Although I had a dog while growing up, my interest in veterinary medicine really blossomed during my work for the United States Department of Agriculture in a research lab. I worked with talented veterinarians who were able to solve very difficult disease problems. I loved the idea of working with pets, where one had to use all their skills to solve difficult diagnostic problems. After becoming board certified in internal medicine, I devoted my career to teaching veterinary students the art and science of veterinary medicine so that they could help pets and thereby enhance the bond between people and their animals.
More than anything else, pet parents want their pets to live long, healthy lives, and I have enjoyed being able to contribute to that goal. Unfortunately, my own dog, a beautiful 14-year-old mixed female golden retriever and Australian shepherd died last year. My wife and I look forward to getting a new puppy at the end of this year.
I grew up in the shadow of my grandparents’ dairy farm, where I spent all my summers. I believe I had a gift for communicating with animals as if they were all my friends! Science was my daily bread. I naturally went on to study biology, specializing in animal physiology, before completing an agronomy course to broaden my knowledge of animal nutrition.
I have been a member of the Ordre des agronomes since 1981. I have two cats that I rescued from a shelter; it helped establish a special bond between us and they have given me a privileged place in their lives! For 37 years now, I have been working in the field of animal nutrition, specifically for cats and dogs, with the aim of creating the best possible foods that pets love.
As long as I can remember, I had always wanted to become a veterinarian. I’ve been surrounded by animals all my life – dogs, cats, rabbits, sheep, goats, horses, etc. After receiving my Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Montreal in 1986, I earned a MSc in reproduction doing research on embryo transfer in goats.
Then, while raising my five wonderful children, I joined the Mira Foundation, who trains and provides working dogs to the blind, disabled and autistic children. I take care of the dogs from birth all the way to the day they are given to their owners. My free time is spent outdoors, running, biking, hiking, cross-country skiing and walking my 12 year old Chocolat Lab Kaya and my little Yorshire “serial biter” Dexter.
I’m thankful for a fulfilling life, great kids I adore and a gratifying job.
I grew up on my family’s horse farm in Missouri, where I was always surrounded by pets. My love of animals was the impetus for my academic training at the University of Missouri, where I earned MSc and PhD degrees in physiology and nutrition. I then completed a postdoctoral fellowship in veterinary biomedical sciences and became board certified with the American College of Animal Nutrition.
I am the proud pet parent of dogs, cats and horses. My most special pet is a dog named Nugget, who I rescued as a puppy and he goes everywhere with me. I have spent my career over the past 20 plus years working to improve the lives and well-being of pets through research, education and creation of food for animals.
Becoming a veterinarian was an early childhood dream. During vet school, my grandfather was diagnosed with diabetes. This spiked my interest in nutrition and its effect on carbohydrate metabolism. Cats are a fascinating species when it comes to nutrient requirements and carbohydrate metabolism. Also, the resemblance between feline diabetes and human type II diabetes mellitus is striking – the focus of my PhD at Ghent University in Belgium.
After this I completed a postdoctoral fellowship and became board certified with the European College of Veterinary and Comparative Nutrition. My cat, Chanel, has been my trusted companion. When my professional career brought me to Canada, she immigrated with me. My professional goal is to improve the nutritional knowledge of veterinary healthcare teams through research, education and clinical service.
Since I was a little girl living in Brazil, I knew that animals and teaching were two great passions of mine. It was a no-brainer for me to answer to the typical question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I never hesitated to say that I wanted to be a professor working with animals. I am not sure if I knew exactly of what my dream entailed, but I can say, now, that it was a long, arduous journey, but so worth it!
After receiving a bachelor’s degree in Animal Sciences, Master’s and doctoral degrees in Animal and Food Sciences, and a postdoctoral training in companion animal and comparative nutrition. I have dedicated my professional life to investigate and understand the interplay between nutrition and food processing on animals’ health, well-being, and quality of life. I have two beautiful 4-legged children, Blue, a domestic shorthair cat, who is actually orange/buff in color, and Tulip, a sassy and energetic Golden Retriever. They are a daily reminder of my passion and dedication to my career.