Jean & Dean Holland

Santa Rosa Veterinary Hospital- Staff Feature

Jean and Dean Holland are the dynamic duo that keep Santa Rosa Veterinary Hospital humming, even during a pandemic. In 1992, the couple met at an Italian restaurant where Dean was working as a chef, and they've been on life's adventure together ever since.

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Jean & Dean Holland

Santa Rosa Veterinary Hospital

- Staff Feature

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Jean and Dean Holland are the dynamic duo that keep Santa Rosa Veterinary Hospital humming, even during a pandemic. In 1992, the couple met at an Italian restaurant where Dean was working as a chef, and they've been on life's adventure together ever since.

Jean is the hospital's Client Service Representative extraordinaire.

She starts answering the phones in the morning and books appointments throughout the day. Jean checks patients in and out and pulls charts for the upcoming day's schedule. Dean is a talented Veterinary Assistant. He begins his days checking in on patients in the kennel, starting the laundry and caring for animals in surgery recovery. When the pet parents and patients arrive, Dean escorts them into the hospital, records their basic info and assists the techs in any way they need. It's non-stop all day, but the couple love their jobs and enjoy working together.

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Both Jean and Dean have been caring for animals since they were children. Jean grew up on a small Oregon farm with cows, chickens, dogs and cats. "It was really fun except when the roosters chased us and climbed up on our backs." Dean grew up in rural Amador County and always had dogs, cats, chickens, ducks, doves and turkeys. "We always loved collecting the warm chicken eggs in the morning," he remembers. 

In 1978, Jean started working at Dogs for the Deaf where dogs were trained as guides to assist deaf folks. The property also housed retired animal actors. "The wolves would howl, the lions would roar and the elephants, well we know what they do," recalls Jean. One time, animal activists came in the night in an attempt to help the creatures by setting them loose. "One lion was missing for a few days. Of course they failed to mention it to us trainers." Oh, the wild 70s.

After a few years, Jean moved south to Fair Oaks, California to begin work as a receptionist at the Sunset Animal Hospital. Nearby, Dean was working as a chef in wine country. He'd been in the restaurant industry since he was a kid. After the couple met, Dean shifted careers and began work at Sunset Animal Hospital. He cared for the 70 dogs in the kennel and 30 cats in the cattery. "Do you know how long it takes to walk 70 dogs twice a day?" he laughs. All day folks, all day. 

Jean worked at that hospital for 25 years, and Dean worked there for eight. "We benefited from cross-training there," Jean explains, "that's where I learned how to take out stitches, do nail trims and give tapeworm shots." 

They also found true puppy love. When a client couldn't keep a Rottweiler pup named Otto, Jean and Dean volunteered to adopt him. "Otto was a total clown," Jean smiles, "and he was also a universal blood donor for 10 to 15 dogs throughout his lifetime." In those days, there weren't animal blood banks, so whenever the hospital needed blood, Jean would rush home to retrieve Otto. "He was a true hero," says Jean, "I would get cards of thanks and he would get treats from owners." 

After many memories were made at the Sunset Animal Hospital, they both decided to switch back to Dean's wheelhouse-restaurants. "My sister and brother-in-law bought a deli-wine shop in Healdsburg so we managed and worked it," recalls Jean. Seven days a week for four years, Dean did the cooking and Jean managed the front of the house. Then his sister decided to sell and the couple took a few month's rest. 

In 2010, Jean went back into veterinary practice and joined the Santa Rosa Veterinary team. Dean decided to hop on board too. They don't mind the 45-minute commute from their coastal redwood forest town to Santa Rosa. The couple find their jobs helping people and animals engaging. "There's never a dull moment," says Jean.

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When they're at home, Jean and Dean love to go on coastal walks together and visit wineries. There's thriving wildlife all around, says Jean: "tons of raccoons, a couple mountain lions, ospreys, eagles, and hawks." Hospital resident mascot and cat Dobi got to visit the couple's forest home during the 2017 fires. "We had to evacuate animals from the clinic," explains Jean, " so we brought Dobi home. It was his first time in a house since he's always lived at the hospital." Dobi, of course, got on top of everything, including the flat-screen TV. The skinny ledge was no match for Dobi's curiosity. 

Noodle, Dobi's statuesque counterpart, keeps Jean company at the hospital's front desk. "Sometimes clients think Noodle is a stuffed animal and jump a bit when she moves." Jean knows that it can be stressful for clients when they bring their pets in for care. "I enjoy that I can calm people down," says Jean, "and I want to encourage clients to not rush to the worst-case scenario." Dean echoed her advice. "I want clients to know that we are here to help," says Dean, "there is almost always something we can do to help their pets." He likes to be a client and pet advocate and to help take their fear away.

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Thank you Jean and Dean for contributing your expertise, sense of humor and dedication to the Santa Rosa Veterinary team. Next time you visit the hospital, let Jean and Dean know-where is your favorite nature walk?

Written by Roxanne Darrow - 3-18-2021