And the winner is ...

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Dr. Carlos Campos is the first America’s Favorite Veterinarian.

Dr. Campos
Dr. Carlos Campos (Courtesy of AVMF)

He was one of hundreds of veterinarians nominated in the contest that was run through the American Veterinary Medical Foundation’s Facebook page, which received more than 1,100 submissions. The contest was meant to engage animal owners and recognize the special relationship they have with their veterinarian.

“It’s very humbling to know clients think of me that highly,” Dr. Campos said. “I do what I do because that’s what I like to do. I’m not trying to win any award.”

Client Joan Spitrey nominated Dr. Campos. She cited his affordable prices, empathetic nature, and willingness to go the extra mile for clients among reasons he should receive the title.

“To sum up my admiration of Dr. Campos (and I tell him each time), ‘Are you sure you won’t start seeing humans?’” Spitrey wrote.

Owner of San Francis Veterinary Hospital in Spring Hill, Fla., Dr. Campos graduated from the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine in 2002.

He started the practice on his own, 3 1/2 years ago. It now has 5,700 clients, and he has hired three other veterinarians.

“We try to take care of clients as much as we can,” Dr. Campos said. “The philosophy for this practice has been providing the ability for clients to take care of their pets regardless of their socioeconomic standing.”

He credits his family for making his dream to own his own clinic possible. His mom is the bookkeeper, and his dad helps when he can. Dr. Campos also has a 5-year-old adopted daughter and 8- and 11-year-old boys. He’s been married to his wife, Lisa, for 16 years. Dr. Campos is originally from Guatemala and came to Miami with his family when he was 14.

He has wanted to be a veterinarian since he was 6 and began talking about taking care of pets. He used to tell his grandfather he wanted to have a big house so he could have all the animals he could.

Today, he has a fair number: two German Shepherd Dogs, three cats, up to 18 chickens, seven goats, and two rabbits.

Dr. Campos also keeps involved in organized veterinary medicine and his community. He is president of the Suncoast Veterinary Association and a member of the AVMA and Florida VMA. He is a member of the Knights of Columbus and has participated on the Animal Control Advisory Committee of Pasco County since 2004.

Dr. Campos says when his kids are older, he’d like to serve at the state or national level in organized veterinary medicine.

“I’d rather make decisions and impact what the future things are. If you’re not involved, others are making decisions for you,” he said.