Maddie's® Shelter Medicine Program

Saving lives through science, leadership, and service.

Kristen Pow, DVM

2021 Janet L. Swanson Intern of Shelter Medicine

Dr. Kristen Pow, Janet L. Swanson Shelter Medicine intern, is no stranger to Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.

Originally from Calgary, Alberta Canada, Dr. Pow has already spent the past year at the CVM as part of her clinical training. She attended St. George’s, Grenada for veterinary school.

When she was young and people would ask what she wanted to be, veterinarian was always at the top of her list. A graduate from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Pow developed her passion for shelter medicine while she was volunteering at the Kingston Humane Society. “I grew up in a family full of doctors and I think the experience I had at the humane society drew me to working with animals.”

Thinking she would eventually specialize in surgery, during the pandemic Dr. Pow took Cornell courses in shelter medicine and forensic pathology and the rest was history. Pow reached out to Dr. Elizabeth Berliner, Associate Clinical Professor and Janet L. Swanson Director of Shelter Medicine at Cornell, and asked her how she entered into the field of shelter medicine and what it was like working in this environment. From there, Dr. Berliner put Dr. Pow in touch with half a dozen shelter veterinarians both in Canada and the US and that led to even more connections and Pow realized “Oh my gosh, these are my people. I felt a kinship with all of them.”

Dr. Pow feels as though she is getting a second chance to experience Ithaca and Cornell, as the pandemic begins to wind down, which is a sharp contrast to how her past year felt during her clinical experience.

Looking to the future, Dr. Pow likes the idea of returning home to build the field of shelter medicine in Canada, but is also open to continuing her outreach work in Grenada, where her veterinary journey started.