Meet Our Team

Patient Care

Dr. Dirk Dekens, DVM - Owner

I was only six years old when I proclaimed to my parents and family that I wanted to become a veterinarian. I didn’t live on a farm nor did I have any exposure to the “field of animal medicine”. Nevertheless I always fostered a keen interest and thirst for knowledge about nature and animals in general. We didn’t have any cats, dogs or large animals, but my dad had built a small aviary which, to my delight, housed a variety of song birds, quails, guinea pigs and two beautiful “striped tree squirrels”, which I aptly named Jeff and Josephine. The quails laid eggs, the guinea pigs multiplied as guinea pigs do , but to everyone’s delight Jeff and Josephine also surprised us with four healthy baby squirrels. The miracle of life was unfolding right in front of us. Needless to say I was in my element!

The only thing that was missing, in my mind at least, was the ability, like Dr. Doolittle, to talk to the animals. Later on, of course, I learned that animals have their own ways to communicate with each other and with us, they just do it differently. The rest, as they say, is history.

I went to vet school in Ghent, Belgium and graduated with a doctoral degree in veterinary medicine in 1986. I owned a small and exotic animal practice in Ghent offering both in clinic and housecalls for my clients but decided to take the big move and emigrated to Canada in 1989. My career since has been varied and stimulating as I worked in a variety of veterinary clinical and surgical settings.

Highlights for me have been my work as an emergency veterinarian at the now closed Calgary Animal Emergency Clinic for about three years and an eight year full-on commitment as the first full time veterinarian hired by the Calgary Humane Society. I also co-founded and owned Sit Happens! Companion Dog Training, a force-free and reward based dog training school in Calgary.

My interests in veterinary medicine revolve around animal welfare, ethical issues in veterinary medicine and the importance of the human animal bond. My greatest pleasure has been and continues to be the interactions with my clients and their nonhuman companions as I travel from home to home. Maybe I do have a bit of a Dr. James Herriot inside of me :)

Dr. Tara Pugh

I am so fortunate to have had a true African experience - I grew up in Zimbabwe, living in the national park and on various farms. There I had exposure to a large variety of animals right from the start - from playing with my bunny, Labradors and cats, to the memories I have of feeding the elephants and going for sunset game drives.

Having experiences such as these, my passion for animals grew exponentially!

My family will tell you that from the tender age of five, I said that one day I will be a veterinarian. My pursuit of this dream saw me attend Veterinary School in South Africa. After I graduated, I worked in a rural community near Kruger National Park. There I was involved in educating the local people on primary animal health care. I then had my own practice, working as a wildlife vet that treated, chemically immobilized and relocated wildlife, mostly from the seat of a helicopter. Then I concentrated on small animal veterinary medicine and surgery, gaining valuable experience, with some time spent as a locum veterinarian travelling around South Africa.

Now I have the opportunity for an exciting new adventure in beautiful Canada!

I look forward to meeting you and getting to know your pets!

​Dr. Olivia Schmidtz, DVM

I was raised in beautiful Calgary where I completed my BSc in Ecology (2015) and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (2020) degrees at the University of Calgary.

My special interests include canine and feline behaviour, dental surgery and dermatology. As a postive reinforcement/clicker trainer (KTP-CTP), I am passionate about sharing my knowledge with clients to ensure both the physical and emotional health of their pets. 

I spend my free time with family, cooking vegetarian food, training my dog and cats, doing calligraphy and getting outdoors. 

I can't wait to meet you and your furry companions. 


​Dr. Jill Rankin, DVM

I was born and raised in Calgary and have always had a deep love for all animals.

First I pursued an undergraduate degree in natural science with a major in chemistry and then completed my Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Calgary. Besides a love of chemistry (which I’ve tried to hide so I don’t look too nerdy), I also have a deep passion for surgery, internal medicine and dentistry, and have completed the University of Illinois Small Animal Surgical Dentistry Intensive course.

I also love the outdoors and caring for my pets. My favorite hobbies include running, snowboarding, and traveling the world.

I’m excited to be part of the team here at Montgomery Village Veterinary Clinic and can’t wait to meet and help care for all of your furry and lovable family members!

Katie B, RVT, Medical Director

I am the full-time RVT and Director of Medical Services at Montgomery Village Veterinary Clinic.

Animals are my passion and I’ve always been an advocate for them. I used to bring home stray animals when I was younger so it was natural for me to make animal health my career choice.

I graduated from Lakeland College’s Animal Health Technology Program (now known as Veterinary Technician) in 2012.

With being an RVT I have had my fair share of animals, at one point my house was all senior critters that had a various of care needs, now I have 2 kitties, an orange tabby named Owen and a brown tabby name Tucker.

My passions in veterinary medicine are dermatology and dentistry. I keep myself up-to-date by taking continuing education courses on these subjects and staying on top of the latest and greatest to keep our quality of medicine high.

As much as I love puppies and kittens, it’s the senior pets you’ll see me hanging out with in my free time. I love how gentle and wise they are and just seem to have an understanding of the world.

I was incredibly honoured to win the 2019 Veterinary Technician of the year across North America award from Pet Plan. I was so thankful to be nominated by a co-worker and to be taken to Florida to receive my award.

Vanessa, RVT

For my whole life I have been in the veterinary world, as my mom is an RVT. I decided to follow in her footsteps and go to RVT school right out of high school.

I graduated the two-year RVT program at Thompson River’s university (in Kamloops) in 2012. I started my career in emergency and after just over a year, I moved to general practice and stayed there for 4.5 years.

In 2018, I took a travelling leave and now work a very rewarding career of locuming/contracting in both ER and general practice. I’m not done travelling, so I currently have no pets of my own, but I happily spoil all the family and friends’ animals in my life.

I’m very into sports and outdoor activities when I’m not travelling, which make for a very nice work-life balance.

Michelle, RVT

I grew up in southern Alberta on an acreage and have always had an interest in critters big and small.

I graduated from the AHT program at Olds College in 2010 and have worked in a variety of clinics over the years. I enjoy building relationships with clients, working with their pets and seeing great improvment on their quality of life.  

In my spare time I enjoy being involved with my church, going hiking and camping in the mountains, playing tennis and playing a variety of games with family and friends.

At home my husband and I have a crazy young cat named Belle who is always up to mischief :)

Sydney C, VTA

When I was little I would always ask for a puppy on my birthday, and almost every other day of the year. My dad always said no, but then one day, he brought me home a wooden dog and said this was the only animal he’d ever have in the house. Thankfully, he was lying. When I was 12, I got my first dog, I named him Hemi ‘cause my dad was a Dodge man and he raised me to be. Hemi was a Bichon Shi Tzu Schnauzer cross, we think, and he was my whole world.
Ever since I was very young, I always loved animals. I used to pretend I was a dog and crawl around the house, even carry things in my mouth just to stay being a dog.

After going to SAIT for post-secondary school of business, I decided to follow my love of animals and went to Olds College to become a Veterinary Technical Assistant. I graduated in 2015 with high marks and lots of knowledge. My love of animals had grown even more; I didn’t just love being around them, I wanted to help them when they were sick, scared or on their last day. I’ve always had a big heart, for people and for animals, but at the end of the day, I will put an animal before myself.

I grew up with my dad raising me and my two sisters, so I can be very bullheaded and stubborn, but I think that’s also my Ukrainian background.  In a way I think that helps with my career choice because I can help animals and be their voice for their well-being and stick to it, but I am also very compassionate and gentle when I need to be.  I’ve always thought about being a veterinarian, but I like where I am now.My career lets me be the good person who is helping to hold them when they are scared and to comfort them when they need it, and that’s why I went to school.

Unfortunately, I recently lost Hemi. He had a very good life and I think I was a good dog mom. At some point in my life I will have another pet, but for now, Hemi was great enough.

My job is also wonderful in the sense that I can do it anywhere in the world, it allows me to travel, which is the other love of my life.

I can’t wait to see where the veterinary medicine community can take me!


Client Care

Erin, Client Care Coordinator

I graduated from Bow Valley College from the Veterinary Office Assistant program in 2018, and since then I have been busy being a full-time mom to my two beautiful girls.
I have recently just joined the wonderful team at Montgomery Village Veterinary Clinic as a Client Care Coordinator and I am so happy to be starting my career. Ever since I was a little girl I have loved animals and always wanted to do something animal-related.
I’ve always grown up with cats at home, but I want a Corgi really bad! One day! For now, I have my beautiful, sassy, big boy named Caspurr at home.
In my spare time, I’m usually hanging out with my husband and daughters and playing video games.

Maya, Client Care Coordinator

I am a full-time university student at Thompson Rivers University working towards  my degree in Chemical Biology, with the goal of becoming a STARS paramedic. 

I am so grateful to start as a Client Care Coordinator at Montgomery Village Vet Clinic with such welcoming arms.  They have truly shown me a different view into the medical world and how interesting it can be.

On top of being a university student, I am a photographer who loves nature and being outside.

Currenlty I am a proud fish owner and hope for bigger things in the future. 


Executive Director 

Darlene Vandevenne, MSW, RSW, Executive Director, Marketing Services 

Many of my fondest memories have involved animals. The horse on my brother’s farm that I rode as a young girl, the cats and the first dog my children grew up with, and the many hamsters and guinea pigs we cared for over the years. I feel grateful to have shared my life with all these animals.

I strongly believe in the human-animal bond and I feel that my life has been richer for having had all these animals around. Now, I share my life with my husband Dirk Dekens, and our little dogs. Like children, they all have such different personalities and they all have such different interests. I have learned so much from them, for example, how accepting my dogs are and how quick they pick up on my body language when trying to navigate an agility course! I have also learned the importance of play and how it is good for both of us. I could not imagine a life without companion animals.

In my free time I enjoy doing agility with my little dogs, cycling, hiking in the mountains, traveling and spending time with friends.