On her family’s 10-acre hobby farm just outside of Ashland, Wisconsin, Chelsea Retaskie DVM’14 grew up with a love of animals — and a menagerie of chickens, cats, ducks, rabbits, and dogs.
Like many kids, she had a dream of becoming a veterinarian. But Retaskie made her dream come true, earning a preveterinary degree at Northland College and coming south to study at the UW-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine, where she earned her doctor of veterinary medicine degree in 2014.
Armed with that education, Retaskie headed back up north, where she was hired at Minocqua’s Northwoods Animal Clinic as a small-animal veterinarian.
“This job is a great opportunity, working with experienced veterinarians who can mentor me,” Retaskie says. “It’s close to my family, and I hunt a little bit and like fishing a lot.”
You’re in college for eight years, and then to apply the knowledge I’ve gained in real life is exciting.
Retaskie provides care for dogs and cats, though she also sees guinea pigs, ferrets, and the occasional chinchilla. She also focuses on dental care and soft-tissue surgery. At the clinic, she enjoys using her UW-Madison skills in her work and to expand her knowledge.
Along with clinic colleagues, Retaskie provides veterinary care at the nonprofit Northwoods Wildlife Center, which offers rescue and rehabilitation services for wildlife and public education for the community.
She and other clinic veterinarians also take turns at providing health care at the Vilas County shelter, ensuring that adopted pets go home in tip-top shape.
Retaskie’s UW-Madison education prepared her well for all of these roles.
“It’s been amazing. You’re in college for eight years, and then to apply the knowledge I’ve gained in real life is exciting,” says Retaskie.
“I love working with animals and their owners and seeing the love people have for their animals,” she says. “They’re part of their family and it’s special to be part of that.”