Our Team

Let us make your experience at Cornell exceptional from start to finish!

OUR TEAM: Tigger, Erin Longo, Snaa Tirmizi, Katrina Neiderer, Hannah Taylor, Pat Sandford, Whitney Bowes, Aaryn Murray, Dr. Terra Wakeford, Dr. Kharli Friske, Dr. Mark Gemmill, Melissa Farquhar (Aimee Gillis, Julie Dean, Kirsten Riepert, Mel Fickling absent)




As our official "Greeter", Tigger comes highly qualifed for the position with excellent animal communication skills.  He serves as our in-clinic staff therapist and will provide high-fives on request. He is also highly skilled as a reception seat warmer and a paper weight. He is a professional napper and has shown extreme prowess at riding the dolly.

In his spare time, Tigger enjoys stealing food, chasing treaties, purring, catnip, bird watching, and providing moral support to those around him. His favourite movie is Narnia.



Dr. Mark Gemmill, Owner

D.V.M. (1993) Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph

Dr. Gemmill initially began a career as a dairy farmer on his family farm after graduating from agriculture college in 1984. Three years later, he decided that he needed to explore other options so he returned to the University of Guelph and graduated from the Ontario Veterinary College in 1993. Dr. Gemmill became a partner at the Cornell Animal Hospital in 2000 and has continued as the sole owner since Dr. Cornell’s retirement in 2005. Dr. Gemmill was president of the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association (OVMA) in 2015 and currently serves on committees in an advisory capacity.
Dr. Gemmill enjoys sharing his passions for windsurfing, cycling and skiing with his wife, son and daughter. He also enjoys hockey and woodworking in his spare time. He has three cats (Kai, Flotsam, andTiger) as well as a yellow lab named "Ryder".

Dr. Kharli Friske, Associate

B.Sc. (1999) M.Sc. (2001), University of Guelph
D.V.M. (2004) Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph

Dr. Kharli Friske is a graduate of the Ontario Veterinary College and joined the Cornell Animal Hospital in 2006.  She also brings a Masters degree in Animal Nutrition from the University of Guelph to the team.  She and her husband own and show quarter horses.


Dr. Terra Wakeford, Associate

B.Sc. Hons (2007), University of Guelph  
D.V.M (2012), University of Guelph

We are very pleased to have Terra back at CAH again! Terra previously worked at the clinic while completing her undergraduate and D.V.M degrees, from 2004-2010. After completion of her D.V.M. degree she started work as a general practitioner in the Cambridge area prior to re-joining the Cornell Animal Hospital team.

In her free time, she enjoys hockey, dance, golf, travelling and spending time at the cottage. She shares her life with her husband Scott and their baby boy, Maverick, as well as a mixed breed dog named Carter and a cat named Hurley.

Registered Veterinary Technicians


Melissa Fickling

Veterinary Technician Program, Georgian College, 2007

Mel has worked at a variety of vet clinics in the Waterloo area for many years before coming to Cornell. She brings with her many skills and experience as an RVT. As a spokesperson for the RVT profession, she volunteers as a public speaker with the Better Business Bureau. Mel and her partner Kyle share their life with her dog, Theodore (pictured left) and her cat Tumble, as well as Kyle's cat, Oskar. Mel just recently gave birth to a beautiful baby boy so she will be on maternity leave for the next while.


Katrina Niederer

Veterinary Technician Program, Ridgetown College, 2013
Externship in the ICU at OVC Small Animal Clinic

Katrina joins us with a wealth of experience working with animals, first as a volunteer at the humane society, then as a Kennel Assistant and Tech Assistant, and finally as a Registered Veterinary Technician. She enjoys spending time with her spouse, her two pooches - a Coton de Tulear named Shasta (pictured) and a Yorkie named Aeries, and her four cats - Thelma, Earl, Kevin, and Neil Patrick Harris. Also, she gives a special mention to her passed and long time best friend, Rocky, a bichon frise. Katrina enjoys travelling, nature, and arts & crafts. She is also interested in expanding her knowledge of animal rights.


Julie Dean

Veterinary Technician Program, St. Lawrence College, 2011
Medical Emergencies Certificate Completion, University of Guelph, Ridgetown

Julie comes to us with a tremendous amount of experience working in a variety of settings including emergency and general practice with companion animals.  She will be joining us on a part time basis while she continues her work at OVC in the ICU. It will be a pleasure to have her as an addition to our team.

In her free time, Julie enjoys travelling and hiking with "the best dog in the world",  her 6 yr old Rottie named Vinnie. She also enjoys reading a good book, and painting.

Katie Chabot

Veterinary Technician Program, Georgian College 2019

Katie is currently employed full-time at MOVEH in the Neurology Department but comes to us in her spare time to work in a private practice setting. When not working, she likes spending time outdoors hiking and at the family cottage. She also has a new QH-Hanoverian x horse, Nash, and spends time at the barn, riding and training him for the hunter/jumper circuit. She has a kitten named Marcus whom she adopted while at school and a 10 yr. old cockapoo x (her first pet), Bailey, who loves to sit around the campfires at the cottage. Bailey is special because she is a parvo-survivor!



Melissa Kawaja

Veterinary Technician Program, Seneca College, 2018

Prior to becoming an RVT, Melissa did many years of volunteering in small animal practices in the York Region as well as a summer in Taiwan assisting a clinic with a Trap, Neuter, Release program for the stray population. Since graduating, she has worked at a small animal practice in York Region for 2 1/2 years, where she also worked with exotic pets, including small birds and pocket pets. While at Seneca, Melissa adopted her incredibly kind family dog, Tika. Sadly, she has left Tika at her family home now that she lives in Guelph. However, she has brought her sweet guinea pig, appropriately named Honey, with her. Both Honey and Moosie (Honey's sister who unfortunately passed away last year) were adopted from one of the labs at the University of Guelph during Melissa's time there. In Melissa's spare time, she enjoys cooking, arts and crafts, and watching movies.

Tracy Currie



Tech Assistants

Kirsten Riepert

Veterinary Assistant Certificate with honours, Seneca College 2019

Kirsten is a great asset at the clinic and we will be sad to see her switch to part time hours as she continues her studies.

Randi Speziale

BSc in Biological Sciences from University of Guelph (2020)

We are very pleased to have Randi join us full-time for the summer after spending many evenings volunteering her time at the clinic. As well as volunteering at Cornell, she has given her time at a variety of other clinics and kennels as well as the Humane Society in Thunder Bay. When she's not at school or volunteering, she enjoys travelling, reading books, and spending time at her home and cottage in Thunder Bay. As well, she likes hiking, walking and snuggling with her 6 yr old Golden Retriever named Nash. She also has a hamster named Thor.

Melissa Ricciutelli

Honours BSc in Animal Biology from University of Guelph (2019)
OVC Class of 2023

Mel joins us at Cornell as a part-time tech assistant while she continues her studies as a Phase 2 veterinary student at OVC.

Customer Service Representatives

Aimee Gillis


Pat Sandford

Hotel & Catering Course, North Gloucestershire College, England.

Yoga Teacher Training, Maureen Rae’s Yoga Studio, Etobicoke.

Reiki, Reflexology, Animal Communication courses.

Adult Learning Course Teaching Certificate, Durham College.


Pat grew up in England where she loved to escape to the rolling hills, the moorland, or cliff paths beside the sea. Her favourite nature adventures invariably involved horses, cows, sheep, dogs and cats.
Years later in Canada, when her son went into grade one in 1989, Pat realized her dream of working in a veterinary hospital. She has been working in the veterinary profession ever since. Along the way she has cleaned kennels & floors, groomed dogs & cats, assisted in surgery, at the front desk and every other corner of the hospital! The part of working as a veterinary receptionist Pat enjoys most is being part of the beautiful relationship between pets and their people.
Pat has worked at several veterinary hospitals in Mississauga, including Park Animal Hospital where she worked as a receptionist for over 18 years.
When not behind the reception desk, Pat can be found in yoga studios (practising on her mat or singing), hiking in the woods with her camera, writing creatively and cuddling with her delightful kitty companion Penny. Sadly, Pat just lost her longtime feline companion Shanti, whom she misses greatly.

Hannah Taylor

Hannah comes to us from the great white north - Thunder Bay - where she grew up and also completed an HBSc in Biology at Lakehead University. She has over 4 years of experience working as a customer service representative at a range of vet hospitals. When not at work, she enjoys outdoor pursuits such as camping, hiking and running, as well as photography and crafting. Because of her partner's allergies she is unable to have a dog or cat of her own so she has a Leopard gecko named Kiwi, and she gives extra snuggles to all the dogs and cats that come into the clinic!

Practice Manager


Melissa Farquhar

B.Sc. (Agr) University of Guelph 1985
PhD. Botany, University of Guelph 1990

As the Practice Manager for the clinic, Melissa brings her knowledge and experience in website and graphic design to the clinic, as well as a thorough understanding of veterinary practice management and daily operations. Normally she works behind the scenes but occasionally she can be found at the front desk, helping out the reception staff.

When she's not at the clinic, she enjoys travelling, and a variety of sports including running, biking, windsurfing and skiing. She also plays the piano in her spare time, as well as gardens. She shares her life with Mark and their son and daughter - Declan and Bronwyn - and of course numerous cats (Flotsam, Kai and Tiger) as well as their yellow lab, Ryder.