“I still enjoy the practice,” said Dr. Joe Cain,
after 50 years of being a licensed veterinarian.
The son of Everett and Eva Starcher Cain, he was
born a mile above Big Bend, across the Little Kanawha River on the Cain
He was raised on the family farm, and became
familiar with animals, large and small.
“We didn’t have a licensed vet in the area when I
was young,” said Cain. “I remember asking my dad about a man working on
one of our horses. Dad said there were no vets locally. I was about
seven or eight, and I told dad that there would be one some day, and it
would be me.”
As a young boy, he attended Coal Fork School and
Brooksville School. He graduated from Calhoun County High School in
After working a year on the family farm, Cain
attended Glenville State College for one year before transferring to
Potomac State College in 1947.
In 1948, he enlisted in the Army and served for one
year before returning to West Virginia University and graduating in 1951
with a degree in agriculture.
Cain’s desire was still to become a veterinarian;
however, Uncle Sam had other plans for him. In 1951, he was recalled
into the 2nd Infantry Division.
He was sent to Korea in 1952, where he became
familiar with prime territories like Baldy and Pork Chop.
1st Lt. Joe Cain
“The place was called Baldy because there was so
much shelling that there wasn’t a tree left standing on the hill,” said
After a cease fire was declared, 1st Lieutenant
Joseph Cain returned to WVU to seek his final qualification for
It was a busy year in 1953 for Cain. He qualified
for vet school and married Dorcas Haught. He was accepted at Ohio State
University and graduated as a licensed vet in 1958.
“Dorcas was a teacher. She taught school to help
pay my way through vet school. She has taught from a one-room
schoolhouse to high school. She retired after our third child was born
to help run the clinic and raise the children,” said Cain.
Dorcas and Joe returned to Calhoun County in 1958.
“I worked for the government for one year and nine
months to get the kids used to eating regularly. Then I started the
private practice in 1960,” explained Cain.
The initial practice was a little building behind
the house and consisted primarily of farm calls. Cain served as a vet in
16 counties, traveling between 60,000 and 65,000 miles a year, averaging
four to five counties a day.
His practice took him to family farms, Buick
garages, and hardware stores to treat animals. “People wanted service,
so we made do with helping each other out,” said Cain.
Today, the practice is run by Cain’s eldest son,
Dan and Joe Cain
“I work for him now,” said Cain. “I still enjoy the
work though. There have been times that I have been tired, but never
sorry. I’ve always enjoyed the people and the old farmers. I could go to
them and always be welcomed. They are fine people. We are still friends
with a lot of them and their families. I am fortunate to have known
Joe and Dorcas have been married for 55 years. They
are parents of three children, Daniel, Jane and Richard.
“When I was dating, dad told me not to look for a
woman I couldn’t live without, but to look for a woman I could live
with,” said Joe. It seems he followed the advice of his father.
Besides a husband, father, grandfather, and
veterinarian, Cain is a farmer. It is fitting that a boy born on a farm
and raised in a family that “farmed for a living” would choose a career
that treats the livelihood of most farms.
Cain is celebrating his golden anniversary of being
a licensed veterinarian, and Calhoun County is celebrating his 50 years
of practicing and treating its animals.
Cain Veterinary Clinics offer general practice,
routine surgery, grooming, and boarding. The Cains have clinics at Big
Bend on Rt. 5 and near Spencer on Rt. 33.
Both clinics offer up to 14 new stainless steel
cages for boarding dogs and cat condos for the feline in your family.
Rebecca McNish’s grooming includes shampoo, brush,
cut, shave, nail cutting, and cleaning of ears and anal gland for all
The clinic in Calhoun is open Monday, Tuesday,
Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. For information, call 354-6161 for the
Calhoun clinic or 927-3528 for the Roane clinic.