2020 Vet of the Year

Dr. Christopher R. McKinney (award presented by our V.P. Barb Hollands)

The NYSWRC Veterinarian of the Year award is presented to a veterinarian who has demonstrated outstanding qualities and skills that have contributed to a cooperative working relationship between the veterinary community and wildlife rehabilitators.

In addition to nominating an individual veterinarian, NYSWRC has recognized that it is often difficult to nominated one individual veterinarian from a hospital that has more than one veterinarian and many other staff members that contributes to the successful rehabilitation of many wildlife patients in conjunction with multiple licensed wildlife rehabilitators. NYSWRC also will accept a nomination of a veterinary hospital or clinic for the award.

When considering candidates for the Veterinarian of the Year award the Council recognizes and appreciates the efforts of all the veterinarians who have contributed their time and skills, frequently without charge, to wildlife rehabilitators across the state. The selection of the Veterinarian of the Year is based on the veterinarian or hospital meeting the majority of the following criteria:

Dedication and Commitment: The Council recognizes that veterinarians are highly skilled animal health care professionals who must also manage a small business. When considering the dedication and commitment of a veterinarian, we recognize:

  • the willingness of a veterinarian to provide the time to work with a wildlife rehabilitator and to share his or her knowledge and skills to improve wildlife health care
  • the sincere interest of the veterinarian to provide professional services for wildlife often without compensation
  • the professional demeanor of the veterinarian that fosters open dialogue and respect between a veterinarian and a wildlife rehabilitator

Skills: The Council recognizes that veterinarians are professionals who possess the critical skills that are required to treat an injured or sick wild animal for eventual release to the wild. When considering the skills of a veterinarian we recognize:

  • an ability by the veterinarian to apply their unique skills to wild patients
  • a sincere desire by the veterinarian to listen to the wild-life rehabilitator and to learn about the wild patient to render the best care
  • a willingness by the veterinarian to share his or her knowledge with the wildlife rehabilitation community through participation as speakers in education forums such as seminars and workshops
  • a desire to learn more about wildlife and wildlife rehabilitation so that the veterinarian can enhance their skills
  • contributions to the field of wildlife rehabilitation through the development of innovative wildlife health care techniques, by encouraging other veterinarians to ‘volunteer‘ to support and work with local wildlife rehabilitators and by assisting with the professional development of wildlife rehabilitators

People Skills: The Council recognizes that veterinary skills alone do not define a professional. When considering the people skills of a veterinarian, we recognize:

  • the interaction between the veterinarian and the wild patient
  • confidence of the veterinarian that fosters a willingness to listen and learn
  • the understanding by the veterinarian that they have a leadership role in the community and that this often entails acting for the “greater good”

The commitment to provide care to wildlife not only involves contributions of time, money or expertise. It involves a great deal of compassion and heart fueled by a genuine interest in and concern for the welfare of animals in need regardless of their species. 

If you would like to nominate your special veterinarian or hospital please send us a letter of support using the above criteria. You may also include information relevant to your veterinarian‘s nomination such as: where they graduated from veterinary school, any wildlife experience obtained while in school, and any outside activities demonstrating an interest in wildlife. If selected, you will need to supply a photograph of the winner. 

Please remember that you may resubmit a letter from previous year(s), just update it with any new content or contact information.

The DEADLINE for this year’s submissions is September 30. We will notify the wildlife rehabilitator and the veterinarian or hospital within a few weeks of the selection. An award will be presented at the Annual Conference Banquet. The selected veterinarian or hospital will be welcome, as our guest, for the conference and the banquet festivities, and will also receive a one year free subscription to Release. 

If you have attended a conference, then you know what an honor this is for the award recipient. It only happens if you nominate an individual or a hospital staff. We look forward to reading your nominations!!!!

Please send your letters to the Council at barbh103@rochester.rr.com or:
NYSWRC, Attention Veterinary Committee
1170 State Road
Webster, NY 14580

NYSWRC Past Veterinarian of the Year Award Recipients:

1996: Dr. Mark Pokras
1997: Dr. Michael Bond
1998: Dr Alison HAzel
1999: Dr Carol Tomascke
2000: Dr. Basil Tangredi
2001: Dr Wendi Westrom
2002: Dr Carl Eisenhard
2003: Dr James Robinson
2004: Dr Laura Wade
2005: Dr Victor J. Dasaro
2006: Dr Brian Landenberger
2007:  Dr Brian Hall
2008: Dr Karen Moran
2009: Dr Erica Miller
2010: Dr Matthew Dunaif
2011: Dr Christopher Elson
2012: Dr Jonathan Turetsku
2013: Dr Tanya Jackson
2014: Dr Ellen Leonhardt
2015: Dr Justin Molnar
2016: Dr Joan Puritz
2017: Dr. Noha Abou-Madi
2018: Dr. Nate Theobald
2019: Dr. Carrie O’Loughlin
2020: Dr. Christopher R. McKinney

Vet of the Year Submissions