NEADS World Class Service Dogs Welcomes Christine Pelletier, DVM as Medical Director
NEADS World Class Service Dogs is please to welcome Christine Pelletier, DVM, as Medical Director. In this volunteer position, Dr. Pelletier will provide veterinary advice and expertise on matters related to the health, wellbeing, and medical considerations for NEADS program dogs.
“With up to 90 dogs in the program at any given time, from ages 8 weeks to 2 years, the Medical Director has a big responsibility,” says Lacy Gillotti, Director of Canine Operations. “Dr. Pelletier will work closely with NEADS staff to help guide decision making on medical cases and ensure best practices are in place wherever the dogs may be, in prison, on campus, and with Weekend Puppy Raisers.”
“I was first introduced to NEADS when we held a regional VCA management meeting at the NEADS campus,” says Dr. Pelletier. “When I heard about the need for veterinarian volunteers for the Prison PUP Program, I felt a real connection. I was diagnosed with MS in early 2014 and at the time I was first at the NEADS campus I was walking with a cane for assistance. Looking into one possible future of mine, I realize that I could potentially be in need of a NEADS dog, so the position felt very personal to me, and I volunteered my services right away.
“I feel very grateful to be involved with the Prison PUP Program and help in this amazing process. Watching the progression of the pups’ training, as well as the dedication and passion of the inmate handlers and weekend puppy raisers is inspiring. To know that all these people work so hard to help train an amazing and life changing – I would even say life saving – Service Dog and then offer that dog to a person in need is something that I am humbled to the extreme to help with, even in the small way that I am.
Dr. Pelletier graduated from Northeastern University with a bachelor of science in Biochemistry in 1998 and graduated from Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine in 2001. She continued enjoying her lifelong interest in herps during this time, receiving an NIH grant for researching environmental impacts on local reptiles and amphibians, while also learning to treat pet reptiles and amphibians with a goal toward improving their captive health.
Upon graduation, Dr. Pelletier worked as a small animal practitioner, taking care of house pets of many species. After a few years at a small practice, she transferred to overnight emergency positions at larger hybrid hospitals (referral hospitals with wellness departments). She first joined VCA Cheshire Animal Hospital in Connecticut, where she became Chief of Emergency. She then moved on to VCA Boston Road Animal Hospital in Springfield, Massachusetts, where she continued as Chief of Emergency and progressed to become Medical Director.
In 2012, Dr. Pelletier, her husband Jim, and their most amazing Snowshoe Siamese cat Emery, decided to follow their passion and move from the suburbs back to downtown Boston, where they currently reside. They enjoy walking the city, kayaking the Charles, and enjoying all the best restaurants in the city. (Well, Emery only gets to look at the cityscape out the window.) As Medical Director at VCA Wakefield Animal Hospital, Dr. Pelletier sees reptiles, small mammals, and of course cats and dogs.