Caring for your pets

By Nancy Tannler

All the canine/feline and pet lovers of SE Portland will be happy to know there’s a new vet in town. Dr. Val Johnson recently opened the Buckman Veterinary Clinic in the cheery marigold colored building at 740 SE 11th near 11th & SE Morrison St.

In celebration of this, the clinic’s Grand Opening will be held April 8, from 10 am – 2 pm, with trivia challenges, a tour of the facility, raffle and local pet rescues.

Becoming a veterinarian was something it seems like Johnson was born to do. “I was always into animals and feel fortunate to have become  a veterinarian,” she said.

After college, she went on to receive her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Wisconsin and then certification from the American Board of Veterinary Practitions (ABVP).

The certification shows a vet has knowledge and expertise above and beyond what is required to practice veterinary medicine. They’ve earned the privilege to specialize in the treatment of one or more categories of animals.

Johnson’s focus is general wellness of canines and felines, but she also sees other animals.

After apprenticing in Michigan for a year the doctor and her husband moved to Portland where she has been a veterinarian  for the past thirteen years.

She decided on this SE location because she lives in Sunnyside and had a vision for this area to have its own neighborhood veterinary clinic.

The  waiting room is airy and bright and very dog and cat friendly. The snacks and toys keep the pets calm while they’re waiting, segregated by type. “The idea is for the patients not to know they are at the vet’s,” Johnson said.

Another calming effort in the office is having different exam rooms for cat and dogs and a comfy couch and space for the doctor to meet a pet on equal footing; that is, down on the floor.

Recovery rooms with kennels keep cats and dogs separate and comforted while they recuperate from surgery. A room devoted to pet food, treats and toys is available for shopping convenience too.

Dr. Johnson was happy to rent this space with a landlord vested in keeping some of Portland’s old buildings. “We invested in the expansion, makeover, remodel and URM retrofit because we plan to be here as a neighborhood vet for a long time.”

At Buckman Veterinary Clinic, Dr. Johnson treats animals for routine wellness, skin and tummy problems, as well as  neutering and spaying, soft tissue surgery and dental work.

Dr. Val Johnson holding a rescue pup in the mini pet store

“One thing that is on the rise here in the northwest is parasites,” she said,  “so  we check all pets for heartworms.” This is due to warming conditions we are experiencing everywhere. Over the past several years ticks have been found on Mt. Hood. something we have never had before.

Dr. Johnson comes highly recommended by the founder of My Way Home Dog Rescue, Cheryl Yoshioka.

“Dr. Johnson has treated over 350 dogs in this program and the outcome has been very successful. She’s smart and makes a good diagnosis that is usually correct. This saves us time and money,” Yoshioka said.

Some of these dogs are in pretty diminished condition and are often saved from being euthanisized.

My Way Home Dog Rescue was created by a group of people who are committed to improving the quality of dogs’ lives. They focus on a few dogs at a time by pulling them from overcrowded shelters, fostering them in homes, and finding them forever homes.

They may not be able to help all dogs in need, but they can help some. See


Buckman Veterinary Clinic has a devoted veterinarian, a pet-obsessed staff and a state of the art facility. To find out more or schedule an appointment see or call 503.205.1480.

Caring for your pets

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