Get to Know Us at Pawsitive Steps Rehabilitation & Therapy for Pets!
"There is no greater joy than to do what you love and bring happiness to others along the way. Our animal companions do that for us, so we do rehabilitation therapy for them." ~ Tari Kern, DVM
At Pawsitive Steps Rehabilitation & Therapy for Pets, we exclusively treat canine and feline patients. This emphasis allows us to focus on the injuries and diseases specific to these species. A rehab certified veterinarian is physically involved in every case.
The focus of our philosophy is three-fold:
- Deliver compassionate veterinary rehabilitation and physical medicine services designed to reduce pain and improve the quality of life for your pet.
- Provide pet owners with exceptional service and individualized therapy programs for their pets, offering the patients clinical progress as our measure of success.
- Afford referring veterinarians the opportunity to offer unique therapeutic options to their patients and clients.
Dr. Tari Kern
Dr. Tari Kern earned her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine. After graduation, she completed a rotating internship in small animal medicine and surgery. She obtained her rehabilitation therapy training through the University of Tennessee and is a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner (CCRP).
In keeping with her commitment to provide new and innovative pain management and neuromodulation options for her animal patients, Dr. Kern obtained her veterinary acupuncture certification through Medical Acupuncture for Veterinarians, offered by the Colorado Veterinary Medical Association in conjunction with Colorado State University. Additionally, she gained training in Myofascial Trigger Point Therapy through MyoPain Seminars in Texas to help address difficult to manage muscle pain in her patients.
Dr. Kern pursued additional training in Veterinary Orthotics and Prosthetics (V-OP) care through Canine Rehabilitation Institute and is excited to provide new treatment options for patients with unique needs. The use of V-OP devices can provide wonderful improvements in quality of life for patients when appropriate rehabilitation plans are implemented. The adventure into orthotic care has resulted in Pawsitive Steps Rehabilitation & Therapy for Pets becoming a partner veterinary practice with OrthoPets, a world leader in veterinary orthotics located in Denver, Colorado.
Dr. Kern is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the International Association of Veterinary Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy, the American Association of Rehabilitation Veterinarians, and the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management.
Locally, she is an active member of the Michigan Veterinary Medical Association, Southeastern Michigan Veterinary Medical Association , and the Macomb County Veterinary Association. Each fall, Dr. Kern coordinates an annual community event called People, Pets & Vets, sponsored by the Michigan Veterinary Medical Association.
Along with her husband, Chris, one dog, and five cats, Dr. Kern resides in Southeastern Michigan, where she enjoys scuba diving, photography, yoga, biking, camping, volleyball, gardening, and other outdoor activities.
A personal statement from Dr. Kern about the creation of Pawsitive Steps Rehabilitation and Therapy for Pets:
"Pawsitive Steps Rehabilitation & Therapy for Pets was founded for the love of a dog. Veterinary medicine had always been my passion, but the needs of my aging canine companion brought the benefits of rehabilitative veterinary medicine into clearer focus. I joke that a cat sent me to vet school, but a dog sent me to rehab."
Lisa Blanchard LVT, CMT, CCRPLisa started her formal journey into the world of canine physical rehabilitation in 2004, when she decided to learn massage therapy because her own agility dogs were in need of bodywork. She received her certification in canine massage therapy from Integrated Touch Therapy in Circleville, Ohio. However, her desire to learn more became stronger, so the next step was to become a Licensed Veterinary Technician. She graduated with honors from Macomb Community College's Veterinary Technician Program in 2008. Since graduation, Lisa has worked exclusively in the field of rehabilitation. During that time, she attended the University of Tennessee's Canine Rehabilitation Program and is proud to say she is only one of a handful of professionals in the state of Michigan with the designation of CCRP (Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner). Lisa joined the Pawsitive Steps team in June 2014.
In her off time, Lisa enjoys training and showing her dogs. She has been actively competing in multiple venues since 1993. Her Labrador retriever, Sergei got her started competing in obedience and agility and from there she moved onto competing with Doberman Pinschers. With the Dobermans, she has achieved titles in conformation, agility, rally, obedience, lure coursing and scent work. Her competition background has been a complement to working with athletes. She understands canine sports and their rigorous requirements. However, the geriatric dogs are the ones that really tug at her heartstrings. "My Labrador, Sergei was a very arthritic dog due to his poor conformation. I didn't know anything about pain management or rehab back then. One of my goals is to help owners achieve the best quality of life they can with their geriatric dogs."
Lisa has been married to her high school sweetheart, Tom, since 1990. They enjoy traveling and riding their Harley together.
Colleen Lum, LVT
Colleen always had a passion for animals ever since she was a child. She graduated from a veterinary technician program in 2010 and had worked for 3 years in a small animal practice prior to joining the Pawsitive Steps team. She has a cat named Ying and a dog named Scout, who is also a rehab patient.
"I am very excited to start this new chapter in my career. I believe that our pets are family. For many of us, they are our children. We would do anything to improve their lives and give them what they need. That is why I am in this field. We are their voice."
Kim knew from an early age that working with animals was her life's passion. For nearly 30 years, she has worked as a receptionist, assistant, technician and office manager at two veterinary hospitals in southeast Michigan. In September of 2013, she joined the team at Pawsitive Steps. Kim is married to Earl and has 5 four-legged children - 2 dogs and 3 cats.
"I have been an animal lover my entire life. I am grateful to be able to do what I love for a living. Working with a truly compassionate and caring team to better the lives of our patients is my dream come true."
Everything happens for a reason or so they say. Hercules is Pawsitive Steps' "little big man". He is proof that love and rehab can enhance quality of life. He started out with a pretty rough start, but is happy and playful now. He suffered 3 fractures in his rear legs at 4 months of age, which were left to heal abnormally before he was removed from his original home by animal control.
Besides the fractures and pain, his injuries resulted in quadriceps contracture, which is a permanent fibrotic change of the major thigh muscles and affected both his rear legs. He already had significant arthritis in both of his stifles (knees) before his first birthday due to the fractures. Over time, Hercules will develop arthritis earlier in his "normal" joints due to how he compensates for his handicaps, so he will require some rehabilitation care throughout his life.
When we met, Hercules was skinny and only toe-touched with his rear legs. He has made amazing strides since then! Hercules is now officially part of Dr. Kern's family and the Pawsitive Steps Rehab team. Hercules is pleased announce the release his movie trailer on our YouTube site showing his progress from rescue into rehab. Drop by the office, he would love to meet you!