651-224-3038   •   1140 Grand Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55105

Getting to Know: Dr. Ann Brownlee

August 13, 2013

This week, we are getting to know Dr. Ann Brownlee! Dr. Brownlee has been with Grand Avenue Veterinary Center, first as an associate veterinarian and later (and currently) as an owner.


What make you decide to become a veterinarian?

In all honesty, I was halfway through my four years at college when I came to the realization that I really wanted to find a career that would engage me throughout my life. Although I had greatly enjoyed taking a variety of liberal arts courses up that point, I really had to buckle down my last two years to complete my prerequisites for veterinary school. The good news is that I love my work every single day, and I couldn’t have made a better choice.


Where did you go to school and what year did you graduate?

I went to Macalester College for my undergraduate degree and received my DVM from the University of Minnesota in 1989.


Do you have an area of special interest in veterinary medicine?

I enjoy being the “family practitioner”, working with pets and their families throughout their lives.  I also have a special interest in soft tissue surgery.


Tell us about your pets.

I have 2 lab crosses, Hank and Daisy, who are 9 years old. I fostered their mama for the Animal Humane Society when she was pregnant and she had 9 puppies. I kept two, Grand Avenue veterinary technician Amanda kept the mama (Sconnie), Grand Avenue veterinary technician Anna took another puppy (Annabelle), and the other 6 puppies were placed with mostly Grand Avenue Veterinary Center clients – so we get to stay in touch. I also have Rooney, a wire haired jack Russell terrier who also lives in California part of the time with my daughter. Axel is a 3 year old rat terrier who was found as a stray with a broken leg. I fostered him, but then he wouldn’t leave! Tittles the cat was another Grand Avenue wanderer who decided he preferred to live in the country with me. My other indoor pet is Chou Chou, the paraplegic clinic cat who spends the weekends at my house.

My outdoor animals include 9 chickens and 2 beautiful Rocky Mountain horses, Gunnar and Willy.


Tell us about your history with GAVC.

I started at Grand Avenue Veterinary Center in 1990 on a part time basis working for Dr Balto and Dr Zurcher, the founders of the clinic. Over the years the two of them decreased their hours and then retired, and I became the owner of the clinic and of course worked a little more than part time. I have had so many wonderful years at GAVC, enjoying both the growth and the stability of our practice.


If you could witness any event past, present, or future, what would it be?

I think it would be Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream”, speech


If you could learn anything, what would it be?

I would love to be able to play the piano. The problem is I don’t want to start with simple music and lots of practice; I want to be able to actually play songs that I enjoy!


What is the best gift you have ever received?

When I was a poor vet student, I cracked a tooth and needed a crown that I couldn’t afford at the time. For Christmas, my boyfriend gave me five $100 bills in an envelope, labeled, “A golden crown for my princess”. Of course I still have that gift and that husband.


What was the first thing you bought with your own money?

I bought a horse when I was 15 years old. It was a dream come true, he cost very little since he was a very young and barely broke Appaloosa, living on a farm in Wisconsin. He taught me a lot, and caused a lot of bruises along the way.


If you could have a superpower, what would it be? 

My superpower that I would love to have, and that would benefit me in a number of ways is to be able to talk to the animals!


What are you reading now?

I am reading a novel called “The History of Love”, which is absolutely fantastic. I also usually am reading a non-fiction book at the same time and currently that is “The New Jim Crow: Mass incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness”


What is the last movie you saw?

Not a movie, but we were up at the cabin, watching Sopranos episodes in memory of James Gandolfino.

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