Dr. Laurie Hess, DVM, Diplomate ABVP (Avian Practice)
Avian & Exotic Pet Veterinarian
Owner & Medical Director
Dr. Laurie Hess is board-certified by the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners in avian (bird) medicine and served as the President of the Association of Avian Veterinarians from 2009-2010. She is also an active member of the Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians and the Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians.
After graduating summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa from Yale University, Dr. Hess received her veterinary medical degree from Tufts. She then completed a one-year internship and a two-year residency in avian and exotic pet medicine and surgery at the world-renowned Animal Medical Center in New York City where she went on to co-head their avian and exotic pet service.
Dr. Hess has lectured both nationally and internationally about exotic pet care and has published numerous articles and book chapters on birds and other exotic species. She is especially interested in exotic pet nutrition. In the late 1990s, she completed groundbreaking nutrition research on the importance of pelleted diets in birds. She presented these findings both in Europe and in the U.S. and later published the research in 2002.
Dr. Hess is currently manager of veterinary services for online pet retailer Chewy, providing expert counsel on special species and exotic pets for the merchandising and health care teams. She previously served as Director of Veterinary Medicine nationally for the pet retailer, Petco. She also serves as a media spokesperson on bird and exotic pet care. Dr. Hess has been a guest exotic pet expert on Animal Planet’s exotic pet series “Little Pets 101” and “Peculiar Pets 101” and has appeared on Animal Planet in Drs. Foster and Smith’s TV series, “Faithful Friends.” In addition, Dr. Hess has made numerous national and local TV appearances discussing various aspects of exotic pet care including on CNN’s “Forensic Files,” the CBS morning show “The Doctors,” the “Martha Stewart Show,” the TV news magazines “Inside Edition” and “48 Hours,” Fox TV’s “Fox and Friends” and “Good Day NY,” the WPIX Morning News in New York City, Chicago’s “Windy City Live,” and the KTLA Morning News in Los Angeles. She has also made guest appearances on numerous local and syndicated radio stations throughout the U.S. and Canada discussing exotic pet issues.
Dr. Hess is the author of her memoir, Unlikely Companions: the Adventures of an Exotic Animal Doctor. She has written hundreds of articles about exotic pets in syndicated columns nationwide and in well-known exotic pet magazines such as Bird Talk, Birds USA, Pet Age, and Critters Magazine. She also blogs regularly about exotic pet topics on well-known pet websites, including www.petMD.com, www.Chewy.com, and www.dvm360.com. For many years, she served as associate editor of the Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery, as well as a guest editor of the Journal of Exotic Pet Medicine, Veterinary Clinics of North America (Exotic Animal Series) and of Exotic DVM Magazine. She also has been published in internationally recognized veterinary journals including the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, The Merck Veterinary Manual, and Veterinary Record. In addition, Dr. Hess has consulted for several well-known companies in the bird and exotic pet industry, including ZuPreem, Lafeber, Harrisons Bird Diets, Oxbow, Zoo Med Laboratories, Marshall Pet Products, Antech Laboratories, Zoetis, Healthy Pet (makers of Carefresh), Furminator, Vitakraft, and Lifelearn.
Dr. Hess founded the Veterinary Center for Birds & Exotics in 2010 so that birds and other extraordinary exotic pets would have a specialized hospital catering to their unique species. She has dedicated her career to improving the health and well-being of birds and exotic pets in any way she can.
Dr. Amanda Dewey
Originally from Los Angeles, Dr. Dewey completed both her undergraduate and veterinary medical degrees at UC Davis. She then went on to complete a one-year general medicine and surgery internship at VCA South Shore Animal Hospital in Weymouth, Massachusetts, followed by a one-year specialty internship in avian and exotic animal medicine and surgery at the Animal Medical Center in New York City. During her undergraduate years, she became very interested in working with birds and other exotic animals while volunteering at a wildlife rehabilitation center where she worked with hawks, owls, and an occasional eagle. She came to the Veterinary Center in 2019 and completed a two-year specialized avian medicine and surgery residency here in 2021. Since completing her residency, she has stayed on as a full-time associate veterinarian. Dr. Dewey is especially interested in integrative medicine, including acupuncture and herbal medicine, and has completed the small animal acupuncture course through Chi University. When she is not at the animal hospital, Dr. Dewey loves to spend time with her husband, her pets – 2 cats named Zoey and Momo and a rabbit named Bunnicula – and to spend time outside hiking, fishing, and camping.
Dr. Jonah Marion
Dr. Marion was born and raised in Westchester County, but it wasn’t until his senior year of high school that he realized he wanted to work with exotic animals. He started volunteering at the Greenburg Nature Center in Scarsdale, NY, where he was exposed to a wide variety of reptiles, birds, and small mammals. From then on, he knew that he would spend his life working with these unique creatures.
Dr. Marion completed his undergraduate degree at Cornell University, and he obtained a master’s degree in laboratory animal medicine from Drexel University before returning to Cornell for veterinary school. After receiving his veterinary degree, he completed a one-year small animal rotating internship at two large 24-hour veterinary hospitals in Connecticut. He then came to the Veterinary Center for Birds & Exotics to complete a one-year avian and exotic pet specialty internship.
During college and veterinary school, Dr. Marion remained an active member of the Cornell University Herpetological Society, where he participated in numerous reptile outreach programs and lectured on the basics of reptile medicine. With his special interest in reptile and amphibian medicine, Dr. Marion continues to advocate for these species, who he feels are often overlooked as pets or even feared despite their amazing and unique features. Dr. Marion is currently undergoing specialty certification for reptiles and looks forward to providing your pets an even higher standard of care.
Dr. Marion also has a passion for technology and enjoys playing video games in his free time. He is our go-to guy when it comes to technology issues in the animal hospital. In addition to having many reptiles who have their own room in his house, Dr. Marion has four cats and a dog, most of whom have been with him since his undergraduate years.
Dr. Michael Huffaker
Dr. Huffaker was born in Ithaca, New York, and completed his veterinary education at Midwestern University in Phoenix, Arizona. He then completed an internship in Raptor Medicine and Surgery at the Raptor Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he triaged, treated, and rehabilitated birds of prey including hawks, owls, falcons, osprey, and eagles.
Dr. Huffaker’s fascination with birds began during a study program on the Galapagos Islands, and since then he has pursued work with birds wherever possible. Prior to his decision to enter veterinary school, he worked at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and assisted a field research project in North Carolina working on King Rails.
During veterinary school Dr. Huffaker served as avian chair and then vice president of the school’s wildlife and exotic animal medicine club. He also volunteered regularly at a local wildlife rehabilitation center where he worked under the tutelage of an avian board-certified veterinarian.
Now pursuing board-certification in avian medicine and surgery for himself, Dr. Huffaker works closely with our veterinary team to provide the best possible care for our patients whether they are feathered, scaled, or furred! When not treating patients, Dr. Huffaker enjoys spending time with his own exotic animals: a rabbit, a snake, a frog, and a savannah monitor lizard.