Our caring and compassionate veterinary care team!

Meet the Veterinarians & Team of Hawkins Animal hospital in Milton! We’re pleased to provide exceptional vet care for your pets!

Please call us at 905-875-6888 to speak to one of our caring veterinary staff members!


In starting my own practice, my goal was to actively promote well being for our pets. I strongly believe in preventive medicine, and I believe in educating owners with regards to their pet’s health. Much quoted, but so accurate, the saying that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, is always foremost in my mind.

I also believe that a pet is an integral family member, with rights. In my opinion, if you own a pet, you have signed yourself up for being caring and committed, in a lifelong capacity, for that little being.

A pet is for life!

At this practice we offer an “open door” policy. We want clients to feel comfortable in our hospital, and we encourage clients to stay awhile and be shown around at the first appointment, or prior to an appointment. We also encourage clients to pop in with their dogs when they are passing by, as it is good for the pups to a enjoy cookie, get to know us, without being prodded or poked by me. Sadly, this approach does not work for the kitty fraternity! They are not so easily fooled by the cookie approach, as you cat owners will definitely agree.

Please feel free to call us any time, for general advice, or to arrange an appointment.

Debbie Hawkins B.Sc. DVM. MRCVS

I was born with a stethoscope in my hand, so I am told. My father, Dr. Norman Hawkins, practiced veterinary medicine in Guelph, establishing The Guelph Animal Hospital. I have never wanted to do anything else other than to be a Veterinarian, and in particular, dealing with companion pets.

I graduated from The Ontario Veterinary College in 1991, and for a few years, worked for another veterinarian, in a very busy practice. This was wonderful experience for me, from which I learned so much.

On Monday 5th October 1998, with the assistance of Ms Susie Baker, my Business Partner and Practice Manager, we opened Hawkins Animal Hospital. We designed and built the hospital from scratch, with a lot of guidance from my father.

On our opening day we were fully booked, plus we had a few walk-in emergencies. Our biggest fear was worrying if the computer system would work on the day, and more importantly, if we could get our brains around the software. We need not have worried, as all went according to plan. We have gone from 1 Doctor, 1 Manager and 1 Veterinary Technician to 2 Doctors, 2 Technicians, 3 full time Veterinary Assistance and 4 part time Veterinary Assistants, and of course 1 Practice Manager.

Dr. Joanne Rutledge


Dr. Joanne is a transplanted Maritimer who grew up with a variety of pets and spent as much time as she could exploring the local forests on horseback and studying the local wildlife.
She did her undergraduate degree in Agriculture in Animal Science and worked at the poultry unit at Nova Scotia Agricultural College after graduating and then at a small animal hospital in Halifax before going to Veterinary school. She graduated from Atlantic Veterinary College in 1992 and worked in Halifax at a busy multi-person practice that had multiple hospitals.
Dr. Joanne and her family now reside on a Hobby farm in rural Milton and share that space with one patient house cat, a Russian Shepherd, several horses and a coop full of layer chickens. She is still passionate about horses and raising heritage breed chickens, gardening and hiking or riding in the woods when time allows.
Her focus is on client education (and being educated by the client) and always tries to advocate for the pet while being pragmatic and practical.

Dr. Brittany VanRooy


I grew up in the countryside surrounding Caledonia, where I could pet the lambs and barn cats through my backyard fence and spent weekends with the horses at a local barn. A career in veterinary medicine seemed like the logical step for me, and I always pictured myself as a surgeon when I contemplated my career.
After completing a Bachelor of Science in Biomedicine, I went on to graduate with distinction from the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program at the Ontario Veterinary College in 2017. I spent many years as an associate veterinarian at a busy clinic, dipping my toe into nearly every aspect of general practice. It was a wonderful experience, but I have since decided to focus on my true love - my special interest in dentistry and soft tissue surgery. I love being able to help pets in pain feel so much better by removing painful teeth and providing preventative care surgeries such as spays and neuters.
Outside of work, you might find me enjoying anything related to science fiction or fantasy, writing, portaging, and spending time with my fluffy family – my husband Luke, our dog Daphne, Ness, and Dekaelia the cats, and a small flock of laying hens.


Practice Manager

As Dr. Debbie’s friend and Business Partner, I am immensely proud of the fact that we opened the practice on 5th October 1998, and that twenty years have flown by, seeming like only yesterday.
Prior to opening the practice, I worked for the UK Government, a job which took me around the World, but at the conclusion of that 30-year career, I decided to make Canada my permanent home, and have now become a proud Canadian.
Like most of the staff here at the Practice, since childhood, I have always had a strong love of all animals, both domestic and wild, and have always involved myself in supporting Animal Rescue, Adoption, and Fostering.
Since working these past twenty years as the Practice Manager, I have had the pleasure in working with so many amazing and dedicated veterinary technicians and veterinary assistants. Equally important, I have met and enjoyed long-term client relationships, with hundreds of incredibly wonderful, caring, and kind clients….. and of course, their pets!!
I sadly lost my beloved old dog “George”, a little while ago, so the photo shows my neighbour’s Yellow Labrador called “Simon”. He is the most adorable boy with super energy and a huge smile. It took a long time, from my arrival to being able to photograph him, as he had to run around the house at 100 miles an hour, with his “hedgehog” before he deigned to be photographed. We were exhausted!

Lisa Lott

Veterinary Technician

I have worked along side Dr. Hawkins for many years, both as we started our veterinary careers, and as Hawkins Animal Hospital was established. It is inspiring to work with a dedicated and skilled veterinarian who is devoted to her patients. The staff of Hawkins Animal Hospital makes every day worth it.

Cindy Somerville

Registered Veterinary Technician

I am a veterinary technician graduate from St. Clair College. I completed the program in 1991. During my 30 years in the veterinary field I have worked in small animal clinics as well as emergency hospitals. I have additional certificates in emergency and critical care as well as advanced anesthesia and pain management through continuing education.

I grew up on a hobby farm with an array of animals….you name it, we had it. I knew I would end up in a career that was animal based, but it's more of a passion than a career.

I spend my spare time with my two Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers doing agility and obedience training. My husband and I and our 3 daughters enjoy travelling the country in a RV. Of course we bring the dogs with us, they have been coast to coast in Canada and the USA, they are well travelled pups!


Head Veterinary Assistant

I am the friendly face, warm smile, contagious laugh and sometimes a shoulder to cry on that people have come to know since 2001 when I started my career at Hawkins Animal Hospital. I truly love doing what I do and interacting with the great clients and patients that we have. It really doesn’t feel like “going to work” everyday. I entered into this career through my co-op placement in high school and loved working animals so much that I knew this is what I wanted to do and I have been doing it ever since.

I have had many pets in my life but currently I have 2 cats that are in charge. Oscar and Tim. Oscar is a large black cat who thinks he is a tough gut but Tim gives him a run for his money in being the boss. Tim is a brown and white tabby that was a stray that was brought in by employees that worked at Tim Hortons and found him in the parking lot – so there was no other choice but to name him Tim.


Veterinary Assistant

I qualified as an RVT a few years ago but changed lanes completely and concentrated on raising a family. But you can't keep me away, and, the children having grown, I felt that I wanted to get back to my calling. I became part of "the Team" at Hawkins Animal Hospital, and have been here for more years than I care to remember.

Rachel Watkinson

Veterinary Assistant

I recently moved here to Oakville from Parry Sound after attending the Northern College Veterinary Technician program, and I then found this incredible job at Hawkins Animal Hospital. I now live here with my boyfriend and my two beautiful cats, Mac and Smokey.
I have always wanted to work with animals and when this opportunity came along, I couldn't say no, and I'm so glad to be here with this amazing team!



Amy Hepburn

Student Veterinary Technician

Hi, my name is Amy and I am a Vet Tech student at Sheridan college. I have always known I was meant to be in the animal field since I spent most of my childhood building cardboard homes, schools and hospitals for bugs and small animals. I have rescued many wild/ orphaned animals but in the end cats and dogs have my heart. I find it is important to love your job and honestly knowing I get to help animals everyday, is definitely a reason to smile.