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New to the CVM Family: Meet Sara Bennett

Sara Bennett volunteers with shelter dogs.
Sara Bennett volunteers with shelter dogs. Photo by John Joyner/NC State Veterinary Medicine

Sara Bennett has always had her eye on an academic position, with a desire to conduct research, teach and practice medicine all at the same time. Since very few universities offer behavior services in their veterinary hospitals, she couldn’t be more excited to join the team at NC State as a clinical assistant professor of behavioral medicine. From Butte, Mont., Bennett loves how close the mountains are to Raleigh. For her, the combination of location, people and daily job responsibilities is the perfect fit.

What made you want to go into the behavior medicine field?

It’s kind of a funny story, really. I liked behavior medicine in vet school and during my first job in general practice each clinician had to talk about their special interests. I told everyone that I was interested in behavior and internal medicine. The rest of the clinicians were like, “Great! You can have all the behavior cases. We don’t want to do them anymore.” I spent three years there and realized that I really enjoyed behavior, even after the novelty wore off and even late on Friday afternoons. It really made me want to specialize in behavior.

What will you be doing in your new role?

My primary responsibilities will be in the behavior clinic. We are currently updating the service to make it even more efficient while still offering excellent service to clients and learning opportunities to students. We can also offer a wider breadth of services now that we have two full-time clinicians. We would like to add more equine cases, shelter outreach and student opportunities. With more resources and a bigger footprint we will make even more of an impact.

What are you most excited about in your new role?

I think I am most excited about being in the position to have more variety on a daily basis. I enjoy that every day is different and I’ll be able to teach, do research and see clients all in the same week. That’s really exciting to me.

What is your background?

I completed my undergrad and DVM degree at Purdue University and then spent three years in general private practice in southwest Indiana before returning to Purdue to complete a residency in animal behavior with a shelter medicine focus and a master’s of science. I received my certification as a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists in 2012 and spent several years in private practice in Chicago and the Midwest.  

In all of my roles, I was able to continue to work in the field of shelter behavior, which is really important to me. I am also a co-instructor for an online learning course, Shelter Animal Behavior and Welfare, which is part of the Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program.  

Tell us about your pets.

I have a 2-year-old dog named Benji. I call him a Chug Battle Dog. His mom was a Chihuahua and pug mix from a hoarding situation, but he acts like a beagle and cattle dog. Battle Dog sounded better than Beetle Dog. I also have three cats named Seymour, Milo and Sophie.

When you’re not on campus, where could someone find you?

I love to walk my dog, hike and do yoga. I also want to get back into horseback riding again now that I’m getting settled with less travel.


Visit the NC State Veterinary Hospital Behavioral Medicine Services page for more information about the treatment of behavior disorders in companion animals.