Terlingua launches fundraiser for new community veterinarian 

TERLINGUA — South Brewster County residents are looking to reestablish veterinary services after longtime care provider Samuel Bottenfield, or “Doc Sam,” announced his retirement this past summer.

Doc Sam’s business, Rio Vet Services, was Terlingua’s sole veterinary care provider and had actively operated in the area since 2008. With the closest vet now over an hour away in Alpine, some residents have launched a Go Fund Me to help raise funds for a new operation in South Brewster County. 

Given Terlingua’s remote location and lack of affordable housing, Rique Rivera set up the fundraiser to assist a veterinarian, Letty Risley, in her relocation from Illinois to Far West Texas. The Go Fund Me states Risley has met with Doc Sam and would be joining her husband Jon Risley who has already been living in the area. 

As of press time, the effort raised $1,570 of its $7,500 goal. The Go Fund Me includes critical set-up costs such as a license to practice veterinary medicine in the state — which costs around $500 — and other start-up costs for equipment and supplies. It also aims to assist Risley with moving costs. 

Rivera confirmed the Alpine Humane Society agreed to donate a mobile veterinary clinic Risley can operate out of. A property has also been secured just off of 118, said Rivera, that will operate as a home office eventually. Risley will be arriving in a couple of weeks, said Rivera, and pending the recertification process hopes to be up and operating in three to four months, around the middle of summer.