The H.F. Davis Library at Colby Community College will host a book review and autograph session to promote the book “Always Allie” written by Colby native Dr. Kipp Van Camp. The event will begin at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 25, in the college library. Everyone is invited to attend. Copies of the book will be available for purchase.

Colby Native to Promote Book at College Library

Colby Native to Promote Book at College Library

Wed Jul 31, 2013

The H.F. Davis Library at Colby Community College will host a book review and autograph session to promote the book “Always Allie” written by Colby native Dr. Kipp Van Camp. The event will begin at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 25, in the college library. Everyone is invited to attend. Copies of the book will be available for purchase.

Van Camp is a name that is familiar to many people in Colby and the surrounding area. His father, Dr. Vic Van Camp, was a veterinarian and mayor of Colby for many years. His mother, Marge, was well-known for her contributions to the community and her work as a real estate agent.

As a son of a veterinarian, Dr. Van Camp spent much time with his dad at his large and small animal practice in Colby. It was during that time that he developed a special interest in dogs.

Although Dr. Van Camp contemplated following in his father’s footsteps as a veterinarian, he chose a career in people medicine. In 1989 during his senior year of medical school he met Tracy Gavin from St. Louis. After a two-year courtship, he and Tracy were married. Tracy loved dogs and so it was only natural to adopt an adorable new puppy. Chelsea Alexis “Allie,” a Bichon Frise, joined the family on Dec. 25, 1991. Allie stole their hearts and became the center of their world. Dr. Van Camp recently completed his first book, “Always Allie,” which will be the topic of his talk on Jan. 25 at the college library. The book has been compared to the best-seller “Marley and Me.” The writing style has been described as lighthearted, easy-to-read, entertaining, and enlightening. Many experts have said Dr. Van Camp’s writing style is similar to James Herriot, author of the “All Creatures Great and Small” series.

“Always Allie”

“Always Allie” is a story of a Bichon Frise who led a charmed life. As a puppy, she was a winner of life’s lottery when she was selected from the litter of four to live with the Van Camp’s. Immediately, Allie became a full-fledged member of the family with all the rights and privileges afforded any member of the family. Americans love their pets.

“It wasn’t too long ago that pets knew their place begging for scraps from the foot of the table,” said Dr. Van Camp. “However, in the last couple of decades Americans have elevated their pet’s status to bona fide members of the family with a seat at the table next to the humans. Allie was no exception. She was treated like a queen from the moment we saw her.”

According to Dr. Van Camp, this story is more than a dog tale. It is the story of how Allie stole their hearts from puppyhood on.

“It is said the Bichon Frise is considered a lovable clown whose purpose in life is to entertain their owners,” said Dr. Van Camp. “Allie took this role seriously. She provided us with a lifetime of antics and enjoyment. When Allie was around, there was never a dull moment. ‘Always Allie’ describes many of the lighthearted stories.”

Dr. Van Camp’s book reflects on the bond between a man and his dog.

“Even if you don’t have a dog, upon reading this book you will gain a glimpse of what made our four-legged, furry daughter ‘Always Allie,’” he said. “Allie prepared us to become parents. The responsibility that comes with loving and caring for a pet was not all that different than caring for and raising a child. Throughout Allie’s parent training course, we learned well. Allie accepted our two boys into the family as if they were her own. And we flourished as parents, in one sense owing to her assistance.”

After nearly two decades, it become clear to the Van Camp’s that Allie’s life was completed and they made the difficult decision to let her go. Dr. Van Camp knew beyond any doubt that Allie’s story must be told.

“Throughout my years of medical training and during the numerous moves to different cities and states, Allie was one of the important constants in our lives,” explained Van Camp. “She was steady and unflappable, a trait I came to respect and even admire. It’s strange how I could learn some valuable life lessons from our four-legged daughter. And when I actually took the time to slow down and observe her closely, I did just that. Allie taught me many important lessons like slow down and stop and smell the roses occasionally. And, all work and no play makes Kipp a dull boy, and one of my favorites…don’t take myself too seriously.”

According to Dr. Van Camp, Allie loved to eat. However, she was born with an alimentary affliction that remained a constant challenge throughout her entire life. She suffered from Crohn’s disease.

“We had to keep Allie on a special diet,” said Dr. Van Camp. “She protested this daily in her own unique way and was often caught sneaking food from our plates or the kitchen counters whenever we weren’t looking.”

Longevity is common to the Bichon breed. The average life-span is approximately 15 years.

“Allie loved life. Her zest for life and her superior genetics allowed her seventeen-and-a-half years of life. She enjoyed each and every day. And, she provided us with the same amount of enjoyment as well.”

In the book, Dr. Van Camp describes the time when the dog’s health was failing.

“One of the most difficult tasks in life is to make the decision to put your pet down when it becomes clear that they are physically suffering,” said Dr. Van Camp. “As the son of a veterinarian, I’ve seen grown men brought to tears as they said good-bye to the cherished pet. I’ve heard grown children say the only time I saw Dad cry was when we put our dog to sleep. When Allie’s once strong and energetic body began to age, it broke our hearts. The day it became evident that we must let her go was one of the most difficult days of each of our lives. But, the most important gift that a man can give his pet is to let them go when it’s time.”

Dr. Van Camp began writing Allie’s story the day she died. A portion of the proceeds of the sales of “Always Allie” goes to the Helping Hands Humane Society of Topeka. Dr. Van Camp believes in this organization and the efforts they make in placing dogs with quality homes and caring owners.

“It took me a little over a year to complete the manuscript. And after it was edited, we turned it over to the publisher for printing. The book was released on Oct. 27, 2010.”

About Dr. Van Camp

Dr. Kipp Van Camp graduated from Colby High School in 1981 and attended Colby Community College in 1982 and 1983. During his academic career, Dr. Van Camp was a three-time All American in track and field, and a six-time Academic All-American.

Dr. Van Camp is an entrepreneur with his own radiology practice. He is the owner and Medical Director of Rejuvenate Medical Spa, providing minimally invasive cosmetic medical procedures. He engages in clinical and scientific medical research and is the Medical Director of Precise Clinical Research. He also is the host of “Doctor’s Orders,” a radio medical talk show about interesting topics in medicine.

He is an accomplished speaker. In addition to medical conferences, he has spoken at numerous civic organizations on various topics. Dr. Van Camp has a relaxed, yet thought-provoking approach and has been extremely well received over the years, regardless of the topic of discussion.

Dr. Van Camp and his wife Tracy have two sons: Kolby and Weston.

For more information about the event, contact H.F. Davis Library Director Tara Schroer at (785) 460-5487.