The changes in Bridge City have been many since the ‘70s, not only in businesses and locations but in veterinary medicine. 

Dr. Albert Pugh IV with Bridge City Animal Hospital says not only the medical field has changed, but so have people.

“In 1976 there wasn’t a lot of value put on pets, it seems,” says Pugh, who will celebrate 35 years in Bridge City starting at 1 p.m. July 25 at his office, 2832 Texas Ave. “But with the companion / animal bond that’s developed over the last 20 years, animals have a lot bigger role. We see not just dogs and cats but anything like goldfish and other pets like that – which are good for people and help lower blood pressure and cholesterol.”

The anniversary will feature a best dressed, ugliest dog and best trick contests, plus the annual “wiener dog races.” 

“It seems like a lot of people now spend more money on their pets than they do on their kids,” says Pugh, who says he’s seen advances in heartworm and rabies treatments. “Things have changed tremendously. You don’t often see distemper or hepatitis anymore.”

A native of Kilgore, Pugh came to Bridge City in 1974 out of vet school at Texas A&M, having served a few years with the Army and stationed on the East Coast. He became an assistant to Dr. John Van Zant, who retired two years later. 

“I wanted to become a vet because I loved both medicine and animals,” Pugh says. “I thought that I could do both by becoming a veterinarian. I also found out that – at the time – I could graduate in a total of five years of college and start practicing as a veterinarian.”

With hurricane season underway, Pugh advises several things to do when evacuating pets. Take plenty of food and water with you, any medical records, heartworm or flea medicines; and you might want to have your pet “micro-chipped” for ID purposes.

Pugh’s office has a new paint job and other renovations made possible by Hurricane Ike damage. He moved there from his old location after that building’s roof was taken off by Hurricane Rita’s high winds.

Pugh has two children, Carrie Doyle and Albert Pugh V – and three granddaughters. 

His hobbies include equestrian dressage competitions, and he has a bronze medal to show for it from the United States Dressage Federation. Dressage is a French term which means “training” and develops a horse’s natural athletic ability and willingness to work – making him calm and attentive to the rider.

“There’s not an awful lot of it in this area,” says Pugh, who travels to other parts of the state to compete in dressage events. 

Although the sport is something the doctor has only recently taken up, his daughter Carrie attributes it to his lifelong passion for animals.

For more information on the July 25 anniversary, or to register your pet, call 735-9155. 

“We certainly want to thank the community of Bridge City for all the support they’ve done for us in the last 30-plus years,” Dr. Pugh says.