Practitioner Updates

Staff Spotlight: Kellie Gard, CVT 

Kellie Gard squats down while holding her two brown dogs.

Kellie Gard is the clinical service coordinator for the small animal orthopedic surgery service

Tell us about your background.

I was born and raised in the Champaign area. Between fostering dogs, adopting stray cats, and trying to help all the wild­life on our farm, I fell in love with helping animals. A few years after graduating from high school, I began volunteering at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital with Kim Knap in our rehabilitation department. 

I immediately knew I wanted to pursue becoming a certified veterinary technician and applied to the veterinary technology program at Parkland College that same year. I graduated in 2012 with my associate degree in veterinary technology.

Since doing my volun­teer work, I had hoped to get a job at the U of I and was lucky enough to start working here in 2012. Years later I had the desire to further my education and was able to graduate in 2023 with my bachelor’s degree from Eastern Illinois University.

How did you become interested in small animal orthopedics?

Working with Kim in rehab, I saw the amaz­ing things that our surgery team was able to do for our patients. Being able to make such a difference in not only our patients’ lives but their owners’ lives gives me an incredible feeling. Orthopedics has always been fascinating to me. The idea that we can help fix an animal and usually send them home the next day is truly amazing!

What do you enjoy most about your current position?

I love interacting with the patients, of course, but also being involved in ed­ucating our fourth-year students and veterinary technician students is really amazing. It’s great seeing them progress and learn every day. Not only are they learning from me, but they are constantly teaching me new things, too. 

I also love getting to know the referring veterinarians in our area and from farther out. It’s a great feeling knowing they trust us with their patients. I also love hearing from our former students out there in practice! It’s great to catch up with them and see how well they are doing.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I love hanging out with my husband, our dogs, and our cat. We love going on walks with the dogs and taking them over to Tur­key Run when the weather is nice. I’m very interested in traveling and am currently planning our five-year wedding anniversa­ry trip to the UK. 

I also love reading. Currently, I’ve chal­lenged myself to read 85 books this year!