The Grand Canyon, Rim to Rim, Extreme Day Hike


Becky Roberts,
Practice Manager/Owner
with Killian, Charlotte VT





Crystal Bissonette

Crystal was born and raised in Vermont. In the late 90’s Crystal moved to Massachusetts and began working for a veterinary hospital in 2000. She started as a receptionist and was fortunate enough to be trained as an assistant and then a veterinary technician. She has been the Head Veterinary Technician at two different hospitals. Her interests are animal behavior, weight management and dentistry.

Crystal has two dogs. Vixen and Jules are both adopted. Miss Vixen appeared when Crystal was working at her first clinic. She had a broken leg from her owners pushing her off a couch. The owners surrendered Vixen to Crystal’s care and she has been her loyal shadow for the past 11 years.


Miss Vixen
Jules was tied to the door of the Humane Society of Chittenden County and brought into another clinic for care. She was underweight, un-spayed, and missing half of her hair due to a flea allergy. Crystal agreed to foster Jules to get her healthy for adoption but three months later Jules officially became part of Crystal’s family. Jules loves children and babies and is currently her toddler’s best friend.

Jules

Crystal is a mom to two boys. When she is not busy changing diapers, playing dinosaurs or trains, Crystal enjoys taking pictures, running, and hiking in the woods. She resides with her partner and boys in Milton.

 

 



Susan McMillan, DVM/Owner
after a long hike in New Hampshire

Born and raised in Indiana, Becky is actually a southern Californian at heart. She majored in education and played women’s basketball for Indiana University. She moved from the Midwest as soon as possible after college but is still a closet Colts fan. Becky spent the first half of her adult life in Phoenix, San Diego, and Los Angeles.

After student teaching in Indiana and realizing that the classroom was not for her, Becky started her working career as a wilderness educator. For eight years she ran an outward bound style program for kids in the Phoenix high schools. She organized and guided adventure trips to Colorado, Utah, Hawaii, Mexico, and Europe. Most of the time, she stayed closer to home and taught skiing, back packing, rock climbing, wilderness survival, and lots of old fashioned life lessons in the desert and high desert of Arizona. She also participated in the National Outdoor Leadership School.

After leaving Arizona, Becky began a lifelong career search, tackling every opportunity that came along. She is truly a jack of all trades and has been a small business owner several times over. Becky designed and sold women’s athletic clothing (Fine Line Design), performed interior faux painting (Finely Finished). She has sold cars, water purifiers, and real estate, has studied feng shui, and was a partner in an event coordinating company in Los Angeles (The Dog and Pony Show). Becky has her Commercial Drivers License and has studied acupuncture. From the mid-90s until 2001, Becky traveled extensively for Pallotta Teamworks organizing large scale athletic fund raising events, including many 3-Day Breast Cancer Walks and the AIDS Vaccine Rides. Becky spear headed The Seed Fund which was a small organization dedicated to getting surplus goods from local businesses into the hands of worthy non-profits.

 

Becky is a fantastic cook and loves to walk, hike, go to the movies, snow shoe, sew, read, travel and harvest a share at the Intervale Community Farm. She and Susan volunteered as ushers with the Lake Monsters in 2010. She was active in the grass roots effort to achieve equal marriage in Vermont. She has three times hiked the Grand Canyon, most recently hiking rim to rim in 15 hours in September, 2011.


Swimming with the Dolphins

Becky now manages Vet To Pet Mobile and the Old North End Veterinary Clinic. She books appointments, sends reminders, does the finances and taxes, maintains the computers, software, printer and phones, manages the cleaners, the security, the government agencies and the vendors, and is the first and last person every client sees. Now that is a jack of all trades!

Both Becky and Susan visit their parents as often as possible and Becky helps care for her recently widowed father who still lives at their old family home in Indianapolis.

   
          "Becky and Susan at Opening Day with the Padres"

                "Susan and Becky
        after the Coronado Bridge Run, San Diego"

Susan McMillan is a sixth generation Chicagoan but left to attend Dickinson College in 1979 and then American University and George Washington University. She lived and worked in the Washington, DC area for twelve years before leaving the madness to attend the University of Wisconsin - Madison, School of Veterinary Medicine where she received the Academic Leadership Award in 1995, and the Clinical Competency Award upon graduating with her DVM in 1997. Susan immediately went to work at a thriving four doctor small animal practice in Fairbanks, Alaska where she stayed for five years. Work days were filled with surgery, medicine, ultrasound, x-rays, lab work, sled dog lameness and bush medicine (advice by phone to clients living in villages far off the road system). Nights and weekends on call were interrupted with plenty of emergencies (lots of ‘kicked by moose’ and porcupine quills), thus giving Susan a chance to regularly experience the long sunlit summer nights and middle of the night northern lights in the winter. Susan spent many long winter days and nights as a volunteer vet for sled dog races including the Yukon Quest, Quest 250, Junior Quest, and Copper Basin 300.  She enjoyed working with teens and rookie back-of-the-pack mushers whose goal was to finish with a healthy, happy team of dogs. Time off was never dull because she had vowed to explore Alaska. Susan did countless hours and miles of hiking, cycling, and snowshoeing the back roads and back country of the Interior of Alaska. Killian willingly tagged along for most of those adventures.

Upon leaving Alaska, Susan lived in LA for about 6 weeks in 2002 and then did some veterinary relief work in San Diego where she launched Petcounselor.com, an on-line veterinary second-opinion venture. In 2003, Susan, Becky and their dog Killian went on a 17,000 mile road trip across America looking for the perfect place to land, and found their way to Vermont. They started Vet To Pet Mobile Veterinary Service in 2005. After a year, it was time to get the business office and inventory out of the house and in to its’ own space. Since it seemed Burlington needed a basic storefront veterinary clinic, they opened the Old North End Veterinary Clinic in November 2008.  Susan has been the primary in-house veterinarian for the Humane Society of Chittenden County for ten years and works closely with their staff. She received the June Davis award at the Humane Society in 2006 and their Veterinary Partner Award in 2012. She is a Past-President of the Greater Burlington Academy of Veterinary Medicine and is a member of the AVMA and the VVMA.

For a short time, Susan was a Special Olympics coach in Madison, Wisconsin. She was a Big Sister with Big Brothers/Big Sisters and volunteered with Wilderness Search and Rescue in Fairbanks. She resigned from that work after spending one very long summer night trying to find a missing boy, up in the hills outside Fairbanks, having encountered the neighbor who, it turns out, had murdered the boy. Yikes, too emotional and creepy…. Not to mention hard to function the next day after spending the whole night trekking about. Susan bicycled across the state of Montana and raised $17,000 for AIDS vaccine research in 2001. She wrote for and was the Assistant Editor of Vermont’s Out In The Mountains newspaper. She went to Haiti and was an original board member of the Vermont Medical Response Team in 2010. She was also on the board of Vermont First and was active in helping achieve equal marriage in Vermont.

Sadly, Susan and Becky currently live with just two cats. Fury is a nine year old former acrobat from the Humane Society of Chittenden County.  Scoop, the current record holder kitty-acro-slayer, is a young adult and is (of course!) also from our shelter. It’s a whole new crop of critters after losing our sweet Killian and Fang. Killy was, a beautiful border collie mutt, from the Frederick County Maryland animal shelter, and a once in a lifetime companion and friend. She was our clinic mascot and she succumbed to old age in November, 2010 at the age of fifteen. Fang was the wonder cat who showed up at Susan’s parent’s house in Peoria IL in 1992 and traveled far and wide and back again with Susan, also succumbing to plain old old-age and kidney disease, having lived for 22 years. R.I.P. Killian and Fang!

While Susan enjoys hiking, walking, running, water skiing, snowshoeing, gardening, photography, and drawing, she has actually spent many years just studying. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from American University in 1982 with a BA in Criminal Justice. In 1987, she graduated with a JD from the George Washington University National Law Center, having been the Student Director of the Bankruptcy and Consumer Law clinics for one semester each. After that she worked in consumer protection and was a Courts and Drugs Reference Specialist for the Department of Justice National Criminal Justice Reference Service.

On a way more fun note, in 2008 Susan and Becky hiked the Grand Canyon, 24 miles South Rim to North Rim, in 15+ hours, and then did it again (north to south) in 2011. They tackled but did not conquer Mt. Whitney (tallest peak in the lower 48) in 2013 and are currently contemplating their next extreme day hike.


Susan's Cabin in Fairbanks