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Veterinarian of the Year


The award

The Westminster Kennel Club continues its tradition of supporting the veterinary community with its Veterinarian of the Year Award. 

The award recognizes veterinarians in the dog community and raises awareness of the mental challenges within the Veterinary community. 

Four regional finalists will be selected, with the ultimate recipient selected by an esteemed judging panel of veterinarians. The winning vet will be invited to attend Westminster Week this year and Westminster will donate $10,000 in their name to Not One More Vet that supports veterinarians, students, and vet techs tackling the issues of mental well-being. 



Veterinarians are among the most compassionate and trusted professionals in the world. They are unsung heroes who dedicate their lives to being patient advocates. Do you know a veterinarian who has made a difference and actively improves the lives of pets, and other veterinary professionals? Do they elevate the bar for best treatments, mentor the next generation of veterinary professionals, or pursue a passion to advance the profession?

Whether you are a dog owner or a member of the veterinary community, tell us in 200 words or less how a veterinarian that you know is making a difference. Four regional finalists will be selected by an esteemed judging panel of veterinarians. Regional finalists will be the entrant from each region that best demonstrates that the veterinarian has actively improved the lives of pets and owners, elevated the bar for best treatments, mentored the next generation of veterinary professionals, and pursued a passion to advance the profession.

Regional finalists must submit a video entry that will be shared across Westminster social media platforms. The winner will be the finalist who receives the most cumulative likes/favorites across platforms. View Rules and Regulations.

Veterinarian of the Year Winner
Two "Veterinarian of the Year" nominees examining a black puppy with a stethoscope in a clinic.


AllStar Animal Clinic

“For me, this award symbolizes faith, hope and possibility and confirms that dreams accompanied with dedication, perseverance and grit can become a reality. It also validates the impact of veterinary medicine and simultaneously teaches our children and students that our work is not in vain and that “what we do in life echoes in eternity.” Hence, I implore and charge each one of you to live your legacy and continue to be the change you want to see in the world” – Dr. Treyton Diggs


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Dr. Michelle Oakley
Yukon Vet
Dr. Joseph Rossi
North Penn Animal Hospital
Dr. Marty Greer
Veterinary Village

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Veterinarian of the Year in scrubs holding a black and white dog in a clinic.
Black River Veterinary Hospital
A "Veterinarian of the Year" smiling, surrounded by six black and white puppies on a table in a clinic.
Village Center Veterinary Care
MidWest Region FINALIST
A "Veterinarian of the Year" in a white coat kneels beside a golden retriever on a sidewalk, smiling as the dog licks her face.
PetVet365 Lexington/Brannon Crossing



Logo of "not one more vet," an organization indicated by the acronym "nomv," featuring a stylized veterinary caduceus for the Veterinarian of the Year.

Not One More Vet (NOMV) will transform the status of mental wellness within the profession so veterinary professionals can survive and thrive through education, resources, and support.

NOMV addresses wellbeing in veterinary medicine through multiple innovative pathways including: the world’s largest veterinary peer-to-peer support group; educational programs; a resources program providing both fiscal and referral support; student support and mentorship; an online crisis support system specifically designed for veterinary professionals; a mentally healthy work place certification program; and outreach and awareness services.



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Dr. Michelle Oakley earned her undergraduate degree in Zoology from the University of Michigan Ann Arbor, and her doctorate in veterinary medicine from Atlantic Veterinary College in Eastern Canada in 2000. She worked for a decade for the Yukon Department of Fish & Wildlife as a biologist and was their first wildlife veterinarian. In 2010 she completed a zoo/wildlife medicine internship at Calgary Zoo/UCVM and has worked since as a vet on numerous wildlife conservation and rescue projects worldwide. She has also run a rural mixed practice throughout the north, focusing on communities without access to vet services. Currently, she is the head vet at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center in Girdwood, Alaska. She also started a brand new international animal rescue nonprofit with projects in Central and South America, Uganda, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, and remote parts of Alaska and the north.

Most recently, Dr. Oakley has founded a pet supplement company called BetterWild, as well as the BetterWild Foundation, where product sales directly fund her worldwide rescue and conservation work. Together with her team, she is traveling the globe to research and find the most innovative natural ingredients to help treat common dog conditions like allergies, obesity, joint & mobility issues, as well as supporting the gut microbiome to improve longevity and help every dog live a happier and healthier life.

Dr. Oakley has 3 daughters, who grew up working in their family mobile practice. Her oldest daughter Sierra is in her 2nd year in vet school at Murdoch University, and her younger 2 daughters Maya and Willow work as vet assistants as well as with the BetterWild Foundation to help make veterinary care accessible worldwide. Dr. Oakley has one dog, an incredible Australian Shepherd named Bindi who loves to join her on outdoor adventures including kayak camping in Alaskan coastal islands, fat biking, and kite skiing up frozen rivers in the wild backcountry, and especially sea-dooing to beach comb and look for whales.

Dr. Oakley’s work and adventures can be seen on her TV series ‘Dr. Oakley Yukon Vet’ which follows the family’s mobile mixed/zoo animal practice and international rescue work. ‘Yukon Vet’ is currently airing its 12th season on NatGeoWild, with all seasons streaming on Disney+.

Dr. Joseph Rossi completed his undergraduate studies at Delaware Valley College in Doylestown, Pa. He received his Veterinary degree in 1987 from Ross University and completed his clinical studies at Oklahoma State University and Ontario Veterinary College. He finished his studies with an externship at Rochester Equine Clinic. Dr. Rossi started his career as a large animal Veterinarian in Northern Pennsylvania, focusing on Surgery and Reproduction. In 1990, he returned to the Delaware Valley area.

Dr. Rossi established North Penn Animal Hospital in 1996, dreaming of building a quality, caring family practice in Montgomery County. Since then, North Penn Animal Hospital has grown substantially because of its hiring strategy based on core values – kindness and compassion for clients and patients.

Dr. Rossi’s interests include all aspects of surgery, both orthopedic and soft tissue, reproduction, dentistry, and especially the needs and surgeries required for the brachycephalic breeds. He is looking forward to sharing his experience with all doctors in his practice to continue the legacy of being the caring difference in our community. He is excited to see North Penn Animal Hospital continue to grow by encouraging all his team members to live into NPAH’s mission statement: Giving our patients excellent medical care and treating them with dignity and compassion. Additionally, he is encouraged that with the next generation of his family joining the business, he will continue to provide a healthy and positive work environment for our staff, which results in giving our clients a quality of customer service that surpasses their expectations and ensures that they leave with a positive and caring experience after every visit. Dr. Rossi is excited about the future of Veterinary Medicine and the continual advancement of North Penn Animal Hospital’s team of veterinarians, able to give access to high-quality medicine to more of our community.


I received my Bachelor of Science in 1978 and my DVM in 1981 from Iowa State University in Ames Iowa. In 1982 I established the Brownsville Small Animal Clinic in Dr. Griffith’s practice building and in 1988, moved the practice to Lomira.

I have a special interest in Pediatrics and Reproduction. In 2002, I opened a Canine Semen Freezing Center, International Canine Semen Bank – Wisconsin (ICSB-WI/IL), and became Penn-Hip Certified.

On my first attempt at using extended semen, I bred the practice’s first litter of pups from frozen semen in 1998. The advent of in-house quantitative progesterone testing has made this process much more successful.

My husband, Dr. Daniel Griffiths, and I have two children, Katy, married to Tim, an entomology Ph.D. student at Purdue, and Karl, married to Kelly. In addition, we raise and show Pembroke Welsh Corgis and Danish Swedish Farmdogs. Our family has raised 5 puppies for Canine Companions for Independence, a service dog organization.

The practice has contributed to pharmaceutical and nutritional research as an investigator for Abbott Laboratory, Deprenyl Animal Health, Pfizer, Virbac, and Hill’s Pet Food Corporation. I have also been featured in articles in Veterinary Economics.

In 2005, I was appointed by Governor Jim Doyle to a position on the Veterinary Examining Board of the Department of Safety and Professional Services, where I served for 8 years.

In 2010, I graduated from Marquette Law School.

In 2014, I wrote Canine Reproduction and Neonatology, a 470-page book about everything reproduction which was the Winner of Dog Writers Association of America’s Dogwise Best Book Award.

In 2019 I became certified as a Fear Free professional. I recognized the benefit of including Fear Free practices to try to make your pet’s visit to us as relaxed as possible. While there are many Fear Free practices we use, one of them is offering treats like peanut butter and chicken baby food to give your pet a distraction while we do exams and testing to reduce anxiety and stress. We know that a Fear Free experience is a benefit to you, your pet, and also our staff.

In 2020, I wrote Your Pandemic Puppy, which explains how to raise a well-adjusted puppy during a pandemic.

I am active in the community as a member of the AVMA, NEWVMA, AAVSB, APDT, AAFP, SVME, The Society for Theriogenology, the Fond du Lac Kennel Club, The Kettle Moraine Kennel Club, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of America, Lakeshore Pembroke Welsh Corgi Kennel Club, and the Lomira Area Chamber of Commerce.

I am on the Board of Directors for the Society for Veterinary Medical Ethics, American Veterinary Medical Law Association, and the Society for Theriogenology. I served on the Animal Welfare Committee and Education Committee for the Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association. I am also the Board Chair of the National Animal Interest Alliance.

I have recently started working with Revival Animal Health as their Director of Vet Services. I will be posting articles that will be exclusive to Revival Animal Health.