Category Archives: Employees

Meet Our Veterinarians

 

We here at Winding Hill Veterinary Clinic love our vets. No seriously, we really love our vets. And we know you do as well. So to show our love for these amazing ladies, we thought we would make this month’s blog all about them. Without further ado, here are the wonderful, wild, white-coated women of Winding Hill!

Our medical director, Dr. Patricia Gabig, has been practicing since 1993. She completed her undergraduate in medical technology at Bloomsburg State College and spent 2 years in Italy studying veterinary medicine. She received her veterinary degree from the University of Pennsylvania. It’s thanks to swimming and her overnight weekend shift at the William Pepper Stat Lab that she survived it all! Currently she has two cats, Murfe and Fiona, and likes to relax by reading, biking, swimming, and painting. According to Dr. Gabig, the most unusual pet that she’s gotten to work with was a python with a prolapsed rectum.

vet1

Dr. Anne Barnhart also graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and has been out in the field for 30 years. The thing that kept her sane through vet school was doing obedience and show classes with her Russian Wolfhound. While in school, Dr. Barnhart says that coolest thing she was able to do was to work with the ferrets at Marshal Farms in New York. There she learned about their needs and habits and also how to spay, neuter, and descent them. Currently, she likes to read, knit, travel, and care for her 2 Tunis sheep, 3 Finn sheep, 14 chickens (4 Rhode Island Reds, 5 Easter Eggers, 4 Barred Rocks, and 1 Dominique) 1 rooster, and 2 cats, and take walks with her dog, Barend.

vet3

Dr. Edwards did her undergraduate at West Virginia University and attended veterinary school at THE Ohio State University. While at OSU, she said that one of the coolest things she got to see was the Budweiser Clydesdales, who always stayed overnight at the teaching hospital when they were passing through town. Aside from getting to visit with the amazing Clydesdales, she said that her pets and her husband are what got her through vet school. Currently, she lives in a beautiful farmhouse with her husband, 6 cats, and some soon-to-arrive honeybees. To relax she enjoys gardening, reading, and canning homegrown food.

vet2

Next up is Dr. Catherine Davis, who tells me that she’s been practicing for over 20 years but won’t give us anything more specific in case it dates her. She’s another graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and relied on her friends and pets to get her through. She says that her favorite part of vet school was all of it. Nowadays she spends her time hanging out with family and friends, running, and caring for her pets (2 dogs, 2 cats, 2 kids, and husband!). The most unusual animal that she has gotten to work with was a sugar glider that had to have a tumor removed from it’s eyeball.

Dr. Davis, Harrisburg, Mechanicsburg Area Vet

While born and raised in New Jersey, Dr. Elizabeth Dailey is a PA girl through and through. She did her undergrad at Dickinson College and then moved on to Drexel University to get her masters in Microbiology/Immunology. From there she attended vet school at, you guessed it, the University of Pennsylvania. While there, she was fortunate to have the opportunity to anesthetize a tiger for an ultrasound! These days, though, she can be found reading, skiing, cycling, and walking her dogs. At the moment she has a hound mix, a cat, and fish, but very soon she’ll be welcoming a Doberman puppy into the family.

Dr. Davis, Harrisburg Area Veterinarian

The newest veterinarian to join the Winding Hill family is Dr. Tracy Venier. She graduated Ross University in 2012 and along with her diploma she brought back a coconut retriever named Blackie. You can read the story of their adventures in January’s blog post. Going to school on a tropical island definitely had its advantages (besides the sun, surf, and sand). While on St. Kitts she was able to work with the local green vervet monkeys! While she may not have any monkeys, she currently shares her life with her cat, Mia, and her two horses, Valentino and Pearl Snaps. When not out riding her horses, Dr. Venier enjoys decorating and looking for antiques.

Dr. Venier, Central PA Veterinarian

As varied as our veterinarians are, I think it was interesting that every single one of them knew that they wanted to be a vet since they were young girls. It appears that they were all smitten with the profession from a young age and haven’t ever stopped loving it! Below are two questions that they answered for me and that I thought merited being printed in their own words:

What is your favorite part of being a veterinarian?
Dr. Edwards: The clients – being able to help them understand and care for their pets.
Dr. Gabig: I like to figure out tough cases, but the downside is that you have limited time to do it.
Dr. Barnhart: Seeing the clients and their interactions with their pets, knowing how important the pet connection is to our health. I also enjoy solving mysteries to find an answer if possible for a pet’s illness.
Dr. Davis: The interaction with people and their pets.
Dr. Dailey: The animals, the owners, and the sense of camaraderie with the staff.

What advice would you give to anyone looking to enter the veterinary profession?
Dr. Venier: Be prepared to work hard and to also be in debt.
Dr. Dailey: Do it! Keep at it. Persevere. It’s a great profession.
Dr. Edwards: Get lots of experience before applying so that you are familiar with the field of veterinary medicine and the types of job options – it’s a big financial investment.
Dr. Barnhart: Try to volunteer or work in the area you think you want to enter (zoo medicine, large animal, etc.) because you are going to spend at least 8 years in school after high school and a significant amount of money to pay for your education.
Dr. Gabig: Don’t just think of small animal practice as all you can do. There are many opportunities to do other things regarding research, pharmaceuticals, engineering, food supply, and even being an astronaut.
Dr. Davis: Work at a vet clinic first to see what it’s really like.

Woman’s Best Friend: Dr. Venier & Blackie

 

By Dr. Tracy Venier, DVM

“The journey of life is sweeter when traveled with a dog”
It was during my second semester of Veterinary School when Blackie and I began our wonderful journey together.

Blackie was one of our clinic dogs at Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine. The clinic dogs were instrumental in our training to learn anatomy, practice palpation, as well as practicing anesthesia and several other invaluable skills to further our education. These dogs also provided some stress relief and enrichment for students. In our second semester, students were assigned to walk and take care of the clinic dogs. Blackie was a mostly black with some tan, fuzzy 6 year old “Coconut Retriever.” This is what we fondly called many of the mixed breed island dogs.  It didn’t take me long to realize what a special dog Blackie was, and how lucky I was to find out that Blackie was up for adoption.

Blackie officially came to live with me during my 3rd semester. Together, we spent another 2 years on St. Kitts before embarking on our next journey together. Blackie was my protector, fondly, or not so fondly called “the lion” by many local Kittitians, as he let them know that this was his house and I was his girl. I tried to make Blackie into a beach dog, but soon realized he did not have an affinity for water, sand or the heat despite his Caribbean roots. We had many late nights together spent studying and cramming for exams. He was always there for me. 

Then, came our final semester at Ross. As it was almost a right of passage for Ross students to bring a dog, or two home with them as they departed the island, I was worried about getting Blackie on a plane home so I asked my good friend Danielle if she would fly down, spend a few days and take Blackie back to New York to meet my parents.

That month without Blackie was so lonely! I was so eager to return to him. As our time on the island was finished, Ross students complete their final year of training at a University teaching hospital in the US. I did my clinical training at Purdue University. With an even more rigorous schedule, unfortunately that meant a lot of time home alone for Blackie, but we soon found a horse barn close by to school where I would take lessons. I soon learned that Blackie, who remember was not a beach loving dog, loved being a barn dog and loved horses. Some of my fondest memories are riding around and Blackie would follow behind, always close by to me and the horses. He may have grown up as an “island dog,” but his true calling was as a barn dog. We had the best times at Foxton Farm, that even led to the purchase of my beloved Thoroughbred, Valentino.

As our time in Indiana drew to a close, that meant Vet School was officially completed! Blackie and I yet again set back to the East coast. He was the very best travel companion and he loved riding in the car. Blackie helped me through Vet School, clinical year and what followed as I transitioned into the real world of Veterinary Medicine.

BeFunky Collage

My first year out in practice I was devastated when Blackie was diagnosed with malignant oral melanoma, a very aggressive cancer. How fortunate we were that surgery was very successful and with follow up visits with an Oncologist, Blackie did very well. 

A little over 2 years ago I took a leap of faith and decided to relocate and take a job with Winding Hill Veterinary Clinic. This was not an easy decision as it meant leaving behind family, friends and a place that I had called home for most of my life.  I can honestly say, having Blackie by my side made things much easier, and I also soon learned how wonderful everyone at WHVC would be to not only me but to Blackie also.

Blackie soon became the unofficial Winding Hill mascot as he would take many trips to work with me. He would pick his spot in the Doctors office where he liked to take naps, usually under Dr. Barnhart’s desk. He loved to attend our staff meetings so he could travel around from person to person to beg for pizza, Panera or whatever catered goodies were up for grabs. Blackie also loved coming to the clinic for his weekly therapeutic laser treatments with Nanaette, as she would focus on all of his sore, arthritic spots, and of course, treats were involved. His BFF Brittany also made him his own special platter of treats during his many visits, you can see Blackie was a very food motivated dog but he also loved his interaction with everyone at the clinic as well.

It was this past November that Blackie made his journey to the Rainbow Bridge. While I miss him every single day I am beyond thankful for our 7+ year journey together. My parents would often say how lucky Blackie was to have found me on St. Kitts, but I can honestly say that I was truly the lucky one to have found such a devoted, loyal and loving companion. 

I received so many wonderful messages from people that knew Blackie from our time in St. Kitts to Indiana, New York and beyond. I realized that Blackie touched other people’s lives also. My father, who didn’t grow up with dogs and who was admittedly a little timid of most dogs grew to share such a wonderful bond with Blackie. I’m convinced it was almost impossible to not love him, though I know I’m a little biased. Our journey together was one filled with many adventures, wonderful memories and a whole lot of love. And all of those things I will cherish forever.