Getting to Know: Dr. Karen Christopherson
April 9, 2013
Here at Grand Avenue Veterinary Center, our staff often gets to know a lot about you throughout the course of your pets’ visits. We would like to turn the tables and give you an opportunity to get to know us better with an ongoing series of posts here introducing our staff one by one. So without further ado: Getting to know the Grand Avenue Veterinary Staff!
Next up is Dr. Karen Christopherson. A 1997 graduate of the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary medicine, Dr. Christopherson joined Grand Avenue Veterinary Center in 1999. In her own words: “When I first graduated, I was working at a clinic in the outer ring suburbs of the Twin Cities. It wasn’t a good fit for me and I was looking for something closer to home, when I saw an ad in the state veterinary medical association newsletter that was different than all the other ads. I can’t remember exactly what it said, but it really conveyed the sense of cooperation and teamwork that I’ve come to appreciate as a hallmark of working here. I interviewed, and the rest is history!”
What make you decide to become a veterinarian?
When I was an undergraduate, my major was called EEB (ecology, evolution, and behavior). At the time, I thought I wanted to do field research, but for one of my classes I had to design and execute a small research study and I learned that I didn’t enjoy it at all! I knew for sure that I still wanted to do something with animals, and was exploring different options. Around the same time I was volunteering at The Raptor Center on what is called the flight crew, exercising birds recovered from their illnesses or injuries to get them back in shape for release into the wild. I shifted onto the clinic crew taking care of patients who were still recovering, and found that I really enjoyed working with the veterinarians and patients. That’s when I decided to work towards becoming a veterinarian.
Do you have an area of special interest in veterinary medicine?
I have special interests in pain management (including acupuncture), geriatrics, and am developing more of an interest in training and behavior.
Tell us about your pets.
The matriarch of my pets is Magic, a Senegal parrot. I got her when I was an undergraduate and living in an apartment where I could not have other pets. She will be 24 years old this year, we’ve been through a lot together through the years! I have three dogs: Pip is an eight year old mixed breed who is shy but very sweet and loves going to the Minnehaha dog park. Maisy is a five year old hound mix, and Squash is a two year old husky mix. I do some urban mushing (scootering and skijoring) with Maisy and Squash, and dabble in a type of casual competetive obedience called rally obedience with Squash. I also have four cats: Julius is 15, Raggs is 13, Gertie (who was born at the clinic) is 12, and Solo (who was an orphan I bottle-raised) is ten.
What is one of your favorite quotes?
“Not all those who wander are lost” by J.R.R. Tolkien. In a lot of areas, my life hasn’t followed a straight line from one place to another, but eventually I always find my place.
What chores do you hate doing?
I don’t know why, because I don’t mind cleaning the bathroom as a whole (even the toilet!), but for some reason I really hate cleaning the shower. That’s my husband’s job now.
What is your favorite form of exercise?
I really love yoga and have been practicing for nearly 10 years. I particularly love a particular school called ashtanga yoga, and I am lucky enough to live near a studio that offers it.
If you could witness any event past, present, or future, what would it be?
I’m pretty nosy, so mostly I would love to witness one of the great “unsolved mysteries” in history and see what happened for sure: What really happened to Amelia Earhart? What happened to the “lost colony” of Roanoke Island. Who was Jack the Ripper? Something along those lines. When I was a child our neighbors gave me a huge book of unsolved mysteries and I was always really fascinated by them and read it over and over.
What is the best gift you have ever received?
Like many older homes, my house has a detached garage and parking space on the alley. Shortly after moving in, I casually joked to my husband that I needed a cart or wagon so I could haul in all the groceries without having to make multiple trips. On my next birthday, I came downstairs to find a brand new Radio Flyer wagon in the living room. I use it all the time not only for bringing in groceries, but all summer long to help haul stuff around when I’m working in the yard and garden work. And every time I see it, it reminds me how sweet he is.
What are you reading now?
I’m reading a dog training book called “When Pigs Fly.” Because apparently I don’t think about pets enough already!