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Meet Dr. Michelle Oakley

Vet to Pretty Much Everything That Moves in the Yukon

About Dr. Oakley Facts

In the vast and isolated wilderness of the Yukon Territory, resident doctor Michelle Oakley is the only all-species vet for hundreds of square miles. (View larger version)

Photograph by National Geographic Channels

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Meet Dr. Michelle Oakley, the only all-species veterinarian for hundreds of square miles in the Yukon territory of Northern Canada.

In the village of Haines Junction, Yukon, Dr. Oakley runs an animal clinic out of the home she shares with her husband Shane and three daughters, Sierra, Maya, and Willow. She also runs weekly clinical sessions 148 miles away in Haines, Alaska, and 96 miles away in Whitehorse, Yukon.

In Haines, Dr. Oakley shares her satellite clinic with the American Bald Eagle Foundation which houses injured birds unable to survive in the wild. In Whitehorse, Dr. Oakley works as an on-call vet for the Yukon Wildlife Preserve, which houses a massive enclosure full of animals native to the Yukon and a large wildlife rehabilitation facility.

Michelle has run specialized research programs for First Nation organizations and the Canadian government. She is the first veterinarian to be a regional biologist in Canada's Yukon Territory.

Fiercely committed to her clients and animals of all species, she also makes house calls, sometimes driving hundreds of miles through the rugged Yukon terrain to check on a patient in need.

An Indiana native, Michelle earned her undergraduate degree in zoology at the University of Michigan. While studying there, she took her first trip to the Yukon as a field assistant on an arctic ground squirrel ecology study. It was during that first trip that she met and fell in love with local fire fighter Shane Oakley, who kept referring to her as "Squirrel Girl."

After marrying Shane, Michelle graduated from Atlantic Veterinary College in 2001 with a doctorate in veterinary medicine and shortly after that interned at the Calgary Zoo. She is an Associate Professor at the University of Calgary's College for Veterinary Medicine and often travels back to the Calgary Zoo as part of her job.

Other than her three daughters, Dr. Oakley is mother to one pug named Daisy May Lover Pants.

16 comments
Mark Largy
Mark Largy

Congratulations National Geographic on finding this true gem. Dr. Oakley represents and stands for someone with a true " brave heart and a compassionate soul". What a pleasure it is to watch programing that keeps it truly real.

Rameez Sarwar
Rameez Sarwar

Proud to be a Vet...Best All rounder profession..

Joyce Conklin
Joyce Conklin

II wanted to first apologize for interrupting Dr. Oakley's day when I met her at the Anchorage Zoo on 6/5/14, as we see on her show she is always on the go.  I wanted to see if it was alright if I posted the photo's I had taken with her on my Face Book page to share with my family & friends. Thank you again for the photos.

Joyce Conklin
Joyce Conklin

I was fortunate enough to be at the right place at the right time.  While I was at the Anchorage Zoo yesterday I got to take a photo with Dr. Oakley.  I have a tremendous amount  of respect and admiration for her, not only as a vet that does great work with some pretty awesome animals but as a person that handles life with a positive attitude and a sense of humor.  Keep up the great work.I was

Kim Kerrigan
Kim Kerrigan

Just found this show this weekend and I absolutely love it!! I have a bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Sciences; however, my life had other plans and I haven’t worked with wildlife in over 20 years. Watching this show brings back great memories and it’s truly inspiring. I admire Dr. Oakley for the great veterinarian that she is but most especially for the great mother and person that she is. Can’t wait for a new episode next Saturday.

Mary Lou Everhart
Mary Lou Everhart

The show is great but Dr Michelle Oakley is awesome!  I would love to volunteer for her, retired nurse and started my career in the OR then worked for 20 yrs in L/D.  Just say the word!e

Janice O'Malley
Janice O'Malley

Just discovered Dr. Oakley, Yukon Vet and love this program.  I'm learning a lot, enjoy the animals and the scenery.  Dr. Oakley has such a pleasant, kind, soothing personality. 

bob weakley
bob weakley

refreshingly informative and wholesome sans theatrics and celebrity stunts. like flying wild Alaska, incorporating family interaction within reason provides additional insight and depth to the the storyline.

as with Dr. pol, the patients come first. may it always be so.

Christine C.
Christine C.

 Thank god! Finally, a compassionate, intelligent woman-led show. Dr. Oakley is an excellent role model for my almost 9 year-old daughter who loves animals. This show is a breath of fresh air compared to "Finding Bigfoot" and some of the other hill-billy ridiculous shows that, in my opinion, diminish the National Geographic brand. In my mind, NatGeo should always be about education first & foremost.

Pamela Simmons
Pamela Simmons

why was she after the wild horses?  I only caught part of it.

Jan Snider
Jan Snider

This is a great show. She is an awesome vet, mother and wife. I can't wait to see more episodes.