In March, Dr. Barbara L. Swahlen launched a new veterinary service called Community Animal Health. She makes house and farm calls to provide medical care where clients and patients, ranging from piglets to horses, feel most comfortable.
Swahlen also works part-time as an “occasional” veterinarian, when clinics are extremely busy or for relief work when a doctor requires time off.
At 11-years-old she was a volunteer at a small animal hospital in Tempe, Ariz. She graduated from Colorado State University with a bachelor’s degree in Microbiology and a doctorate in Veterinary Medicine. She worked in Las Vegas, Nev., for six years before moving to Tucson, Ariz., where she started Cimarron Animal Hospital and was a member of the American Animal Hospital Association, an international volunteer professional organization.
Swahlen is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Washington State Veterinary Medical Association, and the American Animal Hospital Association.
While on vacation in 2003, Swahlen, and her partner, Jan Crossen, discovered the San Juan Islands. They fell in love with Lopez Island and the welcoming community.
“When Jan and I visited for the first time, we were blown away by the beauty of the San Juans. When we came to Lopez and experienced the sense of community, we knew that we wanted to make our home here,” Swahlen said.
Swahlen enjoys a quiet rural life of gardening, baking and milking the family’s Jersey cow, “Julip.” She makes cheese, yogurt, butter, and ice cream with the bounty. Swahlen also cares for the family’s horses, goats, Bantam chickens, Rouen ducks, and an assortment of dogs and cats that came as a result of her profession.
Swahlen is on the Board of Trustees for the Lopez Center for Community and the Arts, and is a volunteer at the Lopez Chamber of Commerce. For more information call 468-2553.