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. Stacy Radics, Veterinarian
I’m the newest doc here at Happy Paws. How did I come to be at this wonderful little practice? Well, I grew up not too far north of Airdrie in Red Deer (won’t worry, I’m not an Oilers fan!). My family always had dogs growing up and my first volunteer experiences were in veterinary clinics. I continued to work in clinics through high school and balanced competitive hockey at the time as well. When the time came to hang up my skates, I ended up in Edmonton (still not an Oilers fan!). I earned a degree in Psychology from the University of Alberta then, as fate would have it, I returned to Red Deer to work full-time in a veterinary clinic. Here, I decided that I wanted to practice medicine and be a part of the special bond that forms between veterinarians, their patients, and pet parents. I returned to school in hopes of being accepted to UCVM after getting my pre-requisite courses. During this time, I worked in a swine barn (this will become important later).
Like Dr. Erin and Dr. Jeff, I received the same exciting acceptance call for UCVM one sunny summer morning; I spent the next 4 years trying to embrace my inner sponge!
After graduating with a DVM, the mountains called. I was at a busy mixed practice in the Kootenays before returning to Alberta for a stint in production animal medicine in swine practice (pigs are wonderful!). I left because I missed patients and their people. I was in canine-only practice until I saw that Dr. Erin was looking to add to the team here at Happy Paws. I love the clinic culture and focus on communication, relationship-building, and shared decision making. I’m so excited to be a part of this group and to meet the pet parents and fur kids that we are lucky enough to work with each day!
My interests in practice are preventive medicine, dentistry, and dermatology. If I’m not around the clinic, you might find me mountain biking with my Lab X, Griffin, or cuddling with my considerably lazier Staffy, Sprocket.
I promise to do my very best for your pets and your family each visit. I’m looking forward to meeting you 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 :)
Natalie Marquette, Your Animal Loving Nurse!
Hi, I’m Natalie I grew up in the beautiful Ottawa Valley area of Ontario, I graduated from St. Lawrence College in Kingston in 2012 with an Advanced Diploma in Veterinary Technology. After working 2 years in Ontario, I decided to move out west to Alberta. After working for a few more years in small and mixed animal clinics around the Calgary area I joined Happy paws in Dec 2017.
I enjoy all aspects of being a veterinary technician, especially dentistry, surgery and anesthesia. I currently reside in Crossfield with my significant other (Scott) golden retriever Titan and 6 (yes six) cats: Jeffie, Spook, Turbo, Garry, Violet, and Rosie.
In my free time I enjoy wild game hunting, fishing, camping, travelling and collecting cats.
Stephanie Bennett, Your Amazing Assistant!
My name is Stephanie, and I’m one of the newer faces you’ll see around Happy Paws! I am usually assisting the Doctors and Technicians in the back, but you will often see me up front in reception spoiling your animals with treats and cuddles.
Originally, I was born and raised in a small town in the Okanagan, but I have traveled and lived in many different places before calling Airdrie home. I started out working with Home Depot, but soon realized after adopting our first dog I wanted a career where I could make a difference. So, I did my research and I applied for the Veterinary Assistant Program in Vancouver British Columbia, and never looked back!
I am so grateful for all that I have learned, and absolutely love all the experiences I’ve had in this industry, at times can be difficult but is really the greatest job ever!
I am so excited to be on the Happy Paws team. This environment is so positive and supportive, and that energy 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!
Veronica Panama, Your Amazing Assistant!
My name is Veronica, I am one of the vet assistants at Happy Paws, I will usually be assisting the lovely doctors and technicians in the back, but I always try to sneak some cuddles from your furry babies during my day!
I’m originally from El Salvador where I grew up surrounded by animals and I quickly developed a passion for animal rescue and conservation. My first language is Spanish and I am always happy to help our clients communicate if they need a translator! When I moved to Canada, I was able to complete a degree in Biological Sciences, which allowed me to work as a research assistant with a variety of bird and bee species to educate about the importance of sustainability and wildlife. I loved working with animals and I decided to volunteer with rescue organizations such as AARCS, the Meow Foundation and my most recent experience has been with the wolfdogs at the Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary. I quickly realized that I wanted to pursue a career with animals and that is when I joined the team at Happy Paws! I started as a volunteer and I fell in love with the clinic, the wonderful team and our patients, I was thrilled when I was offered a position to join the team full time! I love working at such an amazing place where I get to meet all your fur babies and give them lots of love and treats!
Natasha Hilson, Your Client Care Coordinator!
My name is Natasha and I am one of the client care coordinators here at Happy Paws! I got my start in veterinary medicine in 2014 when I graduated from Bow Valley College with my Veterinary Office Assistant diploma. I spent my first 3+ years in an emergency and specialty hospital in Calgary, which was such an amazing experience! I learned a lot, and I’m so grateful to have gotten to work in that environment and meet some really amazing people in the industry!
Happy Paws has been such a wonderful change for me, the people are really what makes it a great place to work, amazing staff and clients! And of course seeing peoples fur babies all day is just icing on the cake! There’s such a great energy here and I’m so grateful to be a part of the team.
At home I have 2 fur babies of my own, a big goofy chocolate lab named Cash, and a sassy kitty named Zoe. Plus, a wonderful partner named Matt that rounds out the brood!
It is so important to me to help & educate pet owners in whatever capacity I can, and I’m so happy to be able to do that everyday! Our pets are our family and they deserve the best!
I can’t wait to meet you, and your furry family member. Lots of treats and snuggles await!
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.