Fun & Quirky Facts About Our Staff

It is finally time for me to write a purely fun and entertaining blog. I started here at Hillcrest Animal Hospital on December 1st, 2016 and so I am trying to learn more about my workmates. I thought clients may find some of the quirky facts interesting, entertaining and even strange. This just enforces that we are all people too and have lives outside of veterinary medicine. I’ll leave my own stats to the end.

Alicia Aide
Alicia has been at Hillcrest Animal Hospital since 2004. She is our Pet Nutrition Advocate and is a trained vet assistant. She may be the happiest person in the world as I have yet to see her grumpy or even without a smile. Could someone so sweet looking love Heavy Metal music? YES!! She loves pizza and attending car shows. She has four cats and a dog. She is afraid of snakes and spiders. She claims to have no quirks but I’ll keep watching her!

Maarje Armstrong
Maarje graduated from vet school in 2003. She was one of my externship students in her final year of University and she actually covered my first maternity leave at another clinic! In her spare time, she loves to read novels with happy endings and swimming. She has a dog and a fish. When I asked her what her favourite food is she quickly replied “Oh, I like to eat” and then gave me a list of foods longer than I have time to type. She speaks both English and French. Sometimes she prefers the colour blue but somedays it is green!

Jen Barre
Jen is one of the smiling faces that greet you upon arrival. Jen is actually a Registered Veterinary Technician but due to her exceptional people skills, she is one of our full-time receptionists. She started here in 1998 so you should know that she makes Maple Syrup every Spring and loves to backpack. Also, did you know she was born a polydactyl? She had an extra thumb on her left hand. Just imagine how fast she would have typed if they didn’t surgically remove it! She loves all colours and only has three cats (we need to work on this). She would not admit to any weird obsessions or hobbies.

Darlene Cannon
Dar, as everyone calls her here, is the Head Technician. She is often working behind the scenes so you may not know her as well as the front staff. She started here in 1997. She was blessed with triplets (two girls, one boy). She loves to snowboard and kayak, although with triplets and a full-time job doesn’t have enough time to enjoy these activities often. She has two cats, one dog, and a rabbit. When I asked her about other languages she spoke she quickly replied “English and teenager!” Oh, and yes, she loves the colour blue!

Henrica Cherrier
You may be thinking “who the heck is Henrica?” She usually goes by Sam and she is the little bundle of happiness and love that you will see do most jobs. She is completing her certified vet assistant course but performs duties as a receptionist and in the nutrition room. She started here in 2005 and in September she will have been a working in this field for 25 years! She loves walking in nature (and mentioned she has had poison ivy a few times). She also loves to listen to music, anything before the eighties. She is a funny woman, when I asked her if she had a favourite activity her smart-aleck response was “I can’t say that, or that, or that, and oh..that would get me arrested”. As you can see she is entertaining to work with! Her favourite colour is orange. Sam is fluent in French and English.

Kelsey Hewgill
Kelsey is the newest team member and started here in January 2017 not long after me. She is a Registered Veterinary Technician. She has a horse and rides English. She also has three cats, three dogs, and a fish. The only strange fact she would give me is that she still lives with her parents. I don’t find that strange as I would still live with my mom if I could! Kelsey’s Dad is a veterinarian in Belleville. Her favourite colour is blue.

Michelle Kloostra
Michelle is a technician but works as a full-time receptionist. She started here in 2008. If you know her you know that she is obsessed with anime. She loves to sew clothes and costumes and is addicted to Pepsi. She has a dog and a cat. She has an extreme phobia of boats.

Jen Lewis
Jen is a Veterinary Assistant but describes herself as a Jack of All Trades. She started here in 2006. She has three human kids and one dog who apparently eats everything (legos, underwear, hair ties, crayons, etc). In her spare time, she loves to knit (and is often seen at lunchtime knitting). She has even started her own knitting business called Needles & Hooks. She also enjoys playing baseball and fishing. Her favourite food is anything chicken based. She met her husband on a blind date 13 years ago! She admits she has a ‘thing’ for bearded men and luckily her husband has a beard! Her favourite colours are purple and teal and she shows this proudly with her coloured hair!

Meghan Nielsen
Meghan is one of our part-time receptionist and started in 2008. She loves all music and the colour pink. She enjoys snowboarding, camping, and reading. She has one dog, one cat, one hamster and a fish. Her dog’s name is T-Rex Rainbow Chicken! She is TERRIFIED of frogs. If you have noticed our beautiful window art, Meghan is the talented artist who creates it.

Stephanie Schruder
Steph is the clinic office manager. She started here in 2003. She loves the colour black and all music except for country. Her big quirk is that her food can’t touch on her plate and she has passed this quirk on to her daughter!

Mike Steen
I have wanted to be a veterinarian since I was 5 years old, but in college, I discovered a talent for programming. I had a choice to pursue a Master’s in Computer Science after my BSC or go on to vet school. Obviously, I graduated from the Atlantic Veterinary College in 1990 as one of the “First Class Guinea Pigs”. I also have an insatiable appetite for well-written fantasy and science fiction. I played Dungeons and Dragons and many, many, many video games in college and I live for MMORPG games. I started with Ultima Online shortly after my son was born in 1997 and played a moderately famous dwarf “tank” in World of Warcraft for over seven years, quitting when they added talking pandas to the game. I desperately want to find a new MMORPG worth playing. I love soccer, both playing it in college and coaching a local boys team for years, who managed to progress to tier 2 provincial soccer which has never been done before. My wife and I presently have three small dogs but we love dogs that “displace a lot of air”. We had a 175-pound Irish Wolfhound who broke our hearts when he died at just four and a half years old. I love recreational diving and have been in the water with everything from Bull Sharks to Whale Sharks. I also have a tattoo of my WoW dwarf character on my upper left arm.

Sarah Tremblay
Sarah is a Registered Veterinary Technician and started at Hillcrest Animal Hospital in 2014. Her favourite food is normally pizza but since she is pregnant every food is her favourite! Her favourite colour is purple and she loves camping, reading, and yoga. She admits that she loves being a couch potato (those days are nearing an end though).

Arin Por
Arin graduated from vet school in 2016 and started here soon after. She speaks both English and French. She has a bunny and a fish. FYI – she is cute and single! She loves to use puns when talking. In her spare time, she likes to play hockey. When I asked her about her favourite food she replied. “I love food. I have a great metabolism and plan to run it into the ground!” Her favourite colour in green.

Melissa Weese
When I started here there were so many names to learn. I couldn’t remember them all so I quickly nicknamed Mel “Treat”. She is known to love desserts. She likes to ski and do yoga and is learning to play the violin. She loves the colour purple. She has a dog, two cats, and a parrot. She claims to speak English and sarcasm!

Ashley Kirkham
Ok, now it’s my turn! I graduated in 2000 and started here as a part-time veterinarian in December 2016. I have nine cats (six indoor), four dogs, one fish, two bunnies, two goats, two horses and four chickens. I love all my pets but my cat Rolo and my chicken Heather Featherly are the cuddliest and are often with me. Yes, my quirk is that my chicken comes into my house and yes she wears diapers! I love the colour purple and have always been and always will be obsessed with Prince and all his music. I speak English and enough Haitian Creole to survive in Haiti. I have been struggling to learn Finnish my whole life. I love going on Church mission trips to Haiti and have a Foster Child who I visit while there. I’m allergic to garlic and red food colouring, love Thai food and love to sew. I have a huge sweet tooth and love wine, but I have been going to Body by Sergio and therefore, I just think about eating/drinking these things! I have a severe phobia of ventriloquist dolls – long story. And yes I have a tattoo that includes a symbol for my first horse, first dog, my profession and my love of Prince!


Written by Ashley Kirkham, DVM