Nicole Denouden, DVM
Dr. Nicole Denouden was “playing vet” when she was just a young girl. With many dogs and cats in Nicole’s family, she often listened to the pets’ hearts, checked their eyes, brushed their teeth, and peeked into their ears. Nicole frequently accompanied her mother to the pets’ veterinarian visits, as this aspiring veterinarian wanted to learn how to provide the best possible care for her animals. Today, as the co-owner of Heartland Niagara Animal Hospital, Dr. Denouden has fulfilled her childhood dream of becoming a veterinarian!
Growing up in Aurora, Ontario with her four brothers, Nicole enjoyed soccer, baseball, swimming, and dancing. Nicole also spent much of her time riding and caring for her family’s horses. Nicole often watched her father deliver the mares’ foals, and she helped to train the young horses as they matured. Nicole also spent time caring for the family’s dogs, cats, and other farm animals.
One day while visiting the barn, Nicole found two small kittens with respiratory symptoms. Immediately taking the tiny cats to the veterinarian’s office, Nicole watched as the veterinarian examined the kittens and provided treatment. Nicole learned how to administer antibiotics, bottle feed the kittens, and keep them warm. Within a day, the kittens were energetic and playful again. Nicole was grateful for this positive outcome, and this experience played a large part in her decision to become a veterinarian.
Fortunately, Nicole’s supportive parents encouraged her to follow her dreams. Nicole laid the groundwork for a veterinary career in school, developing a strong interest in science and biology. After Nicole graduated from high school, she attended Guelph University for her undergraduate degree. Next, Nicole attended Guelph University’s Ontario Veterinary College, where she earned her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine. Nicole also experienced another major life event during veterinary school: she met Aron, her future husband and veterinary practice partner. While operating Welland’s Main West Animal Hospital, Dr. Denouden and Dr. Bhan decided to open Heartland Niagara Animal Hospital to better accommodate Niagara Falls area pet owners.
Dr. Denouden enjoys many aspects of her work, particularly dental surgeries that can dramatically improve a patient’s comfort and overall health. She gravitates to dermatology, as one of her golden retrievers regularly battles skin ailments. Dr. Denouden also loves engaging with rabbits, ferrets, and other pocket pets. While these small creatures have their own specific health challenges, Dr. Denouden loves to see them return to health after treatment. Finally, while Dr. Denouden thrives on the hospital’s fast-paced, challenging work environment, she also likes to slow down and learn more about her clients and their pets. Overall, she loves her veterinary career, as she never feels like she’s going to work each day.
Dr. Denouden also enjoys an active life away from the hospital. During the different seasons, she and her husband take time for snowboarding, skiing, ice skating, waterskiing, wakeboarding, and kiteboarding. She also loves to cook, visit the area’s wineries, and settle down with a good book in her spare time.
Finally, three rambunctious golden retrievers have joined this pet-friendly household. At 10½ years old, Toby is king of the pack, with his two younger brothers giving him first dibs on meals and treats. Next, six-year-old Dexter’s curiosity draws him to many corners of the yard, as he’s always searching for his next play toy. At one year old, Clifford is still a puppy and goes to great lengths to annoy his brothers so they’ll play with him. Even though the dogs occasionally roll in dead fish or chew the bark from the backyard trees, these three lovable dogs have become a treasured part of this active family.