Dr. Erin Heck, Veterinarian
Hello! Thanks for checking out who I am. I love to share my story and how I came to founding Happy Paws Veterinary Clinic.
I grew up in the agricultural town of Olds, Alberta with three sisters and an older brother. My two amazing parents allowed me to have many opportunities to interact with animals and even have a multitude of pets. This of course brought trips to the local veterinary clinic, which I ended up volunteering at when I was 14. After high school I decided to become an Animal Health Technologist (the equivalent of an animal nurse). I worked in an emergency practice for two years before deciding to go back to school to become a vet. This decision was fuelled by the desire to work more closely with pet guardians, focusing on communication and shared-decision making. After two years of undergraduate studies I got my acceptance phone call to go to the University of Calgary Faculty of Veterinary Medicine! This set me up for the next four years of learning and adventure, leading to graduating with my DVM degree.
My next steps were into a fast-paced emergency and primary care clinic in Calgary. I honed my technical skills and relied heavily on my communication skills to help clients through difficult emergency situations with their pets. I moved next into a mobile practice, travelling to people’s homes and building relationships. It taught me more about what amazing bonds you as a pet parent have with your fur child.
I finally felt ready to create a veterinary clinic that captured the veterinary experience that I felt that I would want for my pets. That was when Happy Paws Veterinary Clinic was created.
I am blessed with two happy, silly, golden retrievers (Sam and Oakley) who have been an inspiration for the veterinarian I want to become. I recently lost my one golden you see in lots of the pictures named Moe to osteosarcoma, a bone cancer. It has opened room for my new puppy Sam (more pictures coming soon). My animals have comforted me in difficult times and taught me new things about living for the moment. I also have a cat named Dizzy, adopted from the Calgary Humane Society, and I love her quirks. I have an amazing human in my life, too, who you may see around the clinic (Jeff’s bio below). His support has been unmeasurable as I have pursued my dreams. This clinic is the peak of that pursuit.
My passion is making a stress-free experience at the vet clinic for both you and your pet. As your veterinarian you can expect an open, judgement free zone where you can ask all the questions you want. I believe in offering you options and choice in care as nobody knows your pet better than you do.
It is always an honour when someone selects me to be their veterinarian. I hope to meet you soon!
Dr. Jeff Weissmann, Veterinarian
I am the second full-time Veterinarian (and second Jeff) here at Happy Paws. I was born and raised here in Calgary, and ever since I can remember, I’ve been interested in Science and Medicine. Growing up, I was always around animals and had numerous pets of my own, naturally developing my love for animals. I became interested in veterinary medicine after graduating high school, where I began volunteering at various veterinary practices. I quickly grew to love everything veterinary, and decided to pursue it as my career.
After a 4 year undergraduate degree at the University of Calgary, and a couple of years of work experience, I was ecstatic to have gained my acceptance to the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the UofC. After another 4 years of education (with some amazing experiences and a little bit of hard work mixed in), I graduated from the UofC for the second time with my DVM degree.
After graduation, I worked for 2 years at a small animal practice in Chestermere developing my skills as a veterinarian, learning as much as I could, and working to forge meaningful and trusting relationships with my clients. I truly believe that veterinary medicine is not simply about doing what’s best for your pet, but is about doing what’s best for the families that support and love their furry family members.
I have a few special areas of interest within the veterinary world – Dermatology, Cardiology, and General Surgery – and I strive to make each veterinary visit as open and stress-free as possible for both you and your pet. I believe in offering and discussing all available options for the care of your pet, and coming to a decision that keeps both you and your pet’s best interests in mind.
I am extremely lucky to be supported in my life by my wonderful fiancée, and I love coming home every day to my goofy and sweet tripod (three-legged) cat named Waffle, who may be the cuddliest cat on earth. I plan in the near future to add a Golden Retriever of my own to my growing family.
I look forward to meeting you and your family members very soon!
Justine White, Your Animal Loving Nurse!
Greetings fellow animal lovers!
I am sure you are wondering what kind of person is going to be looking after your pet during their stay at Happy Paws Vet Clinic. My role is similar to a nurse’s as I look out for the well-being of your animal, perform diagnostic tests and assist the veterinarian especially during surgical procedures.
So let me share with you my adventures and experiences that helped shape me into the Animal Heath Technologist (AHT) that I am today.
I grew up in a small town in rural Nova Scotia by two incredible parents who taught me strong family values and gave me the privilege of taking care of my own animals as a child. At an early age I was so passionate for all animals that it was clear I was meant to be in the veterinary field. I was fortunate enough to be able to take the Animal Health Technology course at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College where I graduated in 2007. I decided I would embrace the beginning of my young adulthood so I moved from one coast to another to Victoria, BC where I worked in a 24-hour emergency clinic.
I then made a transition to the town of Fort McMurray where I was able work for two great veterinary clinics. I was then drawn back to the east coast and worked in Prince Edward Island. From here my gypsy soul got the best of me and I decided to take three months to backpack through Australia all on my own. That was the experience of a lifetime. If you cannot tell already I enjoy traveling and the life lessons it brings. After Australia and its beautiful beaches I moved to the polar opposite on the weather scale, the Northwest Territories (above the Arctic Circle!) in a small town called Inuvik. Unfortunately, there was not a full time vet there so I worked a few random jobs and helped volunteer at a non-profit organization that fundraised to bring a veterinary team up a few times a year to put on spay/neuter clinics.
I realized after a couple of years that I belonged back in a veterinary clinic which initiated my move to Calgary where I have finally made some roots for the past two and half years in this wonderful city.
I have been fortunate enough to know Dr. Erin Heck since the beginning of my move here and was delighted to join her team upon the opening of Happy Paws!
So please come by and share your and your pet’s story with us :)
Abbie Burns, Your go to for Everything!
My name is Abbie and I am the newest member of the Happy Paws Team! My title is Vet Assistant but I am more like everyone’s assistant. I help out wherever I am needed, my favourite part being when I get to help you and your furry friends.
Originally I am from a little town in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. I travelled all the way out to the wild west to try my luck in the big city. I started out working at Tim Hortons and decided I needed to pursue a career with purpose. I have always loved animals and knew a career with them would be perfect. I never realized how many options there were in this field there really were until I started looking through school websites. I found Veterinary Medical Assistant and figured, what harm is there in applying? I then got accepted! It changed my life. I met so many great people and actually loved going to school. I graduated from my program and started searching for a job. A couple months later I got a call from Dr. Erin that changed my life again. I had my interview and was hired on with some of the most amazing ladies.
I can’t tell you how happy it makes me coming into work every morning. The staff here are incredible and the patients make my day. The second best part of moving away for me is the mountains. That is where you will find me in my spare time. Nothing is more therapeutic for me than driving an old dirt road down the backside of a mountain.
Moving away was exactly the jump start I needed in my life, I am so happy to work with the people (and fur babies) that I do.
Jeff Boucher, Administration Extraordinaire!
Hello, you may see me around the clinic from time to time. My role is behind the scenes administration, such as payroll, invoicing and management. You will see me helping out up front when needed and potentially loving, petting and snuggling your pets. I worked at Scotiabank for seven years predominantly as a Small Business Advisor. My background in business banking helped transform this clinic from an idea to a reality. I personally have never worked in a vet clinic but I have been with Dr. Erin for over 10 years. By sheer association I have lived through the joys and tears of what a vet goes through every day. I am excited to work in this new environment because I am the definition of an animal lover.
When I met Erin she introduced me to the joy animals can bring. The day we got our first golden retriever Oakley, I fell in love with that little ball of orange fur from the first day. He is my best pal and companion and I could not imagine my life without animals. This relationship allowed me to truly understand how important your animal is to you. I appreciate everyone that trusts their family member in our care and believe me we do not take that trust lightly. I have the passion for caring for your pets like I would want someone to care for my Oakley. There is no one I would rather start this journey with than my spouse and best friend Dr. Erin.
Michelle Allen, Your Client-Patient Liaison!
Hello, pet parents and fur friends! My name is Michelle; I am one of the Client Care coordinators at the wonderful Happy Paws Veterinary Clinic. I got my start in the animal world with all of the many animals my family would own during my childhood. I have been working in the animal world since I was 16 years old, with my first job as a Dog Trainer for PetSmart. I found out I loved animals and wanted to make a difference for those who couldn’t speak for themselves, thus I worked my way into veterinary medicine.
Since moving back to Calgary I have been working in animal medicine, doing everything from kennel tech and receptionist to veterinary assistant, and now as a client care coordinator. My passion and love for animals extends beyond my work in the clinic, by taking care of my three cats and one dog, as well as many others that come through my home. I have a strong love for animals and have had several in my home for as long as my memory extends. I am so blessed to be apart of the amazing culture that is Happy Paws, and to make each and every experience as awesome as possible. I love to see your little fur friends and shower them with affection, so please bring them by for a cookie and some lovin’!
Tegan Broadhurts, Your Amazing Assistant!
Hi! My name is Tegan and I am one of the newer faces you’ll see around Happy Paws! I am usually assisting the doctors and technicians in the back, but you’ll often see me up in reception spoiling your animals with treats and cuddles.
I’ve called Calgary home my whole life, but after high school I wanted to go exploring. After high school I packed my whole life into a backpack and spent the best year of my life in New Zealand. I spent most of that time living in my van, exploring the country, and falling in love with all the wildlife there. It was on this trip that I discovered that you could actually make a career out of being an animal nurse! I have loved animals my whole life and I couldn’t believe it never occurred to me that this could be a career. About a week after I got home from New Zealand, I started applying to schools. I was accepted to the VHA program in Kelowna, BC and quickly made my move to start on this wonderful career path.
After graduating, I started working at an emergency veterinary hospital in Calgary. I have worked as a receptionist, veterinary assistant, and surgical assistant for the last 5 years. I am so grateful for all I have learned, and I love all the experiences I’ve had in this industry. It can be hard sometimes but it really is the greatest job ever.
One of the greatest “perks” of the job has definitely been my dog, a blue heeler named Finley. She came to my clinic as an injured stray dog. She was so shy and unsure of people, but every day when I’d walk into ICU, she would hear my voice and be waiting at the front of her kennel for me. It’s true when they say your dog chooses you- I really had no choice in the matter- her mind was made up that I would be her person. We amputated her injured leg and I took her home the next day
I am so excited to be on the Happy Paws team. This environment is so positive and supportive, and that energy definitely extends to our clients and their pets. I can’t wait to meet you (and your fuzzy family members) next time you come by the clinic!