Honoring the heartbeat of the Zoo- Happy Veterinary Appreciation Day!
Did you the Memphis Zoo has an incredible wildlife hospital on-site with our very own veterinary staff? Dr. Felicia Knightly, our senior veterinarian, along with her team care for over 3,500 animals of more than 500 species. They are responsible for each animal’s daily health and well-being. Not only do they treat our animals here at the zoo, they also care for certain protected animals brought to the zoo who have been rescued, such as Bald Eagles. The Memphis Zoo would not be where it is today without the passion and strong work ethic of our talented veterinary staff. Scroll down to meet our team!
What is your position at the hospital?
Dr. Knightly: Senior Veterinarian
Dr. Hasse: Associate Veterinarian
Grace: Veterinary Technician
Jennifer: Veterinary Technician
How long have you been at the Memphis Zoo?
Dr. Knightly: 10 years in November!
Dr. Hasse: 2 years
Grace: About 1 month
Jennifer: 3 weeks
What were you doing before you worked in the hospital?
Dr. Knightly: I had worked as an Intern, a Resident, an Associate and a Senior Veterinarian at a total of three other AZA accredited zoos over the past 26 years.
Dr. Hasse: I graduated from veterinary school in 2018. Following, I completed a one-year small animal rotating internship (including medicine, surgery and emergency) in New Jersey prior to moving to
Grace: Working in the ICU at a BluePearl Veterinary hospital in Kansas and interning at the Topeka Zoo
Jennifer: I was the Veterinary Technician at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse, NY for the past 2.5 years.
Where are you from?
Dr. Knightly: Born and raised in Massachusetts, most recently in Colorado.
Dr. Hasse: I am originally from Littleton, CO
Grace: I am originally from Vermont
Jennifer: I am originally from Detroit, MI but I grew up in Louisville, KY.
Do you have any pets at home?
Dr. Knightly: Yes, three cats – all of which were adopted after being found on Memphis zoo grounds.
Dr. Hasse: I have a spoiled cat named Merlin
Grace: I have 1 cat with me named Luna. She is 10 years old and the best cuddler. I also have a family golden retriever back in Vermont named Gibbs.
Jennifer: I have 3 cats and 1 dog at home. I have a grey tabby named Didi, a black cat named Vienna, and a Siamese named Abu. My dog is a Pomeranian/American eskimo mix.
What’s your favorite part about working at the hospital?
Dr. Knightly: No two days are ever alike, I learn something new every day and there is never a day that I don’t want to come to work.
Dr. Hasse: My favorite part about working at the hospital is the variety of species I get to work with on any given day. In the morning we may be working on a lion and by the afternoon, we’re looking at a turtle, a bird, and a naked mole-rat!
Grace: No 2 days are the same and the team I work with is awesome.
Jennifer: My favorite part about working in the hospital is that I get to work on a different species every day.
What is one piece of advice you could give to someone who wants to be in the wildlife veterinary field?
Dr. Knightly: Persevere and keep learning, no matter how long you practice realize you will never know it all. Embrace the experiences you have every day and try to take away at least one positive thing from each day.
Dr. Hasse: My advice for someone who is interested in the zoo/wildlife veterinary field would be to start getting experience early because the field is very competitive. If it’s something you are truly passionate about, don’t give up!
Grace: Don’t give up and do internships!
Jennifer: My advice to anyone wanting to work with wildlife is to get as much experience as you can working with different types of animals (ie livestock, small animal practice, exotics, wildlife rehab, etc)
Article and Photos By: Jessica Faulk