75-year-old veterinarian loved his community so much that he didn’t retire until he found to replace him

Dr. Robert Bogan is Faribault County’s only veterinarian. He had been trying for five years to attract his replacement. After offering to give up his practice, he finally found his successor.

Bogan, 75 years old, describes it as a weight lifted from his shoulders. As the county’s only vet for 49 years, he didn’t want to retire without finding his replacement.

Dr. Robert Bogan treating a sick puppy

However, doing so proved to be more challenging than he thought because most students didn’t want to have any on-call shifts, deal with large animals, or run their own business.

After five years of looking for someone to take his place, Bogan decided to give away his practice—building and all—to make the offer more enticing.

“I’ve never ever heard of somebody doing what Dr. Bogan is doing,” said Blue Earth City Administrator Mary Kennedy. “People don’t give their businesses away.”

Kare 11 featured a story last summer about Bogan’s offer, and it spread far and wide on Facebook.

In the days following, 10 young vets/vet students expressed their interest. Eighteen of them went to Blue Earth to meet Bogan, tour the town, while five submitted formal applications.

Dr. Zach Adams standing in front of Makotah Veterinary Center

Bogan selected Dr. Zach Adams from a list of applicants. He graduated in 2021 from Iowa State University’s veterinarian school.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” the new veterinarian said. “I came here and realized it was a good fit.”

Adams was in North Carolina serving his veterinary residency when he saw the story of Bogan’s offer posted on his vet school’s Facebook page.

“I was like, that sounds like something I could do,” he thought.

Adams was raised on a hobby farm in Preston, Iowa. It is home to approximately 900 people.

“It’s very similar to where I grew up, so it feels kind of like home,” he said of Blue Earth.

Dr. Robert Bogan introducing Dr. Zach Adams to the farmers

Adams is also a “die-hard Vikings fan” who has always wanted to live in Minnesota, which also “kind of helped push the way” for him to take over the practice.

The doctor had hoped to run his own mixed animal veterinary practice at some point in his career, but he didn’t expect it to come this soon.

Adams started working with Bogan in January. There was a plan for an ownership transition over the next one year.

Bill Rosenau, a Faribault County farmer and banker, thinks that Adams is “going to fit in very well in Blue Earth.”

“Dr. Bogan is doing this out of the goodness of his heart,” Adams said. “He loves this community. This industry is his passion. He is determined to find the right person to share his passion for this industry. He wants me to be that guy, and I don’t see why not.”

Dr. Robert Bogan and Dr. Zach Adams inside the clinic

A lack of vets is a common problem in small rural communities across the country. Rosenau was a member of the county’s economic development authority and was involved in finding a new veterinarian for Blue Earth.

He feared that Bogan would retire like many other farmers in the county.

“To get somebody to come out and do onsite work would have been almost impossible because they would have been over an hour away,” he said.

Residents have taken steps to ensure Adams feels the love since he moved to Blue Earth. They even delivered pizza to his home for his first week.

“I think most people know what house he bought, are excited to see him, are excited to meet him,” said Kennedy.

Dr. Robert Bogan and Dr. Zach Adams standing in front of Makotah Veterinary Center

Bogan’s offer to give away his practice included his Blue Earth clinic building, equipment, furniture, his 11-year-old Ford pickup, and even Annie, the office cat. Adams signed the contract with the feline.

Leyton Becker, a second year University of Minnesota vet student, initially expressed interest in the position. However, he decided that he was not ready to commit at this point in his schooling.

Becker met Adams during his visit to Blue Earth and said he’s open to the possibility of working with him in the future.

“He’s a great guy and I could totally see myself working with him,” Becker said.

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