Originally from Denmark, Gitte moved to Canada with her parents and siblings when she was eight years old. She was raised on a hobby farm in rural Ontario with barn cats, sheep, chickens and free roaming guinea pigs.
Gitte graduated from the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph In 2000. In 2010 she bought Park Animal Hospital, an AAHA accredited and Gold Level Cat Friendly certified practice in Mississauga, Ontario, with a strong focus on maintaining the highest level of medical care for their patients. She proudly made it the first animal hospital in the Greater Toronto Area to stop declawing. Cropping ears, docking tails, debarking and other convenience/cosmetic procedures also are not performed.
Gitte loves being a general practitioner and has a special interest in behaviour, nutrition, and breed-specific problems. She mentors students and them to stay true to their values, to know what it is to be kind to animals from the animal’s perspective, and to speak up when something feels inherently wrong.
Declawing was not in the OVC curriculum, and Gitte was taught this procedure by her first employer. She will never forget the brutal and unnecessary pain she caused that cat – the procedure took over 30 minutes and caused the paws to swell to twice their size. She deeply regrets this and has dedicated the rest of her life to preventing other cats through what she and that cat went through. Each day she tries to teach at least one person something about declawing that they did not know to help them understand why this procedure is so wrong. She tells her pro-declaw colleagues that no matter how “good” they are at managing the acute pain, the chronic pain is the bigger problem – but she is sure that by working with The Paw Project team, everyone will one day wonder how they could have missed something so obvious.
Gitte’s passion for the humane treatment of animals – pets, captive wildlife, and animals used in food production, too – continues outside of working hours. She is an active member of OCAW (Ontario Captive Animal Watch) with whom she is currently working towards ending the use of wild animals in circuses and theme parks. In 2014, she was proud to be a part of the movement that stopped the Bowmanville Zoo from declawing their lion and tiger cubs, a practice they had undertaken for the previous many decades.
Gitte shares her home with three cats, two dogs and one goldfish – all of whom have come to her “second hand.” She unwinds and recharges with yoga, hockey, hiking, traveling, family time and afternoon naps with the furbabies.