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.”

Dr. Khayya Kelly

Dr. Khayya Kelly was born and raised in Detroit, MI. She graduated from Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine in 1994. She returned home to Michigan after graduation and began her career working as an associate doctor in a variety of practices, including emergency hospitals, for 8 years.

In 2002, she opened her own business as an independent contractor or relief veterinarian. Practicing as a relief veterinarian allows her the freedom and flexibility she needed to spend quality time with her family (including her husband, two children, and many animals) and to pursue her love of travel.

Practicing as a relief doctor in hundreds of hospitals for 20+ years has allowed Dr. Kelly to amass knowledge on a variety of styles of practice, novel and innovative medical treatments/patient care, and client education. All of these experiences, both positive and negative, have formed her personal style of practice: to give the client the experience, treatment, and education that she would want if she was the client.

Dr. Kelly is Fear Free Certified, and has a special interest in internal medicine, cytology, dermatology, and animal behavior.

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.

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.”

Lesley Keller

Lesley began her career in the veterinary field as a receptionist in 2013 and quickly decided this was the career path and explored her skills as a veterinary technician. She spent eight years working for North Main Animal Hospital before applying her emergency technician skills at Oakland Veterinary Referral Services. Although emergency medicine was exciting and rewarding, Lesley decided that she greatly missed being an integral part of building client relationships and sought to work in general practice again. Lesley’s immense appreciation for the human-animal bond and her years of veterinary expertise made her a welcomed receptionist to LFOF’s team.

In her spare time, she enjoys watching documentaries, staying abreast of the latest information in Veterinary Medicine, gaming, and spending time with her boxer (Addie), cat (James), and ferret (Lilith).

Sharon Bartle

Sharon has done many things in her career thus far, from working in human medicine, owning a tool business, retail, and being a caregiver for 15 yrs. However, having had a variety of animals her entire life and working directly with greyhound rescue adoption for the past eighteen years has sparked a genuine desire to have an animal-related career.

Her true love, passion, and compassion for animals led her to find her niche as a veterinary receptionist. She became an LFOF Fear-Free certified practitioner in March of 2022. We gracefully welcome Sharon’s inherent natural guardianship thus, her soul’s dharmic duty to help our four-legged friends and their companions. She is a blessed addition to our team.

When she is not at LFOF, most of her spare time is spent running greyhound events, picking up greyhounds from the track in West Virginia, and all the aspects of running a non-profit greyhound rescue group. “ I am married to a wonderful man who has an equal passion for animals that helps me with greyhound adoption events and a son who is my treasure with his greyhound furbabies. I have two rescued cats and three greyhounds of my own, and over the years, I have fostered and cared for at least 40 greyhounds in my home. I love being a team player and am excited to join the LFOF team/family.

Joanna Pennebaker

Joanna has always had a special connection with animals and a fascination with medicine. She combined her interest and started a career in veterinary medicine in 2011. She worked as a Veterinary Assistant at a small private practice while attending the Veterinary Technician program at Wayne County Community College. She graduated with her degree in Veterinary Technology in 2013 and became a Licensed Veterinary Technician. She spent the next 9 years working for Michigan Humane, 2.5 of those years were spent in a management role.

Her time at Michigan Humane helped her develop a strong set of technical and interpersonal skills. She has a special interest in anesthesia, dentistry, and education. She also has a special fondness for felines. She is currently working on her Fear Free certification. Joanna also currently serves on the Michigan Board of Veterinary Medicine, which helps regulate the practice of Veterinary Medicine in the state.

Outside of work, Joanna enjoys spending time outdoors, she is an avid hiker and enjoys kayaking. She also enjoys going to concerts and has seen her favorite band live 25+ times. She loves exploring Michigan with her boyfriend and checking out new breweries and wineries. She currently shares her home with one very special kitty named Sentry.

Steven Stoddard

Born and raised in Metro Detroit, Steven has a deep personal connection with the LFOF community. Growing up only a few miles from the eventual location of LFOF, he was always fascinated by animals and the incredible amount of diversity in the animal kingdom. He would even spend some of his free time as a child researching animals and creating “book reports” to share with his family and friends. The oldest of 3 children in his family, Steven also took on the role of caretaker from an early age, learning the value of patience, diligence, and humility which he brings with him into his role as a veterinary assistant. He enjoys meeting, taking care of, and learning from every animal that he encounters.

Steven’s educational and professional backgrounds are diverse. He earned an Associate of Arts Degree from Oakland Community College in 2018 before completing a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and History from Wayne State University in 2022. Professionally, he has worked in a variety of industries including the medical field, the service and entertainment industry, and, most recently, at a non-profit in Detroit. In addition to Steven is currently continuing his educational pursuits by taking the remainder of his required prerequisites before eventually applying to veterinary school himself.

Steven currently shares his home with his rescue dog Gus. When he’s not at work or at school, Steven enjoys going to the gym, cooking, and watching or playing sports with his family and friends.


Sandi graduated from the Macomb Community College Veterinary Technician program in 2014. After graduation, she worked as a Licensed Veterinary Technician in Veterinary Emergency Medicine. Mid-way through her career, Sandi decided to switch gears and moved into a veterinary receptionist position within a veterinary general medicinal practice. Bringing her passion for helping animals and their companions, she brought her experience and expertise to Little Friends of Ferndale when she first started as a receptionist in 2019.

From 2021-2022, she explored different positions within a larger group of veterinary offices. Feeling like this wasn’t a good fit for her and coming full circle, we welcome Sandi back to LFOF. Her veterinary experience, knowledge base, and overall love for the companion-animal bond are welcome assets to our practice. We are incredibly thrilled to have her back on Team LFOF. When not working, Sandi enjoys reading, playing video games, and spending time with her friends. She has one dog, Iggy, and he is quite a rascal!

Angelica Floyd

Angelica’s deep love for animals has been a guiding force throughout her life. Her journey into the world of veterinary medicine was set in motion by a significant moment – her first pet, a beloved bird named Peanut. The bond they shared instilled in her a lifelong passion for the welfare of animals.

Angelica’s academic pursuits led her to Grand Valley State University, where she double majored and earned two bachelor’s degrees. Her first degree was a bachelor’s in biology, focusing on pre-veterinary studies. During this time, she solidified her commitment to the well-being of animals, recognizing the importance of their health and happiness. However, as she immersed herself in her studies, she became interested in behavioral neuroscience, which led her to earn a second bachelor’s degree in this field. Although briefly considering a career as a behavioral specialist, Angelica’s heart remained steadfastly drawn to veterinary medicine.

In her journey towards the veterinary field, we welcome Angelica’s passion for veterinary medicine and feel incredibly lucky to have her as an addition to Team LFOF. She is working on obtaining her Fear Free certification and ensuring the well-being of animals in her care. With plans to apply for veterinary school, Angelica eagerly anticipates the opportunity to impact the field significantly.

In her free time, she finds solace in running, watching football and UFC, and spending time with her two feline companions, Kora and Cinder, and her two goldfish named Thing One and Thing Two.

Fox Dueweke

Fox grew up with pets being a core part of the household and has always had a strong connection with animals. After graduating from Eastern Michigan University in 2018, Fox gained experience in medical reception before moving to Ferndale in 2021.

They discovered a new passion in the veterinary field and have enjoyed the rewards and challenges of veterinary reception ever since. Fox recently joined the LFOF team in the summer of 2023, and they are excited to be starting courses in Fear Free certification. We are excited to have Fox join team LFOF and welcome their experience and passion for working with animals.

Fox lives in Ferndale with their partner Alex and their two pets – Sophie the cat (pictured above) and Samira the ball python. Outside of work, Fox enjoys traveling, camping, cooking, playing games, and listening to music, podcasts & audiobooks.

Maggie DeVaughn

Maggie grew up always mindful of her love and care of animals. She has many memories of putting this passion to good use as a foster parent for several cats, dogs, kittens, and puppies. Such experiences led her to explore large animal care while volunteering and honing her animal husbandry skills at a large animal rescue/sanctuary where she tended to several horses, goats, chickens, and the occasional dog and cat.
We welcome Maggie to team LFOF and hope to continue to foster her gentle nature and love of animals as she explores a career in Veterinary Medicine. When she is not working, she enjoys spending time outside with friends. Maggie and her fiancé live in Romeo with their three cats, Malcolm, Sora, and Minerva. They enjoy traveling; she enjoys exploring, being outside, seeing new things, and dabbling in photography. When she’s not outside or playing with her cats, she loves playing video games and reading good books.
“Becoming part of this team has been amazing for me and made me realize this is my true passion and purpose in life. I am hopeful I will learn from the technicians along the way and eventually pursue a career as a licensed technician.”

Maggie Babiarz

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had an intense fascination with nature. I feel strongly that my purpose in this life is to serve animals and those who love them. My love for critters, big and small, has never wavered from a young child into adulthood; I’ve brought in bugs, birds, rodents, and dogs and cats to offer them a new chance at life. In turn, animals do the same for me; I find their companionship very therapeutic. I hope that as I grow in my career in veterinary medicine, I can help others find a love for protecting animals and our environment. I love helping people better understand their beloved pets and their wild ancestors.

We welcome Maggie to team LFOF and are super excited to be a part of her journey in veterinary medicine. Her love of animals, animal advocacy, and playful spirit are assets to the team.