CARING FOR TWO- AND FOUR-LEGGED NEIGHBORS
Viviana Burgos is part of the team at Eagle Fern Equine Hospital that ensures both human and hoofed visitors leave feeling supported.
“If we can make someone smile, that’s always a good thing,” said Burgos, who manages the Estacada-based clinic. Along with horses, Eagle Fern Equine Hospital also cares for cattle, sheep, goats, llamas and alpacas.
Burgos and her husband, David Asmar, one of the clinic’s veterinarians, purchased Eagle Fern Equine in 2009.
“The clinic is our third child,” she said.
Burgos, a native of Puerto Rico, graduated from the University of Puerto Rico and moved to Kansas while she and her husband attended Kansas State University.
The couple lived in Idaho before moving to Oregon. Burgos began working at Eagle Fern Equine in 2005.
“I’m a better person if I’m not in the house the whole time. I appreciate the little things more,” she said.
Along with serving clients, Burgos and the Eagle Fern Equine team work with Sound Equine Options, a nonprofit organization dedicated to caring for horses that have been abused or neglected. Eagle Fern performs preliminary exams on animals that will be fostered, facilitates training for law enforcement officers focused on encounters with horses, and hosts donations for Sound Equine Options year round.
Burgos said one of the most rewarding elements of supporting Sound Equine Options is seeing the horses thrive over time.
“I love seeing their stories and knowing what they’ve accomplished,” she said.
Burgos also likes getting to know the horses cared for by Eagle Fern Equine.
“Horses are gentle souls. They’re looking for love, and they’re looking for a job. They need an activity. They’re like little kids,” she said. “I like the interaction and that they trust us. I like that we can make them feel a little better.”
Burgos also values the long-term relationships with the people who care for the horses that come to the clinic.
“I love seeing families. We see kids from when they’re little to high school graduation,” she said. “It’s been an honor to be part of their families for so long.”
She added that she appreciates being able to support clients through difficult moments, such as losing a horse. When a horse passes away, the clinic will send the animal’s tail braided with a ribbon in their favorite color to the owner.
Burgos enjoys working in Estacada because of the close-knit atmosphere.
“I love how everyone pulls together. Even if people aren’t on the same side, you can count on the team to protect each other,” she said.
The appreciation for the community also motivates Burgos to support small businesses.
“There’s a person you’re supporting,” she said. “The pandemic has been difficult for smaller businesses.”
It’s also important to Burgos that employees at Eagle Fern Equine feel supported.
“I love the clinic and the culture we’ve created,” she said, noting the importance of employees taking care of their mental health rather than working all the time. “We’ve worked hard at letting people know it’s just a job, and to not worry about it on their off time. We respect their time with their families.”
Burgos added that she’s still learning to do this, describing herself as “a workaholic.”
“I’ve learned a lot. I’ve made all the mistakes in the book, and I’ve learned from them,” she said.