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Sometimes it just has to be said….


We had a lot of help:

Tropical Montana Marimba Ensemble, catering by Tree Frog Tavern, donations from Merial, Pfizer and MWI, help from many clients and friends, and over 200 happy people…..

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So many changes over those years!

The doors opened in 1984 in a cabin up Truman Creek Road, with a four-party telephone line and rustic plumbing.

The next year found us in downtown Kila, in the little orange house next to the old post office on Main Street, and slightly better facilities, but we still had to share the phone with three neighbors.

In 1989 we moved down Main Street to the current building, remodeling it from the wiring up. Acupuncture and chiropractic were added to the practice in 1997, and so was the east wing of the building.

Modernization began in earnest in 2002 when our clinic became one of the first practices in Flathead County to embrace computerized medical records,  and a few years later, digital radiography, and then, solar power.

We are known for our personal touch, excellent patient and client-centered standard of care, and a down-to-earth style that has defined Calm Animal Care from the beginning. We’ve also kept pace with advances in medicine and the equipment needed to provide it, most recently adding ultrasound diagnostics and laser therapy to the services we offer.

We’ve come such a long way, and in the summer of 2014 it’s time to have a party to celebrate our 30 years. Food, marimba music, prizes, and a chance to share some quality time with our friends who have been so important to our growth. We’re so happy to be here, and excited about what the future holds.

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Calm Animal Care joins handful of local residences on the grid.
Solar Panels

Kip Drobish checks his progress while realigning solar panels at Calm Animal Care in Kila. – Lido Vizzutti/Flathead Beacon

(Story taken from an article in the Flathead Beacon by Myers Reece)

KILA – In a valley with notoriously gray skies, solar-powered electricity might not seem to be the most viable energy source. Yet for decades, rural people who live outside of the Flathead Electric Cooperative power grid have relied on a combination of solar panels backed up by batteries or generators.

Now, tucked away in Kila, the Flathead has its first grid-tied, solar-powered business: Calm Animal Care.

Last November, Kip Drobish of Oso Renewable Energy along with Whitefish electrician Richard Cowen, installed a grid-tied, battery-backup photovoltaic system for Barbara Calm, the clinic’s owner. The term “grid-tied” means that Calm’s solar electricity system is connected directly to the Flathead Electric power grid. At the clinic, nine large solar panels harvest energy – sunlight – and either supply on-site electrical needs or feed energy back into the grid when the system’s output is greater than the on-site load demand.

Furthermore, energy is stored in a backup battery, which is the foremost reason Calm installed the system. The Kila area is known for frequent and, at times, prolonged power outages. Calm’s clinic has computerized medical records, one of the only digital X-ray processors in the valley and specialized dental lamps that are of utmost importance when working on an animal’s teeth. Surgeries can’t be interrupted either.

So not only is it dangerous for her veterinary practice to have sudden blackouts, it’s not good for business. As she puts it: “I’ve never lost a patient, but I’ve lost clients.” When the power goes out, her business can operate for up to two days on the battery.

Drobish said Calm is part of what he views as an increasingly necessary – though lagging in Montana – movement away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy, especially solar.

“She’s a pioneer,” Drobish said.

In recent years, the valley has seen a steady rise in interest regarding renewable energy, but most of the solar-powered efforts remain off-grid, meaning they are not linked to Flathead Electric’s utilities. Ross Holter, energy services supervisor for Flathead Electric, said there are six local residences with grid-tied solar power systems, while Calm’s is the only business besides Flathead Electric itself. There is also an office building in Bigfork with solar panels, Holter said, as well as a residence that uses wind energy.

The Kila area is home to a community of off-grid, solar-powered homes that have backup generators. Holter said there are also people scattered throughout isolated places like the North Fork of the Flathead who utilize solar energy. Calm’s personal residence, which is off the grid, has relied on solar panels and a backup generator since the 1980s. Drobish installed a system at his Kila house in 1993.

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In 2009, Calm Animal Care celebrated 25 years!

At Calm Animal Care, we love the Flathead Valley Community that we serve here in Northwest Montana. After 25 years of caring for all sorts of animals in the valley, we decided it was a good time to have a celebration.

So, on a lovely summer day, we invited our clients and friends to join us in a day of celebration. With tasty food, refreshing beverages,  live music, and fun activities for young and old. A good time was had by one and all.

We thank everyone who participated, and we are grateful to have the opportunity to be of service to the community doing what we are passionate about.

Here’s a short 38 second video of photos from the Calm Animal Care 25th Year Celebration.

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