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.
Tari Kern, DVM, CCRP, CVMA, CVSMT
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). Dr. Kern believes that veterinary patients benefit greatly from an integrative approach to healing through blending both traditional medicine and holistic care options in her physical medicine practice. Her passion to provide the best clinical options for her patients has driven her ongoing commitment to learning. Currently, Dr. Kern is engaged in residency training through the American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation.
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. She pursued training in Myofascial Trigger Point Therapy through MyoPain Seminars in Texas to help address difficult to manage muscle pain in her patients. Additionally, Dr. Kern is certified in Veterinary Spinal Manipulative Therapy (VSMT, aka "animal chiropractic") through the Healing Oasis Wellness Center. She has also taken canine sports medicine courses through Canine Rehabilitation Institute.
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, the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association 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 and ‘wholistic care’ into clearer focus. I joke that a cat sent me to vet school, but a dog sent me to rehab."
Dr. Nicole Nelson
Dr. Nelson received her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Michigan State College of Veterinary Medicine. While attending veterinary school, she began spending breaks at Pawsitive Steps, gaining knowledge in the rehabilitation field. This interest led her to enroll in University of Tennessee’s Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner (CCRP) program which she is set to complete in December 2018. Additionally, following graduation she enrolled in Curacore’s Medical Acupunture for Veterinarians and is currently working on becoming certified.
Dr. Nelson lovingly shares her home with two adoptees, a Saint Bernard and a Golden Retriever (Apollo and Kiya), and a Bloodhound (Beauregard). When she is not busy snuggling 340 pounds worth of dogs, she enjoys traveling, photography, kayaking, refinishing old furniture and attending flea markets.
“Many veterinarians find their way to rehabilitation after years in practice. I have been lucky enough to find my passion early in my career.”
Cathryn Adolph, LVT, CCRP
Cathryn has loved animals all of her life, especially dogs. While growing up, her family was never without one. Currently Cathryn shares her life with Locke, a German Shepherd Dog Mix, and Indie, an Australian Shepherd Mix, two turtles, and a Guinea Pig. Most of whom found their way into her life through the veterinary office or kennel where she worked.
Cathryn earned her Bacheolor's Degree in Biology in 2003 from Eastern Michigan University. Working as a veterinary assistant since 2001, she left the veterinary field briefly when she moved to Florida. However, she missed working in veterinary medicine and, upon moving back to Michigan, got back into the field. Feeling she had reached a plateau as a veterinary assistant, she entered Macomb Community College's Veterinary Technician program. During her time in the program, she received an annual SEMVMA scholarship, was nominated for leadership awards, and served as her class Vice President. She graduated with honors in 2013. She joined Pawsitive Steps Rehabilitation & Therapy for Pets in August of 2014. In June 2017, Cathryn completed University of Tennessee's Canine Rehabilitation Program and became a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner.
Janelle Allen, LVT
Janelle is a graduate from Michigan State University Veterinary Technology Program. Prior to MSU, she earned a Bachelor's of Science in Psychology from Western Michigan University. It was towards the end of her psychology program that she decided she would go back to school to become a veterinary technician. While in MSU's vet tech program, Janelle discovered her passion for veterinary rehabilitation.
Janelle enjoys reading, watching football (go Patriots!), and spending time with her two brothers whenever possible. At home, Janelle has two dogs - a 13 year old, black lab/German shepherd mix named Maddie and a 5 year old Staffordshire terrier named Eve.
Jennie Houghteling, LVT
For as long as she could remember, Jennie has always loved animals and wanted to work with them when she grew up. When she was a senior in high school, she found out about becoming a licensed veterinary technician and she knew that was that she wanted to be. Jennie graduated from the Veterinary Technician Program at Baker College in Clinton Township and became a Licensed Veterinary Technician in 2011. She has worked in several general practice clinics and an exotic practice in the metro Detroit area before joining the Pawsitive Steps team in July 2017.
Her house was never without some type of rescued pet as she was growing up and her adult life is the same way. She currently shares her life with Brownie (a chocolate Labrador Retriever) and 2 cats, Chaos (an American Curl who receives acupuncture for his glaucoma) and Aramis, (a bottle fed kitten who is still feisty today), Lovey Dovey (an Albino Ringneck Dove), 4 goldfish from the carnival, a land snail, a Ball Python named Timmy, and her husband Travis who supports of all her crazy ideas.
"I love being an advocate and speaking for my patients. I also love building relationships with my clients and helping them build stronger relationships with their pets."
Colleen Lum, LVT, CCRVN
Colleen always had a passion for animals ever since she was a child and knew that she wanted to pursue a career helping them. In 2010, she graduated from Baker College’s veterinary technician program and worked for 3 years in a small animal practice prior to joining the Pawsitive Steps team. In December 2015, she completed the Canine Rehabilitation Institute rehabilitation curriculum and became a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Veterinary Nurse.
In her spare time, Colleen enjoys crafting, oil painting and trying out new foods with her boyfriend Cody.
"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."
Angelia Oliverei, LVT
Angelia knew early on in life that she had a passion for animals and decided she wanted to make a career of it. In 2014, she graduated from the Baker College Veterinary Technician program. While attending the vet tech program, she became very interested in rehabilitation therapy for pets and knew that was what she wanted to focus on. Prior to joining Pawsitive Steps, she worked in a small animal and exotics practice, as well as working in emergency medicine. Angelia has one dog of her own, a Rottweiler named Frankenstein. He is her world and does everything with her. Together, they enjoy outdoor activities with friends. She also enjoys going to concerts and sporting events. Angelia is very excited about advancing her knowledge in rehabilitation care and is looking forward to getting her certification in canine rehabilitation.
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!