Jack L. Blackwood, Jr.,D.V.M.Co-Owner, Veterinarian
Dr. Blackwood, a native of Birmingham, AL is a graduate of Auburn University where he earned his veterinary degree from the College of Veterinary Medicine at Auburn University in 1982.
The 2018 Distinguished Service Award was presented to Dr. Jack L. Blackwood, Jr. on April 6 by the Florida Veterinary Medical Association. Dr. Blackwood was honored for his service to the profession. In addition to owning and operating the Walton County Animal Clinic since 1985, he was also one of the founders of the Okaloosa-Walton Veterinary Emergency Clinic where he served as president of the Board for many years. Dr. Blackwood was the first veterinarian employed by the Walton County Animal Shelter, which was established in 2009. He worked for the shelter part time while also running his general practice in DeFuniak Springs. Within the first five years of working for the shelter, Dr. Blackwood sterilized more than 5,000 pets, and continues to provide medical care and perform surgeries at the shelter to this day.
In August 2012, Dr. Blackwood, with the help of his wife Ritchie, launched The Animal Sterilization Assistance Program (A.S.A.P.) of Walton County. This program was born out of the desire to help in the prevention of unwanted and uncared-for pets ending up in the overcrowded animal shelter. Since its inception, the program has helped more than 1,800 family pets. Dr. Blackwood strives to help the pets in his community whether it be at his personal practice, the local shelter or by providing a reduced-rate sterilization program.
Dr. Blackwood, his wife Ritchie, daughters Kellie and Mollie, and numerous pets have called DeFuniak Springs home for the past thirty-four years. The Blackwood family is a member of The First Presbyterian Church of DeFuniak Springs.
In his spare time, Dr. Blackwood enjoys spending time with his family at the farm to include 'fixing things' and playing with the welder. He also is an avid SCUBA diver.
Dr. Blackwood's love for the animals he treats and his desire to improve veterinary medicine for his town has sent him to numerous continuing education seminars. Some of these seminars include pet dentistry, orthopedic surgery, ophthalmic surgery, canine and feline diagnostics, and current treatments.
Ritchie BlackwoodCo-Owner, Certified Pet Dental Hygienist
Dr. Blackwood and I purchased Walton County Animal Clinic in 1985. I worked full-time as our Office Manager and Veterinary Assistant until 1998 when I resumed teaching school. I returned to the clinic part-time in 2006 upon obtaining my Pet Dental Hygienist certification and continue working at the clinic in this capacity. In 2012, Dr. Blackwood and I started the Animal Sterilization Assistance Program (A.S.A.P.) of Walton County which helps clients financially with spay and neuters in our community.
We have five dogs: Ruby, Sugar, Pippa and Effie are our 9 year old chihuahua/dachshund mixes. Spike is our four-year old bulldog. My free time is spent doing farm work (clearing fences, bush hogging and feeding wild deer and turkey). My hobbies are painting pet portraits, furniture refinishing, running, and taking “Spike” on walks at the farm.
We have the best, most well-trained team at Walton County Animal Clinic. It is a pleasure to work with them to help pets and clients in the DeFuniak Springs community.
Dr. Bumgarner is originally from Jackson, Mississippi. She graduated from Mississippi College in 2009 Cum Laude with a BS in Biology. In 2014, she received her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Mississippi State University, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude.
During veterinary school, Dr. Bumgarner served as president of the Student Chapter of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine & the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management and as Philanthropist for the American Association of Feline Practitioners.
In addition to an externship with a specialist referral center in West Palm Beach, Dr. Bumgarner has worked as an on-call emergency lab technician & attended advanced clinical rotations in dermatology, surgery and clinical pathology. Her special interests include surgery, wound management and internal medicine. She is an active member of several organizations including AVMA, FVMA, AAHA, AAFP, NWFVMA & MSVMS.
Dr. Bumgarner loves working alongside the amazing staff at Walton County Animal Clinic and enjoys meeting all of the wonderful clients and pets that come into the clinic. Outside of veterinary medicine, she enjoys going to the beach, fishing, music, traveling and spending time with her 4 awesome kitties.
Connie HalfordOffice Manager
I started working at Walton County Animal Clinic in October 1997. My previous work experience was in the clerical and educational fields.
I have always had a love for animals. My experience at Walton County Animal Clinic has allowed me to have a greater understanding and knowledge of animals and their behaviors for which I am very thankful.
I have had many pets throughout the years. Due to the aging process and various forms of illness, all have passed over the rainbow bridge except one, his name is Dingo. Dingo is a rescue Boston Terrier mix. He is so sweet and smart - the best dog any one could want! I think they know when they are rescued and a deeper bond develops between them and you. Two of my other boys were rescued as well, Chopper and Brodie (also Boston Terriers). I still miss them every day.
I have made lifelong friends since working at Walton County Animal Clinic. My team mates are my extended family. I know they have my back and I have theirs.
When I am not at work, I enjoy spending time with my husband of 41 years and family most of all. We have 5 amazing granddaughters. My husband and I spend as much time as possible with them. We enjoy whatever activities keep us all together.
Jared ByrdLead Veterinary Technician
Jared Byrd is our Lead Veterinary Technician. Jared grew up in 4-H showing cows and horses. He has been with the Walton County Animal Clinic family for 17 years! His favorite aspect of the job is helping people by way of helping their pets stay healthy.
When he’s not working hard he loves going to the movies (especially if it’s Star Wars) and hanging out with his wife and three children (and two dogs).
Meredith DavisVeterinary Receptionist
I am a full-time Veterinary Receptionist for Walton County Animal Clinic. I started working here as a veterinary technician in 2007 and remained in that position until 2013 when I left to be a stay at home mom. About a year and a half later, I came back to work for Dr Blackwood. This time as a receptionist at the front desk. I started in the animal field with my first job working at a horse farm when I was 16 years old. I worked as a vet tech for the first time when I was 19 years old, at a clinic in Ball Ground, Georgia. I have worked in vet clinics ever since.
I have had many amazing dogs over the years, but now we just have our one dog, Tango. Tango is half Labrador retriever and half German Shorthair Pointer, and just a little over a year old. She is the sweetest girl and is great with our children, but she is a wild child!
My animal related hobbies have always been horseback riding, any kind of event where dogs are involved, beach, and spending time with my family. My mom and I used to enjoy watching the herding dog trials every now and then when we lived in Georgia. Now it’s mostly work and raising my two daughters with my husband.
I have always loved working at Walton County Animal Clinic. My boss and coworkers are my second family, and we always can count on each other. Everyone started this business because of our love for animals. We have wonderful patients and clients that have been with us for a long time; for which we are very proud.
Karen McClammaVeterinary Receptionist
I began working part-time as a Veterinary Receptionist at Walton County Animal Clinic in 1997. I took a brief hiatus and returned full-time in 2004.
We have two small rescue dogs from the Walton County Animal Shelter. They are estimated between six and seven years old - Peggy and Pup Pup. I enjoy helping people take care of their pets and sharing knowledge about veterinary medicine. I love their pets almost as much as I love mine!
When not at the clinic, I spend all of my extra time outside with my four grandsons (and my husband too, of course!)
Melinda "Mindy" CuchensVeterinary Technician
I began working as a part-time Veterinary Technician at Walton County Animal Clinic in 2015 and moved to full-time in 2018. Prior to WCAC, I worked predominantly in emergency veterinary medicine. I assist Dr. Blackwood at the Walton County Animal Shelter every Wednesday.
We have a crew at home: Jill 15 year old chihuahua, Peach 7 year old mix, Coco 3 year old Dachshund, Biscuit 1 year old mix. Ariel 5 year old Calico, and Willie 1 year old Sphynx.
When not at the clinic, I am usually cheering on my kids (football and soccer). I also enjoy reading and cleaning in my free time.
Walton County Animal Clinic quickly became my home. I love my co-workers and our fierce leaders! I am proud to work at Walton County Animal Clinic!
Stephanie DennisonVeterinary Technician
I have worked in the animal field for 13 years, and with the Walton County Animal Clinic as a full-time Veterinary Technician since April 2013. I attended St. Petersburg College for Veterinary Technology. I have always wanted to work with animals from the time I can remember, and can’t imagine doing anything else.
I have 7 dogs, ages ranging from 6 to 12 years. When not at the clinic, I love spending time with my family and playing outside with my daughter.
Ivana ForeVeterinary Technician
I have been a Veterinary Technician for twenty-two years, and started full-time with Walton County Animal Clinic in February 2017. Our family has been involved with several 4-H clubs and we also enjoy horseback riding and mounted archery.
I enjoy working at Walton County Animal Clinic! The doctors and staff work wonderfully together and show tremendous team work.
When I am not at the clinic, I am home taking care of my 2 daughters, 5 dogs, 2 cats, 3 horses, 1 donkey, 2 goats, and 5 chickens! I enjoy family time on our small farm to include gardening and fishing.
Cheyenne DuncanVeterinary Kennel Assistant
Aspiring veterinarian, Cheyenne is Walton County Animal Clinic's full-time Kennel Assistant. She started with WCAC in May 2019 and has also been volunteering with Walton County Animal Shelter for the past five years. Cheyenne is currently enrolled in college and loves learning all aspects of veterinary medicine. She recently graduated out of the 4H program where she showed horses, goats, and dairy cows. Cheyenne continues to work with and ride her horse at home.
Cheyenne’s pets include one horse, one goat, a cat, and a dog. Her horse D’Artagnan is two and Rosebud a Nubian goat is seven. Baby was adopted from Walton County Animal Shelter as a kitten. Tinkerbell was also adopted from WCAS and is three.
Cheyenne enjoys the positive work environment at Walton County Animal Clinic which includes making a difference with all the wonderful animals we see every day. Outside the clinic, she enjoys playing soccer, going on runs with Tinkerbell, painting and drawing.