Dr. Viens studied at the University of Florida, where she met her husband, Randy, who is also a vet. The two of them ended up in Chattanooga because they love rock climbing, trout fishing and white-water kayaking, and Chattanooga has it all! They also like traveling, gardening, horseback riding and biking with their dog, Luna, who has three AKC obedience titles and is also a therapy dog.
Nikita met Dr. Keller when her parrot became ill last summer, and he was the only one who could help her. When she brought parrot Poppy in to Mountain Hospital for Animals, she actually performed her bird’s bloodwork and X-rays under Dr. Keller’s supervision. He was so impressed that he asked her for a working interview! And the rest, as they say, is history.
When asked why she loves the Mountain Hospital for Animals, she said, “I’ve never met a kinder and more supportive boss than Dr. Keller. All his staff feels so appreciated by him, which is a lovely environment to be in. The clients are incredibly kind and a joy to work with, and I have an opportunity to treat wildlife and my favorite animal - birds!”
Dr. Whitfield completed his undergraduate studies at East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C., and graduated vet school at Virginia Tech. He worked as a veterinarian technician for seven years before attending graduate school. He had an internship at the Tennessee Aquarium, where he met Dr. Keller, and chose the Mountain Hospital for Animals for one of three-week rotations (somewhat like student teaching), where he went from practice-to-practice learning different focus areas to complete his general practice. His last rotation was in January 2021, and he graduated in May.
Growing up near the Outer Banks of North Carolina, Matthew loves to be around water, so Chattanooga was a perfect fit for him. He has a hydroponic system in his house and grows lettuce and other edibles, and he also raises tilapia; at one time he had 5,000 of them! An animal lover, he has a bearded dragon named Prime, a golden retriever named Artemis, a husky mix named Bandit and a cat named Butters. He loves the fact that the animals always come first at Mountain Hospital for Animals.
Dr. Keller is so pleased with both of these wonderful doctors and is excited they are on board to care for our non-human residents. Chris Keller said he has no idea how he was lucky enough to get Nikita and Matthew, but Chris has a magical way with animals and humans both, and he loves to teach!
Welcome to you both!
by Gwin Tugman