Increasing the life-saving capacity of animal shelters and communities through education, shelter outreach, and development of new knowledge

Maddie's Fellowship program

The Fellowship Program was created to build a learning community that provides training and support for veterinarians to make a positive life-saving impact in their shelters and communities.

UW/UCD Maddie's Shelter Medicine Fellowship Program is a proud recipient of funding from Maddie's Fund®, helping to achieve a no-kill nation #ThanksToMaddie.

Interested in becoming a Fellow? We generally recruit in the spring so check our website around that time for details and application for the upcoming fellowship year and follow us on facebook for updates. A requirement of the fellowship is to participate in our kickoff event called fellowship camp, which usually takes place on or around the last week of August. Interested individuals should keep this week open for travel in order to be considered for the fellowship.

Our fellowship program is a joint effort between our Shelter Medicine program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of California-Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Programs. Working together we deliver life-saving knowledge and services to our nation’s shelters and their communities while we all grow and develop our understanding of the field together. The fellowship is made possible by the generous support from various organizations who sponsor each fellow's training and travel throughout their year as a UW/UCD Fellow.

The fellowship provides unique opportunities for practitioners to learn via clinical interaction with the University of Wisconsin and UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Programs and with a variety of animal shelters throughout the United States. In addition, selected fellows will interact with other academic and clinical programs with whom both programs regularly interact, including other university shelter medicine programs as well as national animal welfare organizations. The fellows will be able to put their new skills to work with their local shelter, directly benefitting shelter animals and communities. Many fellows continue their careers working in or with shelters for years to come, greatly magnifying the benefit of this investment in their training. If you are interested in joining our Fellowship Program in the future, please check back as we will post updates on our website with details on how to apply prior to each new Fellowship year, which starts every August.

Current 2021/2022 Fellows

Dr. Taylor Biermaier, Maddie's Fellow

Dr. Taylor Biermaier holds a B.S. in Animal Science from North Dakota State University and her DVM from the University of Minnesota. After veterinary school, she was a small animal general practice veterinarian for 3 years before making the switch to shelter medicine in 2020. She then joined Circle of Friends Animal Shelter, a non-profit, open intake animal shelter in Grand Forks, North Dakota, as the Lead Veterinarian and is now the Medical Director. She has found the world of shelter medicine to be a fulfilling and rewarding career and takes great pride in providing resources for her community and the underserved pet population.

In addition to attending to the shelter animals' medical and surgical needs, Dr. Taylor enjoys educating employees, adopters, and children as well as outreach projects. She is so grateful to be part of UW/UCD Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Fellowship and to learn from amazing shelter medicine leaders. Dr. Taylor is an outdoor enthusiast and enjoys spending time with her family including her husband Nick and their 2 young children as well as their dog, cats, goats, cows, and chickens.

Dr. Michelle Meckelborg, Maddie's Fellow

Dr. Michelle Meckelborg graduated from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in her hometown of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, in 2003. She spent several years in a private practice before entering shelter medicine. During her private practice stint, Michelle nurtured her interest in exotic animal medicine and surgery and obtained her Certificate in Canine Rehabilitation Therapy in 2016.  Michelle started as a casual surgeon at the Edmonton Humane Society, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada in 2017 and loved shelter medicine so much that she eventually took on the position of Shelter Veterinarian and Manager of Animal Health. Michelle has 2 athletic daughters whose sporting prowess keeps her busy, but given the opportunity, Michelle would opt for yoga or a good book. Fostering kittens is also pretty great!

Dr. Sam Mitchell, Maddie's Fellow

Dr. Sam Mitchell is the Director of Shelter Medicine at the Humane Society of Western Montana (HSWM), located in Missoula, Montana. She earned her DVM from Colorado State University in 2018 and worked in private practice in Missoula for over 2 years before landing her dream job as a shelter veterinarian in late 2020. Dr. Mitchell was excited to help launch HSWM's spay/neuter/vaccine outreach programs to surrounding rural areas soon after starting at HSWM. She hopes to continue to help expand equitable veterinary care across western Montana in order to promote both human and animal welfare. Outside of work Dr. Mitchell enjoys reading, cross-stitching, watching movies with her partner Sean, and spending time with her two dogs and two cats. She is thrilled and honored to be part of this amazing program!

Dr. Sylvia Nagy, Maddie's Fellow

Dr. Sylvia Nagy is the Medical Director, Veterinarian at the Palm Springs Animal Shelter in Palm Springs, Southern California. She has been with the shelter since May 2018 after relocating from New York City. She holds a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Nagy previously worked for North Shore Animal League America, other shelters, private and emergency practices. She has experience in high volume spay/neuter surgery, extensive soft tissue and dental surgery procedures.

Dr. Nagy has numerous interests but currently her professional passion is sparked by animal and human welfare, feline medicine, canine/feline behavior and wildlife. She and her staff have completed Fear Free certification. In her spare time, she enjoys music/concerts, traveling, training her dog, including agility, lifting weights, vegan cooking, and spending time with her cats and squirrel, and with her human partner too! Dr. Nagy is in the process of beginning the Palm Springs chapter of the Street Dog Coalition to help provide basic care to pets whose guardians are experiencing homelessness.

Dr. Jesse Navatta, Maddie's Fellow

Dr. Jesse Navatta is a veterinarian working for Tree House Humane Society in their newly-opened Veterinary Wellness Center in Chicago, Illinois. He graduated from Cornell University in 2017. While in school, his focus moved from zoo and wildlife medicine to shelter and community medicine.

Taking many opportunities to reach underserved populations, Dr. Navatta worked abroad in many countries including Bulgaria, Mexico, and Brazil. After graduation, he continued to pursue this passion by working with community members on the Southside of Chicago as well as teaching veterinary students high volume, high-quality spay/neuter techniques through FARVets, an outreach program through Cornell University. His passion lies in supporting the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiative within veterinary medicine. He is a PrideVMC mentor as well as an active member of the DE&I boards for both the Association of Shelter Veterinarians and the Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association.

Born and raised in New York, Dr. Navatta has lived in Chicago since graduating from veterinary school. He enjoys exploring the city with his husband as well as gardening at home with their two cats and box turtle.

Dr. Cynthia Tao, Eslinger Fellow

Dr. Cynthia Tao is a shelter veterinarian at both Tri-City Animal Shelter (TCAS) and Humane Society Silicon Valley (HSSV) in the San Francisco Bay Area. TCAS is a municipal shelter in Fremont, and HSSV is recognized as the first model shelter based on guidelines set forth by the ASV. Cynthia earned her BA in Legal Studies from UC Berkeley, went on to work as an ER/trauma RN for a few years, then earned her DVM from the University of Illinois in 2014. After 6 years of working in small animal general practice, she finally had the opportunity to fully dive into the world of shelter medicine. Her professional interests include HQHVSN, surgery of most sorts, and expanding the role of animal shelters within the community. She developed the community cat program at TCAS and hopes to impact similarly needed programs in the future. Her household consists of a woodworking extraordinaire husband, rambunctious toddlers, lookalike Heinz-57 dogs, crazy cats, and a tortoise. She strives to squeeze in running, crafts, piano, kung-fu, and hiking into moments of free time.

Dr. Mary Thury, Maddie's Fellow

Dr. Thury is a 2003 graduate of the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine and joined Minneapolis Animal Care and Control (MACC) in January 2017. Prior to working for the City of Minneapolis, she gained professional experience in various other roles including as a small animal clinical practice associate, as a shelter veterinarian for a local humane society, as faculty for a veterinary technology program, and as a relief veterinarian. At MACC, a moderately-sized municipal shelter with an average annual intake of around 2500, she currently shares responsibility for the medical and surgical care of all sheltered animals with a newly hired second veterinarian. In addition, she performs cruelty investigations and acts as an expert witness in court hearings and is involved in community service by staffing ongoing low-cost vaccination clinics for Minneapolis pets. In her free time, Dr. Thury enjoys reading, going on long weekend hikes with her husband and two teenaged children, watching her kids play sports, and playing soccer.

Dr. Matthew Toscano, Eslinger Fellow

After receiving his undergraduate degree, Dr. Toscano worked as a veterinary assistant for several years. His first job as a kennel cleaner at a shelter in upstate New York is where he realized his passion for shelter medicine. He graduated from Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine and completed his clinical training at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. While at Ross University, he became President of the Association of Shelter Veterinarians student group and headed the animal rescue group on the island. After graduation, Dr. Toscano worked as a shelter veterinarian at the San Francisco SPCA for several years before moving to Los Angeles where he worked as a Community Medicine Veterinarian for the ASPCA. Joining Pasadena Humane in 2018 as the Chief Veterinarian, Dr. Toscano is thrilled to be working in such a progressive animal shelter with deep historical ties to the community and animal welfare.


Fellowship Program Alums

Many fellowship alums continue their participation in fellowship by remaining involved on some level in the Fellowship Program as alums. Many life long relationships form through fellowship, and keeping alums involved in the program allows for mentoring of new fellows along with life-long learning and collaboration between practitioners and academics.

2020/2021 Fellows

Dr. Carissa Jones, Eslinger Fellow

Dr. Carissa Jones is the Shelter Veterinarian at the Downey Animal Care Center. She has been with the County of Los Angeles’ Department of Animal Care and Control in California since 2012, working in Lancaster, Carson and Downey. She holds a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from St. George’s University in Grenada and a Bachelor’s in Biology from University of California, Irvine. Dr. Jones has had training in Disaster Preparedness, Animal Law, Humane Investigation and Leadership. She is also USDA and DEA certified.

Dr Jones is a past president of the SCVMA Shelter Vet Group, and a member of the SCVMA, CVMA and the ASV. She also likes to do relief work on her off-hours. Dr Jones also has a very supportive husband who has been by her side since 2001 and is mother to two young children. In her sparse free time, she enjoys attending concerts, wine tasting, sharing books with her book club and coloring her hair. Dr Jones loves going to work everyday and finds that her career is her passion. She feels that if you can show that you love what you do, that your emotions can be infectious and others will want to follow.

Dr. Eline Britz, Maddie's Fellow

Dr. Britz is a 2010 graduate of the University of California, Davis, and joined Ventura County Animal Services (VCAS) in January 2019. She was born and raised in South Africa, and moved to the United States for college. At VCAS, a large municipal shelter with an average annual intake around 12,000, she is primarily responsible for the medical and surgical care of all sheltered animals. In addition, she performs cruelty investigations, community outreach services and mentors intern veterinarians and students. Leading up to her work at VCAS, Dr. Britz has had broad experience working with multiple species in various settings. She has a special interest in epidemiology, infectious disease, zoonoses and community outreach. She is passionate about improving access to veterinary care for all families in Ventura County, and beyond. In her free time, she spends as much time as possible in the ocean: swimming, surfing, diving, and paddling. In addition, she enjoys hanging out with her family, friends and her pets.

Dr. Jeremy Prupas, Maddie's Fellow

Dr. Jeremy Prupas is the Chief Veterinarian at the City of Los Angeles Department of Animal Services, one of the largest municipal shelters in the nation, taking in over 50,000 animals a year. Dr. Prupas received his bachelor’s degree in Microbiology & Immunology from McGill University in 1990 and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in 1995. Since graduation, Dr. Prupas has worked as an Associate Veterinarian, a private practice owner, and has managed an Associate of Science degree program in Veterinary Technology. He has been with LA City since Sept. 2008, overseeing the medical teams at the 6 City Shelters. Over the past 12 years, Dr. Prupas has helped develop many programs and protocols to create live outcomes for shelter animals. His current passion is to create a Pet Retention Program to help owners keep their pets in their homes.

When he’s not working, Dr. Prupas spends his time with his wife, his two teenage boys, and his two dogs (from the shelter, of course). Being originally from Canada, he also loves to play ice hockey.

Dr. Kelton Ely, Maddie's Fellow

Greetings and Salutations, my name is Kelton Ely. Born and Raised in Mobile, Alabama.  

I am a 2008 vet graduate of Tuskegee UCVM and I’ve practiced shelter medicine since 2012. 

I tend to be drawn to dental and surgical cases in practice, though I’ve seen a bit of everything. 

Singing and Dancing are some of my favorite pastimes, and Vegan Ice Cream is heavily underrated. 2020 has been a challenging year, but I’m grateful to be a part of this year’s UCD/ UW Shelter Fellowship cycle.


Dr. Rachel Barton, Maddie's Fellow

Dr. Rachel Barton graduated from Michigan State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine in 1999. After a 7 year stint as an associate veterinarian in a small animal hospital, she made the leap into the emerging field of shelter medicine by becoming the City of Tallahassee’s first veterinarian at Tallahassee Animal Services in 2006. This career shift to an open-admission municipal shelter allowed her to explore her interests in population medicine while setting new health standards for the homeless animals in the shelter. While immersed in her duties in shelter medicine, she completed a Master of Sciences in Shelter Medicine and a Graduate Certificate in Veterinary Forensic Sciences at the University of Florida. This has allowed her to become involved in the emerging field of veterinary forensic sciences. She works closely with animal control and law enforcement where she assists with investigations of crimes against animals and testifies as an expert witness. In addition to her “day job” with Tallahassee Animal Services, she also serves as adjunct faculty for Florida A&M University’s Veterinary Technician Program and is an instructor for the Florida Animal Control Association.

Dr. Sarah Hicks, Maddie's Fellow

Dr. Sarah Hicks earned a B.S. in Animal Science at Louisiana State University and then went on to complete her DVM at the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine. After graduating in 2013, she split her time between a rural mixed animal private practice and shelter medicine. After realizing her passion for shelter medicine, she joined the team at Companion Animal Alliance, a non-profit, open intake animal shelter serving the East Baton Rouge Parish metropolitan area with an annual intake of approximately 8,000 animals per year. In 2018, she spent 6 months serving as the Interim Executive Director for the shelter, giving her better insight into the “big picture” of shelter management. She became the Medical Director for CAA in 2018 and continues to serve in that position today. 

Dr. Sarah has a particular interest in veterinary equity, HQHVSN, Fear Free training, and teaching shelter medicine and surgery to veterinary students. She is thrilled and grateful to be a part of such a fantastic program with so many wonderful shelter professionals. Outside of work, Dr. Sarah enjoys seeking out new adventures with her husband Tyler, her children Jude, Joni, and baby Jaime, and their dog Libby.

2019/2020 Fellows

Dr. Alicia Fortenberry, Maddie's Fellow

Dr. Alicia Fortenberry is the Medical Director at Southern Pines Animal Shelter in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Southern Pines is a private, non-profit, managed admission shelter with an annual intake of around 7,000 animals per year. Dr. Fortenberry received her bachelor’s degree in Biology from University of California - Santa Barbara in 2008 and her veterinary degree from Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine in 2012. Since graduation, Dr. Fortenberry has worked for Southern Pines Animal Shelter, initially in their Spay & Neuter Clinic, focusing on public and shelter spay and neuter services, then progressing into also providing medical care and humane euthanasia for shelter animals. Over the last 7 years, Dr. Fortenberry has helped develop a robust transport program to create live outcomes for shelter animals and a community wellness program through the organization's Spay & Neuter Clinic in hopes of diverting the intake of local animals at the shelter.

When she's not working, Dr. Fortenberry spends her time with her two children, 9-year old Alec and 2-year old Ian, and her two furry children, dogs Bella and Sally.

Dr. Angelica Dimock, Maddie's Fellow

Dr. Angelica Dimock is the Managing Shelter Veterinarian at the Animal Humane Society (AHS) in the Twin Cities metro area of Minnesota. AHS is one of the country's largest shelters in the country with an annual intake nearing 23,000 animals. Dr. Angelica is a 2007 graduate of Washington State University's College of Veterinary Medicine. She worked in private practice for 10 years but always volunteered or worked part time in shelters in WA and MN. In 2017, Dr. Angelica finally made the plunge and went into full time work at AHS starting as a spay/neuter surgeon in the Veterinary Centers. Also in 2017, she led the disaster relief team to help Houston ASPCA during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Dr. Angelica also is a member of the MN's veterinary legislative committee who oversees which animal related laws are brought to the state leaders, and MN's veterinary disaster response team. She is excited to be a part of the Fellowship to further her sheltering education and to make sure her own shelter continues to be an advocate for animals and for the people who love animals.

In her spare time, she enjoys reading, sewing, and spending time with her dog, Piglet, and cat, Gary. Dr. Angelica also walks half marathons around the country.

Dr. Ashley Rice, Maddie's Fellow

Dr. Ashley Rice is a shelter veterinarian at the Blue Mountain Humane Society, a private, non-profit, open admission shelter with an annual intake of around 3,000 animals/year in Walla Walla, Washington. Dr. Rice’s passion for veterinary medicine began early with shadowing a local ambulatory veterinarian at age 9. She graduated from Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine in 2012. After graduation, Dr. Rice completed a year-long equine internship in Montana, and then moved to the Walla Walla Valley to practice mixed animal practice. After several years, she began volunteering for the local shelter’s feline Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program and absolutely fell in love with shelter medicine. She continued to volunteer, and also took a position as the first shelter veterinarian at the Benton Franklin Humane Society. In 2017, Dr. Rice started as a part-time shelter veterinarian at BMHS, where she continues today. She also does small animal relief work in the Walla Walla Valley. Dr. Rice feels like she has finally found her niche in shelter medicine and is really passionate about soaking up as much shelter medicine knowledge as possible. She is thrilled with the opportunity to be a part of the Fellowship program, and is looking forward to the next year and beyond!

Outside of work, Dr. Rice loves to spend time with her husband, their toddler, and their menagerie of animals. They enjoy riding their horses, working cattle, being outdoors, snow skiing, and travel.

Dr. Beth Keser, Maddie's Fellow

Dr. Beth Keser is the Director of Medical Services at Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League. She started as an associate shelter veterinarian and worked her way up to lead vet and her current position over the past 8 years. She graduated from Tuskegee University School of Veterinary Medicine in 1997. The first part of her career was spent doing animal health sales, and small animal private practice. In my 23 years of practicing I have found shelter medicine to be the most rewarding, unpredictable, tiring and thought provoking gig in my career. I absolutely love my job. I love having a goal to spay and neuter all the animals in our community, servicing the people who need it the most and advocating for those who can’t speak for themselves. I love creating a cultural work environment that is productive and positive in some of the toughest situations. I have enjoyed HQHVSN but now focus on dentals, eye surgeries, amputations and odd ball surgeries. I mentor 3rd and 4th vet students from vet schools all over the world. I lead my team to become the first shelter in South Florida that is AAHA Accredited. I serve on the board on my local vet society. I have a strong work ethic and balance that with a healthy life balance.

I’m a mom first and a veterinarian second. My son is my “why”. He’s my right hand and my motivation. We are active in school sports year round and I’m there for all his activities. I love to lecture at his school amongst others but he gets to brag and I get to embarrass him. I love being a mom 💕. I somehow manage to find “me time” at boot camp and kick boxing. I take relaxing walks with my rescue pug and frenchie. At night my 16 year old cat is my original first born. During this fellowship I’d love to find more was to improve my shelter flow, communication, service to the community.

Dr. Gabrielle Carrière, Maddie's Fellow

Dr. Gabrielle Carrière graduated from the Faculté de médecine vétérinaire de l'Université de Montréal in 2007. After working in private clinics for four years, she had the privilege of joining the team of the Montreal SPCA in 2011. Gabrielle became Head Veterinarian of the SPCA de Montreal in 2012. Dr. Carrière has been an active member of the Board of the provincial shelter veterinarian association, the AVQMR, since 2016.

The Montreal SPCA is an open door animal shelter that works with the city of Montreal and receives around 14 000 animals yearly. The organization has a legal team and deals with cases of animal neglect and animal cruelty. A spay and neuter clinic for people with low income has been operating within the shelter since 2015. The veterinary team at the Montreal SPCA also participates in educating veterinary students and veterinary technician students by receiving several interns yearly. While Dr. Carrière is very proud of the work that is achieved at the shelter, she recognises that a lot more could be done to improve the welfare of the animals and the staff in the shelter as well as the community. She is hoping to gain knowledge and skills that will allow her to make a difference.

Dr. Gina Bowen, Eslinger Fellow

Dr. Gina Bowen was born and raised in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. After completing her International Baccalaureate at Li Po Chun United World College in Hong Kong and her first year of University at McGill University in Quebec, Gina returned to the Western College of Veterinary Medicine and completed her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine in 2005. She stayed at the WCVM for another year to complete a small animal internship. After a brief stint in mixed animal practice. Dr. Bowen completed 10 years of private small animal practice before taking on the position of Director of Veterinary Services at the Winnipeg Humane Society where she currently works. Gina loves to travel to do volunteer veterinary work as well as travel for pleasure.

Dr. Jessica Thiele, Maddie's Fellow

Dr. Jessica Thiele is the Shelter Veterinarian at the Jefferson City Animal Shelter (JCAS) in Jefferson City, MO, a municipal shelter with an annual intake of 2,300. She graduated from the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine in 2012. After spending three years in small animal private practice, she jumped at the opportunity to pursue her long-standing interest in shelter medicine. She is proud to be a part of this amazing field, and is thrilled to join the UW/UCD Shelter Medicine Fellows to learn from some of its leaders. When she’s not working, Dr. Thiele enjoys spending time with her husband, two children (six-year old Alex and two-year old Laura), and four furry rescue kids (cats Rosie, Butterball and Penny, and dog River).

Dr. Lindsay Garner, Maddie's Fellow

Dr. Lindsay Garner attended the University of Illinois where she studied Animal Science and obtained a bachelor’s degree. She continued on to the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine, where she further developed her passion for shelter medicine. She now works as a veterinarian at Chicago Animal Care and Control (CACC) where she is able to share her passion for helping shelter animals and learns something new every day. She is excited to be a part of the Maddie’s UW/UCD Shelter Fellowship program so she can continue to learn from the leaders in the field and help CACC continue to grow and improve. When she is not at work, she enjoys walking her 2 dogs, relaxing with her 3 cats, traveling and hiking with her husband, baking, and reading.

2018/2019 Fellows

Dr. Diana Kuehn, Maddie's Fellow

Dr. Kuehn wanted to be a veterinarian since age 9 and spent hours caring for many puppies and kittens prior to being accepted at University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine. Diana graduated in 1981 and has practiced in a progressive small animal hospital doing small animals and exotics including birds. She has had a continued passion for our profession. Dr. Kuehn’s first introduction to shelter medicine other than as a young person, was helping do surgeries at the local shelter on her days off. Since selling her practice in January, Diana’s position at the Yellowstone Valley Animal Shelter in Billings has continued to evolve. She and another veterinarian are both working part time doing surgery and medicine, but also developing protocols for a variety of medical aspects at the shelter. Diana is excited to join the fellowship group this year and hopes to be able to learn more about enrichment improvement and medical standards of care in shelter medicine with hopes of helping implement and improve the programs that are already in place.

Dr. Jessica Reed, Maddie's Fellow

Dr. Jessica Reed is the Medical Director at Seattle Humane, a private, non-profit, limited admission shelter with an annual intake of around 8000 animals/year in Bellevue, WA. Dr. Reed received her bachelor’s degree in history from New York University. After graduation, she worked as a photo librarian in an historical picture archive, but a pair of sick guinea pigs rekindled her childhood dream of becoming a veterinarian. Soon after, she graduated from Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine where she got hooked on shelter medicine. Lifelong New Yorkers, Dr. Reed and her husband moved West in search of trees and mountains. After a few years in private practice, Dr. Reed landed at Seattle Humane where she feels lucky to have the opportunity to save lives every day. Dr. Reed loves that shelter medicine is predictably unpredictable and spends much of her time trying to streamline and improve processes within the shelter in order to elevate conditions for staff, shelter pets and clients.

When she’s not working Dr. Reed spends her time with her supportive husband Chris (an excellent cook), her pug mix Stanley (the best boy) and her ragdoll mix Benny (a nervous soul who like to sit close).

Dr. Kimberly Wilson, Eslinger Fellow

Dr. Wilson is the shelter veterinarian at Kern County Animal Services (KCAS), an open admission municipal shelter in Bakersfield with an annual intake of approximately 15,000 animals. KCAS is growing and changing daily. One such change, is the growth of the medical department. Previously, the shelter had a single veterinarian and one Registered Veterinary Technician (RVT). Today, Dr. Wilson encourages and inspires a team of 4 RVTs and 4 animal care workers to do the very best for the animals in their care. Dr. Wilson graduated from Oklahoma State University in 2014. From 2014–2016, she was in private mixed and small animal practice in Arkansas before moving to California and starting a career in shelter medicine. In 2016, she accepted a job at the City of Bakersfield Animal Care Center, and immediately fell in love with shelter medicine. In 2017, Dr. Wilson took a position with the county where she continues to work daily towards many life-saving goals. Dr. Wilson is a strong advocate and driving force for Making Kern County No-Kill. As a member of the MKNK coalition steering committee, she regularly advocates for homeless pets in Kern County. Dr. Wilson also enjoys traveling to impoverished areas providing veterinary services and education. Some of her travels have included volunteering in Brazil, Uganda and India. When free time permits, Dr. Wilson enjoys acrylic painting and lounging with her 3 rescued dogs Shelby, Spencer and Charlie.

Dr. Rachel Powell, Maddie's Fellow

Dr. Rachel Powell graduated from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine in 2002. She spent a few years in mixed-animal private practice before joining an equine ambulatory practice. She eventually became a partner in the practice and even built a hospital facility. However, after 15 years and some unexpected life changes, Rachel was ready for something new. She and her husband, Doug, moved from Springfield, Illinois to Roseburg, Oregon with their two dogs and three horses and found a beautiful small farm to call home. She spent a few months working in a mixed animal practice and also started doing surgeries part-time for Saving Grace, a private, open-admissions shelter that also serves as the sole animal shelter for Douglas County. She swiftly realized that she very much enjoys practicing in the shelter environment so when Saving Grace offered her a full time position she jumped at the opportunity. The work is professionally and personally gratifying and she feels like she is making a real difference in her community and in the lives of the people and animals she works with. She has also discovered a passion for T-N-R and Return To Field programs to help control feral cat populations and reduce cat numbers in shelters. In her spare time, Rachel can be found outdoors…running, competing in endurance racing and dressage with her horses, or exploring the beautiful Oregon countryside with Doug.

Dr. Shari O'Neill, Maddie's Fellow

Dr. Shari O'Neill is the Chief Shelter Veterinarian at San Francisco Animal Care and Control, the City's only open-door municipal shelter with an annual intake of 9800. She graduated from Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1999. After many years of small animal private practice in Georgia, Colorado and California, Dr. O'Neill decided to pursue her interest in One Health. She earned her MPH from the University of Iowa in 2011 and was admitted to the ACVPM the same year. Her practicum project involved animal disaster preparedness for the veterinary community. During her project, she worked closely with the staff and administration of SFACC and developed a new awareness and appreciation of shelter medicine. She joined the staff of SFACC in January 2015 and has been pursuing improvements to medical services, policy and procedure, pathway planning, outbreak prevention and management, and animal welfare within the organization ever since.

Dr. O'Neill continues to be involved in animal disaster planning on the local, state and national level. She is the small animal practice representative of the AVMA Committee on Disaster and Emergency Issues and serves on the CVMA's Steering Committee for the CA Veterinary Medical Reserve Corps. She deployed with the CAVMRC in October 2017 to assist those affected by the wildfires.

As every day in the shelter seems to bring new and unique problems and challenges, Dr. O'Neill is thrilled to be a part of the Fellowship Program community and learn from both her colleagues and the academic leaders in the field.

Dr. Vincent Paradis, Maddie's Fellow

Dr. Vincent Paradis works as the Director of Animal Care at Services Animaliers de la Rive-Sud, an open admission shelter with an annual intake of 5000 animals. The philosophy of the shelter is to provide their partner cities with an ethical alternative to managing the challenges of their animal population. Dr. Paradis currently oversees the medical, behavioral and animal caregiver teams.

Dr. Paradis graduated from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Montreal in 2010. He pursued further studies in ecosystem and wildlife health from the University of Illinois and UC Davis, as well as a DESS in environment and sustainable development from the University of Montreal.

Vincent worked in small animal practice for a year and a half, while volunteering for a program offering medical care to the animals of the homeless youth of Montreal. He then became the first employee of a new start-up animal shelter, which replaced a for-profit pound. This became a turning point in his career, learning shelter management and medicine through on the job experience and continuing education. Vincent discovered a field of veterinary medicine where he could combine his interest in animal health and his desire to help the underprivileged.

Vincent is very enthusiastic to begin the fellowship program with the goal of using his newly acquired expertise for the betterment of the local human and animal populations.

Dr. Elizabeth Roberts - 2017/2018 Fellow continuing for second year

Dr. Karen Sheppard - 2017/2018 Fellow continuing for second year

2017/2018 Fellows

Dr. Meg Gordon, Maddie's Fellow

Meg graduated from Michigan State University in 2009, where she had exactly one lecture regarding shelter medicine. From 2009-2013, she was in private small animal practice in Washington state. Then everything changed in June 2013, when she moved to Montana and stumbled into being the shelter vet because the practice she worked for had just acquired the contract with the county to provide medical services at the municipal shelter, Flathead County Animal Shelter.  Best career change ever! Mostly through dumb luck, trial by fire, and really good support from the other shelter staff, Meg is proud to say that in 4 years she and the shelter have been able to grow and improve and learn by leaps and bounds. She is still in private practice 3 days a week, but constantly looks for opportunities to refine her skills as a shelter veterinarian, and provide a comprehensive service to the community by improving outcomes for animals in Flathead County. Her specific interests include bridging between the shelter and private practice, other animal welfare organizations in the area, and educational and governmental groups. 

Dr. Gail Schroder, Maddie's Fellow

Dr. Schroder currently work as the Director of Shelter Medicine at Greenhill Humane Society. She supervises 2 other vets and approximately 50 staff at two shelters (an open admission public facility and a limited admission private shelter, each with an annual intake of approximately 2500/yr.) Her professional career began in research labs, studying toxicology and neurology, prior to attending vet school. She graduated from the Va-Md Regional College of Veterinary Medicine in 2001. After vet school, she worked in a various private practice vet clinics for 8 years, with a focus on behavior medicine, before realizing that her true calling was in shelter medicine. She served as a volunteer shelter vet, and on Greenhill's Board of Directors, for a number of years before being brought on as the shelter’s first full-time vet in 2008, as the shelter moved toward a no-kill goal. It’s important to her to incorporate good disease prevention measures, humane care, and enrichment ideas into the shelter’s care protocols, since these animals spend a significant amount of time within our shelter system. In her spare time, she enjoys running, hiking, and other outdoor activities, and watching movies with a few cats on her lap. 

Dr. Allison Clarke, Maddie's Fellow

Dr. Allison Clarke is a shelter veterinarian at the Arizona Animal Welfare League, a limited admission shelter in Phoenix with an annual intake of around 4000 dogs and cats. AAWL prides itself on its robust outreach program with partner shelters, especially those in rural Arizona, and works closely with HSVMA-RAVS to assist animals from the San Carlos Apache Reservation. Dr. Clarke graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 2016 and completed a shelter medicine internship with the Maddie's Shelter Medicine Program at Cornell in 2017; she has only recently begun her adventure in Arizona. She hopes to focus her fellowship project on decreasing length of stay by pouncing on infectious disease, so that AAWL can keep taking those transfers! 
In her spare time, she enjoys thwarting the nefarious plans of her two cats Punky Brewster and Spot, hiking, yelling loudly while watching Duke basketball, and baking.

Dr. Karen Sheppard, Maddie's Fellow

Karen Hill Sheppard pursued a career in veterinary medicine because of her passion for animals. She is a 1992 graduate of Auburn University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Until she accepted the position as director of Huntsville Animal Services in the fall of 2002, Karen practiced small animal medicine and surgery. Huntsville Animal Services finally achieved a 90% live release rate in 2015. The foundation of the community's success was the creation and funding of a low-income sterilization program in 2008, which lowered shelter intake from 10,000 to 5,000 annually. By adding a community cat diversion program, lowering adoption fees and being transparent, the shelter staff have fully engaged with the community. The goal is to continue to improve in order to save every life. Currently, Karen's family consists of dogs (Rat Dog, Marmot, Bunny and Squirrel), cats, horses and her animal-loving, tolerant husband, Fred.

Dr. Anthea Smith, Maddie's Fellow

Hooked on animal rescue and sheltering from a young age, Anthea grew up always knowing she wanted to be a veterinarian, hanging out at the local animal shelter as soon as she was old enough to volunteer.  As a teenager, she fostered countless numbers of kittens.  She volunteered with a local cat rescue group doing trap-neuter-return years before it became mainstream.  Before veterinary school, she worked in various positions at the Saskatoon SPCA including kennel attendant, and office assistant.  As a first year veterinary student at Western College of Veterinary Medicine, she founded the Animal Welfare Club.    She refused to participate in terminal dog labs during veterinary school and helped come up with suitable humane alternatives.  Shelter medicine was not part of the veterinary curriculum at the time, so in fourth year took advantage of a shelter medicine externship at the Winnipeg Humane Society and was awarded the Association of Shelter Veterinarians scholarship to attend the shelter medicine track at the North American Veterinary Conference. Graduating in 2007, she worked in private practice for a year, volunteering when time at the Edmonton Humane Society.  This turned into a part time position at the shelter, which evolved into a full time career as head shelter veterinarian.  The Edmonton Humane Society has an annual intake of ~9000 animals. A highlight of her career at the Edmonton Humane Society was having the UC Davis shelter medicine team visit and consult on capacity for care in August 2016.  She looks forward to delving into the many aspects of shelter medicine even further as part of the fellowship.  Her special interest is in solving the cat overpopulation problem that plagues Alberta just like many other parts of the world. In her spare time, she enjoys walking her dogs at the off leash area, gardening at a CSA vegetable farm and cooking. She shares her home with her wife, two kids, two dogs and two cats.

Dr. Elizabeth Roberts, Eslinger Fellow

 Elizabeth Roberts is the director of shelter medicine at the SF SPCA, a limited admission shelter with an annual intake of 5500.  She is a 2005 graduate of U.C. Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and in 2006 received a Masters of Public Health degree from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Heath with a concentration in infectious disease.  She has worked in a variety of shelters in Northern California since 2007, and worked as a public heath veterinarian for San Mateo County and as a Cal-EIS fellow for the California Department of Public Health. 
She is incredibly excited to join the Maddie's UW/UCD Shelter Medicine Fellows and learn from the leaders in shelter medicine!

2016/2017 Fellows

Dr. Melissa Resnick- ASPCA Fellow

Dr. Melissa Resnick is a shelter veterinarian at the Animal Care and Control Team of Philadelphia (ACCT Philly) where she also teaches HQHVSN surgery to vet students. Her days fly by in a shelter with an annual intake of well over 20,000 animals. She graduated from the VA-MD College of Veterinary Medicine in 2001 and the University of Texas School of Public Health in 2006. It was during her MPH thesis project involving TX shelter dogs that her interest in shelter medicine was piqued. That inspired her to always volunteer some time to shelters and rescues. But before she found her niche in shelter medicine in 2014, she worked as a veterinarian in various fields including public health and epidemiology, emergency and general practice, and low-cost medicine and surgery. Her varied work experience gives her an appreciation of the interrelatedness of specialties within veterinary medicine and the importance of shelter medicine. She is grateful for the training she receives as a shelter medicine fellow through U. of Wisconsin and UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Programs, and is focusing on managed admission and interventions to pet surrender.

Dr. Ann Enright

After spending nearly twenty years working in Human Resources and Industrial Relations Ann went back to uni to study veterinary science, graduating from Murdoch University in Perth Western Australia in 2008. Since then she has worked in both general practice and animal shelters in the UK and Australia.

Ann was first exposed to shelter medicine during final year rotations in vet school and was hooked on shelter medicine after completing rotations and several placements at a cat shelter with an annual intake of 10,000 cats/kittens.  She co-founded a Special Interest Group which provided information sessions on disease management and behaviour for the smaller rescue groups that ordinarily would not have easy access to such information. Ann completed the Graduate Certificate of Shelter Medicine with the University of Florida in 2015 and is now undertaking the Shelter Medicine Fellowship course with the University of Wisconsin / UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Programme. Her project is focusing on reducing the incidence of upper respiratory infections in shelter cats.

Ann enjoys ‘thinking outside the box’ to find ways of improving the lives of shelter cats and kittens, and then seeing them being adopted is the icing on the cake.  She hopes to be able assist other shelters and rescues make positive changes for the animals in their care.

Dr. Jen Dalmasso

Jen has been a veterinarian for over 20 years, graduating from the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in 1993.  She became interested in shelter medicine when it was just an emerging discipline.  While working part time in both a private practice clinic and a local municipal shelter, she felt the call and took the plunge to practice shelter medicine full time.  Best career decision ever!  Now the first full time shelter veterinarian for the City of Oakland, Jen is tasked with bringing her shelter into the 21st century by implementing new policies and procedures for the animals in her care.  Oakland Animal Services became its own agency just 2 ½ years ago, coming out from under the police department, and the open admission municipal shelter has an annual intake of approximately 6,000 animals serving a diverse city population of 411,000.   She is excited to be a part of the fellowship group this year as she strives to educate the people on pet ownership and improve welfare for the animals in her community.  With the level of knowledge and community expectations on the rise, she is inspired by what people and animals can do and is proud to be a shelter veterinarian.

She shares her life with her husband, her son who is a freshman at UC Davis, her daughter who is a junior in high school but more than willing to hire her mom when she becomes a veterinarian, and 3 shelter dogs – Faris, Cam and a new arrival whose name is yet to be determined.  When she is not out walking the dogs, she can probably be found watching soccer games.  

Dr. Rachelle Saelor- Eslinger Fellow

Dr. Saelor is currently a veterinarian for the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control. She’s been with LA County for 3 years now and has been a part of all the changes County has made including opening a new shelter in Palmdale Ca in July 2016.

When asked about her thoughts in regards to the significance of shelter medicine, here is what she had to say: “With the integrating of medicine into the shelters today, it has been an incredible journey to work in the department thus far. As a veterinarian, we all take the oath to try and make a difference in this profession no matter how small. With every animal that comes through the shelter it has been a great learning experience to be able to interact with animals that are so desperately in need. These animals need love, compassion, extra care, extra sympathy, etc. and it has been a pleasure to be put into a position to provide that for them. I knew that working for the shelter system would be different compared to private practice, but I couldn’t have anticipated the fulfillment I get of doing THIS job.”

Dr. Saelor is a member of the SCVMA, SCFVMA and is a shelter medicine fellow this year for the UW/UCD Shelter Medicine Fellowship 2016-2017.  She is advanced certified in scuba diving, which allows her to enjoy a “different world of animals” under the sea. She has a rambunctious Rottweiler named Kona whom she rescued while being in private practice. She has two kids, a daughter named Adrienne age 3 and a son named Benjamin age 1. Whenever she is able to get these two kids to nap at the same time, she enjoys reading and cooking. But whenever she gets the chance she takes the kids to Disneyland – the “Happiest Place On Earth”. 

Dr. Sarah Frei- Maddie's Fellow

Dr. Sarah Frei is a shelter veterinarian at Kansas City Pet Project. She made the decision to move across the state to join the organization after being inspired by their progressive, life-saving work and stays very busy managing their new veterinary care center. Dr. Frei is a 2008 graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia College of Veterinary Medicine and has had a strong interest in animal sheltering throughout her career; holding positions in both governmental and non-profit animal shelters. In her free time Dr. Frei also enjoys camping, conservation, and wildlife rehabilitation. She is constantly amazed by this exciting and evolving field and is proud to be a part of it.

2015/2016 Fellows

Dr. Libby Gutting- ASPCA Fellow

Dr. Gutting is the Medical Director at Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission (MADACC), attending to approximately 11,000 stray and abandoned animals each year.  Dr. Gutting accepted this position in 2011 and arrived in Milwaukee ready to face the challenges of animal control in a large urban area.  A 2010 graduate of Oklahoma State University Center for Veterinary Health Sciences in Stillwater, Oklahoma, Dr. Gutting was raised in Norman, Oklahoma, where she received her Bachelor’s of Science from the University of Oklahoma.  Post graduation from OSU, she completed a one-year internship in Shelter Surgery and Medicine at Oklahoma State University, in cooperation with City of Tulsa Animal Welfare.  From her high school years, Dr. Gutting has always had an interest in non-profit and shelter work, which grew upon her discovery of the world of Shelter Medicine in vet school.  She is currently completing a year-long fellowship in Shelter Medicine through University of Wisconsin Shelter Medicine Program / UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program with her focus project being on increasing efficiency of cat flow through the shelter.  On her time off, Dr. G shares her home with the best dog ever, Gail, and 4 misfit cats of the orange and black shorthair variety. She enjoys college football (Boomer Sooner!), amateur gardening, and Netflix binge watching, and is a beginner runner and master kitten foster parent. 

Dr. Gutting's fellowship project, "Fast Cats are Happy Cats: Improving Pathway Efficiency for Cats in Shelters" was presented at HSUS Animal Care Expo 2016 and during National Shelter Medicine Rounds.

Dr. Sarah Frei- ASPCA Fellow

Dr. Sarah Frei is a shelter veterinarian at Kansas City Pet Project. She made the decision to move across the state to join the organization after being inspired by their progressive, life-saving work and stays very busy managing their new veterinary care center. Dr. Frei is a 2008 graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia College of Veterinary Medicine and has had a strong interest in animal sheltering throughout her career; holding positions in both governmental and non-profit animal shelters. In her free time Dr. Frei also enjoys camping, conservation, and wildlife rehabilitation. She is constantly amazed by this exciting and evolving field and is proud to be a part of it.

Dr. Frei's fellowship project, "Bring it On: The Gift of Conflict" was presented at HSUS Animal Care Expo 2016 and during National Shelter Medicine Rounds.

Dr. Megan McAndrew- ASPCA Fellow

Dr. McAndrew is currently the Medical Director for the Washington Humane Society, in DC. She’s been with WHS for over 4 years and has seen the shelter make some great improvements during that time, with even greater things in store for the animals and people of the DC community with the merger of WHS with the Washington Animal Rescue League. This exciting merger will allow for a comprehensive set of animal care, protection programs, and resources for all of DC. Dr. McAndrew graduated from North Carolina College of Veterinary Medicine in 2008. Following graduation Dr. McAndrew became the veterinarian for Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation sanctuary in Blanco, Tx. Prior to moving to the DC area, she spent time as a veterinarian for Austin Pets Alive! As well. Having always felt her place was in not for profit medicine, the Fellowship allows for an exciting chance to communicate with and learn from the top veterinarians in the Shelter Medicine Field, while contributing her own experiences and knowledge. This relatively new field of veterinary medicine is rapidly changing, and the Fellowship program allows this team to stay on the forefront. Dr. McAndrew has two dogs, Amy and Goober, and three cats, Connor, Bella, and Lucy, and often has fosters in need of more critical care.

Dr. McAndrew's fellowship project, "To Test or Not to Test: Making Sense of FeLV and FIV Testing" was presented at HSUS Animal Care Expo 2016 and during National Shelter Medicine Rounds.

Dr. Emily Purvis- ASPCA Fellow

Dr. Purvis is a 2015/16 Fellow and so happy that she is!  This year has been transformative, both personally and professionally. She is a 2007 Washington State University grad and followed that with an amazing year at the University of Tennessee as a small animal intern.  Since then she’s worked in private practice and was self-employed as a relief veterinarian for several years. She spends the majority of her time at work, because she loves it!  She started with Auburn Valley Humane Society organization as a founding Board Member and following their opening day January 1, 2013, she took a job as Medical Director.  She’s learned a lot and with the help of the fellowship, has instituted great programs and broken down barriers that have resulted in a length of stay reduction by over half! As they continue to grow and learn, she is so excited for 2016 and the lives they will change, four paws at a time!

Dr. Purvis' fellowship project, "Medical Management Techniques to Save your Sanity and Streamline Your System" was presented at HSUS Animal Care Expo 2016 and during National Shelter Medicine Rounds.

Dr. Hillary Herendeen- HSUS Fellow

Dr. Herendeen graduated from Penn Vet in 2012, and has since worked as a Staff Veterinarian at the Animal Care and Control Team of Philadelphia (ACCT Philly) which turned out to be her dream job! ACCT Philly is a non-profit entity contracting to provide the animal care and control services for Philadelphia. Last year they celebrated a reduced intake from over 32,000 in our inaugural year (2012) to “only” 25,000 in 2015! Hillary has maximized the impact of an extremely limited medical resource team through generation and implementation of medical protocols and timely, informed triage decisions to rapidly identify those patients they can care for and those who need their transfer partners assistance. She has also supported program development for surrender prevention in low income communities, Trap Neuter Return education for staff and the public, as well as Community Cat Programs effect on reducing euthanasia of healthy “stray” cats in the municipal shelter setting. Since becoming a 2015 Shelter Medicine Fellow, Hillary has used this amazing opportunity to work with the ACCT Philly leadership team to design and implement a shelter wide “Humane Housing” initiative including changes in the primary enclosures for cats and dogs housed at ACCT Philly, and opening the hearts and minds of the hard working front line staff to improve the quality of stay for the pets in their care while working to minimize length of stay.

Dr. Herendeen's fellowship project, "The Art of Self Assessment: Doing the Most with the Least in Humane Housing" was presented at HSUS Animal Care Expo 2016 and during National Shelter Medicine Rounds.