On my graduation day from the University of Illinois College of veterinary medicine, what is my goal now? I had met my dream of becoming a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine – but how would I use this degree and expand on this dream. As I picked up my cat Zoey for a hug, I realized I want to own a practice where I can bring together my skills as a doctor to animals based in understanding their needs, and help clients to provide this care at home. Four years later, after practicing in two busy small animal clinics, marrying my husband Tom and realizing my passion for bringing understanding of the animal’s behavior to my clients we moved to Tuscola Il and purchased Okaw Veterinary Clinic.
In my 30 years of owning Okaw Veterinary Clinic, I was able to develop my passion for animal behavior, especially reducing fear and anxiety during care. My clients provided the wonderful opportunity to develop in this knowledge and apply techniques to reduce their pet’s fear and pain. Client’s loved that I was willing to take off my white coat, examine a timid dog outside or a cat wrapped in the owners barn coat. The client’s appreciated that I kept them in the room, to explain what the pet needed and instructed the owner what to do to help their pet while not interfering with my exam. It was here that I developed the Bella Behavior system and grew my educational talks and speaking career.
2018 was a pivotal year as I made the decision to follow my passion to educate vet staff, owners, and other professionals about animal behavior. As a result, I sold the Okaw Veterinary Clinic to Dr Kyla Kuhns, a wonderful DVM. Since then, I have lectured at national conferences, universities and created webinars and other publications for the veterinary, and non veterinary audience. I have met so many great people and collaborated with them to grow this field. I look forward to build these friendships to spread the understanding of the animal’s behavior to our veterinary staff, owners and other professionals.