Off Limits

Animal passions

It's a sad, sad day for Denver when our very own People magazine hunk is shoved aside for a new hottie. Animal Planet's Emergency Vets is no longer filming episodes at Alameda East Veterinary Hospital, and standup comic/stand-out veterinarian Kevin Fitzgerald has been supplanted by Katrina Warren, who appears to be one part Paige Davis, one part Teresa Strasser and is hosting her own series, Beverly Hills Vets, which premiered on Animal Planet on September 2. Alas, neither Shannen Doherty nor Luke Perry is slated to appear, despite their thriving careers and renowned love of animals. Still, in this show that plays off the crazy-SoCals-and-their-spoiled-pets stereotype -- dogs helping themselves to frozen pizzas in the fridge, Ribbit the aggressive potbellied pig -- you never know who might turn up.

It won't be Fitzgerald, though. The Denver vet, who was featured in the June 17, 2002, "Hollywood's Hottest Bachelors" issue of People, will just have to console himself with the opening of a brand-new, 22,000-square-foot Alameda East facility on September 12.

"It's basically a 34-year dream," says Robert Taylor, Alameda East's founder and chief of staff. "I've been in practice for 34 years, and it's just been a long-term dream of mine to build this facility."

Pet celeb and Denver doc Kevin Fitzgerald landed on 
People's Top 50 Bachelors list in 2002.
Mark Manger
Pet celeb and Denver doc Kevin Fitzgerald landed on People's Top 50 Bachelors list in 2002.

But the hospital, three years in the planning, was also a bit of a disappointment to Taylor's friends, who got excited when he bought the bar next door to the original Alameda East, which is across the street from the Mira Vista Golf Course. "All my friends would say, 'We can come over and bring our dogs in for shots and go next door and get a beer,'" Taylor explains. Instead, the Sunset Lounge came down, and up went a state-of-the-art animal hospital with clean-air technology so that all of the operating rooms are truly sterile; a "dedicated bereavement support specialist" on staff; a digital X-ray system; an ER triage room; and a host of other gadgets that seem to prove the old rancher's adage: If you need good medical care, go to a vet.

From the outside, though, you'd never guess what's in there. "It's pretty plain-Jane," Taylor admits. "The value of the building is what's inside of it. It's built for animals. One morning when we had all the walls up and that sort of thing, the construction foreman came up and said, 'This is a hell of a building for a bunch of dogs.' It's an animal hospital, and we tried to make it that way."

Although the new Alameda East went from foundation to finish in just seven months, getting to the starting point wasn't easy. Taylor doesn't like to dwell on the negative, but he confirms that the project got tangled up in bureaucratic red tape at the City and County of Denver. "It was an innovative project, and we did struggle at first," he says. "There is a wonderful young man, Nathan Oatman [in the Mayor's Office of Economic Development], and he's really been a great ally in this whole project. He's helped us stay on track."

And Alameda East harbors no hard feelings toward Animal Planet, either. In fact, the new trauma room was named after the cable network -- which will return the favor by airing a two-hour Emergency Vets special sometime this fall.

Animal passions, redux: Local writer H. Joy Stross has released love life of lowly creatures, a self-published "collection of spicy humor...whimsies...poetry...and oddment" featuring slightly more X-rated critters. (Good for the closeted plushie.) She was inspired to do so, she says, by the late Ogden Nash, who taught her the "fun and flexibility of words" and who she says "chirped with envy" at her poetry during a recent seance. A sampling of Stross's oeuvre:

"Sea Horses Ride the Tide"
When a "he" sea horse
sees a "she" sea horse,
their juices begin flowing.
That stud and that filly
fall in love willy-nilly,
flirting while coming and going.
With no saddle or spurs
here's what occurs
when sex problems seem insurmountable.
In warm tropical seas
a sea horse mates with ease
cause it's love that makes her mountable.

One time, at band camp: Since 21 members of the University of Colorado marching band just got busted for drinking, you can't blame the "band moms" at Littleton's Heritage High School for trying to maintain a little decorum with their group, which just took first place in their division at the Colorado State Fair.

Still, their one-page, thirteen-point "Rules and Regulations Regarding Band Uniforms" seems a little clothes-minded. But you be the judge. A selection of the rules (in italics), along with the Off Limits fashion squad's interpretation:

Regulation white band shoes and ankle-length white socks (no short socks) are to be worn at all times with the uniform. No clothing other than the uniform parts may be visible when performing. The style-minded everywhere swear off the don't-be-too-matchy rule.

No using "stitch witchery" or any kind of tape to hem pants. Only a downscale fashionista would try that trick, anyway.

Pants are to be hemmed as long as possible but so that the crease hangs straight. For fall 2003, the ubiquitous cropped pant is out, out, out!

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