Michelle Ahlenius, CVT
Michelle Ahlenius has been a pet sitter and dog walker for over 11 years and veterinary technician in the Elmhurst, IL area for over 15 years. Michelle earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Equine Studies in 2000 and an Associates of Applied Science in Veterinary Medical Technology in 2004. After passing a board exam she became certified in Veterinary Technology. While going to school for her veterinary technology degree Michelle worked full time at a local animal hospital. To gain further experience she also worked at a specialty animal hospital in the intensive care ward as well as at an exotic animal hospital. In 2010 she went to the University of Tennessee’s Veterinary School and took extensive courses in Canine Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy. In time she hopes to become a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner. Michelle took a brief break from working in the veterinary field to manage a large barn which involved training horses, teaching riding lessons, and caring for over 50 horses and 20 donkeys. While she loved the work she eventually came back home and resumed work in the veterinary and pet sitting arena.
Michelle is currently owned by four dogs and two horses. They enjoy spending her money and telling her what to do. Four shelties keep her on her toes and active. Pippin and MacGyver are brothers, 8 years and 7 years old. They love attending charity walks, festivals, art fairs, and meeting people in general. Keep an eye out for the “blue brothers” if you go to any such events. They also love going to the dog park with their tiny sister Dallas. Dallas is 5 years old and prefers to stay out of the spotlight but enjoys racing around the dog park with her brothers. Ellie finishes out the sheltie crew and has a special story of her own which we’ll get to later. On a larger note, Morning Star and Skye are Michelle’s equine buddies. Morning Star, a half Arabian half Quarter Horse mare, was rescued during Michelle’s college days when Michelle found out she was headed for the slaughter house. Morning had too much energy and intelligence and rather than find constructive ways to channel her exuberance, her previous owner was going to sell her to the local meat man. After years of work Morning found her calling in endurance racing. Morning is now a sassy senior, 24 years young, and enjoying a semi-retirement at a barn in Warrenville. Skye is the newest member of the family, a 7 year old Paint mare. She is a sweet tempered horse who hopes to eventually teach Michelle’s nephew (and future nieces and nephews) the joys of riding. Over the years Michelle has owned a variety of small mammals and exotic reptiles as well. She appreciates all species and is dedicated to giving the very best care to any and all animals, whether they are furry, feathered, or scaled.
As promised, here is Ellie’s story. Anyone who knows Michelle knows of Ellie. A sweet, incredibly spoiled sheltie, Ellie was born premature and deformed. She weighed a mere 2 ounces at birth and nearly died from a hypoglycemic seizure when she was just hours old. Too weak to nurse, Michelle had to feed her by passing a tube into her stomach every 2-4 hours for 2-3 weeks. Unable to control her own body temperature she also slept with Michelle during that time to maintain her body heat. Once she was growing and stable it was time to deal with her deformity. Her condition is called bi-lateral congenital elbow luxation. In other words, she was born without elbow joints. She had all the necessary bones in her forelegs, but they were twisted and never formed into a joint. “Ellie” stands for elbow, she was named for her condition. With the never failing support of Dr. Anne Lannon, a veterinarian Michelle worked with and a close friend, Ellie went to see a veterinary orthopedic specialist when she was 3 weeks old. Despite a grave prognosis, Michelle decided to pursue surgery so Ellie would have the hope of walking one day. On New Years Eve when Ellie was 6 weeks old she had surgery on both front legs and after a second surgery and a long recovery Ellie is the delight of all who know her. She gets around very well on three legs and has a special stroller for when she wants to go for longer walks. She is the reason Michelle has a special interest in special needs animals and even went with Michelle to the University of Tennessee Veterinary School when she took classes in canine rehabilitation and physical therapy. With all of her experiences with Ellie, Michelle is always eager to help and care for any animal with special needs.
Michelle and Kim grew up in Elmhurst and went to grade school through high school together. They reconnected after college to begin pet sitting and dog walking together. Michelle is so grateful to have a partner and friend with such an incredible work ethic and knowledge of animals as Kim has.