Being a veterinarian means acclimating to every kind of furry or feathered animal an area might have. Steamboat’s creatures include everything from hulking moose to mewing kittens, which is exactly what Lee Meyring likes about his job.
Be they wild forest denizens or docile pets, Meyring’s patients are in good hands with a man who has been in the region since graduating from Colorado State University in 1995. After finishing with school, he knew Steamboat Springs was the kind of place in which he wanted to live.
“I grew up in Walden, and my priority was to get back to the mountains,” he says. “I also wanted to get back into the mixed animal practice. Working here has fulfilled all my plans.”
Besides treating smaller animals at Steamboat Veterinary Hospital, Meyring also focuses on larger patients, working with local cattle ranchers as well as animals at the Routt County Fair and local rodeo. He also teaches vet science at the 4-H Club.
“That’s one of my favorites,” he says. “We’ll work on different field cases, learning about anatomy and physiology. It helps kids get a hands-on assessment of it.”
Working with Born Free Wildlife Rehab, he also assists in the healing of nature-dwellers like elk, deer, hawks and eagles. “It’s the kind of diversity that a lot of vets wouldn’t have,” he says.
He’s also developed relationships with countless pet owners, an aspect of the job he cherishes. “One of the blessings here is that people’s pets are extremely well-cared for,” he says. “There are very compassionate animal owners here, which is a great bonus.”
One such friend and client is Jennifer Koepfer, whose most memorable meeting with Meyring was when she and her three children took all of their pets in for check-ups at the same time. “It was five cats, two dogs, one turtle, one hermit crab, one rabbit, all of these animals, and he just walked in, looked at us and went, ‘OK,’” she says.
Koepfer says giving the animals vaccinations was no problem, but a small crisis arose when her daughter managed to get the hermit crab latched onto her lip.
“Here’s this very skilled, seasoned vet who’s used to big animals and blood and guts, and he was terrified because this little, tiny girl was crying,” Koepfer says. “It was so cute because normally he’s so calm. This was before he had his own kids.”
Meyring since has gotten more accustomed to children with his own, Cash, 10, and Kyle, 6. He and his wife, Erin, have been married for 13 years.
In between his work and his recent hobby of martial arts — specifically the discipline of jiu-jitsu — Meyring and his family always find time for the great outdoors.
“We all love the diverse outdoor activities here,” he says. “Snowmobiling in the wintertime, fishing in the summertime, plus we’ve got four horses of our own.”
Meyring, 44, says he hardly can believe he has been in Steamboat for nearly two decades. “When you’re having fun, it goes fast,” he says.