Owen Jacob Watterson Burke

Owen Jacob was the founding CEO of Little Friends of Ferndale Veterinary Care and Owen Enterprises, LLC. Dr. Burke and Kathryn Watterson founded Little Friends’ philosophy based on how they felt their beloved Owen’s experience at the vet should be a confident, positive, respectful, fear-free, enjoyable, and memorable experience. Although Owen Jacob is no longer with us, his profound, noble, majestic, tranquil presence and essence remains a permanent part of Little Friends of Ferndale Veterinary Care. A constant and continual reminder that our little friends, in their companionship, change and shape our lives towards our highest good and betterment. For that reason, we shall always remain with deep and unwavering gratitude, always striving to practice the highest quality of progressive, compassionate, and loving care for all of our “four” legged friends on behalf of our dear Owen.


Dr. Bonnie Burke

Dr. Bonnie Burke graduated from Michigan State College of Veterinary Medicine in 1998. She continued her education and career with a rotating internship in medicine and surgery at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Burke returned to Michigan and worked for a group of veterinary hospitals for six years.

Dr. Burke was living in the fabulous city of Ferndale with her partner, Kathryn Watterson while commuting to different cities to work. Astonished that Ferndale did not have an existing veterinary clinic, they founded Little Friends of Ferndale Veterinary Care in June of 2005. Their goal was to create a unique, warm, and inviting clinic. Dr. Burke remains thrilled and honored to have the support of such a vibrant, diverse, and inclusive community. Together they created a practice that embraces a progressive, holistic, and compassionate approach to and for every patient.

Dr. Burke is a certified Fear Free practitioner. She remains committed to creating a positive and individual approach for all welcomed Little Friends. Dr. Burke maintains immense gratitude to her incredible staff and terrific clientele. “I truly embrace every patient with respect and admiration. My life is forever improved and enriched by the simple, authentic, and unconditional love I am showered with every day.”


Kathryn Watterson

Kathryn Watterson had the distinct pleasure of opening Little Friends of Ferndale Veterinary Care in 2005 with her partner Dr. Bonnie Burke. Kathryn graduated from Michigan State University Veterinary Technology program in 1992. As a Licensed Veterinary Technician, she spent 13 years of service at Leader Dogs for the Blind in Rochester, Michigan. Kathryn became one of the first LVTs in the state of Michigan to specialize in canine semen cryogenics and canine reproduction. In 2003 she finished her Bachelor of General Studies at Oakland University in Rochester, Mi. In conjunction with performing duties as an LVT, she spent ten years in upper management at Leader Dogs with a keen interest in the practice and implementation of positive animal husbandry.

Although Kathryn utilizes her LVT skills at Little Friends of Ferndale Care whenever necessary, she spends most of her time behind the scenes as the Practice Administrator, making sure LFOF is running smoothly, efficiently, and effectively. Kathryn became a Fear Free certified practitioner in the fall of 2019 and is currently expecting to receive her MA in Consciousness and Human Potential from Maharishi International University in Fairfield, Iowa, in June of 2020.

When she is not at LFOF, she enjoys spending time with her partner, her dog Pippa Roux, and cat Kipper. She enjoys Transcendental Meditation, Sanskrit recitation, cooking, gardening, and spending time outdoors. “I feel incredibly humbled and lucky to be of service every day. Since I was a small child, I have always had a profound affinity and deep connection with animals. To be of service every day and do what I feel my soul was meant to do, to fulfill my dharmic purpose, leaves me with an unwavering sense of satisfaction, peace, and immense gratitude.”


Rhonda Stevenson

Rhonda has had the privilege to have been a Little Friends employee for the past 12 years. She is a leading veterinary receptionist, who’s calm demeanor and presence creates a peaceful and welcoming environment at LFOF. She has a sound knowledge base of the field, and she recently completed her Fear Free certification, which has strengthened her commitment to helping create a positive experience for all of our Little Friends. “I have enjoyed being in the pet care industry for a combined 36 years now in clinics locally as well as Florida. It has always been fulfilling to see happy and well cared for pets, and to know I played some small part in it.


Jo Hughes

Jo started as a veterinary receptionist working for several clinics in the Fall of 1999. After working at various animal clinics, she finally found her home at Little Friends of Ferndale in 2012. Her years of experience working as a receptionist within the veterinary field has made her an incredible asset to the LFOF team. “Jo is always bringing new and inventive ideas to the table at Little Friends. It is her strong knowledge base and her constant commitment to making Little Friends the best practice it can be, that is immensely appreciated, and helps us to provide the community with exceptional service.

In the fall of 2019, she became a certified Fear Free Professional helping to ensure each Little Friend has a positive, fear-free, and memorable experience. She shares her life with her husband and two cats, Tobe and Mynx. She is an avid reader. Some of her other hobbies include baking, gaming, crafts, and being bossed around by her fur-babies.


Nancy Karasma

Nancy became a member of Team Little Friends in July 2008 as a veterinary assistant. “With her cheerful disposition, she has been a positive force within our facility.” Previously a manager at an insurance company and then a ‘stay-at-home-mom,’ she is driven, meticulous, and has a natural nurturing ability. “Her positive and nurturing disposition helps Little Friends provide our patrons with exceptional nursing care, as well as provides Team Little Friends with a positive and supportive work environment.” Nancy is Fear-Free certified, and her experience and strong knowledge base is an asset in mentoring new and existing employees. She enjoys reading and scrapbooking in her pastime. Nancy also happily devotes care to her husband, three grown children, and Charley, her Puggle, as well as her many fur-grand-kids.


Abby Petri

Abby has been working in the pet care industry for over a decade. She happily joined our team here at Little Friends of Ferndale as a veterinary assistant at the beginning of 2017 after managing a daycare and boarding facility for nearly ten years. “Abby very easily gained a strong knowledge base of veterinary medicine, and her natural nurturing, love, and passion for the welfare of all animals make her an exceptional assistant and patient advocate.” Her hard work, dedication to the craft, and exceptional to be of service attitude have gotten her recently promoted to a Clin Tech position where she has very easily become an invaluable team player.

She became fear-free certified in the fall of 2019 and enjoys utilizing those tips and techniques every day to create the best possible experience for every pet that enters the facility. When she is not an attentive caregiver here at work, she enjoys the outdoors and spending time with her Fiance Rich, family, friends, and her fantastic dog Fonzie. “I am delighted and extremely grateful to be able to do something that I am so passionate about for a living. I thoroughly enjoy providing the best care and comfort for animals.”


Paula Banker

Paula has worked with animals all of her life and has been honing her craft of kind and gentle patient care with Little Friends for nearly eight years. She especially enjoys paying attention to the little things that make a big difference in brightening a patient’s day – particularly if they’re not exactly thrilled to be at the vet!

Whether it’s building a cozy and calming kitty-fort for a shy cat to nuzzle into, or preparing a delicious snack to soothe a dog’s rumbly tummy, Paula takes pride in comforting pets in a personalized way.

Outside of work, Paula enjoys hiking, beach-going, writing poetry, and watching independent films. She also loves a good couch-lounging session with her jumbo-sized tabby cat, Colin.


Arielle Flores

Arielle is originally from California and is a veteran of the U.S Navy. She was stationed in Virginia, where she met her husband. Moving to Michigan in 2016, she began volunteering at Detroit Dog Rescue and immediately knew she wanted to become a vet tech. She graduated from Macomb Community College’s Veterinary Technician program and earned her license in 2019. In Arielle’s free time, she enjoys hanging out with her husband and two pit bull mixes, Taco and Donut. In addition, she has an affinity for caring for numerous houseplants and enjoys cooking and baking. Her passion for compassionate animal handling makes her an excellent addition and asset to team LFOF.


Marla Sedlak

Starting at a very young age, Marla has been around animals her entire life. Early on, she recalled feeling inspired by doing animal rescue and rehab work with her mom. Such interactions led her to fulfill her dream of helping animals in need. When she was old enough to volunteer independently, she started volunteering at the Dearborn Animal Shelter. Then, as a young adult, she began fostering animals on her own. Since then, she has worked in a variety of ways with numerous rescues groups and veterinary clinics. She started out working as a kennel technician in the veterinary field and quickly became a veterinary assistant. She absolutely fell in love with the job and intuitively knew this was what she was destined to do. She strongly feels that these experiences will help her one day to be able to own and run her very own animal rescue facility.

Her college pursuits include the University of Texas and Schoolcraft College, where she obtained Associates’s degrees in Small Business Entrepreneurship and Business Management. In conjunction, she pursued classes geared towards the pre-veterinary medical program. During this time in Texas, she became even more entrenched in the rewards of animal rescue work during one of the hurricanes that hit there. She ended up teaming up with local rescue groups and helped play an integral role in helping reunite separated pets with their distraught owners. Such experiences during college inspired her to facilitate a group to bring student awareness to the importance of animal welfare and the benefits of volunteering and fostering animals.

Marla currently has three pets of her own. She has two rescue cats named Burner and Karma and her first foster-fail dog named Stella. Marla loves traveling, being outdoors, and takes her fur-babies everywhere with her. When she is not working or traveling, she enjoys physical exercise and interior decorating. Marla’s excitement when talking about working with animals is like watching a kid in a candy store; it’s a beautiful reminder of the innocent joy that naturally is ignited by working with animals and being of service.


Danielle Forbush

Danielle became a member of the Little Friends of Ferndale Veterinary Care in April 2021. She has followed her passion and love of animals and has been working within the animal care field since 2016. She found her first animal job highly rewarding while working as a veterinary surgical technician for the All About Animals Rescue group. Then, working with rescue animals solidified Danielle’s love of working with animals, and she continued as a veterinary assistant for a local Veterinary Clinic that specialized in exotic animals. Working with exotic animals gave her the exciting daily experience of working with many different animals, from snakes and bearded dragons to chinchillas and even cute little hedgehogs! Through these experiences, she realized working with animals and caring for them genuinely made her the happiest.

Danielle is currently enrolled in the Veterinary Technician program at Macomb Community College and aspires to become a licensed technician by May of 2022. She emphasizes that she has an intense curiosity and interest in understanding the necessity for and processing necessary lab work on incoming patients. In addition, she especially enjoys anesthesiology and helping out during surgical procedures. Given such interests, she hopes to continue her educational experience and specialize in anesthesiology or to become a surgical technician.

She currently has four cats and two dogs of her own. Her favorite pastime is hiking the beautiful Michigan trails with her dogs. In addition, she has an affinity for the practice of yoga, traveling to new and exciting places, especially any experience that gets her near or in the beauty of water! Danielle is naturally service-oriented, with an outgoing disposition and a natural curiosity that makes her an excellent addition to our team.


Twinkle Toes

Twinkle Toes came to Little Friends of Ferndale in March 2007. She was picked up by animal control after she was found stuck in an animal trap. All About Animals Rescue aided in providing the resources to have this skinny, significantly injured cat get the veterinary care she needed. Her pelvis was crushed, and she had severely damaged rear toes. Dr. Burke performed some minor surgeries and transferred Twinkle to Dr. Wilson in Romeo MI. to perform pelvic reconstruction. Twinkle returned to LFOF for physical therapy and rehab, where Dr. Burke and Kathy became absolutely devoted to and captivated by this gorgeous and fabulous cat. They officially adopted Twinkle, and she continues to be a constant source of affection and joy within the practice. Twinkle is 15 years old, and enjoys laser therapy, rolling in any sunspot, and has an enormous obsession for fried pastries.