Get to Know Us at Pawsitive Steps Rehabilitation
& Sports Medicine!

Get to know us

“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

Our Patients

At Pawsitive Steps Rehabilitation & Sports Medicine, 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.

Our Philosophy

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

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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). 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, now Curacore. 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 & Sports Medicine becoming a partner veterinary practice with OrthoPets, a world leader in veterinary orthotics located in Denver, Colorado.

Dr. Kern serves on the Board of the American Association of Rehabilitation Veterinarians as its treasurer. She is also a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the International Association of Veterinary Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy, 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. For 15 years, Dr. Kern coordinated an annual community event called People, Pets & Vets, sponsored by the Michigan Veterinary Medical Association.

Along with her husband, Chris, two dogs, and two 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 Sports Medicine:"Pawsitive Steps Rehabilitation & Sports Medicine 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!"

Jenna MacDonell, DVM, CVA, CVMMP

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Jenna MacDonell, DVM, CVA, CVMMP

Dr. MacDonell grew up in Redford, Michigan and attended Michigan State University prior to completing her doctorate at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. After veterinary school, Dr. MacDonell completed a Small Animal Rotating Internship at the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital, where she rotated between positions in Internal Medicine, Emergency Medicine, Orthopedic Surgery, and Soft Tissue Surgery. During this time, she realized a passion for teaching, which led her to become the Clinical Instructor for Junior Surgery and Shelter Medicine at the University of Illinois. After her stint at the university, Dr. MacDonell transitioned into general practice, where she became more immersed in alternative therapies.

Dr. MacDonell strongly believes in an integrative approach to patient care. As part of her doctoral degree, she was privileged to study Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine and Acupuncture at the China Agricultural University in Beijing, China. She received her Certification in Veterinary Acupuncture from the Chi Institute, and she achieved her certification in Veterinary Medical Manipulation from the Integrative Veterinary Medical Institute. Observing the power of these modalities on patient health and quality of life led Dr. MacDonell to Pawsitive Steps. She is excited to continue enhancing lives through alternative modalities and expanding her scope of practice to include small animal rehabilitation.

When she is not taking care of your fur family, Dr. MacDonell enjoys gardening, kayaking, hiking, and traveling. She recently developed an interest in pottery and throwing on the wheel. Most of all, she loves spending time with her husband, two dogs, (Hank and Hazel), and cat (Ripley).

Certified Veterinary Rehabilitation Technicians

Colleen Lum Sturdevan, LVT, CCRVN, CCFT

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Colleen Lum, LVT, CCRVN

Colleen is the head rehabilitation technician at Pawsitive Steps and has been with the practice since 2013. She worked at a general small animal practice for 3 years before transitioning to exclusively rehabilitation. She completed her rehabilitation training through the Canine Rehabilitation Institute and is also a Certified Canine Fitness Trainer through the University of Tennessee. She particularly enjoys working with senior patients and has a soft spot in her heart for Dachshunds.

Colleen is a dog mom to Wendalyn, an American Pit Bull mix, and a tabby cat named Ying. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring breweries, painting, yoga, and gardening. She loves visiting breweries so much that she and her husband Cody have started venturing into home brewing their own beer.

Cathryn Adolph, LVT, CCRP, CCFT

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Cathryn Adolph, LVT, CCRP

Cathryn earned her bachelor’s degree in biology in 2003 from Eastern Michigan University. She started in the veterinary field as an assistant in 2001. Feeling she had reached a plateau as a veterinary assistant, she entered Macomb Community College's Veterinary Technician program and graduated in 2013. She joined the Pawsitive Steps team in 2014. In June 2017, Cathryn completed her rehabilitation certification training through the University of Tennessee and became a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner. She is also a Certified Canine Fitness Trainer through the University of Tennessee.

In her spare time Cathryn travels and games with her husband (Chris), their two children, (Elisabeth and Elliot) and their border collie (Tessa). She also crafts, reads, and trains dogs. Cathryn and Tessa love to train together and have an interest in sports. They have trained tricks, agility, disc dog, and starting their trialing journey in nose work.

Angelia Oliverei, LVT, CVMRT

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Angelia Oliverei, LVT, CVMRT

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. In 2019, Angelia completed the Veterinary Massage and Rehabilitation Therapy program at Healing Oasis Wellness Center, earning her CVMRT credentials. Angelia has been part of the Pawsitive Steps team since 2016.

Angelia has one dog and one cat, a Rottweiler named Frankenstein and an orange tabby named Habanero. In her spare time, she and her husband Carl enjoy travelling, outdoor activities (hiking, gardening, boating), drinking craft beer, cooking, and brewing her own kombucha.

Licensed Veterinary Technicians

Autumn Danford, LVT

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Autumn Danford, LVT

Since she was a little girl, Autumn had a love for all living things and knew she would have a career taking care of animals. She graduated from the Veterinary Technician program at Baker College in 2019. Autumn worked in veterinary emergency for three years and loved helping those in need. In 2022 she joined the Pawsitive Steps team and found a new interest in animal rehabilitation. Immediately, Autumn felt the joy that comes with improving the mobility and health of the animals we all love. She is working towards more credentials in rehabilitation and is excited to gain the knowledge from her passionate coworkers.

Autumn has a dog named Titus who loves car rides and walks through the woods. She is married to her husband William who she has been with for 11 years.

Tracey Joseph, LVT

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Tracey Joseph, LVT

Tracey has shared a special bond with animals since childhood. Growing up, her household was never without a menagerie of pets. Although her first career was as an elementary school teacher, her passion for animals always remained. Eventually, she decided to make a career change, went back to school, and graduated from Macomb Community College’s Veterinary Technician Program in 2013. She spent several years working in small animal general practice before joining the Pawsitive Steps team.

Tracey has an affinity for cats, and senior pets. She understands the strength and importance of the human-animal bond. Her desire is to help pets live happy, healthy, and pain-free lives for as long as possible. She shares her life with her husband, and their two cats, (Gracie and Little Miss). She enjoys spending time with her family, reading, and decorating in her spare time.

Veterinary Rehabilitation Assistants

Tori Foxworth, Veterinary Rehabilitation Assistant

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Tori Foxworth

Tori has had a soft spot for animals since she was young. In 2016 she achieved a certificate from Ross Medical Education Center as an Approved Veterinary Assistant. Tori worked in general veterinary medicine, then left the field to pursue a career in technology. She came back to the vet field by joining the Pawsitive Steps team in the Fall of 2021.

Tori currently holds a special place in her heart for her cat (Nala), her family dog (Ginger), and her boyfriend's Pit Bull (Lillie).

"It is an amazing experience to get to work and bond with the patients we see. Getting to know them on a personal level and watch them progress and grow is such a rewarding feeling."

Paige MacDonald, Veterinary Rehabilitation Assistant

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Paige MacDonald

Paige has been working as a veterinary rehabilitation assistant for Pawsitive Steps since May 2023. She is responsible for keeping the animals happy and in the correct positions during their treatments, the upkeep of the clinic and assisting the technicians. She especially likes working with golden retrievers and has a 2-year-old golden named Winnie! 

Paige graduated from MSU with a degree in Animal Science in May 2023. During her time at MSU, she was named president of the women’s water polo club and was member of the animal welfare club. She looks forward to getting accepted to vet school in the future. 

Joan Simlar, Veterinary Rehabilitation Assistant

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Joan Simlar, Veterinary Rehabilitation Assistant

Joan has always had a love for animals. She started working at a dog kennel in 2021 where she fell in love with working with animals. She worked in general practice as an assistant for a year before joining the Pawsitive Steps team in 2023.

Being a former competitive gymnast, she knows how important warmups, cool downs, and strength and conditioning plans are to the athletes that come in for rehab and training. Working at Pawsitive Steps allows Joan to combine the two things she loves, athletics and animals!

Joan has two cats at home and enjoys traveling, concerts, and farmers markets on the weekends.

Sam Siekierda, Veterinary Rehabilitation Assistant

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Sam Siekierda

Sam grew up with dogs all her life. Having a house full of pets made it easy for her to decide to make a career to work with animals. She attended the Eastside Academy of Dog Grooming and worked as a bather in a grooming salon. She became a part of the Pawsitive Steps team in 2023 and is thrilled to be making a difference in the lives of so many pets.

Sam has three dogs as home: Bailey (Golden Retriever), Luna (Yellow Labrador Retriever), and Frankie (French Bulldog). She also has three cats: Ozzy, Callie, and Jessie. In her free time, Sam loves to watch scary movies and enjoys spending time with her family. 

Veterinary Receptionists

Kim Schur, Receptionist

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Kim Schur

Kim knew from an early age that working with animals was her life's passion. For over 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 two four-legged children – her Mini Labradoodle, Gemma and her cat, Opie. Kim enjoys trialing in dog sports with Gemma and riding with her husband on their Harley Davison.

"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."

Emily Leach, Receptionist

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Emily Leach

Emily has loved animals their whole life and has always held those in the veterinary profession in high esteem, so being able to support our patients and the Pawsitive Steps team has been a wonderful fit for them. Emily has been a receptionist in the veterinary field since 2021, before which they were a nanny and music teacher.

Currently, Emily has two dogs (Scruffy and Odie) and three cats (Weevil, Spike, and Waltz).

Practice Manager

Lisa Blanchard BA, LVT, CCRP, CCFT, KPA-CTP

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Lisa Blanchard BA, LVT, CCRP, CCFT, KPA-CTP

Lisa is the Practice Manager at Pawsitive Steps. She is responsible for the day-to-day administration of the business. Lisa previously worked at Pawsitive Steps as a rehabilitation technician where she especially enjoyed working with canine athletes and puppies.

Lisa's previous experience includes many years of dog training, including working with puppies to train as explosive detection dogs. She has also presented at several conferences as a Subject Matter Expert in the fields of canine fitness, massage, and rehabilitation.

Lisa is married to her high school sweetheart, Tom. In her spare time, she enjoys training her dog in competition obedience and tricks and spending time with friends and family.

Hercules, CEO (Canine Executive Officer)

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Hercules, CEO

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 staff to heal abnormally before he was removed from his original home by animal control.

His story was so sad and moving that the local Detroit media covered it in May 2012 Story link 1 , Story link 2

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. Additionally, his left rear leg ended up being 1.5 inches shorter than his right rear leg as a result of his prior 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. In December 2015, Hercules got a fabulous orthotic device for his left rear limb to help correct his limb length discrepancy and this has really helped him to get around better. While wearing his “corrective shoe”, he is more comfortable and can run and play longer!

When we met, Hercules was skinny and only toe-touched with his rear legs. He really made amazing strides since then! Hercules became a permanent addition of Dr. Kern's family and also assumed the role of Canine Executive Officer of the Pawsitive Steps Rehabilitation & Sports Medicine team. Hercules was pleased announce the release his movie trailer on our YouTube site back in 2013, which shows his progress from rescue into rehabilitation superstar over the first 3 months of his rehab journey. Drop by the office, he would love to meet you!

Case Report

At Pawsitive Steps we want you to know about the types of cases we see and treat! Our case reports outline the clinical problems, rehabilitation goals, modalities used, assessment, and plan for a variety of pets and conditions.

View Reports

Hospital Tour

Our hospital tour allows you to take a look inside our facility as well as see some of our therapy equipment in action.

Tour our Veterinary Practice