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St. Croix Review # 1: Veterinarian Dr. Duke Deller

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 In many people’s opinion, Dr. Duke Deller is the most caring and professional veterinarian on the island of St. Croix. Never without a smile when he first sees you, “Duke” as he is known by his fiends, brings instant warmth into any room he enters. And that is very reassuring to someone who is standing there with a worried look as they are hugging a sick or injured pet. The last thing that an upset animal lover needs is to be treated as if they are standing in the check out line at a local food store. Maybe that’s why his name comes up the most whenever I ask someone “Who is your favorite Vet?”

Another reason that Duke Deller is so respected is his down to earth veterinarian office and very affordable prices. There are no fancy frills at Dukes like there are at higher priced (and in my opinion “cold atmosphere”) veterinarians. He has a simple waiting room with very friendly and knowledgeable staff that gets you to feel right at home as soon as you walk through the door. He is also the only Vet that I ever known that would sell you just one heartworm pill or one application of frontline if you couldn’t afford the whole package. That comes in very handy for us “common folks” who are on a tight budget. And none of his generosity goes unnoticed because it shows in all the compliments that he gets.

One of the things that I like the most about Duke is that he does not segregate himself from the “regular people” of the island on his off time like other local doctors. He goes to the same blues jams, jazz clubs, and Sunday afternoon beach bars that most people that I know visit. I try so hard to not ask him a question about one of our pets during his off time, but I guess sometimes (after a few island cocktails) it just comes out of my mouth anyway. But he is always very cool about it and gives me a straight answer and a warm smile. I think that he deserves to be called ‘The Peoples Vet” because not only is he great at making
our animals feel better, but also the people who see them as family members.

When we think of veterinarians, usually we picture dogs, cats, birds, and even pet snakes. But when some people on St. Croix think of Duke Deller, they don’t just think of our cuddly, furry, feathered, and scaly friends. They also think of horses, cattle, donkeys, bison, deer, goats, and just about any exotic animal with a permit that you can imagine. That’s because for many years he was Director of Veterinary Medicine for the Department of Agriculture in U.S. Virgin Islands. That’s a huge title to carry and you can just imagine the work that goes along with it.

So when we bring in our Doberman puppies that get nervous and pee (or poop) all over the place, we don’t get weird looks and comments. We get a smile with reassuring words! And when we have to bring in our Argentine Dogo “Buster” who is 13 years old and can hardly walk or see, we don’t get saddened by words of discouragement because he is so close to his time. We get the same smiles and words like “he’s doing great!” But one day soon Buster’s time will come. And we thank God for someone like Duke Deller for being there to see us through the last days of one of our family members. The animals in our house are our children and we trust their lives in his hands.
– JJ Rocks