Ozarks Life: Cedar County has always relied on “Doc” Cramer

Dallas Cramer has been caring for livestock and pets in Stockton since 1957.
Published: Mar. 18, 2022 at 8:55 AM CDT
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STOCKTON, Mo. (KY3) - If trust is something earned over time, then Stockton veterinarian Dallas Cramer has some trust you could probably borrow.

“It’s just seemed like it’s been weeks or months,” Dallas, also known as Doc, said laughing.

“I’m 70 years old,” lifelong Stockton resident Rick O’Connor said, “and Doc has been practicing here since I was in the first grade.”

Doc moved to Stockton as a pup, right out of college, in 1957.

“I was terribly busy with cattle,” Cramer said. “So probably for at least five or six years I didn’t spay a dog or a cat or anything. I just worked cattle. And now it’s kind of the reverse.”

From livestock to a menagerie of animals, over the years, Doc has seen it all.

“I used to descent a lot of skunks,” Doc said, “I had one fella bring in young skunks and he’d sell them in Kansas City as pets.”

Now his clients are mainly cats and dogs. And when you visit his office, you’ll even meet a Beatle. Ringo Starr is the name of his rat terrier. Ringo has become Doc’s right-paw man.

“He follows me constantly,” Doc said. “When I get up, he gets up. When I go to bed, he’s got a chair at the head of the bed. He jumped upon it. If I get up to go to the bathroom, he falls to the bathroom. He wants to be with me every second.”

In the short time we were at his Stockton practice, it seemed like the animals were coming in two-by-two. It was non-stop. Doc, who turns 90 in May, already thought of slowing down once.

“I thought, ‘I’m getting too old to work seven days, seven nights’ and so forth,” Doc said. “And I thought I’d take a little easier course, and do some traveling and just kind of a slow pace for practice. And my it’s been, 31 years or so.”

“Everybody knows they can count on him,” Doc’s daughter Julie Garrett said. “And if it’s a situation where they really need something, they will call no matter what time it is, and they know that he’ll be there, he’ll answer the phone. And he’ll help if he can.”

And he has family helping him at the clinic. His daughter-in-law Belinda is at the desk and her son Aaron is a second veterinarian here. Aaron’s wife Angelia helps out with the paperwork. Another one of Doc’s grandsons, Sawyer Garrett, helps with his appointments. And every now-and-again, Doc’s wife Delores shows up to lend a helping hand too.

“I can never remember a day that my dad didn’t want to go to work,” Julie said. “So I think all of us kids had that same desire to find something that we just love to do like my dad.”

“He’s just a great pillar of our community,” Julie continued.

“When is he going to retire,” Chad Plein asked?

“Hopefully never,” Julie replied.

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