Dr. Faith Banks DVM, CHPV
Dr. Faith Banks graduated from the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph in 1996. Since then she has been practicing veterinary medicine in Toronto, Ontario. While working in a busy downtown veterinary clinic, she became interested in geriatric medicine and pain management for pets while caring for her own geriatric Bernese Mountain Dog, named Smudge. After learning about the developing area in veterinary medicine called animal hospice, Dr. Banks knew she had found her passion.
She has completed numerous course relating to geriatrics, animal hospice, pain management, canine massage and trigger point therapy. She has completed a Pet Loss and Grief Companioning Certification course through Two Hearts Pet Loss Center, in addition to certification as a Pet Loss Counselor through the Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement.
She is amongst the first group of veterinarians to be named as a Certified Hospice and Palliative Care Veterinarian (CHPV) through the International Association for Animal Hospice and Palliative Care. She has written two chapters in a newly released textbook called "Treatment and Care of the Geriatric Veterinary Patient." She is a guest lecturer at the Ontario Veterinary College for the Art of Veterinary Medicine course on animal euthanasia. She has begun certification as a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapist through the Canine Rehabilitation Institute. Her goal in providing compassionate in-home palliative and hospice care and ultimately, end-of-life care, is to allow people to strengthen and lengthen the bond they share with their much loved pet.
When not working, Dr. Banks enjoys photography, travelling, spinning, reading, cottaging, collecting vintage flea powder tins and spending time with her friends and family. She shares her home with her husband and 2 teenage children, a chihuahua named B.D (Baby Dog) and a lovable Bernese Mountain Dog named Maple.
Dr. Karen Stekel, DVM, CHPV
Dr. Karen Stekel graduated from the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph in 1997 and has been practicing companion animal medicine ever since. After well over a decade working in busy Toronto animal hospitals, she joined Dr. Banks at MMVS in 2013 and has found her passion working with families to provide compassionate hospice and palliative care. She feels extremely honoured to have the opportunity to do such important work, supporting pets and pet caregivers through the challenging geriatric and end-of-life periods.
Dr. Stekel is proud to have recently become a Certified Hospice and Palliative Care Veterinarian (CHPV) through the International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care and is thrilled to be among the first cohort of veterinarians to earn this distinction. She also has certification as a Pet Bereavement Counselor through the Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement.
When not working, Dr. Stekel enjoys volunteering at her children’s school, reading, traveling, spending time with family and friends and making visits to a local senior care facility with her St. John Ambulance certified Therapy Dog, Lennie Briscoe. She shares her home with her husband, two daughters and their 2 cockapoos, Lennie and new puppy Rafael Barba (Raffi).
Dr. Rachel Ellis, DVM
Dr. Rachel Ellis is a graduate of North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Prior to veterinary school, Dr. Ellis earned a Bachelor of Science at the University of Vermont with a major in Animal Science. Dr. Ellis joined the team at MMVS in 2015 and is honoured to be a part of such a unique and accomplished practice. Preserving the relationship between pets and their parents is very important to Dr. Ellis, as she supports pet parents through the difficult decisions that need to be made at the end of a pet's life.
Prior to beginning her formal education, Dr. Ellis worked in theatre for several years which took her from her hometown of Toronto to the United States where she lived for 16 years. Dr. Ellis is delighted to be back in Toronto where she lives with her husband, Luca, their two cats, Flip-Flop and Eunice and future puppy, Mulligan Hornblast.
In her spare time Dr. Ellis enjoys playing tennis, baseball, horseback riding, attending all kinds of live music venues and sporting events as well as exploring the city’s many unique neighbourhoods by bicycle. She also loves traveling and getting lost with her husband in new places throughout the world.
Dr. Sarah Pechmann, DVM
Dr. Sarah Pechmann grew up in the Greater Toronto Area and discovered a great love for animals at a young age. She has always been fascinated by the unique and fulfilling bond between humans and animals. She has shared her home with all sorts of animal friends over the years, including chickens, rabbits, hamsters, a turtle, and of course dogs and cats.
Dr. Pechmann is a graduate of the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph. During her time at the Ontario Veterinary College, she developed an interest in veterinary oncology and end of life care. As a veterinary student, she worked at the Mona Campbell Centre for Animal Cancer and spent elective weeks with many of the local veterinary oncologists. Following graduation, Dr. Pechmann has worked full time at a busy local veterinary emergency hospital in the GTA. She now shares her time between working in emergency medicine and with Midtown Mobile Veterinary Services.
Dr. Pechmann is a member of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, The College of Veterinarians of Ontario, the International Association for Animal Hospice and Palliative Care and the Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement.
She is delighted to be a part of such a dedicated team. Dr. Pechmann greatly values being able to support pets and their families through the changes that come with aging, long term illness and end of life care. She is deeply committed to providing guidance and compassion during these emotionally challenging times.
In her free time, Dr. Pechmann enjoys gardening, reading, testing out new recipes, and exploring the community with family and friends. She shares her home with her fluffy cat, Tumbleweed, and mischievous long-haired Dachshund, Arthur.
Barb Cook – Hospice Team Manager
Barb Cook joined Midtown Mobile Veterinary Services as our Hospice Team Manager in April 2017. She brings lots of experience from her career with a large healthcare company and really enjoys the many roles she fills with MMVS, especially knowing that we are providing such an important service.
Barb found us like many of you do. She and her husband have raised two children and three handsome German Shepherd dogs; Bear, Murray and Gordon. When Gordon was diagnosed with a terminal illness at the age of 7, they set out to find a vet who could euthanize him in their home, found Dr. Banks and discovered in-home palliative care. Dr. Banks helped them care for Gordon at home until his last day.
Compassionate, kind and very organized, Barb is often the first person you will speak to when you call us. Like the rest of the team at MMVS, she considers it an honour to help pet owners at this very difficult time. Although she is no longer a pet parent, helping others navigate end of life is a way of still being involved in the lives of pets, just in a different way.
Barb grew up in a large family with a cat, dogs, rabbits and even a few ducks. She loves to golf, travel, cook and spend time with her family and friends.