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Joe Cain Celebrates
50 Years as Veterinarian
by Bill Bailey


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“I still enjoy the practice,” said Dr. Joe Cain, after 50 years of being a licensed veterinarian.

The son of Everett and Eva Starcher Cain, he was born a mile above Big Bend, across the Little Kanawha River on the Cain farm.

He was raised on the family farm, and became familiar with animals, large and small.

“We didn’t have a licensed vet in the area when I was young,” said Cain. “I remember asking my dad about a man working on one of our horses. Dad said there were no vets locally. I was about seven or eight, and I told dad that there would be one some day, and it would be me.”

As a young boy, he attended Coal Fork School and Brooksville School. He graduated from Calhoun County High School in 1945.

After working a year on the family farm, Cain attended Glenville State College for one year before transferring to Potomac State College in 1947.

In 1948, he enlisted in the Army and served for one year before returning to West Virginia University and graduating in 1951 with a degree in agriculture.

Cain’s desire was still to become a veterinarian; however, Uncle Sam had other plans for him. In 1951, he was recalled into the 2nd Infantry Division.

He was sent to Korea in 1952, where he became familiar with prime territories like Baldy and Pork Chop.

1st Lt. Joe Cain

“The place was called Baldy because there was so much shelling that there wasn’t a tree left standing on the hill,” said Cain.

After a cease fire was declared, 1st Lieutenant Joseph Cain returned to WVU to seek his final qualification for veterinarian school.

It was a busy year in 1953 for Cain. He qualified for vet school and married Dorcas Haught. He was accepted at Ohio State University and graduated as a licensed vet in 1958.

“Dorcas was a teacher. She taught school to help pay my way through vet school. She has taught from a one-room schoolhouse to high school. She retired after our third child was born to help run the clinic and raise the children,” said Cain.

Dorcas and Joe returned to Calhoun County in 1958.

“I worked for the government for one year and nine months to get the kids used to eating regularly. Then I started the private practice in 1960,” explained Cain.

The initial practice was a little building behind the house and consisted primarily of farm calls. Cain served as a vet in 16 counties, traveling between 60,000 and 65,000 miles a year, averaging four to five counties a day.

His practice took him to family farms, Buick garages, and hardware stores to treat animals. “People wanted service, so we made do with helping each other out,” said Cain.

Today, the practice is run by Cain’s eldest son, Dan.

Dan and Joe Cain

“I work for him now,” said Cain. “I still enjoy the work though. There have been times that I have been tired, but never sorry. I’ve always enjoyed the people and the old farmers. I could go to them and always be welcomed. They are fine people. We are still friends with a lot of them and their families. I am fortunate to have known them.”

Joe and Dorcas have been married for 55 years. They are parents of three children, Daniel, Jane and Richard.

“When I was dating, dad told me not to look for a woman I couldn’t live without, but to look for a woman I could live with,” said Joe. It seems he followed the advice of his father.

Besides a husband, father, grandfather, and veterinarian, Cain is a farmer. It is fitting that a boy born on a farm and raised in a family that “farmed for a living” would choose a career that treats the livelihood of most farms.

Cain is celebrating his golden anniversary of being a licensed veterinarian, and Calhoun County is celebrating his 50 years of practicing and treating its animals.

Cain Veterinary Clinics offer general practice, routine surgery, grooming, and boarding. The Cains have clinics at Big Bend on Rt. 5 and near Spencer on Rt. 33.

Both clinics offer up to 14 new stainless steel cages for boarding dogs and cat condos for the feline in your family.

Rebecca McNish’s grooming includes shampoo, brush, cut, shave, nail cutting, and cleaning of ears and anal gland for all breeds.

The clinic in Calhoun is open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. For information, call 354-6161 for the Calhoun clinic or 927-3528 for the Roane clinic.

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