Education: North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC
Hometown: Galesburg, Indiana
Pets: six dogs and a chameleon!
In August 2017 Dr. Hedges joined AMC of Garner as the hospital’s third full-time associate veterinarian. We are endlessly impressed by her experience and vast knowledge of animal behavior, and are very excited to have her as part of our team!
About Dr. Hedges
Dr. Summer Hedges’ top priority is keeping pets happy and healthy in their homes enjoying long and comfortable lives. Her background in animal training and behavior has fueled her passion to improve the experiences of pets at the hospital. She is a Fear Free practitioner certified in Low Stress Handling. This training helps her ensure that all pets, from the extroverts to the wallflowers, receive both preventive medical care and, as they age, chronic care. Dr. Hedges’ professional interests lie in behavior, surgery, dentistry, and pain management.
Dr. Hedges grew up on a farm in Indiana, in a home where there were never fewer than a dozen pets. Her mother worked as a veterinary assistant at a small animal hospital and her father was a big rig mechanic. As a child, Dr. Hedges spent many afternoons and weekends cleaning kennels to “earn” opportunities to observe surgery. She reared livestock, competed in 4-H and FFA, showed dogs and cats, raised snakes and lizards, played in the marching band, and earned a black belt in Tae Kwon Do.
While studying ethology (animal behavior) and ecology at Knox College, Dr. Hedges interned at Peoria Zoo. She was awarded a TJ Watson Fellowship to conduct research abroad and for a year she traveled through the UK, Ireland, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, and Belize assisting with the creation of citizen science programs. On her return to the states, Dr. Hedges served as the education curator of the Louisiana Purchase Garden and Zoo in Monroe, Louisiana. There she was responsible for the upkeep of over 40 species of animals. She also participated in dog training clubs, pet rescue organizations, and on disaster response teams. She helped develop and implement one of the first emergency co-shelters: an evacuation shelter that housed both people and their pets during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
In the wake of those storms, Dr. Hedges moved east to work for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) aboard fishing vessels from North Carolina to Maine. While Dr. Hedges loved working on the ocean, she returned to her childhood aspirations and studied veterinary medicine at North Carolina State University. Her studies focused on companion animal and exotic medicine: dogs, cats, pocket pets, caged birds, and reptiles. She completed externships in exotic medicine in the Florida Keys and shelter spay and neuter care in Asheville, NC.
While smaller than the menagerie of her childhood, Dr. Hedges shares her home with six dogs: a retired search and rescue German Shepherd, a rescued Catahoula Curr, an Australian Cattle Dog, a Jack Russel Terrier, a Chihuahua and a Chihuahua mix! She also has an old-world chameleon that she saved from poor conditions. Dr. Hedges is currently mourning the passing of her beloved Rag Doll; she knows another special cat will come into her life at the right time. She also lives with her fiancé, David, a professional photographer who creates great images of pets! In her free time, she enjoys travel, mountain biking, hiking, camping, writing and visiting museums, parks, and botanical gardens.