Our Team

Let us make your experience at Cornell exceptional from start to finish!

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Our Team - Mary Hetherington, Dakota Halliburton, Brenda Jennex, Katrina Neiderer, Whitney Bowes, Pat Sandford, Melissa Fickling, Dr. Terra Wakeford, Dr. Kharli Friske, Dr. Mark Gemmill, Melissa Farquhar



As our official "Greeter", Tigger comes highly qualifed for the position with excellent animal communication skills.  He serves as our in-clinic staff therapist and will provide high-fives on request. He is also highly skilled as a reception seat warmer and a paper weight. He is a professional napper and has shown extreme prowess at riding the dolly.

In his spare time, Tigger enjoys stealing food, chasing treaties, purring, catnip, bird watching, and providing moral support to those around him. His favourite movie is Narnia.


Dr. Mark Gemmill, Owner

D.V.M. (1993) Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph

Dr. Gemmill initially began a career as a dairy farmer on his family farm after graduating from agriculture college in 1984. Three years later, he decided that he needed to explore other options so he returned to the University of Guelph and graduated from the Ontario Veterinary College in 1993. Dr. Gemmill became a partner at the Cornell Animal Hospital in 2000 and has continued as the sole owner since Dr. Cornell’s retirement in 2005. Dr. Gemmill was president of the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association (OVMA) in 2015 and currently serves on committees in an advisory capacity.
Dr. Gemmill enjoys sharing his passions for windsurfing, cycling and skiing with his wife and son and daughter. He also enjoys hockey and woodworking in his spare time. He has four cats (Kai, Flotsam, Herman andTiger) as well as a yellow lab named "Ryder".

Dr. Kharli Friske, Associate

B.Sc. (1999) M.Sc. (2001), University of Guelph
D.V.M. (2004) Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph

Dr. Kharli Friske is a graduate of the Ontario Veterinary College and joined the Cornell Animal Hospital in 2006.  She also brings a Masters degree in Animal Nutrition from the University of Guelph to the team.  She and her husband reside with a black lab, and own and show quarter horses.

Dr. Terra Wakeford, Associate

B.Sc. Hons (2007), University of Guelph  
D.V.M (2012), University of Guelph

We are very pleased to have Terra back at CAH again! Terra previously worked at the clinic while completing her undergraduate and D.V.M degrees, from 2004-2010. After completion of her D.V.M. degree she started work as a general practitioner in the Cambridge area prior to re-joining the Cornell Animal Hospital team.

In her free time, she enjoys hockey, dance, golf, travelling and spending time at the cottage. She and her husband, Scott, have a mixed breed dog named Carter and a cat named Hurley. Terra recently gave birth to a beautiful baby boy and is enjoying time at home with him.

Dr. Shari Wiseman, Locum

B.Sc., Queens University   
D.V.M (2000), University of Guelph

Born and raised in Burlington, Ontario, Dr. Shari Wiseman decided to become a veterinarian because she loves how the profession combines her passion for animals with her desire to work with people. She enjoys the variety of a busy general practice and has a particular interest in feline internal medicine.

Dr. Shari completed her undergraduate degree at Queen's University and graduated from the University of Guelph's Ontario Veterinary College in 2000. She is now working as a locum at Cornell.

When she's not at the hospital, Dr. Shari has a bustling home life with her husband Dave, their three young children (Megan, Benjamin and Natalie), and Cedar, their yellow lab cross. She enjoys spending time outdoors with the kids, hiking, skiing, camping, canoeing, and going to the cottage. In her "spare time", she plays the piano and is an avid reader.

Registered Veterinary Technicians

Melissa Fickling

Veterinary Technician Program, Georgian College, 2007

Mel has worked at a variety of vet clinics in the Waterloo area for many years before coming to Cornell. She brings with her many skills and experience as an RVT. As a spokesperson for the RVT profession, she volunteers as a public speaker with the Better Business Bureau. Mel shares her life with her dog, Theodore (pictured left) and her two cats, Mr. Beau and Tumble. 

Katrina Niederer

Veterinary Technician Program, Ridgetown College, 2013
Externship in the ICU at OVC Small Animal Clinic

Katrina joins us with a wealth of experience working with animals, first as a volunteer at the humane society, then as a Kennel Assistant and Tech Assistant, and finally as a Registered Veterinary Technician. She enjoys spending time with her spouse, her Coton de Tulear named Shasta (pictured), and her four cats - Thelma, Earl, Kevin, and Neil Patrick Harris. Also, she gives a special mention to her recently passed and long time best friend, Rocky, a bichon frise. Katrina enjoys travelling, nature, and arts & crafts. She is also interested in expanding her knowledge of animal rights.

Tech Assistants

Dakota Halliburton

Vet Tech Program, Northern College 2013 Certified Equine Massage Therapist Certified in Equine Vertebral Realignment

Dakota brings a wealth of experience working with both horses and small animals. She has ridden horses since she was 5 years old, is a qualified Equine Massage Therapist, and is certified in Equine Vertebral Realignment. She has taught riding and helped organize shows at an equestrian centre and then went on to work at an equine hospital as a vet technician.  

 Dakota completed the veterinary technician program at Northern College and now at Cornell she has turned her hand to working with small animals as a tech assistant and also on the front desk as receptionist.

She is passionate about being active, works out at the gym, and loves to ski. She is the proud mama of two happy kitties, Kuzco and Kronk, whose names are inspired by the Disney movie, ‘The Emperor’s New Groove.’ 

Laura Smith


Laura graduated from the Vet Assistant Program at Algonquin College in  2012 and has been working in the industry since then. Her clinical experiences are varied and include regular,  emergency and oncology clinics. In her spare time Laura enjoys all aspects of hockey; she plays in a league, watches her niece and nephew play, and cheers on the Leafs and Penguins. In the summer she plays softball. She also spends time visiting family and friends in her hometown of Lucan.  Her furry friends include three black cats: Toes, Hudson and Killer.


Shannon O'Donnell


Customer Service Representatives

Lindsay Gilmore

Lindsay brings to the clinic over 10 years experience in the customer service industry, during which time she ran her own mobile aesthetics business and subsequently a residential cleaning service. She has a great love of pets, having two 6-yr-old cats of her own -Toby and Lola. Toby is an orange long haired rescue kitty‎...a big baby!  He loves cuddling, sitting in the windows looking at birds, playing with his sister,  and eating yogurt as his treat. 
Lola is a dilute calico, also a rescue kitty. She is an old soul, very friendly and social, loves playing with her brother, and eating watermelon for her treat. 

As a new mother to a beautiful baby boy, Noah,  and a two-year-old daughter,  Ella, Lindsay has little spare time! However, when she does, she enjoys yoga, gardening, cooking, ultimate Frisbee, volleyball and mountain biking with her husband. 

Pat Sandford

Hotel & Catering Course, North Gloucestershire College, England. 

Yoga Teacher Training, Maureen Rae’s Yoga Studio, Etobicoke. 

Reiki, Reflexology, Animal Communication courses. 

Adult Learning Course Teaching Certificate, Durham College.


Pat grew up in England where she loved to escape to the rolling hills, the moorland, or cliff paths beside the sea. Her favourite nature adventures invariably involved horses, cows, sheep, dogs and cats. 
Years later in Canada, when her son went into grade one in 1989, Pat realized her dream of working in a veterinary hospital. She has been working in the veterinary profession ever since. Along the way she has cleaned kennels & floors, groomed dogs & cats, assisted in surgery, at the front desk and every other corner of the hospital! The part of working as a veterinary receptionist Pat enjoys most is being part of the beautiful relationship between pets and their people. 
Pat has worked at several veterinary hospitals in Mississauga, including Park Animal Hospital where she worked as a receptionist for over 18 years.  
When not behind the reception desk, Pat can be found in yoga studios (practising on her mat or singing), hiking in the woods with her camera, writing creatively and cuddling with her delightful kitty companions, Shanti and Penny.

Whitney Bowes

Sheridan College - Bachelor of Arts and Science 
Certification in Emergency Canine CPR & First Aid 
Certified Yoga Teacher RYT 200 - The Institute of Classical Yoga & Therapy

Whitney has worked in several animal hospitals over the years. She has volunteered her time fostering cats and kittens, and even rehabilitated a few baby squirrels.

When she is not cuddling one of her dogs, Karma or Gabriel, or any one of the three cats she shares her life with - Eddie Spaghetti, Mimaw and Noelle -Whitney enjoys practicing yoga, running, reading, and cooking delicious vegan food.

Practice Manager

Melissa Farquhar

B.Sc. (Agr) University of Guelph 1985
PhD. Botany, University of Guelph 1990

As the Practice Manager for the clinic, Melissa brings her knowledge and experience in website and graphic design to the clinic, as well as a thorough understanding of veterinary practice management and daily operations. Normally she works behind the scenes but occasionally she can be found at the front desk, helping out the reception staff.

When she's not at the clinic, she enjoys travelling, and a variety of sports including running, biking, windsurfing and skiing. She also plays the piano in her spare time, as well as gardens. She shares her life with Mark and their son and daughter - Declan and Bronwyn - and of course numerous cats (Flotsam, Kai, Herman and Tiger) as well as their yellow lab, Ryder.