My whole life and career, I’ve been passionate about two things. The first is animals. I got my first job in a veterinary clinic when I was 16. From that job—kennel cleaner—I worked my way up to receptionist, veterinary assistant and then—after receiving my Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degrees from the University of California, Davis—a veterinarian. In the 27 years since then, I’ve been privileged to work in four states with thousands of amazing animals and their people from all walks of life.

My second passion is teaching. Teaching is a lot more than just relaying information. It’s about empowering people to make the best choices for their own circumstances. Every day in practice, I helped people make hard, sometimes heart-wrenching decisions about their pets’ lives. I’ve had to make those decisions myself, for my own animals. I’ve learned that every patient and family are unique. That there’s rarely a single “right” answer that fits everyone.

From working one-on-one with clients, I began giving talks to local groups. One presentation, on senior pet care, struck a particularly deep chord with audiences. I started looking at what information is available to owners of senior pets. To my dismay, I found almost nothing. I know from my own experience how surprised most people are to learn that their dog’s or cat’s symptoms aren’t just a result of “getting old.” That there are many things we can do to stave off disease and improve our companions’ comfort and quality of life.

My goal now is to bridge this information gap, and empower animal guardians with the knowledge they need to be their pets’ best advocates.