Have you met our veterinarians yet? They're proud to be serving the White Bear Lake community and helping fellow residents keep their pets healthy. Most of all, they understand the ups and downs of pet ownership and are here to offer not only quality medicine, but long-term support and guidance. Take a moment to learn more about them and see what sets them apart!
Dr. David Howe
Dr. Howe is one of the founders of Birch Lake Animal Hospital, and sold the practice to Dr. Kuhnmuench in July 2017. He grew up around agriculture, animals and science, so veterinary medicine was the right fit. The best part of his job is interacting with the hospital staff, his clients, and their pets. Over the years, Dr. Howe has seen too many patients to single one out as his favorite, but believes that the most memorable thing for him is how each pet is loved by their owner.
Dr. Howe graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1979. After vet school, he was licensed in Montana and worked there for a couple of years before returning to Minnesota. He says that he couldn't have picked a better profession than veterinary medicine, but if he had to be something different, he would be a short order cook.
Dr. Howe is married and has two grown sons; one working in advertising and one in human medicine. He doesn't currently have any pets, but he has had a Lab, a Golden Retriever and an English Setter in the past.
Outside of work Dr. Howe enjoys golf, visiting his home in Florida, serving at Eagle Brook church and being the drummer in a classic rock band. He has many items on his bucket list, including a river cruise in Europe, breaking 80 in golf, and visiting Australia.
Dr. Melissa Haase
Dr. Haase has been with Birch Lake for seven glorious years, and is reminded every day how privileged she is to get to do her job. Her path to veterinary medicine wasn't a straight one, as she obtained her Bachelor's degree in Journalism and worked in television advertising prior to her veterinary career. She graduated from Kansas State University with her DVM in 2008. She chose to work in the veterinary industry because she loves the challenge of science and medicine while working with animals.
Dr. Haase loves to learn and says she would probably be back in school if she wasn't working as a veterinarian. Her favorite cases are the ones where she learns something new while treating an animal. While every one of her patients has a special place in her heart, her most memorable case was a silly Lab that ate a golf ball and ended up with a perforated gastric ulcer.
Dr. Haase and her husband Aaron have been married for 20 years and have two children, Jackson and Audrey. The family has a Golden Retriever named Sparrow and a Calico cat named Katie that was formerly used for flea and tick research. Outside of work, Dr. Haase likes spending time with family and friends, knitting, sewing, going to musicals and the theater, and traveling. Her bucket list includes traveling to England to see where her parents and grandparents met, and to sit front row at a Bon Jovi concert and meet Jon.
Dr. Tim Kuhnmuench
Dr. Kuhnmuench bought Birch Lake Animal Hospital in July 2017. He is originally from Minnesota and obtained his DVM from Colorado State University in 2012. In addition to his DVM, Dr. Kuhnmuench also has an MBA and is a Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist. He comes from a family of physicians and combined with his love for animals, veterinary medicine was a perfect fit. He enjoys meeting new people and forging friendships, as well as finding ways to create life-long health and wellness solutions for people and their pets.
Dr. Kuhnmuench's wife is also a veterinarian and they have two beautiful daughters that keep him entertained and teach him about patience. The family also includes a yellow Lab named Goose, who has become the unofficial mascot at Birch Lake, and two naughty cats named Mustard and Quil.
His most memorable case was a Bearded Collie named Robbie who had chronic pancreatitis and Addison's disease. He was hospitalized for three days and subsequently relinquished to the pound on the night of his discharge. Dr. Kuhnmuench bailed him out with the understanding that he would be adopted out by a rescue when he was recovered. Robbie ended up living with Dr. Kuhnmuench for another three and a half years and becoming a loving member of the family.
Outside of work, Dr. Kuhnmuench likes spending time at his family's cabin, fishing, gardening, and spending time with his family. Two items on his bucket list include Heli skiing in British Columbia and catching a marlin. He is excited, blessed and humbled to be a part of the Birch Lake team and carry forward its reputation of honesty, trust and value that has been built over the past 30 years.
Dr. Rebecca Jensen
Dr. Jensen has been with Birch Lake Animal Hospital for over three years and says that her favorite part of the job is being a part of patients' lives over the years. Her most memorable patient was a dog named Bubba with an 11-pound mass on his spleen, which she and Dr. Haase removed.
Dr. Jensen has always loved being around and working with animals, and always wanted to be a veterinarian. She obtained her DVM from the University of Minnesota in 2008. She and her husband Andrew have a set of triplet boys: Aidan, Henry, and Oliver. In addition, they have one dog, Lily, a Corgi mix.
If Dr. Jensen wasn't a veterinarian, she would be sitting on the beach! Outside of work, she likes gardening, reading, and exploring Minnesota with her kids. A prominent item on her bucket list is going on a trip to see wild horses.
Dr. Anna Rauk Mitchell
Dr. Anna Rauk-Mitchell is the newest addition to the Birch Lake family, joining us in March 2018. She graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2012 and says that the best part of her job is seeing sick animals turn around and leave feeling better. Her most memorable case was helping to neuter a black bear while working in Ely, MN.
Dr. Rauk-Mitchell loves the problem-solving aspect of veterinary medicine, but if she wasn't a veterinarian, she would probably be working in conservation ecology or international development/public health. She took extra classes while in veterinary school and almost completed a Master's degree in Public Health. She was also in the Peace Corps and spent time stationed in Ghana and Liberia as part of Veterinarians Without Borders.
Her family includes her husband Matt, their two children, and their two dogs--Charlie, a Basenji that she adopted while she was in the Peace Corps, and Dart, a retired Alaskan Husky sled dog. Outside of work, Dr. Rauk-Mitchell likes to trail run, go canoeing in BWCA, go camping, and travel. Her bucket list includes lots of travel destinations and hiking the Pacific Crest Trail and Appalachian Trail.
Dr. Jules Najarian
Dr. Najarian has been working with Birch Lake Animal Hospital as a relief veterinarian for about two and a half years. She says that her favorite part of the job is helping sick pets regain their health and enjoy time back with their families. Her most memorable case was a German Wirehaired Pointer named Trooper who had Blastomycosis. His treatment went well and he was able to return to his favorite activities, which included hunting.
Dr. Najarian graduated from Iowa State University in 1994. She says that she started claiming that she wanted to be a veterinarian when she was just three years old, and never strayed from that path since. However, if veterinary medicine didn't work out for her, Dr. Najarian believes she would have been a judge.
Her family includes three wonderful children that occupy much of her time as well as a handful of animals. The family has two munchkin cats named Mirabell and Oliver, a Snow Lab named Maddie, and a Bernese Mountain Dog named Frasier. Outside of work, Dr. Najarian enjoys spending time at the lake, sailing, cooking, gardening, and traveling. Her bucket list includes taking trips to Norway, Sweden, and Lake Como in Italy.