About Our Team

More in home euthanasia experience than any other veterinarian in the Madison area.

Veterinarians

Portrait of veterinarian Laura Purdy

Dr. Laura Purdy, PartnerUW Veterinary School alum

veterinarian, CHPV  (Certified Hospice & Palliative Care Veterinarian )

Dr. Laura Purdy is a graduate of the UW Veterinary School in Madison, WI. She has spent many years involved with veterinary clinics in the Madison and Waunakee area. She has worked for the UW Veterinary Oncology Department assisting in cancer research projects, and she is an elite dog trainer. Dr. Laura was given the 2015 American Association of Feline Practitioners Award by UW School of Veterinary Medicine

Dr. Laura became a partner at Journeys Home in the Fall of 2018, and at the same time she completed a 16-month certification course making her the only veterinarian in the Madison area to have the CHPV credentials . She utilizes these skills every day she works at Journeys to help pets and their families through the end-of-life process. (More introduction on her video: Certified Hospice and Palliative Care Veterinarian)

Proud member of:
Pet Loss Professionals Alliance logo

When she’s not working as a veterinarian, she can be found helping her husband on their small organic farm in Waunakee. They share their home with a variety of critters including two sister kitties named Shelby and Lilah, a golden retriever named Cricket, and plenty of farm animals including chickens and goats.

(608) 347-1897

journeyspet*gmail.com

Portrait of veterinarian Dr. Katie

Dr. Katie Hilst, Founding PartnerUW Veterinary School alum

veterinarian 

Dr. Katie Hilst graduated from the UW Veterinary School in 2002, and from the UW Business School in 1986. She practiced veterinary medicine in West Allis and Monona, WI prior to starting her own housecall business in 2007.

She established Journeys Home to focus her efforts on helping pets and their families at the end of their lives (“It’s My Calling”). She authored the JOURNEYS quality of life scale for pets in 2013, and is certified in Pet Loss and Grief Companioning. She has been providing in-home euthanasia exclusively longer than any other veterinarian in Madison.

Proud member of:
Pet Loss Professionals Alliance logo

When she is not helping pets and their families she enjoys being outdoors, hiking, collecting rocks, and mentoring UW Veterinary School students.

(608) 347-1897

journeyspet*gmail.com

Veterinarian Dr Christine Nelson holding an orange cat

Dr. Christine Nelson, PartnerUW Veterinary School alum

veterinarian

Dr. Christine Nelson is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine. She is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, Wildlife Disease Association, and the American Association of Wildlife Veterinarians.

Christine is from Wisconsin, and has practiced small animal medicine in Arizona and Wisconsin. Dr. Christine has also worked around the world with wildlife species, particularly primates. She has been on vet teams carrying out the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of apes and monkeys, as well as other species in need. Dr. Christine is active as an advisor in the primate sanctuary circuit.

When not working as a veterinarian she enjoys biking and hiking and appreciating the beautiful scenery in Wisconsin.

(608) 347-1897

journeyspet*gmail.com

Vet Kitt Schaller next to one of her dogs

Dr. Kitt SchallerUW Veterinary School alum

veterinarian

Dr. Kitt Schaller is a graduate of UW-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine. She is certified in pet loss and grief companioning and is a member of International Association for Animal Hospice and Palliative Care, American Veterinary Medical Association and Dane County Veterinary Medical Association.

She began her career in veterinary medicine working with dairy cattle and horses using both traditional and alternative therapies. In 2018, she transitioned to Journeys Home where she found her true calling as a veterinarian. She feels incredibly honored to be able to help pet parents have a meaningful and peaceful sendoff for their sweet animals.

Dr. Kitt lives with her husband and two kids on their dairy farm in Verona. Their animal entourage includes a mixed-breed cattle dog named Ruby (who has zero interest in working cattle), a small flock of chickens, a house rabbit named Penelope, and Kevin the barn cat. Her husband milks 48 cows and married a vet for a reason. In her free time she enjoys mountain biking, cross country skiing, and playing tennis.

(608) 347-1897

journeyspet*gmail.com

Veternarian Sam Steinich with Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Quin

Dr. Sam Steinich
UW Veterinary School alum

veterinarian

Dr. Sam Steinich is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine. She is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association and the Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association.

She has worked as a small animal general practitioner in Wisconsin since graduation and enjoys animal behavior and Fear Free handling, palliative care, pain management, and internal medicine. During her years in private practice, she was able to experience the true depth and strength of the human-animal bond. She also worked for several years in the UW Veterinary Oncology Research Laboratory developing therapies for canine and feline cancer patients. She has served as a community outreach veterinarian for local libraries, organizations and schools to provide education and insight into the wonderful field of veterinary medicine. Dr. Sam is honored to have joined the Journeys Home team to provide care and support to pets and their families.

Dr. Sam lives with her husband and son on a small parcel of land in Mount Horeb. They share their home with a loveable and rambunctious Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever named Quinn. She enjoys agility training with Quinn, hiking and painting.

(608) 347-1897

journeyspet*gmail.com

Veterinarian Miranda Braithwaite, , DVM, MPH, MA

Dr. Miranda BraithwaiteUW Veterinary School alum

veterinarian

Dr. Braithwaite is a graduate of the UW School of Veterinary Medicine where she earned her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine and Master of Public Health. Prior to pursuing veterinary medicine, she earned a Master of Arts in Spanish Literature and was a college-level Spanish instructor. She just completed an internship in Primary Care at UW Veterinary Care with a special emphasis on increasing access to veterinary care.

Dr. Miranda, DVM, MPH, MA is certified in Companion Animal Euthanasia through the Companion Animal Euthanasia Training Academy (CAETA) and is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association, and the Dane County Veterinary Medical Association.

Outside of veterinary medicine she enjoys reading, playing board games with friends, and spending time outdoors with her family and Plott Hound pup, Polly.

(608) 347-1897

journeyspet*gmail.com

Catie Hawkins, veterinarian

Dr. Catie HawkinsUW Veterinary School alum

veterinarian

Dr. Catie Hawkins is a UW-Madison graduate where she earned her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine and Master of Public Health. Prior to pursuing veterinary medicine, she was a middle school science teacher in the Pacific Northwest. Dr. Catie hails from New England, but is now proud to call Sun Prairie  her home, where she lives with her family and her fiercely friendly dog, Nilly. When not working, Dr. Catie loves spending time with friends and family. She also enjoys traveling and the outdoors.

Dr. Catie is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association, Dane County Veterinary Medical Association, the Pet Loss Professionals Alliance, Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement, and the International Association for Animal Hospice and Palliative Care.

Isthmus portrait of Dr. Catie Hawkins

“… rewarding work”

Interview: Isthmus Publishing included a great article about Catie Hawkins and our work at Journeys Home Pet. See full text: www.isthmus.com

(608) 347-1897

journeyspet*gmail.com

Admin Staff

Client specialist Jess benson with two of her dogs

Jess Benson

client care specialist

Jess graduated from the Medical Institute of Minnesota with a veterinary technician degree in 2001. She worked as a veterinary technician for 14 years before making a career move in 2015 to become the office manager of Canine Sports Zone in Middleton. Jess has always loved to surround herself with animals, and deeply respects the bond between people and their furry companions.

Jess, her husband, and two kids share their home with their cat Tonic, Zeke the Labrador, a Border Collie named Mira, and two guinea pigs – Skittles and Watermelon. In her free time, Jess enjoys hanging out with friends and family, camping, and agility.

Kendra Kalish - vet tech

Kendra Kalish

client care specialist

Kendra has been working in the veterinary field as a technician for over 20 years and has always loved not only working with and caring for the animals, but also helping to educate and support their owners.

She and her husband Chad live north of Madison and share their home with five cats and a sassy little French Bulldog puppy named Beckett. Historically, a number of incredibly sweet and wonderful Bullmastiff rescues have graced their lives and they hope to adopt more in the future.

In her down time she loves to cook, read, travel and relax on their backyard deck with her husband.

Veterinary client specialist holding a cat (Meghan Hoel)

Meghan HoelUW Veterinary School alum

client care specialist

Meghan is currently a second-year veterinary medical student at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine. While she does not yet know her exact path after veterinary school, her areas of interest are in shelter medicine, accessible medicine, palliative care, and clinical research.

Meghan has worked in the veterinary field for about six years with experience ranging from accessible medicine to emergency and critical care medicine. She has also worked on various research projects at the veterinary school such as cancer treatments, auto-immune disorders, and infectious disease in calves. Currently, she is the Vice President of the Shelter Medicine Club and Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, both of which focus on giving medical care to homeless pets in local shelters. In her free time, Meghan likes to read, attend dance classes, and cook.