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.

Sandi Shekell

Sandi graduated from Macomb Community College’s Veterinary Technician program in May of 2014. After a few years of practicing as an LVT, she discovered that her passion is being a veterinary receptionist. She has been with Little Friends of Ferndale since May of 2019 and recently earned her Fear Free certification.” Her knowledge and skills as an LVT, along with her receptionist experience, make her an invaluable asset to team Little Friends. In addition, her sweet, confident, and helpful demeanor is friendly, welcoming, memorable, and instantly puts our patrons at ease.” My love of animals started at a young age, and my decision to enter the field of veterinary medicine began after fostering a mother dog and her seven puppies.” In her free time, she enjoys reading, video games, and spending time with her dogs.

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.”

Kyrstin Burton

Kyrstin has worked at LFOF as a Veterinary Assistant since the spring of 2017. Beginning her veterinary career as a kennel attendant nearly 15 years ago, she has progressed throughout the Veterinary Field in various positions through her hard work, training, devotion, and commitment to animal welfare. She became Fear Free certified in the Fall of 2019 as another example of her dedication to providing fair and compassionate medical treatment and care to all animals in need.

“Kyrstin’s natural loving and affectionate disposition with animals make her an excellent assistant in inpatient care. She brings a sense of fun and can easily make one laugh when you’re having a hard day. Also, she is organized and easily anticipates the needs of others and keeps the practice running smoothly and efficiently.” When she is not caring for patients at LFOF, Kyrstin enjoys spending time with her husband Ron and her three “fur babies” at home. All of which include: Doc a 13 yr. Old Lab, Dexter a 9 yr. Old Swedish Vallhund, AKC champion, and Yeti, an adorable, friendly, and laid back alley cat. Words she lives by, “The old saying is true, if you love what you do, you never work a day in your life.”

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.

Ka’Vree Reese

Ka’Vree has been an animal lover since she can remember. Her first encounter with her passion was saving a small puppy from a busy highway and finding it a home, only at the tender age of 6. Ka’Vree started her educational journey at Saginaw Valley State University in 2014 pursuing her goals of working with animals but she was not quite sure what direction she wanted to go in. One day it clicked for her, she wanted to be a nurse but for small animals. After researching, Ka’Vree transferred to Baker College and she graduated in May of 2020 with her Associate of Applied Science – Veterinary Technician. Ka’Vree became a Licensed Veterinary Technician (LVT) in August of 2020 and has been a member of the LFOF family since June of 2020.

In her spare time, Ka’Vree loves nature. Walks in the park, riding her bike, and admiring the Detroit river are her favorite past times. She also enjoys fashion, beauty, and playing/cuddling her loving cat Cannoli.

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.