Jennifer, Practice ManagerPets: Priya (DSH), Ron (DSH), Hairy (DMH)
I adopted Priya, 11 years old, after she was surrendered to the clinic due to eye issues. She required drops in her eyes for months, and, though not blind, she now has foggy eyes. Priya is known for being grumpy in the hospital, but she is full of sweetness at home.
I adopted Ron, 10 years old, after he was also surrendered to the clinic due to a head injury. He requires constant contact at home; he has to always be touching someone. He is my son’s favorite cat. They have grown up together.
Hairy, 7 years old, was a foster cat that had a broken pelvis and needed space and six weeks of cage rest. My living room had space. My husband gave me the silent treatment for three weeks after bringing him home, but he is now my husband’s favorite cat.
Emily, Veterinary Technician
Pets: Lewis – domestic shorthair, Kiki – domestic shorthair, Lots of fish
Lewis is my childhood cat that joined our family on a whim. My parents and little brother were at the pet store picking up crickets for our pet frogs and he saw a cage with little kittens. One kitten was reaching its little paw as far as it could through the bars to grab at the baby bunnies in the cage next to it. Apparently my parents were being suckers that day and let him bring the cat home. He was a crazy little kitten that had the largest feet – he is polydactyl. Because he was so goofy and crazy we name him Lewis after the character on the Disney TV show Even Stevens. Once I grew up and was ready to move out Lewis came with me. He is such a great tempered cat. He is social with humans of all ages – way to understanding of young children and their grabby hands. He loves the summer time and gets depressed in the winter when it’s cold and dark.
Kiki came to our family while I was volunteering at the animal shelter. I used to volunteer my time at the animal shelter and would occasionally help with their off-site adoption events. Kiki was the ugliest little kitten. Her fur stuck out every which way, she was tiny, and couldn’t sit still long enough for anyone to look or hold her. All she wanted to do was crawl up your body and sit on your shoulder. After spending the day with her I couldn’t stop thinking about her. I convinced my then boyfriend, now husband, that he really needed a cat in his life. Kiki Meow Meow grew into herself and became a beautiful little cat with the softest coat. She is a cuddly little thing that likes to sleep right next to your pillow and never wants to leave your side unless you shake a plastic bag, then she is instantly terrified. Tiny humans also used to terrify her until she realized that they are great for cuddling up next to when they are being gentle.
A couple of years ago I thought a fish tank would be a fun Christmas present for my daughter. We purchased a 30 gallon tank and enjoyed setting up what seemed like an awesome home for a fish. We have a mix of zebra danios, tetras, red platys, a pleco, and my favorite – the shrimp. Those little guys run the tank and are hilarious to watch push the big fish around. They like to grab the fish food or their food pellets and swim around the tank with it in their feet while defending it from the rest of the tank.
Lorrie, Pharmacy Manager
Lorrie has been a veterinary technician at Mt. McKinley Animal Hospital since 2002. In addition to her dog Daisy, she has a small hobby farm where she raises goats, sheep, and a Jersey Cow. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her four Granddaughters and playing on their hobby farm.
Brenna, Veterinary Technician
Pets: Bebop, Yoshi, Altair, Tupalo, Zenith, Wren, Muah, Blue Steel, Elmer, Monterro, Simone, Zoe, Jean-Luc, Firefly, Ghost, Millennium Falcon, Normandy, Nostromo, Red Dwarf, Zoidberg
My husband and I have 20 dogs, 18 of which are Alaskan Husky sled dogs and two that are strictly pet dogs.
Bebop came to us as a young dog from Second Chance League. He is not a very hard worker in the harness, but he does love to run and is an enthusiastic eater!
Yoshi and Altair came to us from the Fairbanks Animal Shelter. Yoshi is one of our main lead dogs and is a remarkably fast learner; she loves to perform tricks for praise and attention. Altair was incredibly shy and there were doubts at the shelter as to his adoptability, but he has proven himself to be a faithful companion and family member.
Tupalo and Zenith came to us from a retiring musher in Chugiak who needed to re-home his dogs. Tupalo used to be one of our main lead dogs but has since retired to the couch. She bays like a beagle in the morning for breakfast, and has free reign of the house and dog yard. Zenith is an exuberant skijor and sled dog; she gives the best “Eskimo kisses.”
Wren came to us as a rescue sled dog from the Galena flood of 2013. She will passionately encourage the team from the swing position in line and considers sleeping on the couch a vital necessity to living. She considers herself to be a princess in the dog yard.
Muah came to us from the Chena Hot Springs dog kennel. He was purportedly bored running the same one mile loop over and over again and needed a change of scenery. Since his adoption, he has always been one of our strongest, most enthusiastic pullers, and he gives the best hugs.
Blue Steel and Elmer came to us from Squid Acres Kennel to enjoy a life of casual, recreational mushing. Blue Steel is one of the most intelligent, well-mannered, and well-behaved dogs in our kennel; she is always a dream to work with. Elmer is a fantastic lead dog who loves to work hard and nuzzle faces.
Monterro and Simone came to us from Wild and Free Kennel as yearlings. They both have the friendliest of personalities, the best attitudes, and they absolutely love belly rubs. Monterro is the tallest dog in our yard by far; when he stands on his back legs, he can look at me eye-to-eye. Simone believes she is never close enough to us physically unless she can literally hold our hand in her mouth.
Zoe is a Basenji mix and came to us from a family in Texas who no longer had time for her. She likes to play hall monitor in the house and tells the other dogs to stop running inside.
Jean-Luc is a West Highland Terrier and believes himself to be our literal baby. He goes everywhere with us. He loves to don his “doggles” and ride along in his Ruffit backpack when we go for bike rides.
Firefly, Ghost, Millennium Falcon, Normandy, Nostromo, Red Dwarf, and Zoidberg make up our first litter of sled dog puppies, born to Blue Steel and Muah. We christened them the “Armada Litter” as an homage to my very first sled dog Bebop whom I named after a fictional spaceship and who first brought the love of huskies into our lives. We have been planning for this litter for a long time, and we are so excited to be able to raise and train a new team from the very start.
Sara – Veterinary Assistant
Pets: Pixie (Dalmation), Bella (Aussie mix), Mishka (Malamute), Cougar (DSH), Sprinkles (Jersey Wooly Rabbit), Navi (Guinea pig)
Mishka is six years old and enjoys Alaska living. Winter is her favorite season; coming from Oklahoma, she looks forward to the snow.
Bella is five years old and was born in my previous clinic. Her mom was an emaciated stray who had puppies during her care with us. Bella is active in competing in agility trials and has earned many titles to include Rally Advanced, Canine Good Citizen, and trick titles. We continue to enjoy achieving more.
Pixie is two years old and loves to be in any activity. Pixie does Conformation Showing and Junior Showmanship, and she has started her performance career in Agility. She will soon be in Rally and Obedience. She, too, has earned her CGC and Trick Title. Pixie also enjoys being involved in 4H and is a frequent flier at the Alaska K9 Center.
Cougar was a stray that chose us as his home after walking through our dog door one evening and never leaving. Sprinkles was adopted from a 4H member who could no longer keep her, and Navi we adopted from the Fairbanks shelter after a visit for a friend turned into an adoption for ourselves.
I moved to Fairbanks in September from Portland Oregon. I love working with animals, I had worked at my previous clinic for over 11 years. My pets are 2 dogs, and pitbull named Carmela and a chihuahua named Chewy as well as a cat named Tulu. I love snow but look forward to doing outdoor activities in the summer.
Sophia – Veterinary Assistant
Pets: Archer (DSH), Katya (DSH), Thor (Am. Bulldog mix), Ellie (sheltie mix), Meeko (ferret), Mira (ferret)
We like to call our little pack “Our Band of Misfits.” Thor is an American Bulldog mix and was my first dog after moving out of my parents’ house. He was diagnosed with hip dysplasia at eight months of age. This was a concern for the rescue that had him, but his goofy, laid-back demeanor was too much for us to resist.
Next was our grey tabby named Archer whom my husband and I found as a cute little four week old ball of fluff. We spent many hours one evening trying to catch him as he darted across a busy road. We were intending to make sure that he was healthy and then we would find him a home later, but that obviously did not follow through as planned.
Ellie came to us with a lot of behavioral issues, but it was nothing a little structure and training wasn’t been able to fix. She was just a stubborn terrier after all.
We got Katya, our second kitty, as a friend for Archer. Finally, our ferrets, Mira and Meeko, came to us from a “swap” page where they needed a good home.
Kirsten – Receptionist
Pets: Meyer – miniature dachshund, Maverick – Mackenzie River husky, Schatzi – German shepard mix, Bumble – Samoyed, Myrtle – red eared slider
Meyer is the first dog I have ever owned and he is 6 years old. He and my dad have a special bond; my dad always tells me he is visiting Meyer and I’m just a bonus!
Myrtle is a red eared slider that I got in Myrtle Beach, SC in 2005, hence her name. I have always been obsessed with turtles and when I saw her on sale at a souvenir shop (I know, I know) I had to have her. Even though I had done my research prior to traveling from the lower 48 to Alaska, we were turned around at the Canadian border. If you are wondering it costs just over $173 to one day air a turtle from the Canadian border. She is worth it and I wouldn’t want her anywhere but with me!
We got Maverick when a friend of mine asked us to take him because he couldn’t keep him anymore. Him and Meyer are best friends.
Schatzi is our only girl and our foster fail! She was surrendered to the animal shelter after breaking her leg at 12 weeks old. We were only suppose to be her foster family but she never left. No matter what and how much she has been through she is such a happy girl.
Bumble came to us at 8 weeks. He is named after the abominable snowman from Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer. He is a Samoyed , that should help explain the name, which is the breed of dog that broke my husband’s fear of dogs when he was younger.
Natalie – Kennel Assistant
Pets: Solo (German Shepherd), Lucy (Labrador Retriever mix), Zeus (Belgium Malinois)
Solo is my two year old shepherd. He is the first dog that is 100% mine. I became responsible for him after he was rejected by his original owner around six months of age, and I cannot imagine my life without him.
Lucy is my little rescue pup who was relinquished to the hospital with a severe bacterial intestinal infection caused by eating voles. No one was really sure what was going to happen with her, but thanks to the care of Dr. Nevill and Dr. Flamme, I got to add a new member to my furry family. Solo and Lucy got along instantly, and they are now inseparable.
Zeus is my 12 week old Belgian Malinois who was supposed to be a puppy that my husband could call his own, but he has turned into quite the mommy’s boy. He is doing Personal as well as Home Protection training, and he is already showing himself to be a very well-rounded, intelligent puppy.
Collin – Kennel Assistant
Pets: Snowball (DLH), Chatter (Shih Tzu)
Snowball is a super fluffy cat. She is my best friend and is very friendly, loyal, and protective. She comforts me when I am hurt and gave me snuggles when my wisdom teeth were pulled. She sleeps with me at night and follows me all over the house (except for the laundry room because of the loud noises).
Chatter is blind and deaf, but is still surprisingly strong. For example, she once fell down a six foot hole and landed on hard floor, but, by some miracle, she was unhurt. Chatter used to love playing with her best friend Peanut, another Shih Tzu who has sadly passed on, but when they were younger, they were inseparable.
Pets: Kiara (Bengal mix), Kovu (Maine Coon mix), Ellie (Tuxedo cutie)
All of my fur babies are under five years of age, but their exact ages are unknown. They each have very unique personalities and stories.
Kiara, my Bengal mix, came from Craigslist. She was tiny the day I first picked her up. She curled up on my shoulder during the drive home, crying the entire way. I discovered she had ear mites and panicked because tiny creepy crawlies terrify me, but despite the infestation, I slept with her that night. I brought a pillow and blanket out to the living room because she was hiding in the TV stand; she crawled right out and curled up on my pillow. We slept like that through the night, and she has been my cuddle buddy ever since. She is my little huntress, with a wild streak that I love.
My second cat, Kovu, is a scaredy cat, easy to spook. He was found in a cardboard box in a Wal-Mart parking lot, so his life before coming to live with me may have contributed to his skittishness. He is very sweet, likes to “wrestle” by attacking my arm and rolling around on his back, and often hides in the kitchen cupboards when people come to visit.
Ellie, my third in the troublesome trio, is basically a dog trapped in a cat’s body. She comes when you call her, loves going for walks, and gives kisses as well as hugs. She was left at my previous job because the family had a pet limit in their apartment and wanted to get a puppy. Her adorable little self had been boarding there for quite some time before I decided to take her home for the weekend so that she could have some time in a home setting. She never went back. She has a lifelong illness that makes her sneeze frequently, but despite getting boogers sprayed in my face and having to wipe snot off the walls of the house, I love her very much.
I never thought I would own any cats, but now here I am, a crazy cat lady. I don’t regret it one bit, and I absolutely adore all three of my fur kids. I am hoping to add a dog to the mix, but I am waiting for the right fit.
Pets: Axel (Border Collie), Coda (German Shorthair Pointer), Maddie (Border Collie mix), Garfield (cat), King Henry (cat)
Axel is my two year old border collie that I rescued when he was six months old. He is one of the sweetest, gentlest, and kindest of dogs that everyone falls in love with right away. Axel LOVES playing fetch more than anything else in the world. He also loves doing agility and runs competitively in agility trials. He enjoys bikejoring, skijoring, dog sledding, and he loves any sort of water activity. Putting his love of water and fetch together, he also competes in dock diving. Axel can fly through the air, doing vaults and spins when catching Frisbees. He lives to play with his Frisbee and is active in Disc Dogs.
Coda is my three year old German Shorthair Pointer. I rescued him from a shelter in Wisconsin where he was dumped for being too crazy and energetic for his owner. Coda is a great hunting dog; he lives for hunting birds. He is very loving and energetic. Coda loves to run and competes in bikejoring and sprint races.
Maddie is my 11 year old border collie/lab mix. I rescued her ten years ago from a shelter in Minnesota where she was also dumped for being too crazy and energetic. Maddie loves to play fetch (squeaky tennis balls are her favorite toy), and she used to compete in agility when she was younger but now only does it for fun. Maddie absolutely loves to run and pull and thinks she should have been born a sled dog. She is a great lead dog, loves bikejoring, skijoring, and dog sledding.
Garfield and King Henry are my two large and fluffy male cats. They grew up as outdoor farm cats in Minnesota until I rescued them several years ago. They are completely in love and inseparable. They love cuddling with each other, people, and their dog friends.
Pets: Kitty, Rylee (Blue Heeler/Aussie mix)
Kitty is my little Prince of Wales Island cat whose life I saved after her litter was going to be put down. My husband and I adopted her, and she lived in a small trailer with us while he was working on the island. She is a very well-traveled cat. She came back to the States with us, and we then drove with her from Southeast Alaska, through Canada, to Fairbanks. She loves to explore and play fetch. When I went to college, she flew up to Russian Mission, Alaska to live with my mother-in-law where she got to run around in the village with all her village friends. After I finished school, we flew her back down and spoiled her to death, and she has since settled down in our little house with all her toys.
Rylee is my little one-eyed blue heeler/aussie mix. She is a big baby and will pout in the corner if you yell at her. My husband found her on a farm while visiting family in Missouri where she was running around and bothering the farm cats. Despite her desire to be friends with everyone and everything, one of the farm cats took a dislike to her and scratched one of her eyes which led to glaucoma and eventually it had to be removed. After her eye healed, she was flown up to Fairbanks to be with us in her new home. She is the happiest one-eyed puppy and gets along well with just one eye (although she occasionally umps into corners). Rylee loves to chase around Kitty and play with her alligator toy. I couldn’t ask for a better family.
Pets: Izzy (Long Haired Dachshund), Zoey (Toy Aussie), Pippin (Boston Terrier), Merry (Boston Terrier)
I got Izzy when I was in junior high, and I have had her for nine years. She has struggled with seizures since she was two. In 2012, she was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, and we went through long treatments and steroids and in 2013, it went into remission. She is currently very healthy aside from putting on a little “winter weight” year round. She loves her squeaky toys.
I’ve known Zoey since she was a puppy, but she was not officially mine until a couple of years ago. She is very affectionate and constantly has to have a paw on you. She is very active for being almost 10 year old. Her favorite word is “treat” and her favorite movie is Zootopia.
Pippin is a two year old Boston. She loves playing Frisbee and swimming in the pool during the summer. She is named after my favorite Lord of the Rings character and her personality matches his’ perfectly. She is my little fool of a Took.
Merry was born into my little pack, the daughter of Pippin. She is the voice of reason and tattles on the others when they are being naughty. She is also named after a Lord of the Rings character. She follows Pippin around and likes to copy everything she does. She loves running around the yard but also loves sitting on the couch.
Pets: Hunter – 13 year old lab mix, Bella and Remmy – 2 year old dachshund/lab mix (sibblings)
We adopted Hunter from the animal shelter when he was 2 years old. He is and has always been the sweetest boy. He loves watching animal TV shows and gets scared when there’s monsters on TV. When he was young he tried to find the dog from the TV, outside in the direction it had appeared to go. Today, he spends a lot of time on the couch until an animal comes on and he goes crazy yelling at the top of his lungs, usually scaring whoever is around.
We decided we wanted another addition to our family and we saw someone advertising dachshund/lab mixes so we went to meet them. There was only 2 left in the litter and I fell in love with these little black pups at first sight. But…I couldn’t imagine separating them. After 2 hours of deliberation I decided sadly to only bring the little girl home as much as it broke my heart. What I didn’t know was that my husband secretly paid for both and had his mom pick up the little boy and follow us home. His mom said he cried the whole was home until she pulled in. I didn’t hear or see him until I was sitting in the living room with Bella (his little sister) and he comes running down the hallway and around the corner at us! Of course I immediately broke into happy tears and couldn’t imagine not having both of them in my life.
Josh – Maintenance
Binx – Clinic Cat
Binx joined the Mt. McKinley family in 2006. He came to the hospital as an injured stray cat. A concerned owner found him roaming around with an injured tail. Dr. DeLeon amputated the damaged portion and he remained at Mt. McKinley until he was healed. During that time no one came to claim him so he took up residence.
Binx spends his days at Mt. McKinley making sure patients are fed; he can be found reaching a paw into a kennel to swipe food or opening bags of food to make sure the product is on point. He also works closely with the front staff and doctors. You can often find him sleeping in their chairs causing them to have to sit on the edge or stand to work.
Antonio – Clinic Cat
Antonio began his life at Mt. McKinley in 2008. The hospital felt a little lonely having just 1 clinic cat so Dr. DeLeon went to the FNSB animal shelter to look for a new addition. Antonio was a young cat, roughly a year old, and was brought in as a stray cat that had been living in a dumpster. The shelter had named him Antonio after Antonio Banderas from the movie Puss In Boots, and the name stuck. Toni looked very similar to an orange cat named Calvin that Dr. DeLeon used to own and she was in love.
Our dearest Toni is a lover of boxes. Any shape and any size box that you have to offer, Antonio will claim as his own. He is also the king of mischief. Toni will climb up any surface to knock down or chew on the plants within the hospital. He learned the hard way that lilies are toxic to cats.