Whether it was farm animals, horses, birds, wildlife, or dogs and cats, Susan has always been animal lover. As an adult, she and her dogs competed in obedience, sporting dog trials, and conformation, in addition to enjoying life with two horses. After obtaining an accounting degree and becoming a CPA, life changed. As a CPA, very long work days were the norm. Dog activities were limited, and Susan decided to find a way to include dogs in her work. She moved to Auburn, AL where she earned a Masters in Agriculture, with a focus on nutrition and dog allergies to foods, and then earned a PhD in Biomedical Sciences from the College of Veterinary Medicine at Auburn University. Her focus was companion animal nutrition, which included a 3+ year study into the growth and development of large breed puppies. While pursuing her graduate degrees, Susan began training dogs, working with Weimaraner rescue, and then co-founded the Auburn animal-assisted therapy group, Pets Uplifting People’s Spirits (PUPS), where Susan and her dog Kizzy, worked with Hospice.
After graduation Susan accepted a post doctoral position at the University of Tennessee, College of Veterinary Medicine with renowned veterinary internists and nutritionists Drs. Joe Bartges and Claudia Kirk who are remarkable teachers. Almost 6 years were spent at the Veterinary School where individual case nutrition was offered to the veterinary specialists at the college. Services were provided to area veterinarians, veterinary students were taught and trained to use nutrition as part of their clinical experience, and veterinary specialists were given up-to-date nutrition recommendations for their patients. During that time Susan also became involved with the local Weimaraner rescue and HABIT (Human Animal Bond in Tennessee), one of the first established animal-assisted therapy groups in the country.
She and her dog Bea worked exclusively with young, at-risk, and special education children. They also worked teaching dog bite prevention to school children, and became part of the Big Brothers, Big Sisters organization, becoming a Big Sister to a very special young girl she met at one of the schools she and Bea visited.
Pet Nutrition Consulting (PNC), was established in 2001 as a hobby. The goal was to make science-based nutrition services available to veterinarians, specialists, and clients around the world.
The business provides nutrition advice, planning, formulation of diets for healthy dogs as well as for those with special medical conditions. Another aspect of PNC is consulting for large companies such as Hartz, Nature’s Variety pet foods, and for smaller, start-up companies requiring diet formulations or assistance with balancing diets. Susan is finally living/working her dream, after a long, winding path.