Jennifer Blair, DVM, CVA, CVFT

StFrancis-JenBlair-013_1small.jpgDr. Jennifer Blair began working at St Francis in December 1999 as a Veterinary Assistant. After receiving her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree from the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine in May 2002, she was hired as an Associate Veterinarian and went on to purchase the practice in December 2006. In the past three years, she is proud to have expanded St Francis’ services to include Integrative Services and Hospice & Palliative Care Services.

Jennifer’s professional interests include geriatrics, Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM), hospice/palliative care, and pain management, as well as internal medicine, preventative care, and cardiology. She is a Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist (CVA) and a Certified Veterinary Food Therapist (CVFT). She is continuing her studies at the Chi Institute of Chinese Medicine in Reddick FL to earn her Certified Veterinary Chinese Herbalist (CVCH) and Certified Veterinary Tui-Na Practitioner (CVTP) certifications.

She is a member of the International Association of Animal Hospice and Palliative Care (IAAHPC), International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management (IVAPM), American Academy of Veterinary Acupuncture (AAVA), Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement (APLB), Association of Avian Veterinarians (AAV), Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians (AEMV), Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association (MVMA), and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). She is currently working towards her Certified Veterinary Pain Practitioner (CVPP) certification through the IVAPM.

She shares her home with her cats, Neve, Whitney, and Raven. In her spare time, Jennifer enjoys traveling, dancing, music, reading, writing, and spending time with family and friends.

Why do you love being a veterinarian?
As a veterinarian, I get to spend my days doing work that I love – caring for animals and building relationships with the humans that love them. As a general practitioner, I find great joy in caring for an animal throughout his or her life, from the eight-week puppy or kitten visit to the time we say goodbye as they cross the Rainbow Bridge. As a specialist, I am honored to provide additional therapies such as acupuncture or herbal therapy to help alleviate pain or anxiety or provide palliative care for patients with terminal conditions. I love being a veterinarian because each day I get to go to work and make a difference in someone’s life.

Why do you love working at St. Francis Animal Hospital?
I love working at St Francis because we have an exceptional team of veterinarians, technicians, and assistants who work together to provide the very best care for our patients and our clients. Everyone is always striving to learn more and to be on the cutting edge of patient care, allowing us to offer unique services such as massage therapy, acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine, laser therapy, behavioral training, and hospice/palliative care. Every day, I have the honor to work with dedicated, knowledgeable, caring and compassionate individuals who share my goal of providing excellent veterinary care to the pets in our community --- it just doesn’t get any better than that!

Patricia Novak, DVM

StFrancis-PatriciaWeichselbaum-046small.jpgDr. Patricia Novak received her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree from the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine in 1997. She worked at Life Care Animal Hospital in St Paul for over 12 years before joining St. Francis Animal Hospital in 2009. In 2018, she completed her certification through the International Association of Hospice & Palliative Care to become one of the first veterinarians certified in Hospice & Palliative Care.

Patti’s professional interests include hospice care, palliative care and behavior. She is a member of the International Association of Animal Hospice and Palliative Care (IAAHPC), Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association (MVMA), American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP), and the Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians (AEMV).

She shares her home with her husband, Dr. Ralph Weichselbaum, and two children, Kipling and Anton. They participate in the foreign exchange program by hosting international high school students during the school year. The family shares their home with 3 cats, Luna, Silver, and Conan; 1 guinea pig, Rue; and 1 cockatiel, Lucy. Dr. Novak volunteers at her children’s schools, teaches Sunday school, and is on the Church Council at the ELCA Lutheran Church. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, visiting Duluth, reading, swimming in the ocean, and traveling.

Why do you love being a veterinarian?
I always knew I wanted to become a veterinarian. I love the challenging aspect of solving both medical and behavioral problems. I especially enjoy talking with clients to learn the valuable information needed to help solve their pet’s problem. In addition, helping families build stronger bonds with their pets is such a joy and so rewarding for me. Veterinary medicine allows me to develop and utilize various skills -- performing surgery and dentistry, providing medical treatments, educating clients, and interacting with animals are only a portion of what we accomplish each day.

Why do you love working at St. Francis Animal Hospital?
I love working at St Francis because I get to work with such an amazing team. Everyone shows an abundance of compassion for our patients, our clients, and each other. In addition, St Francis feels like a neighborhood practice. I love getting to know our clients and their families and love to be able to use my skills to help them in their time of need.

While I enjoy the happy times, I am thankful when I am there to support and help families during the difficult times as well. Helping pets in their senior years or when their physical abilities decline can be a challenge, but there are many things that we can do to improve their quality of life during this stage. Saying goodbye to our pets is also difficult, but I enjoy helping our pet owners navigate these tough moments as well. It has been quite fulfilling to become certified in Hospice & Palliative Care and I am extremely excited to launch these services at St Francis.

Jessica Lewis, DVM

StFrancis-JessicaLewis-030small.jpgDr. Jessica Lewis joined St. Francis Animal Hospital in the spring of 2011 as a veterinary assistant while she was obtaining her Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Science. She was promoted to a veterinary technician in 2013 and continued to work at St Francis part-time while earning her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) at the University of Minnesota. She completed a one-month externship at St Francis during her clinical rotations and was elated to officially join the team as a veterinarian in May 2018.

Jessica’s professional interests include small animal internal medicine, preventative care, nutrition, and anesthesia/pain management. She has completed the Fear Free Certification program and strives to reduce fear, anxiety, and stress related to veterinary visits.

Jessica is a member of the Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association (MVMA) and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).

In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, being outdoors, practicing yoga, and throwing the frisbee for her Australian Shepherds, Tig and George Bailey.

Why do you love being a veterinarian?
To say that I love being a veterinarian is an understatement. It is such a rewarding career, and I feel so fortunate to be part of this profession. I cannot think of anything more fulfilling than helping animals and the people who love them.

Beyond the difference that you can make in the lives of people and their pets, this career challenges you to grow and learn with each and every patient that you see. Even if you see the same disease multiple times in one day, every patient is an individual and each case is entirely different. There is certainly never a dull moment as a veterinarian!

Why do you love working at St. Francis Animal Hospital?
I am so grateful to have found St Francis many years ago when I was looking to gain experience in the field prior to applying for veterinary school. I quickly fell in love with the practice’s values and the close bonds formed with owners and their pets. With kindness and compassion, the team at St. Francis provides a level of care that is truly hard to find elsewhere. From the fellow doctors who have mentored me every step of the way, to our incredible support staff who make my job so much easier, I am unbelievably honored to be a part of this team.

Megan Schommer, DVM

StFrancis-MeganSchommer-009small.jpgDr. Megan Schommer is a 2010 graduate of the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. After graduation, Megan completed her internship in exotic companion animal medicine, general practice, emergency medicine, and zoo medicine at Valley Animal Hospital in Tucson, Arizona. Following her internship, she returned home to Minnesota and became an associate veterinarian at Lake Harriet Veterinary in April 2011. She joined St. Francis Animal Hospital in March 2020.

Megan’s professional interests include general surgery, exotic companion mammal medicine and surgery (especially rabbits!), dentistry, and critical care. She is a member of the Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association (MVMA), American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), and the Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians (AEMV). 

Megan lives in Minneapolis with her husband; two young daughters; and a small menagerie including Winnie the corgi; Taiko the cat; Daffodil the rabbit; Tormund the chinchilla; and Crystal, Nokomis, and Gunflint, the pampered urban backyard chickens. Outside of the clinic, Megan enjoys camping in the Boundary Waters, running, baking, and playing the oboe with the City of Lakes Community Band. Megan is also active in the Student Initiative for Reservation Veterinary Services, providing volunteer surgical training to veterinary students at the White Earth Reservation in northern Minnesota.

Why do you love being a veterinarian?
My family remembers that I declared at the age of three that I wanted to be an “animal doctor” and growing up, I put a lot of energy into raising rabbits, training our dogs, and building ever-larger aquariums. After exploring other avenues such as public health, zoonotic disease research, and field research on small mammals, I ultimately came back to veterinary medicine as the best combination of my love for animals, biology, ecology, and medicine. I love observing and improving the relationship between people and their pets, as well as helping to promote animal and public health on a larger scale through preventative medicine. Every day in clinical practice is different and I embrace the challenges that come along which such variety.

Why do you love working at St. Francis Animal Hospital?
St Francis Animal Hospital has a longstanding reputation for excellent client and patient care, high quality medicine, and community engagement. I am excited to join a team that emphasizes compassionate patient care, encompassing everything patients need from their first puppy or kitten visits through their geriatric years. St Francis also has a decades-long history of offering specialized care for exotic companion mammals, and I am eager to continue to provide these unique species with the individualized medical expertise that they require.

Michael Petersen, DVM

StFrancis-MikePeterson-015small.jpgDr. Petersen is a 2012 graduate of the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. He began his career serving rescue pets with MARS Veterinary Services in Brooklyn Park. He transitioned to Diamond Lake Animal Hospital in Minneapolis, where he has been a lead veterinarian for nearly eight years. Dr. Petersen is especially passionate about surgery, dentistry, and ultrasonography. He is a respected voice in our local veterinary community, and is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association (MVMA). He will join St. Francis Animal Hospital in February, 2021.

Outside of the clinic, Dr. Petersen spends most of his time at home with his wife, Erin, and three children, Hazel, Ivy and Jasper. He shares this home with two amazing feline family members, Cocoa (pictured) and Luna, as well as a number of fish. In his spare time, Mike enjoys playing ultimate frisbee competitively, as well as disc golf. Drag’n Thrust, his ultimate frisbee team, won the US National Title in 2013 and 2014 and went on to win the World Title in 2014!

Why do you love being a veterinarian?
I came about the realization I wanted to be a vet more slowly than most. I had finished my undergraduate degree in Biology without a firm plan, and found my way into the pet industry, and realized that I wanted more challenges, more interesting work, and above all, more ability to help. I have always had an inquisitive mind, and love the diagnostic challenges that come along with the job. Above all, I love seeing the bonds grow between pet parents and their furry kids. The relationships built between myself, your pet and you are why I love what I do.

Why are you excited to join St. Francis Animal Hospital?
I am very excited to join such a knowledgeable, compassionate and professional team at St. Francis. It's so important to me not only to provide the best care I can for my patients, but develop lasting relationships with their families. This is what really makes the work worthwhile. In the brief time I have gotten to know the St. Francis staff, I have been very impressed with everyone working here. I will love having such a great team of doctors and staff with so much experience to make sure that all my patients receive the best care possible. I'm also excited to meet all of you and your furry friends!

Vici Ribeiro, DVM

Dr. Vici is a 2002 graduate of the University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine.  She moved to Minnesota from Ohio in 1998, after completing a Master of Science in Physiology at Kent State University and a Bachelor of Science at Purdue in Indiana.  Her favorite part of being a veterinarian is teaching clients about the physiology and anatomy of their pets, prevention and treatment of dental disease and obesity, and guiding them through difficult decisions about their beloved pets.  She loves so many aspects of veterinary medicine, including surgery, dentistry and pathology and has always been a scientist at heart!  She has been a relief veterinarian for over 12 years, which means that she provides her professional services to clinics when the staff doctors are gone on vacation, maternity leave or have opted to move on to other opportunities.  Dr. Vici considers it an incredible privilege as well as a learning opportunity, to be invited to fill in for the regular staff.

Time outside of work is spent with Gertie, a rambunctious 7-year old Pit Bull Terrier, and Lenny, the most-naughty-of-all, a 6-year old domestic shorthair cat.  She loves to garden, tending her new pollinator habitat as well as many specimen plants and trees and to cook. When there is a spare moment, she will be on her Sportster for a fun ride in beautiful Minnesota or Wisconsin.  She is a passionate conservationist, and is recycling, repurposing and reducing whenever possible.