Joseph Keith Cortese, D.V.M., Owner
Dr. Joe Cortese was born and raised in a small town in New Mexico.
He graduated from Fort Sumner High School in 1959 and attended college at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, NM with Mechanical Engineering as his major.
major to Civil Engineering.
realized that he
needed to take a long, hard look at what he
really wanted to do for the rest of his
was raised on a cattle ranch and caring for animals was influential in establishing his
After taking an aptitude test, he
major to Veterinary Medicine.
After receiving his BS degree in General Agriculture, he was accepted into Colorado State University, College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, where he entered his freshman year in 1964.
In June of 1968, Dr. Cortese graduated 3rd in his class where he received his D.V.M. degree.
He worked as a veterinarian for a busy practice in La Canada, California for five years before coming to San Juan Capistrano to start "Capistrano Veterinary Clinic" in 1973.
worked hard and learned a great deal at this busy La Canada practice where he
built a strong reputation as a thorough and compassionate veterinarian.
original plan was to stay a year or two in California and then go back to New Mexico and settle down.
California was calling and he
followed the call.
As it often happens, Dr. Joe fell in love with California.
own animal hospital was Dr. Cortese's
Only by chance did he
end up in San Juan Capistrano.
happened to visit this remarkable town on a Saturday afternoon during the "Swallows Day Parade", an event that celebrates the return of the swallows to Capistrano
That was in March of 1973.
watched the parade sitting on the branch of a huge sycamore tree, which is across the street from his
present day clinic.
saw a sign in the strip mall's window saying "For Lease" with a phone number.
called and the rest is history.
In November of 1973, Dr. Cortese
proudly opened "Capistrano Veterinary Clinic
built a first-class surgical hospital and small animal practice.
He began his career by reaching out to help build a better community by being a strong and active member of the Chamber of Commerce.
He joined the local Rotary Club serving as their President in the years of 1979-1980 and for a second term in 2000-2001.
He also took on the responsibility of being President of the Southern California Veterinary Medical Association (SCVMA) for the year 1991.
This prestigious professional organization includes both Los Angeles and Orange County Veterinarians and it supports a membership of over 1000 veterinarians.
This is the largest local veterinary association in the world.
In 1990, Dr. Cortese
In July of 1997, Dr. Cortese
was diagnosed with small-cell carcinoma lung cancer.
went through 6 months of standard chemotherapy, followed by "hi-dose chemotherapy and stem cell rescue".
Finally, Dr. Cortese
cancer treatment with 11 weeks of radiation.
As of this date, tests have shown no signs of the cancer.
is officially considered cured!
Dr. Joe's wife Goldee, the Rotary Club
, the wonderful people of San Juan Capistrano, the staff and clients of Capistrano Veterinary Clinic
, and his Veterinary community supported Dr. Cortese
with his fight against cancer, both emotionally and financially.
Without them, Dr. Cortese
would not be here today.
received the honored San Juan Capistrano Chamber of Commerce Award for "Citizen of the Year" in 2001.
He also received the "Don Mahan Veterinarian of the Year" award in 2000 from the Southern California Veterinary Medical Association (SCVMA).
He currently serves as President of "The Animal Health Foundation", where help for senior citizen's pets are given and therapy dogs are sent to hospitals and nursing homes to visit the patients.
Dr. Cortese is past-president and co-founder of C.A.R.E. "Capistrano Animal Rescue Effort", the grass roots organization that is raising funds to build a humane animal adoption center in San Juan Capistrano.
served as their Animal Welfare
Chairman for many years.
Dr. Joe has a son Jeff that lives in Woodland Park, Colorado with his wife Brenda and three grandchildren, Kaleb, Mariah and Joey
Marie has been with Dr. Cortese
She has her Veterinary Degree from Mexico.
Paula has been with Dr. Cortese