Being a part of the full circle of life - from the first exciting pediatric visit to their last day with us, when memories and happy times are recalled - is a wonderful privilege that we do not take lightly.
Our careers have chosen us, not the other way around. We enjoy the innocence, trust, and love that all animals display, and feel honoured to be given the opportunity to help - even if those we try to help, try to bite us!
Mark Fenger, M.Sc.E.E., MBA
Most people don't know we have a hospital director but this role is actually essential to a smooth long term life for the hospital. This is the person who sets budgets for new equipment purchases and guides us when we start to steer off course. A job that gets very little recognition and yet is a big part of the reason why we can do all the things we can.
In his "other life", Mark is a dielectrical engineer for a multinational corporation headquartered in Milan. He travels the world giving presentations and testing high voltage cables... but his heart is always with the animals.
Alex was born in Alberta and moved to Ontario when she was very young. She started her veterinary hospital career as a receptionist at a clinic in Hamilton. During the six years she worked there she developed her skills in reception, problem solving, and conflict resolution through her daily tasks and by taking continuing education courses. Alex joined us in October of 2011 and is excited to be a part of the evolution of Park. Her goal is to become a Certified Veterinary Practice Manager.
Alex currently lives in Stoney Creek with her significant other, Ryan. Their only children (Bogey and Maggie) have four legs and fur. Bogey arrived at Alex’s previous place of employment with a life-threatening urinary tract blockage. Faced with having to nurse him through the illness and manage his diet carefully for the rest of his life, his owner chose instead to surrender him. Shortly after Alex joined us at Park, a homeless American Bulldog arrived on our doorstep. It was love at first sight and Alex adopted her first dog! Maggie (in photo) has happily settled into her forever home and has become best friends with Bogey. Never forgotten is also Darren, a stray kitten Alex rescued during her time in Hamilton. Unfortunately, despite extensive care, Darren had to be euthanized at only 3 years of age due to megacolon.
VETERINARIAN & HOSPITAL OWNER
Gitte Fenger, DVM
Originally from Denmark, Dr Gitte (pictured here with clinic cat Goldie) moved to Canada with her parents and 2 siblings when she was 8 years old. She was raised on a hobby farm with sheep, chickens, rabbits, guinea pigs, canaries, budgies, cockatiels, hedgehogs, chinchillas, gerbils, dogs and cats.
Dr Gitte graduated from the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph In 2000. She joined Park Animal Hospital in 2005 after spending the first five years of her career at a practice in rural Ontario. In 2010 she and Mark Fenger, bought the practice from its founder, Dr Mirek Hainish, upon his retirement.
Dr Gitte enjoys being a general practitioner and has a special interest in behaviour, nutrition, and breed-specific problems (not the least of which those that affect greyhounds). She loves the opportunity to mentor volunteers as well as high school and college co-op students.
Dr Gitte’s passion for the humane treatment of animals – pets, captive wildlife, and animals used in food production alike – continues outside of working hours. She is an active member of OCAW (Ontario Captive Animal Watch) with whom she is currently working towards ending the use of wild animals in circuses and of marine mammals in theme parks. In 2014 she was proud to be a part of the movement that stopped the Bowmanville Zoo from declawing their lion and tiger cubs, a practice they had undertaken for the previous many decades. In 2015 she was honoured to become a Director with The Paw Project with whom she is working towards ending declawing in North America.
When she is not championing for animals, Dr Gitte quiets her mind with yoga (not often enough), plays hockey (badly), hikes local conservation areas, travels the world and relaxes with her family.
Dr Gitte shares her home with 3 cats (Lenny, Luna & Paddy) and 2 dogs (Loki & Dexter). All of her pets have come to her “second hand”. Lenny was left in a box outside our front door with a note and his favourite toy; Luna was found wandering an industrial area as just a tiny kitten; Paddy was surrendered due to his family being unable to care for him; Loki was running with a pack of dogs in the deserts of Qatar; and Dexter was surrendered by his family due to epilepsy. The vacancy sign has now been taken down!
Rebecca Sterns, DVM
Dr Sterns (pictured here with her very own Sadie) joined Park Animal Hospital in 2015. She is passionate about minimizing the use of antibiotics, helping all dogs and cats achieve their optimal weight, and also loves the challenge of finding solutions for behavioural problems. Before she graduated from OVC she founded the Pet Trust Dog Jog; with us she has been the driving force behind our growing social media exposure. In her spare time (when not at the family cottage), she volunteers with the Toronto Humane Society and has helped with preventive health care for dogs on First Nations Reserves as well. We are so proud that Dr Sterns chose to make Park her professional home!
Samara van der Smissen, DVM
Bio coming soon
Tori joined Park Animal Hospital in July of 2013 after spending one year as a receptionist at an equine hospital, and 3 before that at a practice with 8 doctors for people. Her great passion for animals moved her from the human to the veterinary field, and she has never looked back. Tori loves to be involved in the special bond that people have with their pets.
Tori shares her heart and home with Amos, a busy cat who loves to test her patience… which only makes her love him more! She also shares her heart with her horse Sadie and with Abel, a kitten born at the barn where Sadie lives. Tori also cherishes the memories of the love of her life, Murphy, a 15 year old golden retriever who shocked everyone by living happily with an abdominal tumour for over a year.
Tori received her Bachelor of Fine Arts, majoring in photography, from OCAD University in 2012. When she is not behind the front desk at Park she keeps busy at the barn with Sadie or taking photographs. Many of the photos on our website are taken by her and you can visit http://photodotimages.com/ to see how talented she is outside of Park - and maybe hire her for your own event!
Natalie (pictured here with Rusty Shackleford, an adorable senior she rescued on the job) has been the cheerful, caring voice who answers when you call and greets you when you come in the door since the summer of 2016. In addition to being our Health & Safety officer, she has taken on the role of being personal aid to Captain Peeps as her kidney disease progresses and she needs more and more loving care. Natalie graduated with a 94% average from the veterinary assistant program in Halifax! In her spare time she loves to fish, spend time with family and friends, and is a passionate advocate for banning declawing - and for getting Canada's last captive orca relocated from her current tank to a natural seaside sanctuary.
Jenna joined us in early 2015. It wasn't long before she adopted Smush (in photo), a Persian who was found by one of our clients in her backyard, un-neutered and without a microchip. Jenna also has another cat, Murphy, and 2 rescued dogs (a Yorkshire terrier and a Schnoodle). Jenna has a positive and calming influence on everyone around her, animals and people alike, and has become a very important part of Park life, both at the front of the hospital as well as the back and in exam rooms.
Tamara (Tam) Hlywa, RVT
Tamara graduated from Fairview College in Alberta in 2004 and joined our team in September of 2008. She is a certified laser therapy technician and equine sports massage therapist. She also plans to become certified as an animal rehabilitation therapist.
Tamara enjoys long walks with Maverick (an accident-prone Doberman) and blissful snuggles with Arthur, a Cane Corso she rescued and has spoiled rotten ever since. When Tamara is not at Park, she loves to let loose skeet shooting at the gun range, jet skiing, wakeboarding, or golfing.
Jamie Lam, RVT
Bio coming soon
Madeleine (Maddi) Masters
Madeleine graduated from the veterinary technician program at Georgian College in 2009. Shortly thereafter she took a job at a clinic where she quickly discovered her great passion and skill for pet dentistry. She joined us in July of 2013 and the pets at our clinic have never had brighter smiles! Madeleine thrives on continuing to keep herself and others educated on the most up-to-date procedures and, to that end, she went to Bermuda for 3 months to work with a Board Certified Veterinary Dental Surgeon.
Madeleine shares her home with a variety of dogs and cats and is always ready for the next adventure - and we're glad it’s here at Park!
Alicia’s passion for animals led her to complete a high school co-op program at a veterinary referral clinic. From there she went to work in a pet store until we recruited her in November of 2000, one of the best decisions ever made for Park! Alicia has now worked here longer than anyone else - even her boss!
Alicia (pictured here with our beloved Captain Peeps) shares her life with her daughters Erilynn and Abriel and 3 cats: Cat, Alicia’s ‘soul-kitty’ who was rescued from the pet store where Alicia worked; Fluffy, a handsome but badly injured stray cat Alicia rescued in the winter; and Lucky, Fluffy’s mother who Alicia also rescued. Always in her heart are Bunny (Alicia’s beloved Pekingese dog) and cats Molson, Mookie, Mr George, Owl, and Kitty.
Depending on the season, Alicia enjoys swimming or skating and can often be found with a book in hand. Her favourite author is Stephen King.
Aleksandra (Aleks) Malinowska
Bio coming soon
Bio coming soon
VOLUNTEERS & CO-OP STUDENTS
We strongly believe in getting and giving a good education. To this end, you will often see a student at Park. They may join us in the appointments & in surgery. There is no better way to know if veterinary medicine is an appropriate career choice unless you have experienced life behind the scenes. We require that all volunteers be at least 16 years of age and follow all confidentiality rules that apply to the rest of the team.
This feisty little black kitty arrived in the arms of one of our clients in the fall of 2012. She had been seen living on a street corner for a while and then one day she was gone. The next time our client saw her, Peeps was badly injured. She scooped her up and brought her to us.
Peeps was a mess - she was covered in so many lice and nits that she looked brown instead of black. She could barely walk and had uncontrollable diarrhea. She was skin and bones, had only 1 tooth left and, worst of all, she had sustained a terrible eye injury. We tested her for feline immunodeficiency virus and sure enough this little street cat was positive. We decided we would try to save her and give her a comfortable life with us for whatever time she had left.
You won't see Peeps unless you spend time in the treatment area of our hospital. It is there that she patrols the grounds and catches up on beauty sleep in her many beds and all the sunbeams she can find. She is sometimes mistaken for Goldie until a closer look reveals a missing eye. Unlike Goldie, she is probably the baddest clinic cat ever but that doesn't stop us from loving her dearly or being ever so proud of her. She is a perfect fit for our Park family.
Our Angel, Goldie
Goldie arrived in a cardboard box outside our front door on August 20, 2010 – the day after Gitte & Mark officially took over Park Animal Hospital. She turned out to be the most wonderful “hospital warming” gift ever!
Even though she was emaciated, loaded with fleas, missing most of her fur, had bloody feet, a badly ulcerated upper lip, a growth on her tongue and a hole in the roof of her mouth we could easily see that she had a gentle and trusting soul. There was a note in the box with her explaining that she had been living in the backyard of some people who kindly had fed her but could plainly see this sweet cat was in desperate need of serious medical attention. We searched unsuccessfully for her family, and then adopted her ourselves.
From her first day here, Goldie settled right in to the hospital, and in to our hearts. Indeed she became the heart of our hospital. She made herself at home on the reception desk counter (on a bed next to the catnip jar, of course) from where she could survey all of the comings and goings.
With on-going loving care from all of her Park mommies and medical attention for her food and flea allergies, eosinophilic granuloma complex and chronic kidney disease, Goldie’s health vastly improved. She clearly enjoyed her many roles as omnipotent supervisor, misled mouser, loving lap-warmer (especially at our weekly staff meetings), and all-around-giver-of-comfort at our hospital.
We are heartbroken to announce that Goldie passed away on the evening of Wednesday, September 27, 2017. We surrounded her with love and peace as we said a tearful goodbye to this gentle girl who graced our hospital for 7 wonderful years. We still don't know who left her on our doorstep all those years ago, but we are exceptionally grateful that they did.