Growing up in Toronto, I decided at an early age that I wanted to have a career where I worked with animals. Between me and my three siblings, we were persuasive in convincing our parents to allow us to have a multitude of pets, including cats, dogs, fish, reptiles, hamsters and white rats. The first white rat joined our family when I volunteered (without my parent’s approval of course!) to take her home during the March break. Much to my surprise, after the break, Mom sent me back to school with the message that we would be happy to provide a forever home for the little white critter when school finished for the year.
By the time I entered high school, my parents had begun breeding dogs as a hobby, which they soon turned into a full time career for both of them. They moved to the country where they established a successful dog kennel business that they operated for 30 years before they finally retired. In the meantime, I decided to take a year off between high school and university, so that I could better finance my education. One year quickly turned into a decade, and before I knew it, I was married, had a mortgage, and was working in the retail service industry. As the decade drew to a close, my husband and I agreed that it was time for me to realize my life-long dream of becoming a veterinarian. After I was accepted to the University of Guelph in the BSc program, we sold everything, quit our jobs, and moved to Guelph. I graduated from the Ontario Veterinary College with my Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 1985, went into private practice for a couple of years, and then returned to OVC to complete a Master of Science Degree, during which time I taught veterinary anatomy. However, I soon realized that my interests lay in private practice, and accepted a job at Blue Cross Animal Hospital in 1989, when the clinic was still owned by Dr. Gerhard Hess. In 1990, I purchased the clinic from Doc (as he was known by everyone), and in 1995, I moved it over to its current location.
Over the years I have met many wonderful people and their pets, and have enjoyed working in the wonderful field of veterinary medicine. I particularly enjoy surgery and enjoy doing surgical interventions that improve the health and well-being of our patients, but I try to keep up on all aspects of small animal practice though extensive continuing education.
During my veterinary career, I have been active in the veterinary community, serving multiple terms on the executive of the Golden Triangle Veterinary Academy, serving the public as a member of the council of the College of Veterinarians of Ontario, including a term as president, working as writer and editor for Lifelearn, a Guelph-based veterinary continuing education organization, serving as Chair for Health Canada’s Expert Advisory Committee on Veterinary Natural Health Products and most recently as the local chair for the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association conference to be held in Niagara Falls in July 2016.
I was part of a veterinary team who performed a two week spay-neuter clinic on the Caribbean island of Bonaire, and in 2009 I was a member of a Canadian Veterinary Delegation to China. In the past several years, I have gradually decreased my clinic commitments, turning over the day-to-day patient care to my wonderful team of veterinarians and support staff, and concentrating more on these other aspects of the veterinary profession. I continue to stay involved in the operation of the clinic and I provide relief work when one of the members of the veterinary team is away.
Outside of veterinary medicine, I share my home with my husband Rick, our Doberman Electra and our deaf cat Purr’ll. My hobbies include gardening (both at home and at the clinic), travel, being a passenger on the back of my husband’s motorcycle, and scuba diving.