Dr. Michelle Oakley: Yukon Vet Tackles Westminster with Ease and Grace

Dr. Michelle Oakley wowed canines, spectators and the media alike during her first trip to the Westminster Dog Show in NYC 2019.

After working in the Yukon, Manhattan should have been a breeze, but Dr. Oakley found it equally exciting and stimulating, not to mention the cold temps and snowy mix giving her a taste of home.

Dr. Michelle Oakley: Yukon Vet Tackles Westminster with Ease and Grace
Dr. Michelle Oakley: Yukon Vet. Photo Canadian Veterinary Medical Association

Meeting Dr. Oakley

Meeting Dr. Oakley on the Press platform at Pier 92, she was smiling, casual, friendly and happy to talk about her love for helping animals. “Hi, I’m Michelle”, she said when we were introduced, “Your job (as a Physical Therapist for Animals) is so cool”.

Wow, I am thinking her job is way cooler and this is how we formed an instant bond over discussions of types of animals we love to work with (she adores all things furry, fuzzy and feathery) and how effective we find cold laser is for wound healing. She discussed a current case involving a raptor sustaining fractures and burns, with subsequent exercises and splinting treatments. I wanted the world to stop spinning for an indefinite period of time so that we could share more information and experience but quickly reminded myself that my role was to interview her!

Dr. Oakley manages a busy life with her work as a Veterinarian for all types of animals in her home office, and on-call for the Yukon Wildlife Preserve plus managing a satellite vet office near Haines Junction, Yukon in Northern Canada.

Her show, Dr. Oakley Yukon Vet is now in its 7th year on Nat Geo Wild and is wildly popular! I asked her how she stays in great physical shape and she says ‘by doing my work that you see on the show’ and often having to hang out of helicopters or walk through thigh-high snowdrifts to reach a safe distance from which to shoot tranquilization darts into injured wildlife. She also runs and hikes 3 miles at a time as often as possible in the mountains near her home.

Michelle is a wife and the mother of three lovely daughters, one of whom was doing her homework in the Press area during our interview. I asked if she wasn’t too tempted to visit all of the dogs at the show instead, but Michelle explained though she was indeed, she is also a very conscientious student who does not wish to get behind in her schoolwork during this trip to NYC. Sounds as if the daughters are as focused and disciplined as their mother!


We all loved having Dr. Oakley at Westminster, and she was enthralled with the variety of dogs and competition events at the show, particularly the Master’s Agility. I asked her what type of dog were her favorites and her response: “all, especially the big, fluffy furry ones!”

Related articles:
143rd Westminster Dog Show: An Old Hound, A New Hound, and a ‘Coy-ker-I can’t-pronounce- it-hond’!

Further reading:
Dr. Michelle Oakley: Yukon Vet

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