody Allen as he reached into its cage.

He wanted to give the pregnant 25-pound dog a shot for its pain, but it jumped, snapped and Allen was soon rushed to the hospital to have the tip of his nose reattached.

“Whenever I see someone getting their face in a dog’s face now,” he said after telling the story of the accident that happened nine years ago, “I always remind them that things can happen that you’re not really ready for sometimes.”

Allen, co-owner of Sierra Veterinary Hospital in Carson City, has now at least been recognized for his experiences.

He was named as the 2008 Veterinarian of the Year by the Nevada Veterinary Medical Association.

“He’s an outstanding veterinarian,” said Michelle Wagner, executive director of the Nevada Veterinary Medical Association. “He’s contributed a lot to veterinary medicine at a state and national level.”

Allen is retired from practice, but supervises at the hospital and is a veterinary advocate.

He first learned about animals on his family’s small Wyoming ranch where he broke horses. He started work in Carson City at the Silver Hills Veterinary Hospital before opening his own hospital 36 years ago.

Working with animals isn’t that much different than working with people, Allen said, but veterinarians and owners just have to understand the pets’ personalities.

“There are ways animals talk to you,” he said. “If you hurt them, they bite.”

He can observe some animal behavior, like how small dogs will try to attack big dogs, even in the waiting room of the hospital at 1477 N. Saliman Road.

“The big dog will sit there and take it for a long time until they’ve had enough,” he said. “Then there’s maybe one snap and you’ve got a gash three inches long in the little dog’s neck.”

Owners are becoming more interested in their pets’ personalities and health, though, as they become more part of their families, he said.

Allen has helped monitor the health of these pets by keeping up with technology, said Stephanie Ehlen, director at the hospital.

“Dr. Allen has really gotten involved in the last several years helping veterinarians that are just coming out of school and just seeing the field progress,” she said. “He really likes being on the cutting edge of what’s going on.”

One day, someone who hadn’t expected it might even see his work.

Allen, for instance, fixed the broken leg of an antelope a few years ago before it was released back into the wild.

“It’s going to be interesting when a hunter shoots that antelope and sees a bone plate in its leg,” he said.

• Contact reporter Dave Frank at or 881-1212.