By R. Scott Nolen
In 1918, Daylight Saving Time was observed for the first time in the United States, Babe Ruth still played for the Boston Red Sox, and Germany signed an armistice agreement with the Allies, ending World War I.
Dr. Paul Wise was born that same year, on Sept. 5 to be exact. At age 100, he continues to practice veterinary medicine. On Fridays and Saturdays, Dr. Wise can be found at Evers Veterinary Clinic in Chico, California, running the low-cost vaccination clinic, a part-time position he's held since 1981.
Reached by phone at his home and asked to comment on his prodigious work ethic, Dr. Wise quipped, "Oh, for heaven's sakes. I guess all you have to do is live to a hundred and still be able to walk to be famous."
After growing up on a small farm in Hotchkiss, Colorado, Dr. Wise moved to Santa Ana, California, to study engineering at the junior college. While working nights and weekends at the local veterinary hospital, he realized that the life of an engineer wasn't for him. "I decided I liked what (the hospital owner) was doing better than what I was planning to do," he explained.
I guess all you have to do is live to a hundred and still be able to walk to be famous."
Dr. Paul Wise, 100-year-old practicing veterinarian
Dr. Wise enrolled in Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, graduating in 1950. With his veterinary degree in hand, Dr. Wise returned to the Santa Ana hospital, no longer a kennel worker but an associate. And there he remained for seven years before opening his own practice, Grand Avenue Pet Hospital, also in Santa Ana.
In 1972, Dr. Wise retired and sold his practice to two veterinarians "fresh out of the Army."
It turns out that retirement, like a career in engineering, wasn't in the cards for Dr. Wise. "I retired for one full year, and my wife (Lorraine) said, 'I know I married you for better or for worse, but not for lunch every day.' I took that as a clue she wanted me out of the house part of the time," he recalled.
Dr. Wise followed the advice of his wife, now deceased, and found ways to keep himself busy. Then, in 1981, Dr. Hank Evers hired the "retired" veterinarian, now in his early 60s, to run the vaccination clinic at Evers Veterinary Clinic. The late Dr. Evers opened the Chico small animal hospital with his wife, Marilyn, a licensed veterinary technician. The practice has passed to his daughter, Dr. Susan Evers.
"The agreement my father and I had was to always have a position for Dr. Wise as long as he wanted to work," Dr. Susan Evers said. "Veterinary medicine is his passion, and working recharges him. His dedication, loyalty, and encouragement are priceless.
"Since my father's death, I value Dr. Wise's advice even more. He is a sincere, kind person and a mentor to many. He is an adopted member of my personal and veterinary family and loved by everyone he comes in contact with."
For anyone considering becoming a veterinarian, Dr. Wise offers a bit of wisdom gained from a career of 68 years and counting: "If you're not interested in a life where no two days are alike, then you'd better not go into veterinary medicine."