Our Veterinarians

Family Pet is a group practice, where all of our doctors and staff members work together as a team to provide the best care for you and your pet. In addition, however, we respect and appreciate the importance of your relationship with your primary veterinarian, so never be afraid to ask for the doctor of your choice. If your veterinarian is away, please trust that you will be in good hands until her or his return – All of our doctors are extremely well skilled, compassionate, and helpful. They consult one another on cases daily, and regularly hold comprehensive meetings to share information. Our hospital’s mandatory accurate record keeping ensures that each doctor can read the medical record to understand your pet's special needs as well as your decisions for his or her care.

Meet our Veterinarians:

Dr. Rae Ann Van Pelt
Dr. Jane Lohmar
Dr. Amy Ujiki
Dr. Lynn Lewin
Dr. Barb Gertz
Dr. Ken Goldrick
Dr. Emily Rosenzweig
Dr. Denise Chow
Dr. Kevin Oran
Dr. Marla Minuskin (In memoriam)
 

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Rae Ann Van Pelt, DVM (pictured with Brady)
co-founder of Family Pet Animal Hospital in 1990, graduated with honors from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine in 1987, and is currently advancing her ultrasonography skills. In addition to being a practicing veterinarian at Family Pet, Dr. Rae Ann also serves as the president of Chicago Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Service board of directors.

What made you want to become a vet?
In second grade my teacher asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. When I replied that I wanted to be a veterinarian she told me that I would change my mind. I was a determined child and I took it as a challenge. When I reflect, I am grateful that I love my career so much and did not err out of stubbornness. In school I was drawn to the sciences and medicine was the obvious choice. I prefer veterinary medicine to human medicine because we focus on the well being of the entire patient and not just one organ system.

What has been your most rewarding moment as a veterinarian?
Every time I send a patient home healthy I find my career rewarding. I always call my clients after a serious procedure on their pet, or late at night if there is a turn for the better, or too early in the morning if there is good news, because I find it rewarding to relay my excitement and concern for their pet and to hear the relief or joy in the owner’s voice.
After practicing for 25 years, I find it equally rewarding to help younger veterinarians better understand test results or a disease and to pass on the art and nuances of veterinary medicine I have picked up over the years. You can be well-educated, but it takes time to truly assess a patient and apply the diagnostic results to come to the correct diagnosis. I love when I see it click in a new veterinarian’s mind.

If you weren’t a vet, what would you do?
I am told I should go into interior design, but I know I have my own style and would probably not accommodate to another person’s style. Besides, I get too excited when I see medical shows on television and catch the director’s mistakes or learn about a new procedure or concept in human medicine and try to incorporate it into my veterinary knowledge.

What animal scares you more than any other?
Snakes! I have tried to overcome this by handling them, but I cannot predict their movements or understand how they are able to move without feet. This frightens me.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
Professionally, starting Family Pet Animal Hospital with Dr Marla Minuskin (and now continuing with Dr Jane Lohmar.) Our personalities are so different, but we respect those differences and each other’s medicine. I feel we have created an atmosphere that reflects the best of each of our personalities and drive. As president of the board of Chicago Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Center, I am seeing a long time dream of mine finally come to fruition as we have established and continue to expand this important resource for clients and veterinarians.
Personally, adopting and raising my children with my husband, Bob.

What do you like to do with your spare time?
I am short on spare time between working and my family. I love to be active (tennis, pilates, working out) so it is great when I can exercise with my kids. My 11-year-old daughter and I will sometimes go on a morning run. When she is tired, we walk and talk and I love to hear how grown up she has become. Otherwise, put me on a boat! I love the water – It relaxes me.

What do you see as the greatest danger toward household pets?
There are so many pet experts offering advice on all areas from nutrition to training to health care. I feel the industry needs more accreditation programs so that the average pet owner can knowledgeably select whose advice to follow.

What is the most exotic animal you have treated?
I once treated a pet opossum for kidney failure and a Vietnamese potbelly pig for intestinal upset from an apple pie.

What is your favorite comfort food?
I was recently put on a wheat-reduced diet so my favorites had to change. Dark chocolate covered raisins and milk chocolate strawberries are my new stress relievers.

What is your biggest pet peeve?
Laziness. I cannot understand why some people don’t want to experience more out of life.

Name 5 things people might be surprised to know about you:
1) I’m on a wheat-reduced diet
2) I’m allergic to cats and rabbits
3) I’ve gone skydiving and bungee jumping
4) I can’t whistle
5) My first job was selling shoes at Wiebolt’s


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Jane Lohmar, DVM (pictured with Lily and Penny)
graduated with high honors from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine in 1995, and began practicing here as an associate veterinarian in1997. Dr Jane is one of the pillars of Family Pet’s practice, and we were both proud and grateful to welcome her as a partner in 2011.

What made you want to become a vet?
Being a banker for 11 years just wasn’t cutting it for me. I loved the people I worked with (yes, bankers can be lovable!) but got no charge out of what I was doing. I had done extensive volunteering in the wildlife and zoo fields, and knew that broadly I wanted to work with animals.  A good friend asked me what I would do if there were no obstacles, and “Be a vet” just popped out of my mouth.  (Thank you, Steve!)

How did you find yourself at Family Pet?
I had volunteered at an animal hospital with my friend Darrin, but when he moved to Seattle to become one of the vets at the Woodland Park Zoo, he suggested I call Family Pet.  At the time, it had been opened only a short while, and when I spoke to Marla about volunteering, she answered that she wouldn’t know what to do with a volunteer!  I persisted and later landed a volunteer spot before I went to vet school, then kept coming back during school.  At graduation, Family Pet didn’t have room for another vet, so I worked at another hospital for 2 years until a spot opened up.  (Two VERY LONG years, I might add.)

Did you study anything besides veterinary medicine in school?
I was an economics major in undergrad, and had virtually no science in my background, so I had to go back to school to take biology, chemistry, physics, etc. before I could apply to vet school.

What are the most common questions you answer as a practicing veterinarian?
What is my dog allergic to?
What is the best food to feed my pet?
How long will my pet live?
(All, by the way, virtually unanswerable questions.)

What do you see as the greatest danger toward household pets?
Inattention. By whom? Owners, veterinarians, day care supervisors, dog park visitors, pet sitters We’re all responsible for the safety and health of our companion animals.

What animal scares you more than any other?
Hands down, crocodiles. A number of years ago I was on a research expedition in Brazil, and while paddling a canoe down a river, I was surrounded by stealthy crocs. I froze and it was one of the few times in my life I truly felt panicked.

If you weren’t a vet, what would you do?
I would love to be an editor. I’m not very creative, but I can usually take what someone else has written and make it better. In my fantasy world, though, I would be a Supreme Court Justice, but without the need for congressional approval.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
Making sure that every year is better than the last

What do you like to do in your spare time?
Reading (I’m on my fifth or sixth read of A Son of the Circus right now); gardening, although it always gets the best of me; Pilates (thank you Frog Temple for giving me the only exercise I have ever stuck with); watching HGTV; and making my pets happy, which gives me the most happiness in the world.

What is your favorite vacation spot?
Costa Rica. It’s got everything I love.

What is your favorite comfort food?
Chicken Pot Pies from 404 Wine Bar.

What is your biggest pet peeve?
Drivers who think the yellow light means to speed up. When did they stop teaching that it is illegal to enter an intersection when the light is yellow? That behavior is rude, dangerous and, most of all, arrogant. So I guess that, truthfully, the answer is “arrogance.”

Who are your heroes?
This is the easiest question of all: Jane Goodall.

Name 5 things that people might be surprised to know about you:
Since I wear my heart on my sleeve, I can’t imagine there’s anything that’s not known about me. But here goes:
1) I lived in the jungles of Borneo for 6 months, at an orangutan research facility.
2) OK, that’s all I can think of.

What is your favorite quotation?
“No man made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little”
I have no idea who said that, but it has always resonated with me.


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Amy Ujiki, DVM (pictured with Margot)
graduated from Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine after completing her clinical year at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2006. She joined Family Pet in 1994 as a technician while still in high school, and continued working here during her summer and winter vacations while completing her undergraduate degree in New York. We eagerly welcomed Dr Amy as an associate veterinarian as soon as she graduated from vet school!

What made you want to become a vet?
I couldn’t imagine working without animals in my life and I come from a medical family which made veterinary medicine the perfect career choice for me.

If you weren’t a vet, what would you do?
I would either own my own flower shop or search for a career that would allow me to travel the world.

What animal scares you more than any other?
All insects big or small…even ladybugs!

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment (personal or professional)?
Fulfilling my lifelong dream of becoming a veterinarian and my relationship with my husband who is also a veterinarian.

How did you find yourself at Family Pet?
I started at Family Pet as a high school volunteer and immediately fell in love with the hospital and all of the patients. The people at Family Pet became a second family to me and I feel privileged to be a part of such a special practice.

What do you like to do with your spare time?
I enjoy golf, movies, knitting, cooking, gardening, (and silly reality shows are a guilty pleasure).

What is the most exotic animal you have treated?
I’ve worked on a lynx, capuchin monkey and a camel.

What do you see as the greatest danger toward household pets?
Obesity has become a growing problem in veterinary medicine (no pun intended).

What is your favorite vacation spot?
Anywhere and everywhere…I love to travel. Some favorites include: Sydney, Sienna, Paris, and St. Barths.

What was your minor in college?
Major: Environmental Science. Minor: Religion

What is your favorite comfort food?
Pretty much all food makes me happy.

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Lynn Lewin, VMD (pictured with Philly)
graduated with honors from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in 2009, after her first career as a biomechanical engineer (BS Biological Engineering, Cornell University College of Engineering, 2000.) She completed a veterinary externship at Guide Dogs for the Blind in Northern California, along with extra orthopedic rotations and research in hip dysplasia, prior to also completing a veterinary externship here at Family Pet. When we heard that Dr Lynn was coming back to Chicago after completing school, we sought her out and hired her immediately!

What made you want to become a vet?
I have always wanted to feel passionate about my career. Early on, veterinary medicine held an allure for me, but it wasn’t the academic path I originally chose. After graduating from Cornell University and working as an engineer for five years, I decided to start volunteering at an animal hospital in Princeton, NJ after work. As soon as I started there, I knew it was the perfect fit. Even though most nights I was really tired from a full day at work, I always looked forward to getting to the vet practice, and felt rejuvenated the minute I entered the building. I noticed that especially after my most stressful work days, as soon as I saw my first animal for the evening, I would be immediately soothed. Veterinary medicine is such an amazingly warm field - I love helping not only the animals but, just as importantly, the people who love them.    

How did you find yourself at Family Pet?
My husband is from Chicago and after meeting him during undergrad, I kept him on the east coast for 13 years!  But along the way I made a deal that once I graduated from vet school, we could move back “home” to his favorite city. Since I didn't know the vet practices in the Chicago area, I turned to his friends and family for advice, as I wanted to be affiliated with a practice that has an excellent reputation. Family Pet came up over and over again. I did an “externship” at Family Pet during my final year of vet school for two weeks and immediately fell in love with the vets, the staff, the clients and the patients! I couldn't believe how many hugs were given in the exam room – and how many sloppy kisses were received - and I knew that it would be the perfect place for me. When I got the call from Rae Ann that there was an opportunity opening up, I felt happier than the day that I found out I had been accepted into veterinary school.

Did you study anything besides veterinary medicine in school?
I graduated from Cornell University with a major in biological engineering and a minor in mechanical engineering.  I had a special interest in biomechanics, and conducted research on canine hip dysplasia and on surgical suture materials.  This interest continued on while I was in vet school, and since I loved orthopedics, I took extra clinical rotations in it. 

If you weren’t a veterinarian, what would you do?
Own a winery with my husband.  We've both looked into a program at UC Davis in viticulture & enology.  I've always secretly wanted to be a farmer and adding wine to the mix would be perfect.

What do you see as the greatest danger toward household pets?
Being unwanted is at the top of that list. Although it is improving, too many people still buy a pet impulsively, before thinking everything through. They don’t always understand the extent of the responsibility they will have, and as the adorable puppy or kitten starts to grow, they are ill-prepared for what will be expected of them. The other discouraging situation is that so many people still don't spay or neuter their animals. Pet overpopulation is the saddest part of veterinary medicine. 

What animal scares you more than any other?
Mice - we had them in our kitchen in Philadelphia and every time I would see one I would scream for my husband and jump up on the kitchen chair.  My husband would always respond with..."aren't you a vet?!?!?" 

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
My three children.  I had my daughter Ali during my second year of vet school.  In order to stay with my class, I didn't take any time off. I continued to study, even in the hospital right after I delivered her!  Looking back on it now, I know it was crazy, but having her provided me with such a different perspective while I was in school.  I don't know that I would have made it through without being inspired by her. Our son Kai was born in July 2009, which meant I was pregnant through most of my clinical rotations.  It was tiring, but both of them empower me to feel like I can accomplish anything.  Clearly I'm always looking to challenge myself, so in June of 2012, my third child Joy was born.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
Eat good food, drink good wine and microbrews with my husband.  Play at the park with my kids and snuggle in bed with my dog Philly.  I also enjoy outdoor activities like skiing, hiking and biking.

What is your favorite comfort food?
Cookie Bouquets - there's just something about an inch of colored sugar on top of a sugar cookie that makes me so happy!!!  I also love the darkest chocolate I can find topped with natural peanut butter. 

Name 5 things that people might be surprised to know about you:
1.  I was captain of the ski team in college.
2.  Other than taking home the class bunny occasionally and raising a Seeing Eye Puppy for a year in high school, I
     never had any pets growing up!!
3.  I am a champion thumb-wrestler (although I'm not sure where the talent comes
     from)
4.  I've had four knee surgeries - all from soccer and ski racing injuries
5.  I’m Greek – my maiden name is Aridgides.

What is your favorite quotation?
"Where there is a will, there is a way".  I got this in a fortune cookie when I was deciding on applying to vet school and I have kept it in my wallet since then.  It is very worn, but is still there!!

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Barb Gertz, DVM (pictured with Ellie, 1999-2011)
graduated from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine in 1999, followed by a small animal internship at a private referral practice in Atlanta, GA. Dr. Barb started working for Family Pet as a relief veterinarian in 2005, and in 2010 we were pleased to bring her on board as our full-time Emergency Doctor.

What made you want to become a vet?
Of course I love animals, but what really made me want to become a veterinarian was my first dog “Duffy”. Duffy came to our family as a puppy when I was 2 years old and he was like another sibling to me. When I was 16 he became very ill, and I was devastated. That is when I decided I wanted to become a veterinarian so that I could help his kind in the future.

How did you find yourself at Family Pet?
After my veterinary internship in Atlanta, I moved back home to Chicago where I continued to work in emergency medicine at a 24-hour emergency and referral hospital. I started working as a relief veterinarian at Family Pet in 2005 while continuing to work at another emergency and referral hospital in the northern suburbs. Recently I had been looking for a change of pace in my career, and Family Pet needed an ER doctor, so it seemed like a perfect match.

Have you practiced anywhere besides Family Pet?
I have worked at a few veterinary emergency hospitals in the Chicago area. Most recently I have been a part of a large emergency and referral practice where I still work on occasion. I am fortunate to have been able to work in so many great places and learn from specialists in the field.

What has been your most rewarding moment as a veterinarian?
Being a part of a team of veterinarians working to save a dog who was not expected to survive. Pepper came into the hospital after she had not been feeling well for about 2 days. It turned out that she had eaten a nylon which became stuck in her intestinal tract and caused her intestines to perforate. She was in the hospital for about 4 weeks and underwent 5 surgeries. As time went on and she needed more transfusions and more intense care, people did not expect her to survive. For some reason I felt like she could recover, and I would ignore all of the thoughts of hopelessness. After a very long time in the hospital and an occasional setback, she is back to her normal self. If I had to pick one, Pepper was by far the most medically rewarding patient in my career so far.

If you weren’t a vet, what would you do?
I would still work with animals in some capacity. Maybe I would come up with my own animal career! I’m not sure what it would be, but thank goodness I do not have to do that.

What is your favorite vacation spot?
It is tough to pick one place. I am torn between the mountains and the ocean. Last summer I was in Alaska and I loved it. I just love to travel in general.

What is your favorite comfort food?
I have a weakness for cookies.

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Ken Goldrick, DVM (pictured with Beau)
graduated in 2007 from the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine in Madison. After he spent a day here at FPAH for a working interview and everyone got to talk with him, we knew he was just the doctor Family Pet was looking for! Please join us in enthusiastically welcoming Dr Ken as our newest associate veterinarian.

What made you want to become a vet?
My journey to becoming a veterinarian did not start out like many others. When I was young, my career aspirations did not center on veterinary medicine, but rather on becoming a Hollywood stuntman. While in high school I developed an affinity for the sciences and actually thought about pediatrics – animals and children are very similar – they can’t talk to us, they are under the care of someone else and they vomit/have accidents when they don’t feel well. My love of animals and problem solving really propelled me toward veterinary medicine – I have loved my job every day since! Although some days I do still think about being a stuntman.

Have you practiced anywhere besides Family Pet?
Yes, I worked as a mixed animal veterinarian in Appleton, WI – a wonderful experience in all things four legged and furry!  I have also practiced just outside Chicago in River Forest.

Did you study anything besides veterinary medicine in school?
I double majored in Animal Science and Biological Science during my time as an undergraduate at the University of Vermont.

What are the most common questions you answer as a practicing veterinarian?
How big will my puppy be when he/she grows up?
What kind of pets do you have?
What is the best food to feed?

What do you see as the greatest danger toward household pets?
Obesity – it is so important to keep pets at an ideal weight. 54% of pets in the United States are considered obese – weight control can decrease the risks of metabolic and orthopedic diseases. The other big risk is dental disease – the advancement in veterinary dentistry over the last decade allows for early detection and treatment of many diseases, increasing pets’ quality of life and preventing the development of severe oral disease.

What has been your most rewarding moment as a veterinarian?
One moment does not stand out but one of my favorite things has been being called out to a farm to aid in the delivery of a calf during an abnormal birth. After pulling out a live baby calf and watching the mother lick it clean, I drove home watching the sun rise. 

What animal scares you more than any other?
Snakes.

If you weren’t a vet, what would you do?
Teacher – I love sharing knowledge and presenting it in a fun way!
Engineer – Being presented with a problem and having to seek out a solution is one of the major reasons why I became a veterinarian.  Although not working with animals, problem solving is something I actually enjoy and engineering has always been fascinating to me!

What do you like to do in your spare time?
I am a very active person and love competing in the sport of triathlon. – so in the warmer months that means I can be found running around Chicago, seated on my bike or getting a swim in at a pool or in Lake Michigan.  

What is your favorite vacation spot?
Believe it or not, I have never really taken a vacation.  However if travel is involved, I do love going back home to Vermont whenever possible – chance to see mountains again is always welcome!

What is your favorite comfort food?
The Red Onion sandwich from Red Onion café in Burlington, VT, Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream, Maple syrup, Bagels – quite the combination! 

What is your biggest pet peeve?
Like many other people bad drivers and people who have no regard for animal welfare or the environment.

Who are your heroes?
Without question, my parents – they are still changing my life today.

Name 5 things that people might be surprised to know about you:
1.  I am from Vermont
2.  I compete in triathlons (sprint distance through Ironman)
3.  I have been kicked by cows more times than I have been bitten by dogs or cats.
4.  I own five bicycles
5.  One of my favorite animals is the moose

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Emily Dugas Rosenzweig, DVM (pictured with Bugs)
graduated from the Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine in 2001, and since 2004 had been practicing at a large hospital in Tampa FL until her recent relocation to Chicago, where she is now working on her own as a relief veterinarian. We are fortunate to have her working at Family Pet as our main Emergency Doctor this summer while two of our regular vets are on maternity leave. In addition to her outstanding and thorough clinical skills, Dr Emily’s warm, sparkling, generous demeanor makes her a perfect fit for Family Pet. If your cats or dogs need urgent care here this summer, rest assured they will be in expert hands with Dr Emily!

What made you want to become a vet?
I grew up in a rural area of Louisiana and was surrounded on our property by horses, cattle, cats, dogs, chickens, and roosters wandering about the neighborhood.  I was the kid sitting at the park that the squirrels would wander up to.  I think it was just a part of me from such a young age and it made perfect sense. 

What are the most common questions you answer as a practicing veterinarian? 
What breed do you think he/she is?  How often should I brush my pet’s teeth?  What can I give my pet for itching?  Is my pet overweight?

What do you see as the greatest danger toward household pets?
Objects, food, medications, etc, left out on a counter/table.  We must always “puppy/kitty proof” the house and keep them safe from ingesting things that may harm them.

What animal scares you more than any other?
Snakes… I think it has to do with being in church as a little girl and the snake often being associated with the devil!  It has truly implanted itself deep into my subconscious.

If you weren’t a vet, what would you do?
Yoga instructor.   I would love to become certified someday, however, as I grow older, my body becomes much less capable of those awesome flowing motions and poses.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
Performing the Heimlich on my grandmother who was choking in a restaurant.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
Yoga stretches.  Couch snuggle time with the 4 legged ones.  Grocery shopping with my husband.

What’s your favorite vacation spot?
Thus far, Nova Scotia, especially Cape Breton Island.  Breathtaking.  Will be visiting the Canadian Rockies in Alberta this fall and have a feeling it will be added to the list.  Being I’ve lived in Florida for 11 years, I was very spoiled with beautiful weather and sunshine all around.  Now, I’ve been focused on Canada’s beauty.

What is your favorite comfort food?
Strawberry Oreo ice cream.

What is your biggest pet peeve?
Drivers who text.  Dangerous!

Who are your heroes?
Sookie Stackhouse -  Dealing with vamps, shifters, and werewolves takes talent!

Name 5 things that people might be surprised to know about you:
1.  I’m Cajun. 
2.  I love carbohydrates. 
3.  I am addicted to dark chocolate covered almonds. 
4.  I’ve been kissed by a famous country music singer. 
5.  I worked at a Bee Apiary when in College.

What is your favorite quotation?
"Life itself still remains a very effective therapist." Karen Horney

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Denise Chow, VMD (pictured with Kona and Achilles)
graduated with honors from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in 2011, and had spent the year prior to joining Family Pet Animal Hospital working as an intern in Small Animal Medicine and Surgery at the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

What made you want to become a vet?
My passion for animals and the biological sciences naturally drew me to the field of veterinary medicine.  I love being a veterinarian because every day brings new challenges and the opportunity to make a positive impact in the lives of my furry patients and their dedicated caregivers.

How did you find yourself at Family Pet?
My search for a hospital that is committed to practicing the highest quality medicine and the ongoing education of both its clients and staff members led me to Family Pet.  I am thrilled to be part of such a professional, compassionate team that strives for excellence in all aspects of patient care.

Did you study anything besides veterinary medicine in school?
My classes in photography and journalism were a refreshing change from my biology coursework!

What are the most common questions you answer as a practicing veterinarian?
What should I feed my pet?  Which vaccines are necessary for my pet? 

What do you see as the greatest danger toward household pets?
Inadequate pet-proofing.  Those stray socks, pill bottles, and garbage scraps can be emergency room visits waiting to happen!

What has been your most rewarding moment as a veterinarian?
There have been so many!  At my previous job, a good Samaritan had found a stray pit bull wandering the streets in the middle of the night and brought her to the emergency room for medical treatment.  She was scared, hungry, and had a deep, festering laceration around her neck (presumably from a rope or chain) that had severed both of her jugular veins.  We were fortunate enough to secure funds for her medical treatment through generous donors and hospitalized her for several days.  It was so rewarding to watch her transformation from a fearful and suspicious dog to an incredibly warm and affectionate companion.  She would follow us around and sit calmly for her bandage changes, wagging her tail the entire time.  Her wound started to heal beautifully and we were all so happy when she found a new loving home. 

What animal scares you more than any other?
It would have to be bats.

If you weren’t a vet, what would you do?
One of my favorite hobbies is gardening.  I think it would be fun to work at a plant nursery and watch everything grow!

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
Remodeling our first house (a real fixer-upper) with my husband from top to bottom.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
I enjoy reading novels, browsing antique stores, cooking, growing tomatoes, and doing outdoorsy things with my husband and two dogs. 

What is your favorite vacation spot?
I loved my trip to Barcelona last year.  I have also really enjoyed trekking through the natural beauty of Utah, Sedona AZ, and the Canadian Rockies. 

What is your favorite comfort food?
Ice cream, frozen yogurt, gelato (there is a theme here)

What is your biggest pet peeve?
I don’t have many, but I suppose one of my biggest pet peeves is reckless drivers. I think being focused and respectful on the road is every driver’s responsibility.

Who are your heroes?
This may sound corny, but I would have to say that my heroes are my parents. They came to this country with very little and had to work hard to provide for me and my brothers.  I find their selfless determination and work ethic something to aspire to in my own life.

Name 5 things people might be surprised to know about you:
1)  I worked at an Alzheimer’s Disease research center prior to starting my veterinary career.
2)  I can't seem to part with my childhood stuffed animals.
3)  I have a worm composting bin - Yup, worms eat my garbage!
4)  I can eat A LOT. A man at the next table once came over to shake my hand and congratulate me at an all-you-can-eat buffet. 
5)  I would love to raise backyard chickens some day.

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Kevin Oran, VMD  (pictured with Blizzard)
graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in 2013. He joined Family Pet Animal Hospital as an associate veterinarian after graduating.

What made you want to become a vet?
I have always wanted to be a vet. I know that is a boring and unoriginal answer but it’s the truth. I love working with animals and people and there is no better career than veterinary medicine to do just that.
 
How did you find yourself at Family Pet?
Pure luck!  I was visiting my partner here in Chicago during a summer break when I was fortunate enough to walk by Family Pet Animal Hospital.  I contacted Family Pet to see if they would host me for a two-week rotation for school. They said yes, and I guess the rest is history. I am so happy to be part of this wonderful practice!
 
What animal scares you the most?
Bed bugs… no explanation needed.
 
If you weren’t a vet, what would you do?
I would definitely be a travel expert and writer. I am obsessed with exploring (or fumbling through) new cultures and getting lost in new adventures. I don’t have a ton of writing experience so I would have to work on that part, but I could have my own show like Rick Steves, Samantha Brown, and Anthony Bourdain. Who wouldn’t want to travel the world and do fun things while stuffing one’s face with delicious food?
 
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Exploring a city and eating my way through it! Now that is my idea of a good time. I also love outdoor activities like biking, swimming, volleyball, kayaking, and running.
 
What is your favorite vacation spot?
 I have so many!!! Some of my most memorable vacations include Phuket, Tokyo, Montreal, Ireland, and Paris.  I hope this list continues to grow!
 
Favorite comfort food?
Anything Breakfast! There are never enough breakfasts in a day. 
 
What is your favorite quote?
…“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us” - JRR Tolkein.  This has been my favorite quote since I was little. It has always inspired me to become the person I am today (which, apparently, is a nerd.
 
Name five things that people might be surprised to know about you:
1. I love gardening!
2. I built a computer with my dad when I was three.
3. My Japanese host family married me off in a fashion show… unbeknownst to me. It’s a long story.
4. I am originally from Minnesota! Although, if you have ever had a conversation with me, then you know the topic of MN comes up 100% of the time. :)
5.  One of my favorite things that I own is my record player!
 
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Lauren Dempsey, DVM (pictured with Cat Stevens and Sebastien)
graduated from the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine in May of 2014.  She has worked at small animal private practices since she was 16 years old!  We are very excited to have her join the Family Pet team.  Please join us in welcoming our newest associate veterinarian!

What made you want to become a vet?
I’ve been saying that I wanted to be a veterinarian since I was about 8 years old. I grew up playing “vet” on my stuffed animals and my pets at home and always had a love for science and animals. I started working at a veterinary hospital when I was 16 years old and have never left!
 
How did you find yourself at Family Pet?
I learned about Family Pet from my boyfriend who is also a veterinarian. He completed one of his “externships” during our senior year of veterinary school at Family Pet and absolutely fell in love with the hospital and all the wonderful people who work here. When Family Pet had an opening for a new doctor, I jumped at the chance to work at such a well-respected and fun practice.
 
Did you study anything besides veterinary medicine in school?
I studied zoology in undergrad at Ohio State University (GO BUCKS!) so I have always been studying animals in school!
 
What are the most common questions you answer as a practicing veterinarian?
I think the questions I answer most are often behavior related. A lot of people have questions about why their pets act the way they do and how to go about handling things like their pet’s storm/noise phobias, potty training, obedience training, inappropriate elimination in cats, etc.
 
What animal scares you more than any other?
Snakes! And horses too- they can be pretty scary and unpredictable!  
 
If you weren’t a vet, what would you do?
If I were not a veterinarian, I would be a food critic. I absolutely love eating, cooking, and trying new restaurants so what greater job than to eat for a living?
 
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I absolutely love to travel and to explore new places in Chicago while I am not working at the hospital. I also love to be outside running, reading, or playing tennis or volleyball. 
 
What is your favorite vacation spot?
My favorite vacation spot is hands down the beach. I grew up going every summer to the panhandle of Florida. Nothing better than a book, warm sun, and sea breeze!
 
What is your favorite comfort food?
I am a southern girl so I love southern comfort food. I love really sweet iced tea, fried chicken, mac n’ cheese, collards, biscuits, and the list keeps going! Some good southern cooking can cure any bad day!
 
What is your biggest pet peeve?
My biggest pet peeve is seeing people litter. Nothing gets me going more!
 
Who are your heroes?
My biggest hero is probably my dad. He raised my sister and I on his own for the majority of our childhood. He was always working hard to support our family but managed to be there for every sport game, school play, and bad day. I strive every day in both my work and daily life to emulate his qualities of compassion, hard work, and perseverance.
 
Name 5 things that people might be surprised to know about you:
1. I spent a summer backpacking through South America following the route of “Che” Guevara in the movie/book “The Motorcycle Diaries.”
2. I am addicted to watching the show House Hunters on HGTV. I have watched way too many episodes!
3.  If I had to describe myself as being an “expert” at something (besides veterinary medicine), I would say that I am a cheese expert. I eat it constantly and love trying new varieties!
4. I was a state champion in tennis my freshman and senior years of high school.
5.  I have a cat named “Cat Stevens” after the famous folk singer. 

 

 

Marla Minuskin, DVM (April 17, 1960 - May 3, 2013)

(pictured with Lefty, 1996 - 2010, and Jack)
co-founder of Family Pet Animal Hospital in 1990, graduated from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine in 1985. After taking an extended medical leave from June 2009 – June 2010, Dr Marla made the difficult decision to retire from active veterinary practice to focus on her health. She lost her four-year battle with cancer on May 3, 2013.  She had a profound impact on all those she met with her larger-than-life personality.  We miss her dearly every day.  She will remain in our hearts forever.

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