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Dr. Bess J. Pierce, associate professor of community practice in the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, was appointed director of CENTAUR in November 2011. She joined the faculty of VMRCVM in 2007 to lead the Community Practice service in the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, leaving 15 years of active duty service in the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps in a variety of assignments worldwide. She remains an active member of the U.S. Army Reserve and is currently a colonel assigned as the DIMA Director, Department of Defense Military Working Dog Veterinary Service located at Lackland AFB, Texas.
Dr. Pierce earned a B.S. in biology from Tulane University in 1986, an M.Z.S. in wildlife biology in 1990 and a DVM from Auburn University in 1992. She is board certified by the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (Canine/Feline Practice) and the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (Small Animal Medicine). Additionally, she received an advanced certificate titled "Animals and Human Health: A Certificate in Animal Assisted Therapy Activities and Learning" from University of Denver's Graduate School of Social Work in 2010.
Dr. Pierce has extensive expertise in working and service dog health care, and in promoting strong handler/canine partnerships. Her primary research interests are canine sports medicine and rehabilitation, and the impact and utilization of animal assisted activities in military and law enforcement settings.
Dr. Zenithson Ng, fondly known as "Dr. Zenny" to co-workers, joined VMRCVM in 2010 as the first house officer in the combined American Board of Veterinary Practitioners canine-feline residency and master's degree in human animal bond studies program.
Dr. Ng is a 2008 graduate of Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, and completed a one year rotating internship at the Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital of the ASPCA in New York City. He then spent an exciting year at the International Center for Veterinary Services in Beijing, China contributing to international veterinary medicine efforts.
Dr. Ng has an interest in the human animal bond, client communications and the role of the animal partner in Animal Assisted Activities. His energy and enthusiasm are unmatched, and he has been instrumental in creating the "Paws for a Cause" program for CENTAUR. He has published several student journal articles and is the recipient of the 2011 Interdisciplinary Research Honor Society Exemplary Interdisciplinary Essay Award.
Dr. Ng is the proud pet parent of Grace, an adopted Golden Retriever he trained and certified through Therapy Dogs International, and Putty, a personable and unique therapy cat in training.
A unique opportunity recently opened to CENTAUR to incorporate a service dog into the daily activities of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital (VTH). We are excited to introduce the newest member of the CENTAUR team, "Dr." Delaware, an eight-year-old female black lab who recently retired from her service duties as a guide dog for the seeing impaired.
She is part of the first in-residence therapy canine team at the VMRCVM, through a newly approved program at the VTH. The in-residence canine team will be utilized in a number of Animal-Assisted Activity (AAA) settings throughout the college and hospital as a member of the VT Helping PAWS program. Currently, Delaware will be in-residence for visitation duties at the VTH two times per week, and to attend suitable events on a monthly to semi-monthly basis.
The ultimate goal for the canine AAA team is to provide the gold-standard model for training, utilization and caring for a therapy animal. "Dr." Delaware will help students, faculty, staff, and clients learn about the principles of animal assisted activities and therapies. On her days off duty, she will be enjoying semi-retirement under the care of CENTAUR Director, Dr. Bess Pierce.
The center has a growing team of core faculty members and research partners supporting its mission. Its advisory committee represents a collaborative team of experts in various fields, including: