Dr. Rachel Warnes is the first veterinarian to join OHS’ Community Teaching Hospital
Oregon Humane Society has hired the first member of the Community Teaching Hospital veterinary staff. Dr. Rachel Warnes comes to OHS from Animal Care Centers of New York City where she was the lead veterinarian.
In her new role, Dr. Warnes will be part of the medical team in the Community Teaching Hospital, which is the flagship of the New Road Ahead expansion project. The project broke ground in spring 2021 and is expected to be completed in later summer 2022.
Bringing Dr. Warnes into OHS now has distinct benefits.
“Our goal is to have two to three medical teams fully staffed, familiar with OHS processes and operations so they are ready to go when the Community Teaching Hospital opens in the fall,” says Dr. Stephen Kochis, OHS Chief Medical Officer. “Until the new hospital opens, Dr. Warnes will be a key member of the shelter medicine team as we care for the pets at OHS and work through a backlog of Spay & Save clients.”
Each team at the Community Teaching Hospital will include a veterinarian, certified veterinary technician and two veterinary assistants. They will focus on serving clients who may have not previously been able to afford veterinary care for their pets. Services will be open to all pet owners, with those facing financial hardship eligible for subsidized care.
Dr. Warnes is very familiar with caring for pets of underserved owners. During her internship with the ASPCA in New York City she saw the impact that community medicine can make for pet owners.
“It is incredibly gratifying to care for pets, educate pet owners and provide resources to keep people and their animals together,” says Dr. Warnes. “Keeping pets in their homes is the most important thing we can do to prevent animals from entering shelters.”
Dr. Warnes was drawn to the veterinary field after adopting her dogs from a shelter in Alabama in 2009.
“Most animals who entered the shelter were euthanized and there was no veterinarian on staff. When I went to adopt my two dogs, a light went on. I went to vet school to study shelter medicine so I could help change shelters. I like being creative with limited resources to help the animals in most need.”
After several years of working in shelter medicine, Dr. Warnes is looking forward to blazing a new trail with the Community Teaching Hospital and providing Portland pet owners with a service that doesn’t currently exist.
“It’s exciting to be part of the team building this service for the community and creating something to help as many people as possible.”
Hiring the first member of the Community Teaching Hospital veterinary team has made the New Road Ahead expansion project more tangible and real for Dr. Kochis.
“For months I have been looking out my window watching the construction,” he says. “But now, with Dr. Warnes on board, we are one step closer to helping pet owners in our community.”
In her spare time Dr. Warnes is excited to explore the many outdoor adventures that the Northwest has to offer, particularly rock climbing. She made the move across the country a few weeks ago with her beloved dog (adopted from an Alabama shelter in 2009), 13-year-old cat and two very mischievous rats.