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 :)
 

Katie B, RVT, Medical Director

I studied Animal Health Technology at Lakeland College and graduated in 2012 with the designation of Registered Veterinary Technologist.

I have a special interest in dentistry, cytology, and inventory, and love what I do because I get to assist those who can't speak for themselves, and help strengthen the animal-human bond.

I have a dog, Koen, who is a maltese-cross, and two kitties: an orange tabby named Tyson, and a brown tabby named Mr. Porridge.


 

Michelle H, 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 improvement in 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.



 

Client Care

Merissa, Client Care Representative

I have been working in the animal industry for over 10 years, learning a great deal about animal behaviour and nutrition. Most recently, I worked as a boarding supervisor at a local pet daycare and boarding centre that had a hospital attached to it. At this centre, they housed dogs and cats that had separation anxiety, geriatric patients, and patients recovering from a variety of surgeries which allowed me to learn more about veterinary medicine. I looked into many different methods of treatments to help the patients and their owners in order to make the animals’ boarding stays as smooth as possible.

In the past two years, I have taken a special interest in hospice and palliative care for animals and how to better help clients during these times. I also work part time at Pet Heaven to gain more knowledge in hospice and palliative care on all fronts.

I am extremely excited to be a part of the Dekens Housecall Veterinary team, to share my knowledge, and learn more.
 

Kirstin, Client Care Representative

I have always had a love for animals! Growing up I was constantly surrounded by animals and fell in love instantly.

I started volunteering at AARCS with my aunt when I was 16 and through this I also received my emergency pet first aid certification. My passion for helping and caring for animals in need started to grow and I knew then that I wanted to work in the veterinary industry.

Once I graduated high school I enrolled in the Veterinary Technical Assistant program. In this program I learned different ways of assisting in the clinic and being able to properly care for animals.

I currently have a six-year-old cat named Molly and a 12-year-old cat named Lucky.

Marketing & Bereavement Services

 

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, Cayenne and Chai. 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 working alongside Dirk through Dekens Housecall Veterinary Services, I have seen the tremendous bonds people have with their animals, as well as the pain when faced with a difficult diagnosis or end of life decision. I have experienced firsthand the struggle to make decisions about palliative care and end of life issues with our own dogs and know how important it is to feel understood. As Dirk has been known for providing compassionate home euthanasia’s, I saw a need to offer supportive counselling to our clients around these difficult decisions.

As a professionally trained clinical social worker with over 20 year of experience counselling children and adults with chronic illness, trauma and loss, I saw an area where I could give back to the community. I am here to offer support and grief counselling to ensure that our clients and their companion animals receive the care and compassion they need and work towards a respectful closure.

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