Dr. Paul Kern, Veterinarian
Dr. Paul Kern established Balsam Animal Hospital in June of 1986. After graduating cum laude from the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, in 1980, Dr. Kern spent the next two years practicing in New Orleans. Having grown up in the Carolinas, the lure of the mountains brought him back to work in Asheville. After graduation Dr. Kern worked in small animal emergency clinics learning both technical and intuitive skills to be proficient in critical life saving situations. In addition, doing relief work for other veterinarians gave him insight on practice design and management. An avid hiker, Dr. Kern enjoys the beauty of Haywood County. He later decided to open his practice in Waynesville. In his spare time, Dr. Kern enjoys riding BMW motorcycles with his wife Trudy. They enjoy the company of Tashi, a beautiful long haired cat, and three dogs. Abby is a fourteen year-old German Shorthair Pointer rescued by Sarge’s Animal Rescue, Bistr, a black Pomeranian mix, rescued from Cherokee Animal Shelter and a favorite visitor to the Silver Bluff Village skilled nursing facility, and Rio, a miniature pinscher, also rescued from the Cherokee Animal Shelter, winner of the Sarge’s tail wagging contest. Dr. Kern has served on the board of the Haywood County Health department and is currently a board member for Feline Urgent Rescue of WNC.
Veterinarian Assistant, Natalie
My name is Natalie Donovan and I work as a veterinary assistant here at Balsam Animal Hospital. I also work part-time as a funeral services assistant in Candler. I’m currently working towards attaining an associate degree in applied sciences, with the goal of becoming a licensed funeral director and embalmer. At home, my family consists of my husband Ryan, two pugs (Skittles and Evie), a husky mix (Vlad) and three cats (Salazar, Xena, and Hoggle). I enjoy caring for both animals and people, immersing myself in nature, reading, watching fantasy movies, riding my BMW G 310 R, and spending time with my family and friends.
Caroline Riddle, RVT
My name is Caroline Riddle and I am a native to Haywood County. I graduated from AB Tech with an AAS in veterinary technology in 2013 and then became licensed as veterinary technician. I have worked at Balsam Animal Hospital since 2012, and worked here while I was finishing up my degree. My husband and I love to take in and rescue animals that have special needs and/or require special care and to give them the best life possible.
Veterinarian Assistant, Kalynn
My name is Kalynn and I work as a veterinary assistant (and receptionist) here at Balsam Animal Hospital. I’ve been working as part of Dr. Kern’s team since 2016. I have a background in the natural sciences with a Bachelor's degree in Microbiology and an Associates degree in Computer Science. Before I became a VA, I spent a few years as an intern and volunteer with The Western North Carolina Nature Center, working with raptors and large carnivores, such as mountain lions, black bears, wolves, and bobcats- it is here that I became certified in Wildlife Rehabilitation. When I'm not at work helping care for your loved ones, I’m home with my family, caring for my three amazing cats, Nova, Pixel, and Sora.
Veterinarian Assistant, Christopher
My name is Christopher and I work as both a veterinary assistant, as well as a receptionist here at Balsam Animal Hospital. Since a young age, my ambitions have always dwelled in the field of science. After moving to Jackson County in 2005, my attention turned to the animals that inhabit the Appalachian Mountains. I enjoy finding the various reptile and amphibian species that make up one of the most beautiful ecosystems in the world. In 2018, I graduated from Western Carolina University with a degree in Biology. I aspire to gain my doctorate in veterinary medicine and continue to service animals in need. In my free time, I enjoy taking hikes with my wife Jade and my dog Andy, playing music, and looking for critters in the woods and water.
My name is Lorrie and I was born and raised in Western NC. I have been involved in animal medicine since 2006 and worked with Balsam Animal Hospital since 2016. My love for animals started at a young age, when I was constantly bringing home injured pets and wildlife. This later led to me getting my license in Wildlife Rehabilitation. The favorite part of my job is meeting and caring for all the different animals that come in to Balsam Animal Hospital for our help.
My name is Amber and I am a receptionist at Balsam Animal Hospital. I have worked in various roles of customer service for the past 20 years and have my Associate's degree in Cyber Crime Technology. I am originally from Augusta, GA but have been fortunate to call the mountains home for the past 9 years. I have 2 teenagers, Hannah and Noah, and 2 chihuahuas, Jax and Piper. In my free time, I enjoy riding motorcycles, camping, cooking for family and friends and taking way too many pictures of my dogs!