Dr. Cheryl Schoessow, DVM

What is your educational and veterinary medicine background?

I graduated from Rockford College in 2001 with a major in biology and minors in chemistry and psychology; I graduated from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine in 2005.

What made you decide to become a vet?

I made the decision to become a vet as soon as I went with my mom to take our family's dog in for her visit, I was about four years old.

Why did you decide to join the Companion team?

I first learned of Companion Animal Hospital's opening in Oak Park through referral by a close friend. After becoming familiar with the management philosophies shared by the group I knew I needed to join the team!

What is the best thing about being a vet?

I enjoy caring for animals, I always have. What I realized after starting to practice is how much I enjoy caring for people. Experiencing everything from puppy or kitten wellness checks to senior pet care right alongside the families I work for gives me great satisfaction! Getting a nice tail wag, purr, or "kiss" from my patients is also a perk, I can't lie...

What is one of the most common problems you’ve encountered in pets you treat?

For the dogs I see the answer is probably skin infections, most often caused by allergies that they have. For the cats, it would probably be stomach/intestinal upset. This is also commonly secondary to sensitivities such as food allergies.

Do you have any special interests in veterinary medicine?

As much as I enjoy general practice because it allows me to see a variety of cases, I would love to pursue training in imaging (abdominal ultrasound specifically).

What is the most unusual pet you have helped treat?

Practicing in a hospital that saw a majority of exotic pets after graduation, I helped care for a variety of interesting companions including prairie dogs, fennec foxes, serval cats, kinkajous, even skunks!

What are some of your favorite activities outside of work?

I enjoy trying to keep up with my family and friends! At two and six years of age my children are developing so quickly it seems days make a difference. On my time off I try to make sure I'm not missing anything!

What is your biggest pet peeve?

Unkind actions! In personal and professional aspects of my life I try to treat others with kindness; I cannot see any benefit in doing otherwise.

Favorite place to eat?

Pepe's Mexican restaurant

Favorite place to visit?

Our family's cottage on Lake Sinissippi (in Wisconsin), lots to do there no matter what season!

Favorite food?

Most things Mexican...burritos, quesadillas, enchiladas....okay everything Mexican!

Favorite movie?

Can't pick just one, tie between The Wedding Singer and Tommy Boy, both timeless classics

What are your favorite sports teams?

Our family bleeds Cubby blue!

Most memorable moment as a vet?

Might just be from my senior year in vet school, a night on small animal ER. That would be the night I met Cookie, a barely 10-month old Pit Bull puppy presented to us after being hit by a van. I still remember her licking my face as we placed her catheter (prior to any pain medication taking effect), her family crying as they decided to euthanize her after failing to qualify for payments for her anticipated care costs, the sinking feeling in my stomach as I called my husband to inform him we were now the proud owners of a pup that would require over 2 months of care ranging in costs potentially exceeding $2000 (of course with a plan to adopt her out eventually). I still remember the calm of the intern working with me that night as he gently patted my shoulder and told me "you did a good thing", and all of the orthopedic specialists working with me to heal her shattered ankle week after week after week as we replaced her bivalve cast (sometimes twice a week)! I still remember struggling with the decision of who I could trust to care for this special puppy. I remember these feelings like I met her yesterday, now a decade later while I watch her black hair being replaced by more and more white on her face, while I watch her stand by my sister (yes her eventual "mom") with a loyal gaze through now-cloudy eyes. She will always hold a special place in my heart - one of the souls I feel was meant to cross my path in life. The most rewarding case as a vet? I am blessed to experience many rewarding moments in my work. Most recently I saw a senior Golden Retriever for mobility issues. His family later told me they had arranged for other family members to come and "say goodbye" to their sweet boy prior to his appointment with me. After reviewing pain management options, his family took him home with a pain medication trial. At his 7 day recheck appointment I learned he was doing very well! We have now started long-term anti inflammatory medication and he is even signed up for indoor swimming! His improvement and his family's joy with the additional time they will have with him could not make me any happier!

Name 3 things people might be surprised to learn about you.

I love the water - boating, tubing, you name it - but I can't swim!

I was raised to love a variety of music, in fact my whole family plays at least one instrument. My instrument of choice was the drums! But if I had to pick a favorite band, it would be Metallica - yes, best prior to their Black album.

I snuck a baby squirrel in and out of my dormitory for over 2 months in undergrad (while I was bottle feeding her) until I placed her with a rehabilitation group that released her with a partner the following spring.