His love of animals started as a child, playing with barn cats and dogs and riding a variety of horses on the family farm. As he grew and matured so did his interest in horses and pets. He channeled that interest into a career in veterinary medicine, starting out by working in the local veterinary hospital as a teenager. He went on to graduate from the University of Minnesota with both his Bachelor of Arts, and in 1988 his doctorate in veterinary medicine. He graduated on the Dean’s list with high distinction, and Scholar of the College Award for his limnology work.
Dr. Johnson’s proficiency in ultrasound, echocardiograms, cytology and oncology are the result of 17 years of practical experience and a dedication to continued learning. In addition to countless seminars and special courses, Dr. Johnson studied surgical oncology for two years at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and worked another two years for the University of Minnesota Cardiovascular research department. He currently over-sees a very active oncology caseload in the practice.
Dr Johnson developed his expertise in equine medicine with advanced studies in reproduction at Colorado State University and surgery in Texas. Dr. Johnson worked for the Minnesota racing commission for two years before entering private practice. His calm demeanor creates a natural rapport with equine patients
Dr. Johnson’s dreams of operating his own practice became a reality in 1990, when he opened the doors to Blue Sky Animal Hospital in Wyoming, Minnesota, He has enjoyed living in the local community ever since, with his wife, two sons, Satchie - a very special and talented rat terrier, and Lily – an adorable little Papillion, who rules the roost - despite being the youngest member of the family.
“There are certainly times when we have to help our clients through difficult illnesses with their family pets. There are also times when pet health emergencies challenge us. However, after 18 years, I have come to realize, that getting up in the morning to go to work and get puppy kisses all day long is something I would not want to miss out on. I appreciate the level of commitment my clients show to their animals.” -Dr. Jeff Johnson
After receiving her doctor of veterinary medicine degree from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Gierke started her career in a small animal and exotics hospital in Chicago. For the past 5 years, she has been an associate veterinarian at Blue Sky, where her special interest in exotic pets has flourished. Concurrently, she serves as an associate veterinarian at the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley – now that’s exotic! Dr. Gierke and her husband have three young children to keep them busy. Dr. Gierke has reduced her clinic hours to spend more time at home with the kids. They also share their home with Yogurt, a very independent cat, and Mac, a black lab who doubles as a family pet and a hunting dog. She and her family enjoy the great outdoors, including hiking, bicycling, and camping.
Katie’s love for veterinary medicine began when she was in diapers, playing with her family cats. As she grew up, her fascination and desire to care for animals continued to develop. She fell in love with science, especially biology and medicine. She earned her Bachelor of Arts at Gustavus Adolphus College with a major in Biology Science and minor in Religion Studies. She then attended the University of Minnesota where she received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. Throughout her education, she remained committed to extracurricular activities such as Pre-Vet Club, Susan G. Komen Philanthropy, Church Youth Group, Student American Veterinary Medical Association (SAVMA), and Alpha Psi Vet Club – always striving to help her community while gaining invaluable veterinary experience.
During her time at the Veterinary Medical Center, she developed a passion for dentistry, soft tissue surgery, and ophthalmology. She expanded her knowledge and experience by working side by side with multiple board certified specialists in each field.
During her time away from the clinic she enjoys many outdoor activities such as camping, especially in the Boundary Waters, and swimming. In the winter she enjoys speed skating, and when it’s just too cold to go outside, scrapbooking/crafting. She additionally loves to travel. She has visited Thailand, Costa Rica, London, Jamaica, and Canada.
She currently has one cat, Elphie, who is a spunky little thing. Elphie was Katie’s first independent spay in vet school – it was love at first sight. She also has recently gained the sweetest pittbull mix dog, Ted, who was rescued by her fiance.