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.


By 1999, 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.

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