Dr. Donna Baird is an Associate Veterinarian and Marketing Director at Companion Animal Hospital, a Diamond Certified company since 2011. She can be reached at (831) 288-8383 or by email.


Video: Giving a Cat Medicine

With Dr. Donna Baird of Companion Animal Hospital, a Diamond Certified Expert Contributor

SANTA CRUZ – Host, Sarah Rutan: Giving a cat its medicine can be a tricky task. So, today we’re in Santa Cruz with Diamond Certified Expert Contributor Dr. Donna Baird of Companion Animal Hospital to learn how you can give your cat a pill…Watch Now

How to Give Your Cat a Pill

By Dr. Donna Baird of Companion Animal Hospital, a Diamond Certified Expert Contributor

SANTA CRUZ – Administering medication to a cat can be difficult, especially if it’s uncooperative and the medicine is in pill form. However, by applying a few simple steps, you’ll find that giving your cat a pill can be surprisingly…Read More

Diamond Certified Expert Contributor Profile

Dr. Donna Baird: An Animal Affinity

  • Dr. Baird at the office.

  • Dr. Baird with one of her patients.

  • Dr. Baird and her husband, Dr. David Horne, in front of the Santa Cruz Lighthouse with their dogs.

Dr. Donna Baird: An Animal Affinity
"I truly believe that if you persevere and look at the good in situations, the best things will come to you."

SANTA CRUZ – Many people follow in their parents’ footsteps when it comes to choosing a career, but for some, this seemingly clear path diverts in a different direction. Such was the case for Dr. Donna Baird, associate veterinarian and marketing director at Companion Animal Hospital in Santa Cruz. The only child of two physicians, Donna’s interest in the medical field was punctuated early in life by the realization that caring for human patients wasn’t her calling. “I tried doing some volunteer work in hospitals and found that I just didn’t enjoy working with sick people,” she explains. “However, I had worked at a Humane Society shelter, loved dogs and cats, and felt a natural understanding when dealing with ill animals, which was very different from how I felt around ill people. From that point on, I never gave it a second thought—I just stayed on that path all the way through high school and college and never wavered.”

Although Dr. Baird currently resides in Santa Cruz, she hasn’t always lived in the Greater Bay Area. In fact, her time spent in California comprises a mere fraction of her life—she was born in Prague and immigrated to the United States with her parents when she was eight years old. The family relocated several times before eventually settling near New York City, where Donna had another important realization. “Coming from a metropolitan area in the Czech Republic, my parents really loved the lifestyle that New York offered, but I actually never felt comfortable living in a big city,” she says. “I’ve always preferred the country and the opportunities that outdoor life provides.”

It was actually while engaged in one such outdoor opportunity­ that Donna was introduced to her future husband, Dr. David Horne, who would be the catalyst for her eventual move to the scenic Northern California coastline. “We met on a scuba diving trip that was facilitated by a veterinary association of which we were both members,” she says. When the two met again a couple years later, David expressed his romantic interest and in time convinced her to move to Santa Cruz. It was an entirely new setting for Donna, who felt simultaneously disoriented and invigorated by the change of scenery. “I had some idea of what life was like here from visiting a few times, but it really felt like a foreign country to me. However, I immediately loved being close to the ocean and mountains.”

As is the case for many Northern California transplants, Donna has a special appreciation for the wide array of recreational prospects offered by the local landscape. “David and I are both avid skiers, and we also enjoy scuba diving, swimming, hiking and bike riding,” she says. When she’s not at Companion Animal Hospital or spending time outdoors, Donna keeps up with her three children, Collin, Michael and Alicia, who are pursuing their own careers in the Bay area.

When asked to summarize her personal philosophy, Donna brings up a quote from The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. “‘Everything will be all right in the end…if it’s not all right, then it’s not yet the end.’ I really like that because I have a very positive outlook on life, and I truly believe that if you persevere and look at the good in situations, the best things will come to you. Things will turn out OK, even if it doesn’t feel like it in the moment.”

Ask me anything!
Q: Would you describe yourself as a dog person or a cat person?

A: I’m more of a cat person. I think I understand cats even more than dogs and have a very strong affinity with them. I love the healing effect of purring, which I think is something that should be studied more for its potential therapeutic benefit to humans.

Q: What was the name of your first pet?

A: Rinny, like “Rin Tin Tin,” even though he was just a little Cavalier.

Q: What’s your favorite animal and why?

A: The horse. I just think they have such grace and beauty—they’re a very special animal.

Q: If you were doing karaoke, what song would you choose?

A: “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin.

Q: Do you collect anything?

A: Yes, I love to collect glass. If I had all the money in the world, I would be collecting Tiffany, but since I don’t, I collect what’s known as “Poor Man’s Tiffany.” It’s an iridescent stretch glass that’s manufactured with a similar technique, except it’s pressed instead of blown.

Q: What’s your favorite smell?

A: Jasmine. I wasn’t familiar with that flower until I moved to California, and now I just love it.

Q: If someone was making a movie about your life, which actor would you choose to play yourself?

A: Jessica Lange.

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