Dr. Michelle Oakley, the badass veterinarian from Nat Geo WILD's 'Dr. Oakley Yukon Vet' Gives an Illuminating Interview

Dr. Michelle Oakley

Dr. Michelle Oakely opens up about her life, patients, show and a helpful Josh Groban encounter

Dr. Michelle Oakley is the star of Nat Geo WILD's Dr. Oakley Yukon Vet around in snowmobiles, helicopters and small planes in the frozen wilderness that is the Yukon Territory to get to her patients. Just watching her in action makes it seem like you have burned 1000 calories.

Michelle Oakley originally hails from Indiana and always had a love of animals. She loved working with wildlife and being a vet, so she was trained to do both.

Her popular Nat Geo WILD program Dr. Oakley Yukon Vet shows her working with all sorts of animals from bears and moose to more domestic animals like pigs and dogs.

Some highlights of this season include:

  • International wildlife conservation work where she goes to the French Alps to help ibex
  • Continued work alongside her family, husband Shane, and daughters, Sierra, a senior in college in a pre-vet/med program. May, a junior in criminology, and Willow a high school student.
  • She travels to Sweden to learn about large brown bears.
  • She performs a C-section on a snowbound, 4-pound Yorkshire terrier
  • She jet skis to a remote house call
  • She gets kicked by a horse on which she and Sierra are performing surgery in below freezing temperatures.

Dr. Michelle Oakley spoke with Michelle Tomkins for Stars and Celebs, the new home of The Celebrity Cafe about her early life, why she moved up north, what makes her show Dr. Oakley Yukon Vet so interesting, why she uses helicopters and snowmobiles to get around, how Josh Groban offered to help with her work, what she likes to do for fun, what advice she asked Dr. Susan Kelliher from Dr. K's Exotic Animal ER on Nat Geo WILD and more.

Michelle Tompkins:  Now, where are you originally from?

Dr. Michelle Oakley:  Indiana. That's actually where I'm just leaving now for a visit with my family. My parents are still here.

Michelle Tompkins:  And where exactly up north do you live now?

Dr. Michelle Oakley:  Our home base is in the Yukon, Haines Junction which is the southwest part of the Yukon. My older two kids are in university now. My younger daughter Willow is 14 and she's a freshman in high school, and our challenge is our town doesn’t have much going on for high school, so we go to Alaska for her to go to high school.  It's the next town over and it's two and a half hours away so we have to travel there for the school year, and we still kind of pop back and forth. All in a day's drive.

Dr. Michelle Oakley talks about her calling to become a vet and wildlife expert

Michelle Tompkins:  Where'd you go to vet school?

Dr. Michelle Oakley:  Prince Edward Island, it is called Atlantic Vet College, and there's like five vet schools in Canada, and so on the east coast, it covers all the eastern provinces. It's actually about an eight-hour drive from me.

Michelle Tompkins:  Now tell me a little bit about your childhood. Was it filled with animals?

Dr. Michelle Oakley:  Of course, yes. Yeah, and we grew up really in a suburb so it wasn't like all this— I love all the wildlife work I do now, but really a lot of that, I got the interest from watching Nat Geo growing up. I just loved hearing the opening music.  Watching the Nat Geo Explorer, Jane Goodall, and Dian Fossey, and all these women that were just total badass women back then. I don't know I was doing all this work for the things I cared about, but I think that had a huge influence when I grew up watching that. We lived on a creek and on a dairy farm, but definitely, I worked with animals whenever I could. But it wasn't until I went to University of Michigan that I had an opportunity to go to Yukon that I really got to get out there and do something.

Michelle Tompkins:  Well, I think you're badass too, so.

Dr. Michelle Oakley:  Wow, thanks. I learned from the best I think.

Michelle Tompkins:  Now did you always want to be a veterinarian?

Dr. Michelle Oakley:  Yeah, but it took a while to come around to be really interested in wildlife work, and that was super important to me, but I wanted to be a vet too. And so back then, it really wasn't a thing to do both. And so I tried a few different things. I worked for chemist, and I worked with a wildlife biologist for a few years, and I was just like, ‘I want to be a vet too.’ So, I went back to school.

I was a wildlife vet for nine years for Yukon government for the Fish and Wildlife Department, but then, to be honest, a lot of wildlife work is wildlife studies and putting out radio collars, and it's really important. We have to have information to find out where animals are. And it's not like the case-by-case caring for injured animals that much. It's not working with owners and getting animals better, you know that kind of stuff. So I left government in 2009 and now I get to do a mix of wildlifePreservation and vet work. Now I do pets too. So I guess I do a little bit of everything.

Michelle Tompkins:  Getting to do a little bit of everything sounds like a dream vet gig. Great. Now what led you up north?

Dr. Michelle Oakley:  Well, when I was at University of Michigan they had a study at-- in the Yukon, in the national park there, and literally, I had no idea where I was going when they said, ‘Go to Yukon.’ I was like, ‘Yucatan. Isn't that Mexico?’ I literally had no idea where I was going, so when I got up there, I just loved it. It's the most incredible wilderness. The Yukon is huge, it's almost as big as Alaska. It's way bigger than Texas and there's 35,000 people total. And there's like 50,000 moose, and 30,000 bears, and 40,000 wolves. It's such a cool impact wilderness, still an ecosystem, and so I just completely love living there. And my husband's from there too. I guess that's another good thing about it.

Michelle Tompkins:  In New York, if there's going to be three inches of snow, the whole city shuts down. And what consists of a snow day for you? What would keep you from going into work?

Dr. Michelle Oakley:  I'm not going to judge here, Michelle, because I think if it's over 80, we all start going into heat shock. We're all like, ‘Oh, my God. This is crazy.’ We'll all super dramatic about it. But a snow day for us, I don't know that we really get snow days. Oh, actually we had a snow day this year but it was June 20th or something like that. So we got like eight inches of snow dumped on us and no one was expecting it, and there was this big bike race that supposed to go 160 miles through our town to the next town and they had to cancel it because if we get a snow day it's just like in the middle of the summer or three feet or something. It's really the cold that we'll get where no one can do anything.

Every now and then we'll get  a -45 or a -50. And because the oil congeals in your vehicle there's nothing much can be moving and it's freezing and everything kind of slows down then. My husband used to make the girls walk to school at -40, we get -40 kind of regular and they walk to school anyway, and then it was -40 and they'd be like, ‘We want to ride.’ Oh, and they'd walk around and have tantrums and I'm like, ‘You better get moving.’ So that was kind of entertaining because he wants them to tough it out.

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Michelle Tompkins:  Well, when they grow up they'll be crying, ‘Your grandma made us walk through the snow.’

Dr. Michelle Oakley:  Yes. No, I didn't do it. But my husband did it. Yes, he's the one. Yeah, he did all kinds of things. He'd let them use their cell phones anytime they want during the evening or when their friends were over but they had to go outside. They had bare legs 30 below with their phones shivering and giving us dirty looks through the window. They'd come back in, they'd go back out.

Michelle Tompkins:  How'd you learn to drive all those cool winter vehicles?

Oh, necessity. It’s just that's how you get around where we are. I'm actually completely afraid of flying, so I hate flying on the small planes, get on. But yes, when I have to do work, I use helicopters and stuff, that's just how you have to do it. So I'm not afraid of helicopters, I guess. But some of these small planes I fly in are props and now I just how you get around. You can't really do anything, especially if you don't know how to drive a snowmobile. In this season, you'll see a lot of us travel around by snowmobile a lot. We travelled  by helicopter for conveyor work and some of the wildlife so that was covered in the show.

Michelle Tompkins:  What kinds of pets do you have at home?

Dr. Michelle Oakley:  Oh. Well, we had a little of everything and then we raised orphaned caribou calves and we've raised [inaudible] and things like that that were injured. But we've had llamas and horses. But right now we're kind of toned down to just three dogs and a snake. That's about it right now? Yeah, that's it. A couple fish, I think but, we have a Pug named Daisy Mae Loverpants. She's just a diva. She's the best little snuggler. And then we have an Australian Shepherd that's super energetic and loyal and excited and just great. Because she lets us know if there's bears around or moose around, which is great. It's really necessary where we are to have a dog, because bears can come in the yard, and you wouldn't know it. And so it's really for safety. We do a lot of hiking and traveling, and the dog will let you know if the bear is there way before you see it and the dog lets us know it. Very And that's kind of cool, too.

A lot of people that bring their pets to me. There's definitely that bond. ‘This is my dog. I love my dog. It's like my kid.’ But it's also like this dog protects me. And it's just that the animals are so important to people and they are, just to get around and to travel through the mountains.

So the third dog we have is a Rottweiler-Lab cross. And she's a rescue, and just awesome. She's just sweet and loves everybody. And yeah. She's also a great dog to have in the bush because she's a really good bear dog. She'll let us know. She won't do anything, but she'll let us know so we can avoid them and, yeah.

Michelle Tompkins:  Yeah. I'm betting the Pug rules the house.

Dr. Michelle Oakley:  Oh, she's totally the boss. She's the queen. But she's also kind of really mothering. We raised a couple wild boar last year, and they thought she was mom. They were literally as big as she was and trying to nurse on her. But she's like, ‘Okay, whatever. If you're warm and you want to nap with me, that's cool. It's funny. She gets tired of them, but then she's patient enough with them, so yeah. She's helped us raise a couple wild boar, a couple sick little birds. Oh yeah, a little grouse followed her around, thought she was mom. It was really cute.

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Michelle Tompkins:  What is her name? Bossy Pants?

Dr. Michelle Oakley:  Oh sometimes. But usually, her real name is Daisy Mae Loverpants. But she can be bossy pants sometimes. If it has anything to do with food, she'll actually just bossy bark at you to get you to give her whatever you're eating, which is not allowed.

Michelle Tompkins:  Now, do you have any favorite kind of animals to tend?

Dr. Michelle Oakley:  I like all the big ones. I like the moose and the musk ox and the bears. I mean, those are the ones I'm most comfortable with because I've been working with them for years. I think, to be honest, as much as I love horses and I grew up riding horses, they're my least favorite. You know, you start working with them, and whatever I'm doing is usually not very pleasant for them, if they're sick or something. So I end up with a lot of horseshoe prints on my ass, to be honest. In fact, I got one this season. And it's always to the delight of the film crew. They don't want me to be too hurt, but it's always exciting when I'm getting tossed around. I got tossed by a bison last year. It started to get up and I held onto its horns and it just threw me. And then this year, the horseshoe print on the back of my leg…

Michelle Tompkins:  Ouch.

Dr. Michelle Oakley:  I find those, honestly, I find the horses really dangerous for me. Parrots too. I work with eagles and owls and they're just fine. It's like I have no trouble with them, but every time I get a parrot, I almost lose a finger, so it's a lot of these domestics that are the give me trouble.

Michelle Tompkins:  What is your favorite strange case?

Dr. Michelle Oakley:  I had a hilarious case just this past winter about— I mean, it's not really funny. But a hawk attacked a pet chicken. They were layering chickens. They were out in her yard. But they were really pets. She only had six of them or something. And they would come in the house and take turns. And she put little diapers on them and stuff, it was incredible. But anyways this hawk attacked Wendy the chicken. And basically with all the meat off of her wings, so she was walking around with what looked like a chicken wing on a plate. It was unbelievable. And she disappeared for a couple of days, and so the owner thought she was gone. And then she phoned me to come over to see Wendy for a house call. And I came over and she's like, ‘Is she going to be okay?’ And I'm like, ‘Oh my God.’ There's this wing that just is like two bones. So we ended up doing an amputation. And she did great. And Wendy's still scratching, still laying. So she did great. Chickens are really tough. And they're actually really cute pets. So that's probably one of the weirder ones this year.

What else did we have? A cool thing we did this year…I work with police dogs quite a bit. I go through Anchorage and do a lot of work for some of the wildlife centers there, and then I'll also do other house calls just for certain clients. So I do work for the Anchorage Police with their police dogs. So they covered that a bit this year which is kind of fun to see. The drug dogs are very interested in me because I'm often handling drugs, so they're like ‘I like you.’

Michelle Tompkins:  You're popular with them.

Dr. Michelle Oakley:  Yeah, yeah. So that was kind of fun to show that. Oh, we had this crazy— normally when I'm darting animals in the wild, going to the mountains, it's a wild animal that we're trying to get our hands on for some reason. Either to help it or it's part of an effort  to try to understand it, the animal. But this year we had a cow, a big young cow that was misisng. And so she was being transferred to a different farm, and along the way she got loose. And I mean, she was out in the mountains. She was out in the middle of nowhere, and had no idea how to get back. And there were people seeing bears chasing her, people seeing wolves chasing her. And they tried for two weeks to catch her and couldn't get close because she was in survival mode. She wasn't coming near anybody. And so I had to go out there, and my two daughters work with me. My youngest daughter Willow comes in sometimes, but my older two are 21 and 19, and they work for me fulltime. So anyway, we went out there and had to try and track down this cow that had gone completely feral. It was kind of funny. But anyway, we tracked her all around. And it took us a couple days, and I finally commandeered this drone from our cameraman. I'm like, that's it. I need to see. And so we set the drone up and found her. And there was a bear right there, came out when we were filming. But we finally darted her and got her into her trailer and got her home. So that was kind of a different twist on what I'm usually doing with the dart gun.

Michelle Tompkins:  Do you ever get angry at the humans in charge of their animals?

Dr. Michelle Oakley:  Oh, that's a really good question. That's a great question because a lot of people, a lot of kids and stuff especially, and just people in general, they think as a vet you're just working with animals. They want to go into veterinary medicine because they don't like people but they want to work with animals. And that's just so, so far from the truth. And so, of course, I get frustrated with owners, but that does me no good. It does the animals absolutely no good to try and get into it with owners.

So it's really important to find as many ways as possible to get on the same page and to find common ground and to get compliance. That's actually a big buzzword in veterinary medicine, is how do you get owner compliance, because you're trying to advise what you think is best, but sometimes that's not realistic. Like trying to put animals on diets. That's the hardest thing. I take one look at my pug and you know how hard it is to get an animal to diet. And you think it's the easiest diet you ever went on. But it's got to be the hardest. Yeah, I mean, but really I love the people I work with. Even the finicky, crazy, goofy—I have so many people on my show who could have their own  reality show, so you know people who are off-grid and who are just super kooky and sometimes that gets difficult because they're so strong in their opinions or whatever, but it's why I love the people I work with too. So it's good, it's all good.

Michelle Tompkins:  Well since many of your patients are off the grid do you have in your calendar you're supposed to visit some on the first Tuesday in April or something like that? How has it worked out that you visit them for check-ups?

Dr. Michelle Oakley:  Yeah. I mean most of them even when they're off-grid they have some type of generator system and it's amazing. A lot of people have satellite internet out there and a lot of them come into town periodically and I'm kind of hard to get a hold of too because I'll often be out of cell service, so a lot of my scheduling is actually just done by plain old walk-ins, but that's hard for people that are just in town. So people will come and just find me if they need me. They know what my vehicle looks like, they know where I am, if I'm in the grocery store and they're calling about their dog's anal glands because that's the only time they have to talk about it, the only way they can find me. So, on the one hand, that's hard when you're in a small town and you're the only vet and you're always on call. But on the other hand, such is reality where we are, there's not an easy way to schedule a lot of these things, so some of the routine work we can set up, but for emergencies it's tough on both ends, both on my end and on the owner's end. They've just got to track me down because otherwise they're looking at a five hour drive to the next clinic in a lot of cases or they have to get on an airplane, a little plane to go to Juneau which is the next town over, but you can only get there by taking the ferry which is every three days sometimes or taking one of the little seaplanes and those are usually three or four a day, but they're canceled probably 50% of the time in the winter because of weather so it's tricky.

Michelle Tompkins:  Well, what's the hardest thing because you seem to love it? What's the hardest thing about living in the remote area where you live?

Dr. Michelle Oakley:  Gawd, getting stuff done [laughter]. Just trying to build anything, getting some of the technology up to us, getting things done. If you're trying to build anything it takes 10 times a long as anywhere else. Or fix anything, everything has to be sent out or you have to wait for parts and the parts that come are wrong.

My husband is awesome. He grew up like that so they'd go to the dump and they'd find a part and it wouldn't be the right one so they'd grind it down and make it work. So he's taught me and my daughters a lot of that. My daughters when they were growing up they would go to the dump and get car hoods and pull it around their snow machine or a sled. They would just do silly things like that where they had to take things apart and I think that's a hard part of it. It's also a good thing, it really makes you get creative with how you're going to solve some of these problems.

Michelle Tompkins:  Does something like Amazon or Amazon Prime deliver to you?

Dr. Michelle Oakley:  They do, yeah. But they'll always be, ‘It will be there in three days,’ and you're ha ha ha, sure. It'll be a week. So it's okay though, I mean that's a huge improvement because even two or three years ago it was a couple weeks, so things are definitely improving in terms of us being able to get stuff, but it's really expensive to get things where we are.

Dr. Michelle Oakley opens up about her show Dr. Oakley Yukon Vet

Michelle Tompkins:  Now for people who don't know tell us about your show Dr. Oakley Yukon Vet on Nat Geo WILD.

Dr. Michelle Oakley:  Yeah. So it's basically it's in its sixth seasons, so this coming up now season six, and followed my veterinary work in the Yukon, Alaska and also internationally. I do work all over so once in a while they'll follow me on some of the international trips that I do to Sweden or Sri Lanka or France. But most of it's Alaska and the Yukon and it's a mobile mixed practice. And it's a family business. So that's a really important part of the show that I think people love is—even my daughters and my husband and I all work together. And so a lot of them watched my kids grow up and they started—Sierra was 13 or 14 when we first started filming and Willow was just 7 and now Willow's 14 and Sierra's 21 and she's applying to vet school. It's freaking me out but she was-- We were just on the phone earlier and she's like, ‘Mom, I got to figure out what I'm going to put for this vet school application.’ And I'm like, ‘Oh my God.’ When I started my second year of vet school, this kid was six weeks old. I had my oldest two girls during vet school so it's so hard to believe it now. They're at that point and that's-- That'd be a big thing I'd love to-- I like to tell people what I love about this show, it's such a family show and a lot of families watch it together. So we get a lot of email and messages from kids who want to be vets or parents or grandparents who are like, ‘We sit down together, we can watch together and it's fairly family-friendly.’ Every now and then I have to say the word testicle or they have to sit through castration but for the most part, it's family fun [laughter].

Michelle Tompkins:  It was fun watching you with the testicles.

Dr. Michelle Oakley:  [laughter] Yeah. My daughters used to always be like, ‘Oh my God, do you have to always say that word on TV.’ Their friends used to make fun of them and stuff, I'm like, ‘There are worse things to be bullied about than your mom saying 'testicle' on TV. Okay? So get over it.’

Michelle Tompkins:  Can you please remind me of your daughter’s names and ages?

Dr. Michelle Oakley:  Yeah. Sierra's 21 and she's the one that's in her final year of university, pre-vet and she's applying to vet school right now. And Maya is 19 and she's a junior in criminology. She's in Toronto. And then Willow is 14 and she's a freshman in high school. She's my little feral wild child.

Dr. Michelle Oakley dishes on her personal life

Michelle Tompkins:  [laughter] Now, is there anything you want to say about your husband?

Dr. Michelle Oakley:  Yeah, he's awesome. Oh yeah, there is a man in there. We forget with all the estrogen around that he's there sometimes but he's a very quiet, calm kind of stoic guy but yeah. Shane, he's a firefighter so for about seven-eight months of the year he works for wild-land fire, which is forest fire. And he's a crew boss for the Yukon, has been for years. And then the winter months, for like four or five winter months he does wildlife work as well. So some of the work on the show that we do together they actually cover on the show. We did some wild boar captures together last year and this year the darting-- the work we did in France and Sweden we did together because he does-- You know how I shoot the dart gun out of the helicopter? He actually shoots a net gun. So yeah, we kind of have these who's better than who kind of capture wars, but you can also just use a gun that shoots a big net for certain animals. You can't do it for bears obviously, because they will bite but he's net-gunned wolves and wild boar and some of these bigger animals and you just have to be really careful how you handle them but it's really fast. You don't have to give them drugs, you can quickly put a radio collar on them and let them go. So we have very similar interests in work so that's fun.

Michelle Tompkins:  What should people look forward to seeing this season?

Dr. Michelle Oakley:  Well, the really great things— like I said, the family working together. This year, it's international work so I love that that she was finally covering some of that. So we're going to be in France. We're going to be in Sweden working on grizzly bears, which really fun because I work on grizzly bears in Alaska and the Yukon, on the same species of bear. They call it brown bears there, but they'll be on the show. And yeah, just a lot of fun. A lot of the show can be sad and difficult, but it's also funny. The animals are so funny, and the people are funny, and even if it's not funny, we're cracking jokes just to keep our sanity. So I think people really enjoy the humor and look forward to it, and the crazy stuff comes out of our mouth, that just keeps happening, thank goodness. So we'll see more of that.

Michelle Tompkins:  When you're not working, what do you like to do for fun?

Dr. Michelle Oakley:  I love to kayak. It seems like most of the things I do for fun are alone and quiet. So I do a lot of trail running up in the mountains by myself, so it's just kind of a way to let things sort of melt away. I take the dogs, get them their exercise, too. And I love to go kayak. I'm a major whale and marine animal nerd, so I love to just go kayak around the coast there in Alaska and look for sea lions and look for whales. That's kind of it.

Michelle Tompkins:  What do you like to read or watch on TV?

Dr. Michelle Oakley:  We used to be huge Modern Family nuts and The Office. Willow can recite every line off of Modern Family and The Office. It's kind of embarrassing. Did you ever go outside? But yeah, so we like those old shows. We still watch a ton of NatGeo. We're major NatGeo nerds, especially the explorer shows and stuff. So most of my music—I have ridiculous music tastes, all rap and Lush and Cully and [crosstalk].

Michelle Tompkins:  I wouldn't have expected you to say rap.

Dr. Michelle Oakley:  I know. It's because the girls are really into it, and they've controlled the Spotify forever. And they've been working for me since they were little, so that's just one battle that I've just let go, but I actually love it, so I'm always listening to that kind of music, so when people ask, ‘Oh, what's your favorite kind?’ I say something to them, so they're kind of surprised.

Michelle Tompkins:  Now, how often do you visit the lower 48?

Dr. Michelle Oakley:  Well, mostly for press these days, to be honest. So kind of once a year. Last year we came down for the Jane Goodall—she had that documentary movie. That was incredible. I got to meet her, which is awesome because I'd met her before when I was a kid, so that was amazing to get to meet her at her movie premiere.

My parents live in Indiana, so we usually meet somewhere warm because sometimes it's nice to get out of Alaska in the winter, and my parents like to come once in a while, but they don't want to come to the Yukon in December too often, so [laughter].

Michelle Tompkins:  Yeah, they love you but not that much.

Dr. Michelle Oakley:  Exactly.

Michelle Tompkins:  So where do you like to go on vacation?

Dr. Michelle Oakley:  Well, usually somewhere warm, like I said, somewhere we can scuba dive because we're all really into scuba diving, so out to the Florida Keys a few years ago. We've been to Hawaii a couple of times, Sri Lanka a couple of times because I do work there. And I'm hoping to go back to Sri Lanka in February, and the whole family's going to go, I think, and we might even do some diving there. But in Sri Lanka, I go there to work with elephants and a few other animals and the wildlife that's there, so. I mean, a lot of my vacations, I think, are work-related too. You know, we went to work with France and Sweden. It's like, ‘Oh, that's when we went on vacation.’ But actually, we were there to work. But we took a couple of days and traveled around.

Dr. Michelle Oakley on how Josh Groban and Jason Mraz helped her

Michelle Tompkins:  Is there any charity work that you'd like to mention?

Dr. Michelle Oakley:  Yes. Well, actually, I'm starting up a nonprofit that's going to be to help wildlife. We're just kind of putting it together and working on it so I don't even have too many details yet, but it's going to help fund a lot of the wildlife, but also help with the training that can be used by wildlife vets all over the world. And also, I have so many people that reach out, and they want to help somehow. And so it's trying to organize people around where other wildlife rescue places and rehab places need help and organize those veterinarians to travel around. So I'm working on that. And I just a Dr. Oakley Experience for Josh Groban's— you know Josh Groban has a Find Your Light Foundation for artists, and he asked me to donate a Dr. Oakley Experience, like hang with Dr. Oakley in her natural habitat, so [laughter].

Michelle Tompkins:  I didn’t know about his foundation. That's cool.

Dr. Michelle Oakley:  So he auctioned that off and then to raise money for the charity, so that's exciting. So Jason Mraz is supposed to come and hang out with me for a few days. He was the lucky bidder. I'm really looking forward to that [laughter].

Michelle Tompkins:  Great. So how do you like people to connect with you?

Dr. Michelle Oakley:   Yeah, @YukonVet for Instagram and Twitter. There's a Dr. Oakley YukonVet Facebook page that we, especially as soon as the show starts, we do a lot of stuff. I think we're going do a live Facebook event this weekend close to when the show premieres, so we'll post about that. But yeah, I'm pretty active on the Instagram and the Twittersphere @YukonVet.

Michelle Tompkins:  Is there anything else you'd like to add?

Dr. Michelle Oakley:  Not really, or one thing I was thinking about that you said, ‘What will people see this season?’ I think another cool thing you're going to see this season is about a lot of the technology that we've kind of adapted to use in the field, so like most vet clinics have an ultrasound or X-ray in a practice, but for me, I have to put it in a backpack and take it in a helicopter to carry it across out on a snowmobile to go do our work. So I think that's really-- they covered a lot of that because we've always done that for years, but it's really something that we wanted to show and explain because it's totally different than trying to do that work in a clinic as opposed to doing it in the field. So that'll be kind of fun to see a flare thermal camera that shows heat so I can use that to see injuries on animals. And then we use the ultrasound for pregnancy checking. And we did stem cell treatments on a jaguar, so. That's what I love about veterinary medicine right now is a lot of these high-tech ways to help animals. It used to be super expensive or used to be only at the vet schools. Well, now they're not only at clinics, they're becoming portable so you can take them into the field. So that's really exciting. That's a really fun part of working right now.

Michelle Tompkins:  That sounds amazing. I love the work that you're doing.  Earlier you said how much you like to watch National Geographic shows. I love them as well. Do you watch the other vet shows at all, like Dr. Pol and Dr. K?

Dr. Michelle Oakley:  A little bit. I can barely watch my own show because of the crazy things I'll say just because it gets embarrassing. It's like, ‘Really?’ And you start to second guess yourself a bit. But I used to watch Dr. Pol, and I still do once in a while when I get time. And Dr. K, I met her this year, and she's awesome. So I really enjoy watching her stuff. And she does a lot of parrot work or exotics, and I do those kinds of animals but it's once in a while, like every couple years, I'll have a hedgehog patient, or I'll have-- she does it all the time, so I've watched her show. And we text each other and be like, ‘Hey, what do I do for this?’ So she's become a friend, a good person to get some help from too, so.

Michelle Tompkins:  I’m guessing you may want to ask her how not to lose a thumb [laughter]?

Dr. Michelle Oakley:  Yeah. Actually, I have asked her that before, like ‘How am I going to handle this parrot without losing a limb? Or a finger.

Dr. Michelle Oakley can be seen on Dr. Oakley Yukon Vet that airs on Saturdays on Nat Geo WILD and learn more here.

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Michelle Tompkins

Michelle Tompkins is an award-winning media, PR and crisis communications professional with more than ten years experience with coverage in virtually every traditional and new media outlet. She is currently a communications and media strategist and writer, as well as the author of College Prowler: Guidebook for Columbia University. She served as the Media Relations Manager for the Girl Scouts of the USA where she managed all media and talking points, created social media strategy, trained executives and donors and served as the organization’s primary spokesperson, participating in daily interviews with local, regional, and national media outlets. She managed the media for the Let Me Know internet safety and Cyberbullying prevention campaign with Microsoft, as well as Girl Scouts’ centennial Year of the Girl To Get Her There celebration in 2012, which yielded more than 800 million earned media impressions. In addition to her extensive media experience, Michelle worked as a talent agent in Los Angeles, California, as well contracting as a digital content developer and her writing has appeared in newspapers and online. She is passionate about television, theater, classic movies, all things food and in-home entertaining. While she has lived and worked in NYC for more than a decade, she is from suburban Sacramento and gets back there often to watch the San Francisco Giants on TV with her family.

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