named 's top person to watch in 2018 Dr. Mary Gardner
veterinarian, innovator, professional speaker

  • Educate
  • Empower
  • Elevate

A dynamic and engaging speaker, Dr. Mary Gardner is able to draw on a wide range of career experiences and life lessons to educate and motivate diverse audiences. Her presentations cover a variety of topics, and encourage both professional and personal growth within the veterinary industry and beyond. Ironically, veterinary medicine was not her first career choice.

After graduating from the University of Miami, she began working as a Technical Business Architect for an order and supply chain management software company. Her innate talent for understanding logistics in a client-centric organization developed a unique skill set for a veterinarian. After 10 years in software she found herself longing for something different and more meaningful – the path she selected was to become a veterinarian. She completed her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine in 2008 from the University of Florida.

After spending two years in general practice, her friend and fellow UF graduate, Dr. Dani McVety, reached out to her about partnering in Lap of Love, which offered end of life services for pets and had been flourishing in the year that she began its service. Together they took the company from one veterinarian in Tampa to over 130 veterinarians around the country.

Dr. Mary leads development for Lap of Love's proprietary web-based practice management software called Sunshine. The program is specifically designed for veterinary hospice and euthanasia services and also dynamically ties to the Lap of Love website to allow families the ability to locate the veterinarian closest to them. Throughout the years, she has also developed The Pet Hospice Journal, an online Quality of Life Assessment program, as well as the first Quality of Life App (Grey Muzzle), both of which are free to the public.  She received the Alumni Achievement Award from the University of Florida in 2016 and was voted the veterinarian to watch in 2018 by Fetch/DVM360.

Geriatric medicine, the aging process in animals and teaching family’s practical ways to care and manage their elder pets is Dr. Mary’s passion.  Dr. Mary is on the advisory board of The Grey Muzzle Organization as well as Prized Pals.

Speaking Engagements

Dr. Mary writes and speaks for professional and lay audiences on geriatric medicine, assessing quality of life, hospice, and end of life care. She has spoken at VMX, AVMA, WVC, Fetch, state VMA's, IAAHPC, professional sales meetings, veterinary schools and animal hospitals around the country. She was also honored with presenting the keynote address to the graduating Class of 2014 Oregon State Veterinary Medicine students and gave the keynote at Ontario VMA in 2017. Dr. Mary was voted the Veterinarian to Watch in 2018 by Fetch/DVM360.

Upcoming And Recent Events

Jan 9, 2017

Grand Bahamas American Woman's Club

Jan 27, 2017

Ontario Veterinary Medical Association

Get Your Veterinary Grove Back The Art of Euthanasia Body Language for the Exam Room Verbal Impact Don't Upsell ... Up Serve

Feb 2, 2017


Body Language for the Exam Room | Marketing Trends for 2017 | Assessing Quality of Life | Veterinary Geriatric Medicine | Post Mortum Requests | Aggressive Pet Euthanasia

Feb 9, 2017

University of Florida

Drs. Dani McVety and Mary Gardner receiving the Gator 100 Award for the 3rd time.

Feb 10, 2017

Arkansas VMA

Hospice and End of Life Care for the Veterinary Patient

Feb 23, 2017

Minnesota VMA 2017

Veterinary Geriatric Medicine

Feb 26, 2017

Music City Veterinary Conference

What Matters Most in the End - Geriatric Medicine Assessing Quality of Life Chicken Soup for the Grieving Soul - Pet Loss The Art of Euthanasia Body Language UpServe don't UpSell

Apr 11, 2017

Practice Manager Meeting

Hospice and Euthanasia

May 22, 2017

Oregon State University

Communication for End of Life Care

Jul 21, 2017

AVMA Convention

Assessing Quality of Life Art of Euthanasia

Aug 21, 2017


The Pursuit of Happiness

Aug 26, 2017

CVC Veterinary Conference

To be determined - but will be amazing!

Sep 15, 2017

New England Veterinary Conference

The Old and the Restless - Caring for the Geriatric Patient

Oct 16, 2017

UF CVM - End of Life Course

Senior Lectures for End of Life Care

Dec 2, 2017

Gulf Atlantic Veterinary Conference

Veterinary Hospice & End of Life Care

Dec 8, 2017

CVC - San Deigo

Dec 12, 2017

Southeastern Michigan Veterinary Medical Association

Veterinary Gerontology

Jan 18, 2018


Jan 24, 2018


Practice Manager Meeting - Geriatrics, Quality of Life and Euthanasia

Jan 28, 2018

VCA Winterfest

Keynote Address

Feb 5, 2018


Mar 3, 2018

Oregon Veterinary Medical Association

Animal Welfare

Apr 9, 2018

Oregon State University

Communication Course for Junior Veterinary Students.

May 17, 2018

Mid-Atlantic States Veterinary Clinic

Veterinary Geriatric Medicine, Hospice and End of Life Care

Aug 16, 2018

Fetch DVM360

Sep 20, 2018

Tarrant County Texas VMA

Caring for the Geriatric Veterinary patient

Oct 31, 2018

DC Academy

Nov 8, 2018

New York Vet

Dec 14, 2018

Fetch DVM360

Jan 20, 2019


May 12, 2019


May 15, 2019


Speaking Topics

Practical Care for the Geriatric Veterinary Patient

Many owners of geriatric pets are at a loss and feel helpless during this life stage. As a veterinary team we can help manage the myriad of ailments that afflict our aging pets and support the family during this difficult yet precious time with their pet. Understanding how the body changes as pets age is important so that we can educate owners and treat pets appropriately. Doing so earlier in the pet’s life may allow for a longer quality of life and prevent some premature euthanasias. (1 - 2 hours)

Geriatric Pet Care Management in the Home

If you have ever owned a wobbly dog or skinny old cat yourself – you will empathize with families dealing with a geriatric pet. Geriatric pet care management can go a long way to making caregiving an easier and more stress-free process. Caring for a geriatric pet is very different than a senior pet. Unfortunately, many owners are at a loss and feel helpless during this stage. As a veterinary team we can help manage the myriad of ailments that afflict our aging pets and support the family during this difficult yet precious time with their pet. Learn creative ways to care for a pet at home that us struggling with the effects of old age. (1 hour)

Where are all the Grey Muzzles? Marketing before it is too late

The geriatrics are the largest demographic of pets yet a shocking amount do not come into the clinic for over a year before they are euthanized. Many of these pets can benefit from better daily management tips and medications but they are not making the trip to their primary care veterinarian. Learn what is important to the families and how to get them into your doors so that they can have the best possible care during these vital years. (1 hour)

Veterinary Hospice & Palliative Care

Veterinary hospice care is a unique case approach centered around education, preparation, and support for the pet and the client. Understanding what this service includes and what it does not include will help veterinary professionals solidify their role as animal advocators, strengthen the human animal bond, and maintain the highest level of client care. (1 - 2 hours)

The Caregiver's Dilemma - Assessing Quality of Life

Assessing the quality of life of a family pet is a delicate balance between managing client emotions, the progression of the disease, and the happiness of the pet. These key issues are not always in harmony and it is the job of the veterinary professional team to manage and balance each party's interests with the natural developments of biology. Understanding common trends in both people and their pets helps better identify their needs, address their concerns, and make a decision that does the "most good" for all involved. (1 - 2 hours)

Serious Illness Conversations and Guidance with Pet Parents

When a pet has a life threatening or limiting illness, pet parents are put in a position to make medical and personal decisions which can be frightening, overwhelming, confusing and even guilt ridden. It’s crucial during this time to gain a full understanding about what is most important to the family. This lecture will teach members of the veterinary team how to build a conversation framework to explore these topics with families and have better and earlier conversations with the family so that they feel prepared and supported.

Mapping the Euthanasia Experience

The euthanasia appointment is unparalleled in emotion and sentiment. There are a few things in veterinary medicine, or life moreover, that require as many outward displays of empathy, compassion, and commiseration from a doctor. The tone of voice, delivery of words, bedside manner with both patient and client, and the medical procedure itself become a delicate dance around death that doctor and staff should carefully choreograph and continually improve. It is only through this shared connection that the family will feel lovingly connected with your clinic, ensuring an unsurpassed level of client service. (2 - 4 hours)

Caregiver Burden & Relief - When loving hurts

Until one has managed a terminally ill or geriatric pet, you cannot fully appreciate the toll it has on caregivers. The burden caregiver's have can lead to more depression and anxiety than the passing of the pet. How can you and the whole staff identify the needs of the caregiver and support them properly thought this time. (1 hour)

Anticipatory Grief & Pet Loss Preparation

The death of a pet is, for many, the worst personal loss they have ever experienced. Complicate this with the possibility of euthanasia and the emotions can be too much for some pet parents to bare. How, when, and why veterinary professionals can make a difference at such an important time is essential to maintaining not only the human-animal bond, but the doctor-client bond as well. There is no better time to show your clients you care than by helping through the difficult journey of pet loss. (1 hour)

Get your veterinary groove back

Being in the veterinary world is amazing and the dream of many people. But the reality and statistics are not so wonderful with many facing burn out, client compliance frustration, compassion fatigue and even much worse. We must not let our dreams become buried under stress, discouragement, rejection, fatigue and negative voices. Instead learn how to find fulfillment, passion and love for veterinary medicine again – regardless of the path you take in this industry. Your dream may be buried, but the good news is that it’s still alive. (1 hour)

Mapping and Building an Amazing Client Experience

The best way to earn the trust of your clients is to build an amazing client experience regardless of what your 'product' is. What is your differentiating attribute that sets your client experience apart from the competitors? Learn ways to map the client experience in your organization and not just gain complaint clients but committed evangelists. (1 hour)

Motivate your Staff and be an Effective Leader

Motivation is a combination of factors that stimulate desire and energy in people to be continually interested and committed to a job. Employees that are motivated work with a sense of pride, energy, drive and are less likely to seek work elsewhere. On the flip side – an unmotivated employee can be toxic to the entire practice and will lead to attrition. Learn what it means to be a motivated and effective leader in your clinic. This presentation is good for all staff members from receptionists to the veterinarian. (1 hour)

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Publications and Interviews

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Treatment and Care of the Geriatric Veterinary Patient

Dr. Mary Gardner is the co-editor and author of the academic textbook, “Treatment and Care of the Geriatric Veterinary Patient” which can be purchased from Wiley or Amazon.

"Treatment and Care of the Geriatric Veterinary Patient" offers veterinarians a complete guide to treating and managing geriatric canine and feline patients.

  • Offers practical guidance on managing all aspects of veterinary care in geriatric pets
  • Takes a holistic approach to managing the geriatric patient, from common diseases and quality of life to hospice, euthanasia, client communications, and business management
  • Focuses on dogs and cats, with a chapter covering common exotic animals
  • Provides clinically oriented advice for ensuring quality of life for older pets
  • Includes access to a companion website with videos, client education handouts, and images

Dr. Mary authored chapters in the textbook, “Chronic Disease Management for Small Animals” available for purchase on Amazon and Wiley

"Chronic Disease Management for Small Animals" provides a complete resource for the long-term care and therapy of canine and feline patients with incurable conditions. Offering practical strategies for successful management of chronic disorders, the book presents expert guidance on handling these ailments and the animals that they afflict.

Written by leading experts in their respective fields, Chronic Disease Management for Small Animals takes a multidisciplinary approach to the subject, covering chronic diseases across many categories, including mobility, dermatology, ophthalmology, internal medicine, and more.  The book is not meant to replace existing textbooks, but is designed to be used as a practical guide that educates the reader about the many therapeutic options for chronic disease management. Coverage encompasses:

  • The impact that chronic disease has on the quality of life for both the patient and its owner
  • Specific chronic diseases, outlining diagnostics, therapeutics, and quality of life concerns
  • Hospice care and end of life, including client and pet needs, quality of life, cultural sensitivities, dying naturally, euthanasia, and death

"Chronic Disease Management for Small" Animals is an essential reference for recently qualified and seasoned practitioners alike, supporting clinicians in making decisions and communicating with clients regarding long-term care. It is an ideal book for all small animal practitioners and veterinary students.

Dr. Mary also recommends the following books:


"Dr Gardner is engaging and hilarious and her passion for geriatric and end of life medicine is so obvious during her lectures. She is one of the best veterinary lecturers I’ve ever seen, and I always catch her series at conferences when she’s there." VMX 2018 Attendee

"I never knew I could laugh and cry so much in one lecture!"

Amanda Howard

Memphis, TN

Dr. Mary is a dynamic, engaging speaker and she delivered a fantastic keynote that resonated with our delegates! I’ve seen many keynote presentations but I’ve never seen someone captivate a thousand plus people, the way she did. Her energetic style created amazing rapport with the entire room and she had people laughing and shedding a few tears. A full day of sessions dedicated to one speaker passed quickly and everyone wanted more! Dr. Mary is adept at handling a wide variety of topics - all pertinent - with thoughtfulness, humor and grace as she tackles some sensitive but essential topics. Our delegates walked away feeling inspired, empowered and ignited about their future and career path while gaining some practical skills they could put into action immediately. She is definitely on the top of our list (and our members’ list) for any speaking event for our organization.

Terra Shastri

Ontario Veterinary Medical Association

I recently attended the NAVC in Orlando Florida earlier this month and I attended the lectures put on by Dr. Dani McVety and Dr. Mary Gardner. First let me start by saying how truly amazing they both are! I have to be honest, I had decided before the conference that I was going to attend the whole day on Veterinary Hospice and I thought to myself "how depressed am I going to be after a full day of listening about death"? To be honest, it was the complete opposite! I left feeling inspired, touched and ready to go home, sit down with my bosses and discuss with them how we can incorporate a hospice program into our hospital! I've always said "a bad end of life experience at the vet, can end a long term relationship between a veterinarian and the client"! I've seen it happen!

They gave me so many great ideas and you can tell just by listening to them that they love what they do and that they are passionate and amazing at it!! I have pages of notes to over with my bosses who are very open and eager for me to getting the ball rolling in this process! I also want to say how great the website Lap Of Love is! It has so much information for clients and for us! Dr. McVety or Dr. Gardner, thank you both SO VERY MUCH for everything you do to help our furry friends and us! You are both truly amazing and inspirations to me!"

Renee Hotaling LVT

Sand Creek Animal Hospital - Albany, NY

“As a veterinary student, it is very easy to be so overwhelmed by school such that I forget why I work as hard as I do. Two women that constantly remind me who I am and who I want to be as a veterinarian are Drs. Mary Gardner and Dani McVety, whose sound advice and leadership has been invaluable. I have had the pleasure of taking part in several of their numerous motivating lectures including diversifying from mainstream career tracts and how to communicate what I want without words in less-than-ideal situations. I have even completed a resource project for them to help families with terminally ill pets through difficult times. These amazing women continually remind me that the only limitations we have are set by ourselves and anything we want bad enough and work hard enough for can be realized. These inspiring women have formed from scratch not only an amazing business but a new discipline in our field. Even more than that, they are paving the way for future doctors like myself to become more that what we would have been had they not been a part of our lives.”

Ashley S. Pott

Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine

“Dr. Gardner spoke to a group of veterinary students this year about how we could make an impact as future leaders. She had no difficulty capturing the full attention of the audience right away, and her warm, vibrant personality and humor engaged us throughout the entire presentation. Although it was a large lecture hall setting with quite a diverse group of people, her sincere passion for veterinary medicine and for people definitely resonated with each of us. I was very impressed by how effectively she communicated her message, and it was an experience that left me feeling inspired and empowered.”

Mike Misha

University of Pennsylvania College of Veterinary Medicine AAHA Team Leader

“I have never been so encouraged and intrigued by any presenter so far, Dr. Mary's positive energy is something refreshing that we need here at PennVet. It was a huge change of pace to hear her talk about grades and test scores versus what you feel truly matters for a practicing veterinarian and for a new grad seeking employment. Dr. Mary was honest with the students and didn't make us feel in anyway inferior for taking any specific path that we desire in our careers. She truly made me believe anything is possible for my future even though I am not top of my class and made me feel more confident in my abilities as a clinician despite not getting an A on that test. Dr. Mary came in with an agenda unlike any other speaker, she did not try to sell us on doing an internship or specializing, she simply helped us realize that whatever we want to be is good enough.”

Destiny Coleman


“Dr. Gardner came to talk to us about the reasons why we need to find our passion in our career in order to truly appreciate and find happiness in what we do. She stressed the importance of constantly finding challenges in our life in order to grow as doctor. She discussed how she started her own business and gave us advice on how to become a successful entrepreneur. Overall, her talk was motivational and gave us inspiration to find our own niche within the veterinary field.”

Nanase Nakanishi

Oregon State University - College of Veterinary Medicine

“Dr. Mary Gardner is more than an inspiring innovator in vet medicine. With her background, she has no trouble bridging veterinary medicine and technology. She’s fantastic at condensing an overwhelming and seemingly unapproachable topic like internet marketing into easily achievable goals. She provides relevant, innovative information to a student audience while maintaining a great level of engagement and fun. I’m so thankful for the opportunity to know this wonderful woman and leader in the field!”

Maggie Canning

Auburn CVM

“When it comes to speaking engagements, I believe that Mary is truly the best of both worlds- she combines a true mastery of social media, technology, and veterinary medicine with a witty humor that keeps her audience entertained and engaged. In “Finding Your Niche,” Mary shared relevant and interesting details of her life which made her relatable and likable to our [student] audience. In her “30 Free Marketing Strategies” talk, Mary revealed the tips and tricks of online search engines to can make my website or webpage more relevant and accessible almost instantly. Her humor, friendly disposition, and humble intelligence all lend to her ability to make me feel as though she already knew me and the rest of the audience on a personal level.”

Kristin Wuellner

Auburn CVM

"Mary Gardner presented what could have been a sad, emotional topic with such enthusiasm, humor, and compassion that I learned so much and will bring that knowledge to our clinic. It will improve our handling of euthanasia tremendously."

Oregon VMA Attendee