Dr. Mary Battistella - Veterinarian
One of the more common questions I get is, "How did you become a veterinarian?" As I remember it, I knew what I wanted to do at the age of 12. I used to spend time in Canoe, AL with one of my best friends on her family's farm. They had everything from horses to hogs, to soybean fields and pastures; from there the desire grew to be involved in farming or veterinary work. God led me in the direction of veterinary school at Auburn University. At the time, women were fairly new to the veterinary profession and we learned everything from large animals to house pets, even some exotics and wildlife. Between 1983-84, after I graduated, I opened Wayside Animal Clinic and Dadeville Animal Clinic.
I have two children, Joseph (29) and Elizabeth (26) with my husband Bob. Joseph is an organic gardener with his own market garden. Elizabeth is in graduate school with a degree in wildlife ecology and is working on her masters in conservation biology. After the birth of my children I continued my education with a certification in Chinese Herbal Medicine and Veterinary Spinal Manipulation. I've also been active on local state boards and committees such as: Veterinarian Medical Association, Alabama Academy of Veterinary Practitioners, the U.S. International Acupuncture Societies, and the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association.
In 1996 I hit a bump in the road when I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. It was then I quit working with the larger animals and spent the year going through chemotherapy, surgery and more chemotherapy. I myself used many holistic or complementary therapies including nutrition, acupuncture and herbs. I am happy to say I am now 20 years cancer free.
I sold Wayside Animal Hospital in 2005 and started doing Integrative Therapies at Riverview Animal Clinic in Birmingham along with relief work in other practices. I missed working with younger pets and decided to move into a different direction. In 2007, I opened Kowaliga Whole Health Pet Care & Resort. I had a calling to help shape the health of pets in a preventive manner. It is easier to keep our pets' health at optimum levels when preventive measures are taken. This includes starting their lives with good nutrition practices, and catching problems or diseases before they are considered chronic. I want our pets to live as long as they can, as happy and healthy as possible! Some of the therapies included are Chiropractic, Acupuncture, Nutrition, Herbal, and Homeopathy. Many clients live a distance away; they have a local veterinarian as a primary veterinarian and I work with educating them on integrative therapies that might decrease the need for long-term medications. I also do Nutrition Response Testing and allergy work. I still work in Birmingham once a month and can schedule recheck appointments there, but initial exams are done at my practice in Eclectic.
In my spare time I love going to the lake, gardening, travel, and continuing to expand my knowledge on the best care for our pets. I have recently completed my masters training in Nutrition Response Testing after two years of study. "NRT" is the best method of preventive care that I have found.
Widget, Samantha (dogs) and Jamocha (kitty) are my pet family at home and Lucy, Liga and Zeke keep us company at work.
Marybeth Lagrone - Office Manager
Marybeth joined Kowaliga Whole Health in August 2015 as Office Manager. She resides in Titus, AL, on Lake Jordan, and lives with her favorite canine companions, Snickers & Floozie Lucy.
Marybeth brings to Kowaliga Whole Health a wealth of knowledge in management, supervision, business administration and human resources. She attended Troy University in Montgomery with concentration in Journalism. Her background includes commercial print production, advertising, copywriting, graphic design and photography. Marybeth is certified to facilitate Interpersonal Skills, Business Administration and Time Management.
Marybeth has two grown daughters, Ashley and Austyn, along with three grandchildren, Collin (11), Braxton (9) and Ryleigh Grace (3 1/2). Her canine companions are Snickers, a Labrador/pit bull mix, adopted from the pound as a puppy, now 9 years old, and Floozie Lucy, a Heinz 57 (mixed breed), found as a puppy left in Walmart’s parking lot, who is now 4 years old. Marybeth’s hobbies include swimming, boating, photography and rock gardens. In her spare time, she soaks up hugs and kisses from her grandchildren. Marybeth possess compassion for all animals. Her commitment to their care and well being is a mission of love. “Every animal makes me warm and fuzzy inside! I could not imagine my life without their presence. My goal in life is to become the person my dogs think I am.”
Cassie Norwood - Vet Assistant
Cassie has been a part of the Kowaliga Whole Health team since July 2014. She started working as a Kennel Technician, taking care of boarding animals with much dedication.
Cassie is currently working as a Veterinary Assistant while enrolled in Jefferson State Community College, taking Veterinary Technician classes to become Licensed Veterinary Technician (LVT). She currently resides in Alexander City, AL, with her four precious canines. Bane, a pit bull, 3 years old ... Bear, a pomeranian, 11 years old ... Coco, a chihuahua, 9 years old ... and Zabo, a husky/shepherd mix, 5 years old. Cassie's hobbies include spending time with family, drag racing (her family has participated in this sport for many years), swimming/lake days, fishing, and playing with her pets! Cassie has always had a passion for animals and their well being and is dedicated to taking care of every one like it was her own. "There is great joy when a client walks out the door with a smile on their face!"
Heather Nelson - Kennel Technician/Receptionist
Heather joined Kowaliga Whole Health family in June of 2015, as a Kennel Technician. She resides in Goodwater, AL, along with her husband, Timothy, and their kids, Piper and Ryder. Heather’s love for animals is from the heart. She mothers 3 dogs at home; Zena, a pit bull mix, 2 years old... Roxy, a black and tan mixed breed, 3 years old... Denim, a pit bull, 8 months old... along with 3 cats: Bigfeet, Baby Cat and Carl. She has her hands full both at work and home. Heather’s daughter named their cats and claims them as her own! And let’s not forget Nemo, Heather’s resident turtle! Heather’s hobbies include spending time with her family, cooking out, and watching movies. "I love the simple life and the people and animals in it!" Heather’s commitment and dedication to Kowaliga Whole Health is very much appreciated. She currently assists as receptionist when needed as well as other areas of the clinic. We are very glad she is here and chose to join our family at Kowaliga Whole Health.
More staff profiles coming soon!