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.
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 serves as a media spokesperson on bird and exotic pet care. She has been a guest exotic pet expert on Animal Planet’s exotic pet series “Little Pets 101” and “Peculiar Pets 101.” She has also appeared on Animal Planet in Drs. Foster and Smith’s TV series, “Faithful Friends,” and has been a guest on the “Martha Stewart Show,” discussing the importance of educating yourself about exotic pets before you get one. Dr. Hess has also appeared on numerous TV shows, including the CBS morning show, “The Doctors,” the TV news magazines “Inside Edition” and “48 Hours,” the WPIX Morning News in New York City, the Fox morning show “Good Day NY,” Chicago’s “Windy City Live,” and the KTLA Morning News in Los Angeles. She has made guest appearances on local and syndicated radio stations throughout the U.S. and Canada discussing exotic pet issues, and she has recorded her podcast series, “ZuNation,” on
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 and www.Chewy.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 Marino
Dr. Amanda Marino is originally from the Mahopac, NY. She began her veterinary career working as a veterinary assistant at South Putnam Animal Hospital in high school. She then went on to receive her undergraduate degrees in animal and poultry sciences and agriculture and applied economics from Virginia Tech. After graduation, she spent a year in the Adirondacks of upstate New York participating in research with the common loon. Dr. Marino attended veterinary school at Oklahoma State University. She completed a 1-year rotating internship at Ocean State Veterinary Specialists in East Greenwich, RI, as well as a specialty internship in exotic pet medicine at Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists in Houston, TX. While in veterinary school and her internships, she had also completed rotation at the Wildlife Center of Virginia, the Bronx Zoo, the Houston Zoo and Mystic Aquarium. She returned to Ocean State Veterinary Specialists to practice as an emergency doctor before coming to the Veterinary Center for Birds and Exotics to complete a two-year specialized avian medicine and surgery residency. Since she has completed her residency, she is working with us as a full-time associate veterinarian! Additionally, she will be taking the board certification exam to become a certified specialist avian and exotics vet in 2019. When not at work, Dr. Marino spends time with her rabbit, Reginald (Reggie), her chinchilla, Milton, and her mixed breed dog, Shep. She also enjoys anything outdoors and traveling.
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 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. Dr. Dewey is especially interested in animal behavior and enjoys working with pet owners to solve their pets’ behavior problems. When she is not at the animal hospital, Dr. Dewey loves to spend time with her pets – 2 cats named Zoey and Momo and a rabbit named Bunnicula – and to go outside to hike, fish, and camp.
Dr. Rick Samu
Dr. Richard Samu is from Salem, Ohio. He originally attended the University of Cincinnati where he pursued astrophysics. However, after getting involved with a mentorship program at the Cincinnati Zoo, he became fascinated by the world of animals. While working as an educator and zookeeper, he became interested in wildlife conservation and medicine and decided to pursue a career in veterinary medicine. He attended the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland where he graduated in 2019. There, he completed zoo and wildlife externships in South Africa, Belize, Busch Gardens, ZooTampa, and the Naples Zoo. His favorite volunteer opportunity to date has been helping raise and rehabilitate orphaned Lesser Flamingo chicks during the 2018 drought in South Africa. He completed a rotating and emergency medicine internship at BluePearl Specialty Hospital in Tampa, Florida and has a strong interest in conservation, wildlife, and exotic animal medicine. He is currently working on his master’s degree in Conservation Medicine through the University of Edinburgh and is involved in ongoing research through Disney’s Animal Kingdom. When not at work, Dr. Rick enjoys playing soccer, ultimate frisbee, and hockey; traveling when able; and exploring the world around him.