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

Katherine (Kat) Vissio, DVM graduated from Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2015 and has remained at the college for a year of advanced training as a small animal rotating intern. She is interested in general wellness care, complete medical work-ups, surgery and post-operative care. She has enjoyed her time at a large teaching hospital and looks forward to developing long-term relationships with patients and clients in a more personal practice environment. 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 college. She earned her undergraduate degree at The George Washington University in Washington, DC. There she was able to delve into evolution and cultural studies with a major in Biological Anthropology. Dr. Vissio finds Ithaca has a similar vibe to Austin, on a more intimate scale. 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, Emmanuel, and their dog Zoe. They enjoy Ithaca’s festivals, active community involvement and outdoor activities. She is excited to become part of the Briar Patch family and more deeply connected to the people of Ithaca.


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.


Soshi, Veterinary Technician In-Training

Education: Clark University

Soshi joined Briar Patch as a veterinary assistant in August, 2011. She grew up in New York City and moved to Ithaca in 1998 after college. She has worked as an administrative assistant at the Cornell University Hospital for Animals, an adoption counselor at the Tompkins County SPCA and as a veterinary assistant at another small animal hospital in town for several years. She has volunteered for the SPCA and enjoys shelter medicine as well as emergency and critical care. She especially enjoys working with our geriatric patients, from years of experience with caring for her three mixed breed dogs.

Soshi is currently enrolled in a veterinary technology degree program. She enjoys gardening and especially loves spending time on the lake. She spends her free time hiking with her Jack Russell, Olivia. Olivia is famous for being photographed in the various places she visits with her mom.


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.


Jon, Client Support Specialist

Education: Cornell University

Jon has been a client care specialist at Briar Patch since September 2010. He entered the veterinary field in 2001, a few years after graduating from Cornell with a degree in landscape architecture (his back yard is lovely). Before coming to Briar Patch, Jon worked in client services at other veterinary practices in the Ithaca area.

He and his husband Joshua share their home with a beautiful brindle greyhound named Roger, the cutest red poodle in the history of the world named Stella and one crazy white cat who enjoys tormenting them both. Jon is on the Executive Committee of TCDOG, (the Tompkins County Dog Owners Group), the organization responsible for creating and maintaining the fenced dog park at the Treman marina in Cass Park.


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.