Ingrid Rhinehart, MS, DVM, CVA

Education: Oberlin College, Cornell University, Chi Institute

Dr. Ingrid Rhinehart is a Western New York native who is happy to call Ithaca home. She is a Cornell Vet School alumna who just couldn’t stay away. She has previously practiced in Western New York and Western Pennsylvania before moving back to Ithaca and joining Briar Patch.  She purchased Briar Patch from Dr. Carolyn McMaster in September 2016 and plans to be here for a very long time.

Dr. Rhinehart earned her Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Oberlin College and her Master’s degree in Agricultural Economics from Cornell. After working as a development economist with farmers in East Africa, she returned to Cornell and earned her veterinary degree in 2011. Additionally, she earned certification in Veterinary Acupuncture from the Chi Institute in 2011. She continues to immerse herself in the study of Chinese Herbal Medicine, Chinese Food Therapy and other aspects of integrative medicine. She has recently earned certification as a Fear Free Practitioner, concentrating on considerate approach and gentle control techniques used in calming environments.

Dr. Rhinehart shares her life with her husband, her crazy Great Dane, one feisty kitty, two budgies and a tortoise. When not busy seeing patients or furthering her studies she enjoys quilting and traveling.  Dr. Rhinehart is also an avid Buffalo Bills fan and season ticket holder.


Katherine Vissio, DVM

Education: George Washington University, Cornell University

Dr. Katherine (Kat) Vissio graduated from Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2015 and completed a Small Animal Rotating Internship at Cornell in 2016. She is interested in general medicine, emergency, exotics and surgery. She believes in individually tailored medicine that works for you and your pet. Her honest and empathetic communication style creates a strong partnership with her clients that allows for the best possible patient care.  
She is originally from Austin, Texas but has lived in the northeast since attending The George Washington University in D.C. where she majored in Biological Anthropology. In her time off she loves to dance, sing, travel and practice yoga. She also enjoys hiking and camping in the rain, snow or sunshine with her husband and their dog Zoe. They are now officially Ithacans and love being a part of this great community.


BJ, Licensed Veterinary Technician Team Leader

Education: Camden County College

BJ graduated from Camden County College in Blackwood, New Jersey in 1989 with a degree in Veterinary Technology. Since graduation, she has worked in three veterinary hospitals, one in New Jersey and one in Ithaca, before joining Briar Patch in 2011. Even after being a technician for over 25 years – she still enjoys her work!

When not at work, BJ enjoys spending time cooking and gardening with her partner. Their blended family consist Zoe a Rottweiler and Chloe the kitty.


Carissa, Licensed Veterinary Technician

Education: Alfred State College

Carissa graduated from Alfred State with a degree in Veterinary Technology in 2010. She has been practicing as a vet tech since. She is currently working on her Bachelors in Technology Management through Alfred State College. Carissa lives in Horseheads with her two cats, Chuck Norris and Ellie, a Leopard Gecko named Penelope, and her fiancé Nate. In her free time, she likes to read, hike, and spend time with her family and friends. Carissa BILLIEVES that one day the Bills will make it to the playoffs.


Tammie, Veterinary Technician In-Training

Education: Cornell University

Tammie joined us in November 2009 as a veterinary assistant. She brought with her over 20 years of experience running Walnut Grove Home Pet Care where she has boarded horses and cared for a wide variety of species.

She has also bred, trained and shown Arabian horses, all of which probably helps her a great deal when holding large dogs during treatment!

Tammie fills in at the front desk, assists in appointments, runs lab equipment, cleans cages, helps with patients before and after surgery and does all of the tasks with a smile.

She shares her home with her husband Steve, their cats and–not in the house–many horses.


Anne Garretson, Practice Manager

Education: University of New Hampshire, Boston University

Anne handles all of the non-medical needs of the hospital, or as she likes to say, everything to do with the people. She is also a quilt artist who dreams of making art her retirement career. Her quilts sometimes hang in the reception area. A Wildcat hockey fan at heart, Anne graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 1976 with a B.S. in Environmental Conservation. In 1986 she earned a Master’s degree in Experiential Education from Boston University.


She has been a volunteer puppy raiser since 2004 for Guiding Eyes for the Blind and BluePath Service Dogs. Several of her pups have successfully become working service dogs for blind adults or autistic children. They all grow up behind the scenes here at Briar Patch until they’re old enough to go back to the organization to complete their service dog training. She’ll tell you, yes, of course, sending them back is hard, but the joys make saying goodbye worth it.

In addition to the guide puppies she raises, her pet family includes 2 Labradors and 1 semi-feral cat.