About

"There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face." - Ben Williams

My name is David W. LaVigne, D.V.M. aka Captain Doctor Dave. The captdrdave moniker was a natural development when I obtained my U.S. Coast Guard captain's license a number of years ago. At the time I was already a veterinarian, so the "Dr. Dave" got jokingly enhanced to "Captain Doctor Dave" and it's kind of been that way ever since.

I graduated with honors from Michigan State University back in 1979 and have been in private practice ever since. I owned and operated my own hospital in Michigan for 20 years, then practiced in the heart of Baltimore's Inner Harbor neighborhood for another 4 years before my wife Annie and I headed off on a four year sabbatical down in the Caribbean. After we sold the veterinary hospital up in Michigan, we moved aboard our sailboat and headed across the Great Lakes and the Erie Canal, down the Hudson River and the East Coast to Chesapeake Bay. We ended up stopping in Baltimore for a few months which unexpectedly turned into 4 years there while I enjoyed the freedom of practicing medicine and surgery without the burdens of hospital ownership. We then headed down the ICW to Florida and across to and down through the Bahamas to the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and the islands of the northern Caribbean where we hung for over three years before heading back.

I am a member of the AVMA and the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society and am licensed to practice in the states of Michigan and Florida. I have written a couple of books. Where There Is No Pet Doctor is an unconventional medical manual of sorts geared to those who live aboard boats or are otherwise caught in remote circumstances where veterinary care may be scarce. The other veterinary book, Pets On Board? - Adapting Your Pet to Travel by Boat or RV, was written primarily as an answer to questions that I found were repeatedly being asked when I was addressing sailors at boat shows and other venues. I also have another book, Island Hopping to the Caribbean, a non-veterinary narrative of sorts about our trip down through the Caribbean which Annie and I cowrote upon our return.

In the summer of 2005, while we were spending hurricane season holed up in Luperón in the Dominican Republic, a dog aboard one of the cruising boats in the harbor there died of an acute toxic response shortly after picking up one of the local toads. As a result of this tragedy,  I was asked by the pet-owning cruisers in the harbor to do a seminar on 'Cruising with Pets.' The ten page handout prepared for that seminar eventually evolved into the 400 page book Wilderness Veterinary Companion for Cruisers (now known as Where There Is No Pet Doctor) and I've been doing pet care advice ever since.

We no longer live aboard a boat but Annie and I now live full-time aboard our motor home and I continue to practice after-hours emergency medicine and surgery on the Gulf Coast of Florida.