Please mark your calendars for the following St Francis closures.

  • August 26th: 1:00-2:30 pm: Staff Meeting.
  • September 4th-7th: Extended Labor Day Weekend.
  • September 17th: 1:00-3:00 pm: Staff Meeting.

As many of you already know, many veterinary professionals struggle. We have made a lifelong commitment to caring for pets and their caregivers, but we often forget to care for ourselves. Long work hours, financial stresses, professional demands, and the emotional strain of caring for sick, injured, or dying pets take their toll. (For more information, visit, NPR News or Time.)

The current pandemic has heightened all of these challenges that we face in this industry. Overwhelming phone call volumes, increased patient care demands beyond our capacity, limited emergency resources, public health regulations, curbside care, and staffing shortages due to illness have compounded the normal stresses that we face.

At St Francis, we are committed to caring for our team in addition to caring for you and your pets. After all, if we don’t care for ourselves, none of us will be here to care for your loved ones. Thank you for your support and understanding of these clinic closures as we spend a few moments caring for our families and ourselves.


Written by Arlene Mencke and Dr. Jennifer Blair, DVM, CVA, CVFT, CTPEP

Accidents happen. Doors are left open. A window screen breaks. A dog slips out of a collar on a walk. We know how terrifying it is to lose your loved one to the streets. One of our clients spent an agonizing weekend searching for her missing dogs, Poppy and Suzette. Fortunately, it was a success story, but it called to our attention the need to have a resource list available for others in these shoes. Thank you to Arlene for creating this resource guide to share.


Each month, we will spotlight one of our team members in order of years of service at St Francis Animal Hospital.

We highlighted Dr. Jessica Lewis previously, but because she had two start dates, one as a veterinary assistant and the other as an associate veterinarian, we are excited to share her story again.

Dr. Jessica Lewis joined St Francis Animal Hospital in the spring of 2011 as a veterinary assistant while she was obtaining her Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Science. She was promoted to a veterinary technician in 2013 and continued to work at St Francis part-time while earning her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) at the University of Minnesota. She completed a one-month externship at St Francis during her clinical rotations and was elated to officially join the team as a veterinarian in May of 2018.

Jessica’s professional interests include preventative care, nutrition, small animal internal medicine, and anesthesia/pain management. She has also completed additional training to reduce fear, anxiety, and stress related to veterinary visits. Jessica is a member of the Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association (MVMA) and American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).

In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, being outdoors, going to the cabin, practicing yoga, and throwing the frisbee for her Australian Shepherds, Tig and George Bailey.

Why did you become a veterinarian?

It may sound cheesy, but I have always felt an unexplainable connection to animals. When it became time to think about my future career, there was no doubt that I wanted to make a difference helping animals. People do not enter this profession because it is fun or easy; it most certainly is not! That being said, I can’t imagine not being in this field. It is a challenging career and it pushes me every day, but there are no words that can truly describe how fulfilling it is to be able to provide care for my client’s furry companions.

What make St Francis special?

I am so grateful to have found St Francis many years ago. I, just like many others, quickly fell in love with the practice’s values and the close bonds formed with owners and their pets. With kindness and compassion, the team at St Francis provides a level of care that is truly hard to find elsewhere. From the fellow doctors to our incredible support staff who make my job so much easier, I am unbelievably honored to be a part of this team.


Written by Dr. Megan Schommer, DVM

As we all try to figure out safe ways to be active while staying socially distanced, we have received questions from a number of dog owners asking about the safety of bringing their dogs to dog parks. Do our dogs need to stay socially distanced just like we do?

The answer is a complicated one because we still don’t have much data regarding COVID-19 and dogs. We know that dogs can become infected by their owners, although the number of dogs that have tested positive worldwide is very small. We don’t know if infected dogs can transmit the disease to other dogs or humans. The risk of dogs acting as fomites (carrying live virus on their fur, harness, or collar) seems to be quite low. There have been very few known infections resulting from contact with objects rather than with infected people.

The risks of visiting the dog park are similar to the risks of any other outdoor activity, and so you should take the same precautions you should always take outdoors. Keep at least 6 feet of distance between yourself and others and wear a mask when you are near people. Dogs can probably safely play with other dogs, although we don’t know for sure how commonly dogs get infected nor how likely they are to spread COVID-19 to other animals. Sick humans and sick dogs should definitely stay home and avoid socializing with others until they are well again. If you have any concerns about yourself or your dog being high-risk, it’s probably best to avoid dog parks just like any other place where people are gathering.

We’ll continue watching for new data to emerge regarding pets and COVID-19, and if new information becomes available regarding risks of dog socialization, we will keep everyone informed.