Dr. Burns, Inventor of the Drinkwell:
After her undergraduate major in Medical Technology at West Liberty State College in West
Virginia, Mary V. Burns, D. V. M., graduated from Ohio State University College of Veterinary
Medicine in 1988. During her veterinary education, she developed a special interest in the field
of Animal Behavior. She completed an externship in behavioral studies at the Veterinary College
in Georgia during her senior year at OSU. After graduation and licensing, Dr. Burns relocated to
Reno, Nevada. As part of her practice of veterinary medicine, she offered behavior consultations
to clients and spoke about behavior to canine clubs in Reno. Her favorite part of practice was
Client Education, that is, teaching pet owners about the disease processes affecting their beloved
companions. This love of teaching led her to accept a position as an associate professor at the
University of Nevada, Reno in 1991.
The specialized program in which she taught was
discontinued due to budget cutbacks in 1995. Now at a crossroads, Dr. Burns had to decide
whether to return to private practice or take to market what is now the Drinkwell Pet Fountain.
She had invented the Fountain specifically for her cat “Buckwheat”, a constant faucet drinker, in
1994. She chose to market the Fountain and founded Veterinary Ventures in early 1996. Through
the first fledgling years of Veterinary Ventures, Dr. Burns provided preventative medicine
services, such as health examinations and vaccinations, at the Nevada Humane Society Clinic.
During this time she continued to teach a Principles of Disease course at UNR and was
responsible for a correspondence course in Medical Terminology. While an associate professor,
Dr. Burns had begun work writing a textbook on disease processes and this book, titled
Pathophysiology, was completed and published during the early years of Veterinary Ventures.
The book received the publisher’s award for best new textbook in its category.
Veterinary Ventures Inc had grown beyond any mere mortal’s ability to successfully manage it
while juggling other responsibilities, so Dr. Burns bid farewell to other interests. From the
beginning she had utilized outsourcing services and one part time employee to assist her in
running the business. She hired her first full time employee in 2001. By only the next year, the
growth and needs of VVI had outpaced Dr. Burn’s ability to manage it as it needed to be
managed. So in 2002 she relinquished her baby to more qualified parents, Northstar Investors and
Meridian Business Advisors. With Sean Rowe now at the helm, Dr. Burns could not be more
proud of the further success of VVI. She loves knowing the Drinkwell Pet Fountain genuinely
helps pets and their owners.