Your Veterinarian, Clinic Owner and Continuous Dreamer
Hello! Thanks for checking out who I am. I love to share my story and how I came to start 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 came with many trips to the local veterinary clinic of course, 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 fueled 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 into a mobile practice next, traveling 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 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 Sherman) who have been an inspiration for the veterinarian I want to become. My animals have comforted me in difficult times and taught me new things about living for the moment. I am currently without a kitty in my life, I keep adopting senior cats and enjoying them for their last few years. Dizzy and Swiper were my last two. I think for me the next endevour will be fostering some kitties that need a little extra support. Stay tuned.
I have an amazing human family in my life, too, who you may see around the clinic as the clinic administrator (Jeff’s bio below). His support has been unmeasurable as I have pursued my dreams. We have an amazing daughter named Fiona who at the time of editing is 4 years. She is so full of imagination; loves playing with her stuffies and has a loveable heart. I have an energetic son named Ethan who is now 3 years, he loves puzzles and cars and adores anything his sister does. You don’t really see the world until you see it through the eyes of developing kids. They have already taught me so much.
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. Kristi Jacobson
Hello, I am Dr. Kristi and I am one of the veterinarians here at Happy Paws.
I grew up north of Airdrie and always dreamed of working with animals. In 2005, this came true when I graduated from The Western College of Veterinary Medicine. Upon graduation, I moved to Lethbridge where I practiced for 3 years. After that, we moved to Airdrie to be closer to family. We fell in love with the Airdrie community spirit, and I have grown to enjoy practicing here.
I currently live in Airdrie with my family and enjoy hiking, skiing, and camping. I have two cats, Thunder and Boone (brother cats that make us laugh at their antics), and a dog named Tilly who I love to take on walks and hikes. My professional interests are senior pet medicine, palliative care, and dentistry.
Dr. Emma Jansen
Hi there! I am Dr. Emma, one of the veterinarians here at Happy Paws. I am a recent addition to the clinic and thrilled to be working with such an amazing team. I look forward to getting to meet you and your pet and would love to share a bit about myself.
I grew up in Calgary, AB before moving out east to Halifax, NS to attend Dalhousie University where I earned my Bachelor of Science degree in Marine Biology. This was such a fun and exciting time for me where I learned so much and got to experience a new city. After 5 years in the Maritimes, I was thrilled to find out I had been accepted to veterinary school back home in Calgary, AB. I then made the cross-country move from the Atlantic Ocean back to the Rocky Mountains to embark on this new chapter!
I graduated from the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in the Spring of 2021 after four years of studying and plenty of hard work. During this time, I learned so much and had the opportunity to experience many different aspects of veterinary medicine – I even had a 6 week placement at the Calgary Zoo which was an unforgettable experience! After graduating from veterinary school, I was looking to work in a clinic with a great team and culture, finding Happy Paws to be the best fit. My favorite thing about the clinic is the team. The entire staff have been such amazing mentors to me, and they all go above and beyond to make your animals feel comfortable and cared for during their visit.
I have three animals of my own at home, 2 cats (Otis and Finn) and a dog (Dooley). All three were foster fails, and Otis and Dooley are both tripods and the best of friends. These animals have taught me so much about the impact of the human-animal bond, as well as the resilience of animals and their ability to heal. In my spare time I enjoy travelling, spending time with family and friends, and exploring the mountains and being active outdoors.
I look forward to meeting you and taking care of your four (or three!) legged family members.
Dr. Kim Palacios
Hello! I am Dr. Kim. I grew up in Kingston, Ontario and graduated from the Ontario Veterinary College. After graduating, I spent one year working in a mixed animal practice in Ontario before moving out to Calgary. Once in Calgary, I transitioned to small animal practice and even spent a few years working in a feline only practice. My areas of interest in veterinary medicine are in dermatology, preventative medicine, and feline medicine.
When not at work, I love spending time with my family, especially hiking in the mountains and going on adventures in our beautiful part of the country. I have a small rescue pup named Wicket and a cat named Ronald Weasley.
Dr. Sarah Pedersen
Dr. Sarah Pedersen is a veterinarian who is a Certified Veterinary Spinal Manipulation Therapist and Veterinary Medical Acupuncturist. She also holds her post-graduate certification in Veterinary Massage and Rehabilitation Therapy. Sarah has a special interest in pain management and is in the process of gaining her certification in pain management. Sarah is a business owner, wife, mom, enthusiastic amateur event rider and a very satisfied Happy Paws client! Sarah also went to school with our owner, Dr. Erin Heck. Her practice is based on high-quality, evidence based complimentary treatment. She is eager to help enhance the quality of life for all our pets – whether young, old, competitive, or couch buddies. She hails from Yorkshire, England, where her experience with horses started. Sarah also received her Master’s of Chemistry in England from the University of Hull. She moved to Saudi Arabia and managed a riding stable for a few years. Upon returning to Canada with her husband, she then completed her DVM and MSc in veterinary science. She began her professional career at a busy equine clinic, where her exploration of integrative medicine began. Her love for small animal integrative medicine grew once she learned both acupuncture and chiropractic care as she realized how much she could help improve their lives and the lives of their owners! Sarah is slated to begin booking appointments at Happy Paws one day a week starting in August of 2022.
Your Registered Veterinary Technician
Hello! Welcome to Happy Paws!
I have been incredibly lucky in my life, knowing what I wanted to be from a very early age. I have always been drawn to animals of all types, from bumblebees to farm animals, and feel my best when I’m with them and helping them. Sherwood Park was where I grew up, but I moved to Calgary at 16. I started volunteering at veterinary clinics at 16 and as soon as I was done high school, I applied to tech school. I attended Animal Health Technology at N.A.I.T. in Edmonton, graduating in 2004.
My dream had come true! I immediately moved back to Calgary and started my career as a Registered Veterinary Technologist. I was fortunate enough to spend a few years working alongside Dr. Erin Heck as a fellow RVT before she started her journey to become a veterinarian.
I found great passion in diagnostic medicine and worked in Ultrasound and Endoscopy at an emergency clinic in Calgary. I love how informative non-invasive medicine can be, and ultrasound was like a window into the amazing workings of the body.
I moved to an acreage in 2010 and switched gears to locum work so that I could spend more time with my own animals and garden. After 5 years of part-time locum and emergency work, I was ready to dive back into my career full steam ahead. I began working at a specialty hospital in Calgary, immersing myself in internal medicine, surgery, and finally anesthesia. The last 5 years have been intense. I was able to see many amazing things and experience the depth of what veterinary medicine can achieve.
In 2019, I got pregnant and had my beautiful son. I moved to Airdrie where I reunited with my friend Erin! I started at Happy Paws in June 2020 and have been so in love with this city and the people here. It is the most wonderful place to raise a family and continue to do what I love. My family and I live in the heart of Airdrie with our beautiful senior dog Bow our feisty cat Leelou, our 4 backyard chickens (Donna, Rhonda, Maple, and Sugar) and our beehive with 10,000 beautiful honeybees.
Your Registered Veterinary Technician
Hi there! My name is Alexia but you can call me Lexi. I am one of the registered veterinary technicians here at Happy Paws!
I live in Airdrie with my husband, our two cats, and our snake. Fun facts about me: I really enjoy archery and hiking. Let me tell you a little bit about my passion and how I ended up in the Happy Paws family. My love for animals started when I was a wee girl, I would always tell my friends and family how I was going to be a veterinarian when I grew up. I had a passion for all animals but sadly had a mother who was incredibly allergic to hairy animals (and reptiles were out of the question), so I had many fish, spent my time feeding the stray cats, walking and babysitting the neighbour’s dogs, and begging my mom to let me bring injured pigeons to vet clinics.
After high school, I found out about being an RVT and realized that was my calling. I was accepted to Olds College in 2019 and started my journey to become a veterinary nurse. School was like a dream. I was so excited to start working at a job where I loved what I was doing every day. But of course, COVID hit and the college was shut down halfway through my program. During this shutdown, I found myself applying for jobs and that is when I was hired as a veterinary assistant at Happy Paws. I was incredibly thankful to meet this amazing team and start working with them before being hired as an RVT here.
I have loved getting to know all of you and your fur babies. I can’t wait to continue getting to know you and spoil your pets whenever they come in. I need to apologize in advance as you’ll usually find me taking a couple of extra seconds to snuggle with your fur babies, give them a few more treats, or play another round of tug-a-war before their appointment is over. Can’t wait to meet you!
Your Registered Veterinary Technician
Hello! my name is Justine. I grew up in and around Calgary and animals have always been a huge part of my life. I have wanted nothing more than to make my passion a career, even though it took me some time to get here.
At 14, I started volunteering at a pet store, which led me to work in a kennel and eventually to be a veterinary assistant, with a few odd jobs in between. While working as a veterinary assistant for 5 years, I went to the University of Calgary where I graduated in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science with a Major in Anthropology and a concentration in Primatology. That was a mouthful. Basically, I studied science, culture, evolution, and monkeys.
Everything aligned in June 2020, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, when I graduated from Olds College as an Animal Health Technologist. It was during my practicum that I was asked to join the team at Happy Paws. I am so excited to be a part of this team where I can continue to grow, learn, and love on all your wonderful fur babies.
I currently live in Calgary with my husband, Miniature Australian Shepherd, George, torbie cat, Eleanor, and Lionhead rabbit, Dr. Bruce. When I am not snuggling an animal, you can find me crafting, camping, golfing, or hanging out with my family and friends.
Your Registered Veterinary Technician
Hi there, my name is Jaimee and I am one of the registered technicians at Happy Paws. I am so happy to be a part of this amazing team that is quickly becoming another family.
I grew up on a farm outside of Carstairs and have resided in the area my whole life. I have always loved farm life and was lucky enough to grow up with any type of animal I wanted. Cats, dogs, pigs, horses, cows, donkeys…the list goes on. I always knew working with animals was something I had to do. I thought of a few different career paths but was always brought back to veterinary medicine. I attended the veterinary receptionist program at Olds College to get my feet wet to see if I would enjoy veterinary medicine. I quickly realized this was the path for me. After completion of the reception program, I was accepted into animal health technology, graduating in 2017. I have been loving every minute of my career since.
I currently live in the town of Carstairs with my husband and 4 cats. Gary, Miss Mittens, Arlo, and Benny… best behaved to least. Yes, you can call me the crazy cat lady!
I look forward to getting to know all the clients and patients that are lucky enough to call Happy Paws Veterinary Clinic their home clinic!
Your Client Care Coordinator
Hello! My name is Trina. I am one of the Client Care Coordinators at Happy Paws.
I grew up in a house where we always had pets, from Kadie the Cocker Spaniel to Gin and Tonic, our family’s two Dobermans. I started working as a veterinary receptionist in 2006 at an emergency hospital in Thunder Bay, Ontario. I quickly realized how much I enjoyed working with people and their pets. I consider myself lucky to have started in a practice that allowed me to not only work with clients but also to assist in other aspects of the hospital. From working in the pharmacy to working with pets daily, it gave me the opportunity to learn and experience many different and interesting cases.
In 2011, my daughter Taylor and I moved to Airdrie to be closer to my siblings and nephews. Since moving, I have continued to work in the veterinary industry and have met many wonderful people in our community. We have also had the opportunity to welcome Maverick into our family. He is one of the goofiest and most loveable Dobermans I have ever met. We could not imagine our lives without him.
I joined the Happy Paws Family in the Spring of 2020. I consider myself lucky to be working with such an amazing team of people, such wonderful clients, and the most adorable patients.
Your Client Care Coordinator
Hello! I’m Deanna and I am the part-time Client Care Coordinator at Happy Paws, so you’ll likely see me working in the evenings and on weekends. I was introduced to the Veterinary Industry in 2009 when I started as a Client Care Coordinator at a 24-hour Emergency and Specialty hospital where I worked for 9 years. I currently live with my boyfriend, 3 dogs, and our cat. My dogs’ names are Bella, Murphy, and Ruby. They are all small white-ish (Ruby is a little more tan than white) fluffy dogs. Apparently small, white, and fluffy is my dog type! My cat’s name is Lexi and she is a DSH brown tabby.
In wintertime, I love to get out snowmobiling or hibernating inside with my furry children (they aren’t fans of winter). In the summertime, we all love to head out to the river to hang out or take off on a camping adventure. I am a big animal lover and if you were to ask anyone, I know they would tell you that I would probably adopt every dog possible if I could. It’s a good thing I have people in my life to reign me in! Instead, I get my fulfillment by meeting, playing and cuddling your pets.
I am lucky to work with this amazing team of people who are incredibly supportive and who I can laugh and have fun with at work (although it really doesn’t feel like work). I look forward to meeting you and your families (4 legged and 2 legged members) and getting to know you!
Hello, I’m Taelor (and this is my girl Georgia), one of the Assistants here at Happy Paws. I’m also the resident crazy cat lady (there are a few of us actually!) and chatty Cathy. But don’t worry, I love the canines too!
A little about me… I was born in British Columbia but have spent most of my life in Alberta. In my free time, I play slow-pitch, golf, and love refinishing old furniture. Animals have always been a big part of my life. Growing up I had fish, reptiles, small animals, birds, cats, dogs, and horses as either part of the family or I was able to care for them in some way. Working with animals was a career path that I was interested in pursuing, however I was not sure that I would be able to handle the inevitable sad side of it, so I went into the beauty industry instead.
I had been in the cosmetics industry and doing freelance makeup for a little over 10 years when I decided that my true passion was working with and helping animals so I changed gears and started looking into how I could make that a reality. Fast forward almost two years later, here I am taking it all in, loving and learning more every day. I’m so thankful for the trust that you give us in taking care of your fur family members. I can promise you that I will always go out of my way to do everything I can to make them as comfortable as possible. If we haven’t already spoken or met, I look forward to doing so in the near future. But first and foremost, I look forward to giving your pets all the cuddles, treats, and love when they are in our care.
Hello, I’m Jenna! I am one of the veterinary assistants and you can find me in multiple areas of the clinic. By day I am comforting and helping patients, and by night you can find me re-watching episodes of New Girl.
I grew up surrounded by pets and, as I got older, I had a passion for training and selling horses! Now I could have gone the horse route as I do love my thoroughbreds, but I realized that I also loved being around different types of animals and wanted to expand my knowledge in the industry.
For the last few years, I have been working with all sorts of furry to not so furry friends. Exotics have been a big part of this. From helping with wildlife, wallabies, tortoises, parrots, to even an axolotl, it showed me how much there is to learn in this industry. At the end of the day though, I am not a regular mom, I’m a cool mom with two dogs and a cat.
When I’m not at work, I’m spending time with my own pets Rue & Dezmond, who are both Yorkie crosses, and Phyllis my torti-shell feline.
Everywhere I turn I am surrounded by the unconditional love that pets give us and it makes me love my job even more. I am excited to learn and grow within Happy Paws and look forward to meeting all of you.
Hi! I’m Alisha and I’m one of the part-timers here at Happy Paws. My official title is Tech Assistant but I can do it all so you will likely see me floating between reception and the treatment area helping wherever my coworkers need support.
In May 2020, my hubby and I bought a house in Airdrie and in June we moved into our first home with our four kids! I started at Happy Paws just four days after moving to Airdrie and I love this clinic and Airdrie so much that I can’t ever imagine moving back to Calgary.
I began my career in veterinary medicine in 2008 in Calgary not long after I got my first puppy, the cutest miniature pinscher. Ceasar was my main man and went through my 20s with me until he had to cross the Rainbow Bridge in September 2018, just two months before I had my last baby.
I took a Veterinary Office Assistant program and in September 2008 I started full-time at a very busy 24-hour emergency hospital that also practiced primary care. I was working with the exotics doctor and Eventually moved to running the in-house lab. I loved starting in emergency medicine because I really feel like it’s such a great place to learn quickly and see things and do things that you will never see in primary medicine. This is also the clinic where I first met Dr. Erin, back when she was still a tech, and our tech Joni! I wanted a change of pace so in March 2013 I started at a primary clinic in downtown Calgary as a receptionist. Not long after starting at this clinic, I met my now husband and my eldest daughter, who just happened to be born before I met her. In June 2014, we found out I was pregnant. December 2014, I went on maternity leave and had our son in January 2015. We eventually had two more babies, another little boy in 2016 and a daughter in 2018.
My career had come to a halt after having my sons just 15 months apart. I was busier than I ever had been with 3 kids – 2 under 2! In May 2017, I started a part-time job as a demo rep with Royal Canin. My passion for pet food began when I first took the VOA course back in 2008 and I found myself eager to learn more when I started as a receptionist. Royal Canin taught me all the science behind pet nutrition and ingredients and now I love discussing nutrition with clients to help them understand it too!
Today I am kept far busier than the day allows between being a mom full-time to my four wild children and working at Happy Paws part-time and still working part-time for Royal Canin. At the end of 2020, I was asked by Royal Canin to take on an additional position working from home (as well as continuing with my current position as a demo rep in store).
Since moving to Airdrie, we adopted the sweetest pitty mix, Black Betty, and my very first and favourite little adopted kitten, Charli. My youngest son loves animals so I wanted my kids to experience having pets and the unconditional love and comfort they can bring you.
I love so much about Happy Paws. We are a family, we take care of each other and support each other 100%, no matter the situation. Not many people can say that they truly love their jobs, but I really do, work is my happy place – my escape from the chaos that is home. I am exceptionally lucky to work with such amazing, passionate, and intelligent humans who make work fun and not much like work at all – and of course the cutest and most perfect furry patients!
Hello! My name is Hailey. I started my journey with Happy Paws as a Client Care Coordinator in the Fall of 2020. I am originally from a small village in British Columbia. I have always had a passion for helping all types of animals and have had different types of animals in my life, from bearded dragons to my furry husky mix, Monte Carlo. I knew I would enjoy working with animals as well as with people who have similar interests – this sparked my interest in Veterinary Medicine.
I graduated from the Veterinary Office Assistant Program in 2019. I then started volunteering at a small veterinary clinic in Calgary as well as with a local rescue outside of Airdrie. I have a special interest in pet nutrition and have been taking programs through Royal Canin, Hills, and Purina to expand my knowledge. When I am not at the clinic you can find me making resin crafts, cuddled up on the couch with a good book, or exploring the mountains with my partner, Connor, and our best pal, Monte Carlo.
I am very proud to be a member of this amazing team and I look forward to meeting you and your furry family members!
Your Clinic Manager
Hello! My name is Kaela. I was born and raised in Ontario, please don’t hold it against me! Growing up, I always knew I loved animals and everyone knew I would probably end up working with animals. So naturally when I was applying for university, I decided to pursue a degree in… Criminology and Criminal Justice. Confusing, right? After a bit of soul searching once I graduated, I decided I was going to return to my love of animals by pursuing a career as a veterinary technologist.
After completing my veterinary technology diploma at Ridgetown College, I packed up everything and moved out to Calgary to be near the mountains. I worked at a variety of different clinics – emergency, general practice, and specialty – before seizing the opportunity to work with all the wonderful people here at Happy Paws as the clinic manager.
I recently made the move to Airdrie with my husband and our rescue dog, Loki. In my spare time I keep busy with photography, going to the mountains, and reading as many books as possible.
Your Inventory Manager
Hello, My name is Danielle, and I am the Inventory Manager here at Happy Paws. I grew up here in Alberta and always had animals in my life and have always had a passion for them. I spent a couple of years at the University of Lethbridge before I realized that something was missing from my life, so I left and traveled to Australia where I volunteered at a wildlife rehabilitation centre. That is where I decided that I wanted to spend my life working with animals. I graduated from the Veterinary Technical Assistant program at Olds College in 2017. From there I worked as a dog walker and in a few small clinics before I started as an assistant at Happy Paws. Over the years I became the Inventory Manager and I love it!
I really enjoy being Inventory Manager and love being able to not only help animals but also help the amazing people who are part of this great team by keeping them organized and fully stocked with what they need to help your pets.
I currently live in Irricana with my husband Ryan and our rough collie, Fawkes. Fawkes, (pronounced “fox”) was named after a beautiful phoenix from one of our favourite series. Fawkes enjoys practicing in agility and rally-o. If we aren’t at home, you can find us out camping, hiking, or off-roading with Fawkes by our side.
Your Clinic Administrator
Hello, you may see me around the clinic from time to time. My role is behind-the-scenes administration, such as payroll, HR, and management. You will see me helping upfront 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 into a reality.
Dr. Erin is my spouse, and we recently started our family. We have two beautiful children at home: Fiona, my daughter, and Ethan, my son. They were born one year apart so we have our hands full with two kids and managing our business. However, we have an amazing team at the clinic, and they have really helped us while we started our family. I truly believe that a great business starts with great staff, and I know we have amazing staff!
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. 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 a 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.