Our Team

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

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Our Team - Dakota Halliburton, Laura Smith, Katrina Neiderer, Whitney Bowes, Pat Sandford, Melissa Fickling, Melissa Farquhar, Dr. Terra Wakeford, Dr. Kharli Friske, Dr. Mark Gemmill
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OFFICIAL GREETER

Tigger

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.

OUR VETS

Dr. Mark Gemmill, Owner

D.V.M. (1993) Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph
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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, son and daughter. He also enjoys hockey and woodworking in his spare time. He has three cats (Kai, Flotsam, 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
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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 own and show quarter horses.

Dr. Terra Wakeford, Associate

B.Sc. Hons (2007), University of Guelph  
D.V.M (2012), University of Guelph
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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 shares her life with her husband Scott and their baby boy, Maverick, as well as a mixed breed dog named Carter and a cat named Hurley.

Registered Veterinary Technicians

Melissa Fickling

Veterinary Technician Program, Georgian College, 2007
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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 and her partner Kyle share their life with her dog, Theodore (pictured left) and her two cats, Mr. Beau and Tumble, as well as Kyle's cat, Oskar. 

Katrina Niederer

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

Julie Dean

Veterinary Technician Program, St. Lawrence College, 2011
Medical Emergencies Certificate Completion, University of Guelph, Ridgetown
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Julie comes to us with a tremendous amount of experience working in a variety of settings including emergency and general practice with companion animals.  She will be joining us on a part time basis while she continues her work at OVC in the ICU. It will be a pleasure to have her as an addition to our team.

In her free time, Julie enjoys travelling and hiking with "the best dog in the world",  her 6 yr old Rottie named Vinnie. She also enjoys reading a good book, and painting.

Tech Assistants

Dakota Halliburton

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

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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.

 

Emilie Reid

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Emilie has worked previously as both a vet assistant and a kennel attendant. Her love of working with animals started at a young age when she got her first tattoo, which was cat-related. She grew up with a full house of dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, rats and rabbits. She has now added an exotic to her experiences, with her 1 year old pied ball python,  Pici (pronounced Peachy) which she describes as "super cuddly and friendly". She also has a talkative tabby  cat called Ravioli.

In her spare time, she enjoys driving her Subaru to car "meet-ups" and spending time with her family in New Brunswick. She also enjoys horse back riding and going to pet conventions.

Customer Service Representatives

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
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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.

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.

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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.

Practice Manager

Melissa Farquhar

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