Dr. Bruce Dennie
DVM, Practice Co-Owner
Dr. Bruce Dennie has been a staff veterinarian at Woodland Veterinary Hospital since 1988, and he became the owner in 1996. Dr. Dennie grew up on a farm near Spokane, Washington where he gained an appreciation for the outdoors and for hard work. He attended the University of Washington as an undergraduate, where he started out as a pre-med student. During his third year there he questioned whether med school was the right fit for him, and by happenstance began to work as a kennel attendant in a small animal clinic. He quickly realized that vet medicine was a great fit for him. Not only did he love caring for the animals, but he decided right then he wanted to own his own veterinary practice someday!
Dr. Dennie attended veterinary school at Washington State University, and graduated in 1984. He moved to northern California after graduation because he had family in the area, liked the recreational opportunities, and wanted to venture away from his home state. He took his first job in a mixed animal practice because he couldn’t decide if he wanted to practice on large or small animals, and found his passion to be treating dogs and cats. It couldn’t have worked out better when he found the opportunity to join WVH in 1988.
When asked what areas of practice he enjoys best, Dr. Dennie lists the variety of different types of cases in general practice and the client-pet relationships from having worked here 20+ years, but if he had to pick specific areas of medicine, he would choose surgery and dentistry. He added that he also loves the business side of ownership, putting together all the pieces that make for a harmonious team and a great place to bring your pets.
Bruce resides in Woodland with his wife, Angie, who is a RVT (retired Veterinary Technician), and his daughters: Emma, 17, and Faith, 15, who attend Woodland Christian School. They own two horses, Tri and Skibo, which the girls ride nearly every day. They have become very involved in Pony Club and have gotten into three-day eventing. Also included in the family is their beloved terrier mix Ginger Snap, cats Brownie and Perch, a budgie named Chirp, and a flock of chickens in the backyard.
Bruce’s personal interests include following sports (Go Niners, Giants, and Kings!), fitness activities, travel, hiking, and reading. His greatest passion in life is being a follower of Jesus Christ, and he loves being active in his church (although he cannot sing). He feels very blessed and thankful to live in a wonderful community, to have a terrific family, a profession he loves, and a great group of people to work with.
Dr. Ellie Johnson
DVM, Practice Co-Owner
Dr. Ellie Johnson is one of the practice owners, the Medical Director and a practicing veterinarian at Woodland Veterinary Hospital. Dr. Johnson grew up in Rhode Island and then moved across the country to California to pursue her dream of becoming a veterinarian. She was so happy with her choice to attend UC Davis that she stayed here through her undergraduate studies, veterinary school, and now for her professional career. She has been part of the WVH family since 2001. In 2012, she was invited to join Dr. Dennie in ownership of Woodland Vet and she is excited to now be one of the practice owners along with doctors Dennie and Rode.
Dr. Johnson’s love for animals is reflected in her hobbies as well as in her career choice. When she isn’t here taking care of our patients and their families, she is at home managing her small farm and riding her horses. She grew up on a horse farm and she continues to surround herself with horses. She raises and trains Dutch Warmblood sport horses using natural horsemanship techniques. She is also an accomplished Dressage rider who is interested in using her understanding of animal behavior to improve the partnership with her horses. It is a dream of hers to bring a horse that she raised and trained from birth to the highest level of dressage.
Dr. Johnson’s farm menagerie includes four horses: Eva, Fleur, Russha, and A la mode; two Vizsla dogs named Tiki and Jumper; Daphne, the pointer; Grey Cat, the stray; some fancy Bantam chickens; and an unnamed koi fish. Needless to say, this family keeps her very busy when she isn’t here at Woodland Vet!
Dr. Johnson feels blessed to be so passionate about all aspects of her life. Veterinary medicine is an amazing experience for her every day. Connecting with owners to help care for their pets is one of the highlights of her job. Learning something new every day is another highlight for her. She also feels very fortunate to have all of her pets including her horses at home with her. Riding is a form of meditation for her and she loves just being “in the moment” with the horses.
Dr. Keith Rode
DVM, Practice Co-Owner
Dr. Keith Rode, DVM has had the pleasure of working for Woodland Veterinary Hospital since 2006. He believes so much in what Woodland Veterinary Hospital does that he became a co-owner of the practice in 2012. Dr. Rode’s dream of becoming a veterinarian had many driving factors: a love of science, the thrill of solving puzzles (whether crossword puzzles or determining the cause of an illness), a close relationship with animals in his life, and the influence of many great veterinarians along the way.
Dr. Rode was born and raised in Napa, and wanted to be a veterinarian for as long as he can remember. When he was seven, his family moved to a house that was across the street from a poultry veterinarian, who really encouraged him to pursue a career in veterinary medicine, and provided many great learning opportunities. Dr. Rode’s favorite experience was when that veterinarian took him to a talk at UC Davis by Marty Fettman, the first veterinarian in space, who shared pictures from his experience on a space shuttle.
Dr. Rode applied for undergraduate school knowing that he would be ultimately applying for veterinary school, so he was thrilled to get accepted to UC Davis, which was relatively close to home and is a hot spot of the veterinary profession. He completed a Bachelor of Science in neurobiology, physiology, and behavior in 2002. During that time, he sang in an a cappella group and the University Chorus, wrote a weekly column for the student newspaper, studied very hard, and met the woman who would later become his wife. He was awarded an Outstanding Senior award from the university as well as an NPB Departmental Citation with Distinction in 2002. Since he had the benefit of having a veterinary school on the same campus as his undergraduate studies, he also took advantage of such experiences as working in a research lab for a veterinarian who would later become one of his vet school professors.
While he applied to five different veterinary schools, Dr. Rode’s top choice was to stay at UC Davis, and he was grateful to be offered a position there for the Class of 2006 (which he immediately accepted). He decided to pursue the small animal track, because all of his experience before vet school had been with dogs and cats, and that is what he imagined himself doing as a career. Some of the areas that he found of most interest in school were endocrine (hormonal) diseases in dogs and cats, radiology, and ophthalmology. Dr. Rode is very proud to be a double UC Davis alum, and he still stays active with both undergraduate and veterinary students in various roles.
While he did keep the small animal track through vet school, and today does work as a small animal practitioner, Dr. Rode really broadened his animal experiences during the four years he spent in vet school. For example, he worked at the livestock nursery at the California State Fair for three years (the most popular exhibit at the fair, and run by vet students) – twice in the nursery itself, assisting with livestock giving birth and educating the public, and once as the student coordinator of health checks for all incoming livestock being shown.
Dr. Rode also went on three veterinary mission trips with a group called VetMerge. He took two spring break trips to very rural Mexico to work with small animals, horses, and livestock; and spent one month in Africa (Cameroon and Central African Republic) during his senior year, mostly working with livestock. He provided veterinary services at no charge in areas that otherwise would not have access to this care. These experiences gave him a great appreciation for the veterinary profession beyond small animals. He has since taken three trips to Mexico as a veterinarian with this same group.
Dr. Rode has been a member of the Legislative Committee for the California Veterinary Medical Association for several years, and stays active with the state legislature to make sure that the interests of animals and animal owners are heard. So much public policy is not grounded in science, so it is his goal to help reverse that.
Dr. Rode started working at Woodland Veterinary Hospital a few weeks after graduation from vet school. He felt very fortunate to have had things work out as he wished. He had taken his cats to WVH during school for their vaccines and found it to be a great place, and he lives in Woodland so the lack of a commute was wonderful. While a few of his vet school classmates jumped from job to job before finding what they wanted, Dr. Rode was blessed by finding the “right fit” right away. He feels that he has flourished here, thanks to the support of great mentoring veterinarians during his first few years, a supportive staff, and wonderful clients.
Over the years, Dr. Rode has developed a range of clinical interests that include surgery, endocrine diseases, dentistry, and feline medicine (specifically, helping to overcome the trend of cats not getting the same level of preventive medical care as dogs). And, as mentioned, he became a co-owner of WVH in 2012, a move that ensures that he will be here for a long time. While learning about managing a business has been a work in progress, he loves being part of the decision-making process that keeps guiding the business in the right direction.
Outside of work, Dr. Rode loves spending time with his family. He and his wife, Jen, got married in 2005, right at the start of his senior year of vet school. In fact, after their honeymoon in Maui, they left two days later for the trip to Africa. Jen was able to accompany him for the first two weeks, which provided a great “extended honeymoon” of service and adventure. Jen was a kindergarten teacher for eight years (including four in Woodland, at Maxwell Elementary School) before becoming a full-time mom. Their daughter, Abigail, was born in 2010, and their son, Noah, was born in 2012. Abigail already loves coming to WVH and seeing the animals and the staff. Perhaps she will take over the reins some day!
The Rode family includes one dog, Asha. She was born in Taiwan and was owned by a couple, but the husband abused her and threw her out of a third-story window. She was sitting in the street with two broken legs until a neighbor picked her up and took her to a shelter. Ultimately, she ended up at a large rescue group (Animal Rescue Team Taiwan), who sent her to California to seek care for her injuries. Through a series of interesting circumstances, she ended up at WVH for her surgeries, where Dr. Rode fell in love with her and ultimately kept her. She is shy but very sweet, and loves coming to hang out at WVH for the day to spend time with other dogs. The Rodes also have two cats, Cooper and Chloe, littermates adopted through the Orphan Kitten Project at the UC Davis vet school. They kept Jen company before she and Dr. Rode got married, and while he was in vet school (with very long days), and are both very sweet cats.
Dr. Rode stays very active in the community, and is proud to live and work in a small town like Woodland (which reminds him a lot of Napa). He has been a member of the Woodland Sunrise Rotary Club since 2009, and has served on its board of directors for two years. This has been a great way to meet people in the community while serving locally and globally (including a focus on polio eradication, a topic of extreme interest to him since his grandma had polio when she was young). He has been on the executive board of the Sacramento Valley Veterinary Medical Association for several years, and served as president in 2012. He also serves as vice president of the California Veterinary Medical Foundation.
Dr. Rode writes a regular (pseudo-monthly) veterinary column for the Davis Enterprise newspaper, which has been a great opportunity to educate people on veterinary topics. He still sings when he can, including once yearly with the UC Davis Alumni Chorus. He was extremely honored to be awarded the 2012 Young Alumni Achievement Award from the College of Biological Sciences at UC Davis. Despite being very busy with work, family, and outside activities, he does enjoy just curling up with a book, watching sports, playing golf, or traveling.
In parting, Dr. Rode says, “I feel very fortunate to enjoy what I do for a living, and to believe in the company I work for (and co-own). I truly hope that my excitement for my career is shown in the interactions I have with each patient and client.”
Dr. Julia Larson
DVM, Associate Veterinarian
Dr. Julia Larson has enjoyed being an Associate Veterinarian at Woodland Veterinary Hospital full and part time since 2004. Dr. Larson grew up in rural Palmer, Alaska on a small farm and moved to California to attend veterinary school. She has lived in Woodland since 2001.
Dr. Larson’s love of animals started at a very young age with a multitude of farm animals that included horses, goats, rabbits, chickens, geese, ducks, dogs, cats and tropical fish. Horses were her first true love and continue to be a passion. Needless to say with all these pets, the local veterinarians were out at the farm fairly often and were close family friends as well. Dr. Larson admired their James Harriet-like lifestyle and spent time volunteering at their clinic when she was in high school. They both encouraged her to seek a career in veterinary medicine. Dr. Larson attended undergraduate school at Colorado State University, in Fort Collins for two years. She then moved to Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington to finish her undergraduate studies with a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology. Dr. Larson was then accepted to UC Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine and graduated in 1999. She is a member of the Sacramento Valley Veterinary Medical Association, the California Veterinary Medical Association, and the American Veterinary Medical Association.
As a small animal general practitioner, Dr. Larson is passionate about soft tissue surgery and enjoys nothing more than a long day in the operating room. She also has a knack for dental extractions and loves the feeling of knowing that she is helping improve a pet’s health by treating infection in the mouth by removing teeth that are causing discomfort and affecting a pet’s quality of life. Another area Dr. Larson feels strongly about is proper weight management for our pets. A fit weight can add years to a pet’s life and improve their overall health the same way that it can in people.
Dr. Larson is married to Rich Larson. They moved to Woodland after they both graduated from UC Davis. Rich works as a supervisor of the Imaging Department at the VMTH, UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. Rich enjoys hunting with their German Shorthair Pointer, Janey, and he is also an avid golfer.
When Dr. Larson is not working at Woodland Veterinary Hospital, she is often working as a human massage therapist. She became a Certified Massage Therapist in 2010. She enjoys helping move people out of pain, manage their physical and emotional stress and improve their overall quality of life. Dr. Larson’s background as a veterinarian has given her a good base for anatomy and physiology and allowed her a unique perspective in health management of both people and their animal companions.
Dr. Larson is a member of the Woodland Sunrise Rotary Club and this is, indeed, one of her passions in life. “Service Above Self” is Rotary International’s motto and this is truly a way of life. There is no greater feeling than the one we get through serving others! Dr. Larson was president of the club during the 2011-2012 year and was proud to have the club charter hang in the doctor’s office here at WVH during that time. The club is very active both in our community and on an international level and we are proud to have three of our doctors at WVH in the club to share in our community service efforts toward a better humanity!
Two of Dr. Larson’s biggest passions in life are forever linked – running and baking! You can’t do one without the other. Janey is a great running partner and Rich or Dr. Larson run with her almost every day of the week. She is a great motivator for getting out of bed early to hit the road and start the day off on the right foot. One of Dr. Larson’s life goals as a runner was to compete in the Boston Marathon, which she did in 2001. Though she no longer competes, running is still her favorite form of exercise. Baking is a joy that has become an outlet for Dr. Larson’s creativity and a stress reliever after a long day. She frequently brings in treats for the staff and enjoys sharing some of her creations as well as taking requests for special occasions.
Though Dr. Larson is not the golfer her husband is, she does enjoy playing a nice round from time to time and maybe someday will be a bit more consistent. She and Rich also enjoy kayaking and traveling. With the fast pace so many of us lead, it is important to take time to relax, visit new places and spend time with family and friends. Her career at Woodland Veterinary Hospital has been a vital part of her growth as a person and a doctor over the past several years. Dr. Larson is proud to be a part of this team and strives to give back as much as she gets from working with the wonderful people at our hospital.
Dr. Leslie Holeman
DVM, Associate Veterinarian
Dr. Leslie Holeman is happy to be part of the team at Woodland Veterinary Hospital. Growing up in a small, semi-rural town near Fresno, CA, she had a variety of pets (hamsters, rats, fish, frogs, birds, cats and dogs). With this love of animals, along with an avid interest in science, becoming a veterinarian was naturally one of her dreams. In college at UC Santa Cruz, she got involved in molecular biology research, and her career path took a turn in that direction. After 6 years of working in the biotechnology industry, Dr. Holeman decided it was time to revisit that dream of becoming a veterinarian. She spent some time working as a technician and volunteering at wildlife rescue and research organizations, and was accepted at UC Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine for the Class of 2008.
Since graduating from vet school, Dr. Holeman has been working in small animal private practice, treating primarily cats and dogs, but loves to see the occasional rabbit, pocket pet or backyard chicken. She enjoys developing relationships with clients and their pets, and helping pet owners keep their pets happy and healthy with preventative care. She loves the variety of being a general practitioner, where a typical day can bring new puppy/kitten exams, medical and surgical cases, preventative maintenance, emergencies, and more.
When not at work, Dr. Holeman enjoys spending time with her family, volunteering at her sons’ schools, swimming with a local Masters team, hiking, camping, gardening, and learning to play guitar. Her family includes her husband, their two young sons, two beagles, and 6 chickens.
Dr. Holeman is excited to be working with everyone at Woodland Vet Hospital, especially you and your pets!
DVM, Associate Veterinarian
Natalia is from Chile, South America, and came in to the U.S. in 2012 to join her husband who is studying a PhD at UC Davis. Although she had her DVM degree in Chile before moving here, Natalia recently celebrating getting her U.S. license, and joined our team of vets not long after! She practiced in a small animal hospital in Chile for two and a half years and when she came here she was missing animals so much that she decided to work as a technician here for the last two years while preparing for her licensing test. At our hospital, Natalia is also improving her English and is learning from the other doctors.
In her free time she likes birding and take pictures of the birds, enjoying the nature, outdoor activities, and baking. Although she misses her family, she loves California and is having a great time in the U.S visiting new places. In the future Natalia would like to specialize in radiology or internal medicine.