Dr. Saul

Owner, Medical Director

Hello! I am Dr. Jesse Saul, and I am the owner, the Medical Director, and a practicing veterinarian at Aspen Veterinary Clinic in Flagstaff, Arizona. As a small business owner, I wear many hats including visionary, business strategist, operations overseer, and administrator for approximately 30 staff members. In my role as the Medical Director, I develop and maintain high standards of care as well as oversee and consult on case management.

Additionally, I am the Responsible Veterinarian with the Arizona State Veterinary Medical Examining Board meaning I take on full responsibility for every patient under our care. Most importantly, I am a practicing veterinarian with the knowledge and experience to treat multiple different species in every walk, trot or saunter of life.

Tell us about your career from when you graduated college up to this point.

In 2009, I graduated summa cum laude with Honors from Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado, with a bachelor's degree in Biology and Biomedical Sciences. In my senior year of undergrad, I was accepted into the second-ranked College of Veterinary Medicine at Colorado State University and graduated in 2013 as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. As a veterinary student, I maintained a healthy balance of large and small animal medicine because I was still determining my area of focus following graduation.

As luck would have it, despite my affinity for large animal medicine, I took a job straight out of school as a small animal emergency veterinarian. As an emergency veterinarian, I alternated working days and nights, averaging 70-80 hour work weeks, while treating anything and everything imaginable. I will never forget performing a life-saving GDV (bloat) surgery on my fifth shift as a newly graduated veterinarian that helped to secure my future direction. It was a true life or death emergency surgery and I realized for the first time that I was solely responsible for saving the life of the German Shepherd on my operating table. I understood the theory behind the surgery, but I had only seen this procedure performed once in medical school, so with an open surgery book and a determination to save this dog’s life, I successfully performed my first of many emergency surgeries.

Throughout the next 18 months as an emergency veterinarian, I had the opportunity to treat and manage more complicated cases than the average general practitioner sees in five to ten years of practice. Due to the vast experience I gained in the emergency field, I felt very comfortable when I was presented with the opportunity to buy Aspen Veterinary Clinic, despite graduating from veterinary school only one year prior to the purchase. In 2014, I purchased Aspen Veterinary Clinic from Dr. Conley Westover, the founder of the clinic and a beloved and longtime Flagstaff veterinarian. As I write this paragraph in 2024, I have now been the proud owner of Aspen Veterinary Clinic for ten years and we are celebrating the 50-year anniversary as Flagstaff’s favorite veterinary practice.

Dr. Jesse Saul, DVM Aspen Veterinary Clinic riding in Flagstaff, Arizona

Why did you choose this profession?

The cliche answer is I always loved animals, but the truth is, animals always found me and I had a connection with animals from a very early age. As an example, as a child, a barn cat snuck into the house and gave birth to her kittens on my lap. Truth be told, I may have let the cat in, but I didn’t know she was pregnant or going into labor. In third grade, I got in trouble for bringing my pet mouse to school in my pocket as apparently the teacher did not appreciate my beloved mouse as much as I did.

When I was on a cattle rotation in Nebraska as a fourth-year veterinary student, a small, orange, orphaned kitten came tottling up to me from one of the ranch buildings and won my heart; she has been with me ever since. People have always told me how well their pets respond to me when we first meet and I stopped counting how many clients were surprised when their dog that “hates men” came right up to me.

With my natural affinity for connecting with animals, I realized early on that caring for animals was something I wanted to pursue as a career. I wrote an autobiography in fifth grade stating that I would be a veterinarian. I started shadowing my local mixed animal vet when I was 13 or 14 years old, and knew immediately that I wanted to someday be a mixed animal vet and own my own practice. I was first hired at a veterinary clinic at 16-years old and worked and/or volunteered at two local veterinary clinics up until I graduated from veterinary school. The longer I spent in a veterinary clinic, the more I knew it was the right fit for me.

What is your favorite part of your job?

The favorite parts of my job are sharing my knowledge and educating clients so they can make the most informed decision regarding their pet as well as the challenge of correctly diagnosing a sick pet. Since our furry family can’t talk and they don’t usually want anyone to know they are sick, I have to play detective and use all the tools of the trade to problem solve. I’m still amazed how much information I can gather by putting my hands on an animal to perform a physical exam and by asking questions and listening to the owner, who knows their pet better than anyone.

What are some of your favorite things about veterinary care?

Dr. Jesse Saul, DVM Aspen Veterinary Clinic with labrador in Flagstaff, ArizonaVeterinary medicine is absolutely fascinating and I am so grateful to be in the medical profession with the continuous advances in technology and diagnostic capabilities plus the revolutionary treatment options to ease suffering and prolong a healthy life. In this new age of medicine, as veterinarians, we are the frontrunners in treating the patient from a holistic approach while focusing on the prevention of disease versus just treating symptoms. Because we treat the entire patient, on any given day, I play the part of an internist, surgeon, endocrinologist, cardiologist, oncologist, nutritionist, behaviorist, psychiatrist, criticalist, hospitalist, orthopedist, immunologist just to name a few. I love practicing veterinary medicine because no two patients and no two days are the same.

What are your professional interests?

As a veterinarian, I really enjoy unraveling and treating complicated medicine cases. Typically, these patients have already been seen by one or more other veterinarians and the symptoms have not improved or resolved. For these complicated cases, I often find more than one disease affecting the pet simultaneously requiring significant detective work, a thorough history and asking the right questions. In other situations, a disease that initially appears very complicated is quite simple, but experience in knowing what diagnostic to perform becomes invaluable while also balancing and being sensitive to the most cost effective options for the owners.

My second passion as a veterinarian is performing surgery. I never take surgery lightly and I will only operate on a pet when it is required, but there are numerous situations in the veterinary field where surgery is the best and only option. I enjoy all types of surgery, including soft tissue, orthopedic, and emergency. I have advanced training and specialized certifications that allow me to perform many surgeries that would typically require referral to a Veterinary Surgeon or Specialist. Some of these certifications include advanced fracture repairs, knee or stifle surgery such as Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO) and luxating patella (dislocated knee cap) repair, plus advanced soft tissue surgery including all GI, bladder, liver, spleen, and kidney surgeries. I really enjoy working with my hands, and reconstructive surgery following mass removal is one of my absolute favorites.

What are your personal hobbies and interests?

Dr. Jesse Saul, DVM Aspen Veterinary Clinic and fiancee in Flagstaff, ArizonaWhen I’m not working, I find myself spending time with my fiance Julie and our animal family. My animal companions include two labradors, two mules, and one cat. I really enjoy working, training, and playing with my two labradors, Liberty and Breaker. Breaker comes from a very accomplished Hunter Retriever Champion sire and he is my first attempt at training a working retriever. I’m happy to report I have been very impressed with his responsiveness to training and his progress to date. Liberty on the other hand loves to play, but she is not nearly as serious when it comes to “work”. In trueness to the labrador breed, she is equally excitable about treats and meal times. She always makes us laugh with her attention to her feeding schedule. I have two mules that I ride and pack, Newt and Shirley. These two critters are tough as nails and have carried me through expeditions from the mountains of Wyoming to the deserts of Arizona and everything in between.

When I need a break from animals, I spend my free time working in my garden or working to improve my property by planting trees, building fences and animal enclosures, spending time in my underground greenhouse, or just sitting and watching the hummingbirds. I am an amateur permaculturist and a wannabe master gardener. I have created an oasis of trees and plants and gardens around my house where I can relax and decompress.

I love adventure and I am an avid outdoorsman. Every fall, you can usually find me out in the woods trying to fill my freezer with game meat. My passion is archery elk hunting during the rut and I can’t think of any pastime I love more than chasing bugling bulls through the mountains of Northern Arizona. When I don’t have a tag in my pocket, I content by myself camping, hiking, mule riding, whitewater rafting, skiing, snowshoeing, or cruising dirt roads.

Hand in hand with my passion for hunting is cooking. I’m a huge advocate of sustainable living and I eat everything that I hunt. One of my favorite meals is a grilled elk steak and veggies straight from my garden. I like to surprise friends, family, and staff with home cooked meals made from wild game that I harvested. I don’t usually tell people what game species is in the dish until after they have tried the first bite. The recipe I get asked for most is for my three creature chili. On weekends or in my spare time, I will be grilling, smoking, roasting, marinating, or slow cooking a piece of organic, grass-fed, free range, responsibly harvested meat that I carried on my back following a successful hunting adventure.