All of our staff have the educational degrees, continuing education, training, tenure and love of animals for their respective roles. Here’s what you really need to know:
Dalia Bloze, DVM
Dr. Bloze hadn’t planned to follow in the footsteps of her father who was veterinarian but having grown up around a rural practice and then working at her father’s equine and small animal practice when he moved to Cleveland, veterinary medicine had simply grown into her.
Because of working with her father in the days when specialists and diagnostic capabilities were limited in veterinary medicine, Dr. Bloze is one of the few veterinarians today who has done many of the surgeries that now are done exclusively by veterinary specialists and who can have a hunch about diagnosis from a physical exam even before the results of testing are in.
Even with this long experience, Dr. Bloze respects the challenges the profession offers regularly. She feels privileged to implement standards of excellence at St. Francis Animal Hospital, honored to work with such a dedicated staff and just plain happy to meet and treat so many wonderful animals.
Dr. Bloze earned a B.A. degree in biochemistry from Smith College, Massachusetts in 1976 where she also won a research grant in neurobiology and a D.V.M. degree from the Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine in 1981. She worked at her father’s practice until she built St. Francis Animal Hospital in 1990. She appeared on a weekly televised pet care segment on WEWS “Live on Five” for several years during the 1980s.
She shares a home with Dr. Larry Kilbane, also a veterinarian at St. Francis, whom she met through competitive sports—she, a triathlete who competed at the Hawaii World Ironman Championship in 1987, and he, a cyclist who competed in USCF sanctioned Cat 2 races all over the U.S.
Larry Kilbane, DVM
Dr. Kilbane’s greatest affinity is for surgery, including orthopedic stifle surgery, and for dental procedures which involve many or difficult extractions. From the very beginning, he knew he wanted to excel in surgery and did a clinical rotation with a board-certified surgeon while still completing his veterinary medical studies.
He is constantly honing his surgical skills by taking additional short courses as well as traditional continuing education. Through the years, he has developed many surgical refinements which minimize tissue trauma and ease recovery for his patients.
He is acutely sensitive to pain management in his patients. He has developed a comprehensive post-op nursing protocol for his orthopedic patients and uses a variety of medications for pain relief in the short- and long-term.
Dental procedures can be extremely difficult in veterinary patients, especially in the small mouths of cats or when the dental disease is advanced. Experience and skill make a huge difference in the duration and outcome of these procedures. Dr. Kilbane is meticulous, steady, experienced, fast and patient—all attributes to ensure the best possible outcome for his dental patients.
Dr. Kilbane derives great satisfaction in returning a dog to pain-free mobility. He walks his own dogs 3-5 miles per day and knows how important this is to a dog’s well-being. He also loves when owners see what benefit their pet derives from appropriate dental care and a pain-free mouth.
Dr. Kilbane has a wide range of interests so you shouldn’t be surprised if he stumbles upon your interests or makes you laugh during a conversation about your pet.
Dr. Kilbane earned his D.V.M. degree from the Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine in 1995 and has practiced at St. Francis Animal Hospital since graduation. He applies his same surgical skill set to maintaining his racing bicycles and you can follow his standings in local masters races. Until recently, he had been on the Cleveland Clinic masters cycling team. He shares a home with Dr. Dalia Bloze and their 2 dogs and 3 cats.
Barbara Musolf, DVM
Dr. Musolf fills in on an as needed basis at St. Francis Animal Hospital when the caseload becomes high or when Dr. Bloze or Dr. Kilbane are out-of-town. Dr. Musolf is perhaps the most broadly experienced veterinarian alive as she has worked in small animal, equine, food animal and emergency medicine and surgery. She serves as a representative to the Ohio Veterinary Medical association Board of Directors & as a writer/reviewer of board questions for both the American Association of Veterinary State Board Examiners & for the Veterinary Technician National Examination. She also developed and headed the most highly respected veterinary technology program at Tri-C in 1988 where she retired as an Associate Professor in 2013. Her experience is vast even as her manner is unassuming & friendly.
Dr. Musolf graduated from the OSU School of Veterinary Medicine in 1981 in the same class as Dr. Bloze. She also received a Bachelor of Science degree in 1977 from Bowling Green State University. Besides providing veterinary relief services, Dr. Musolf stays busy running her farm with her husband where she has 7 horses, 1 dog, several cats, cattle, pigs, and chickens.
Laurel Zarefoss, RVT
After a fulfilling teaching career and a sabbatical to raise her children, Laurel seized the opportunity to pursue her longtime dream to make a career in veterinary medicine. She returned to school for her veterinary technology degree and started working at St. Francis shortly thereafter in 1999. From the beginning, her dedication to the field and her pride in St. Francis not only have made her indispensable here but she has molded our professional and family-style work culture.
Laurel has the most encyclopedic mind of any of us (to “google” at St. Francis means to “ask Laurel”) and you can be sure a glitch, a special order or integrative care will be seamlessly handled by Laurel with great attention to detail. If a pet is brought in for boarding, for example, Laurel will remember that it needs a special diet, medications and appreciates a cage with a view.
Of course, her professional duties include, but are not limited to, examining pets before certain procedures, administering and monitoring anesthesia, assisting during surgery, performing dental cleanings, obtaining laboratory samples and running tests, taking X-ray images, administering diagnostic tests and treatments, teaching owners home care for conditions such as diabetes and kidney disease, making pharmaceutical orders and fulfilling countless hospital management duties.
Recognizing the important place pets have in families, Laurel will say that the most fulfilling aspect of her work is making a positive difference in people’s lives. You shouldn’t be surprised when Laurel remembers details about your family or your pets long after you’ve shared them.
She has a deep affection for the pets and their owners who have come to St. Francis for veterinary care over the years. Similarly, Laurel’s competence and kindness have won her the admiration, respect and affection of everyone at St. Francis—the clients, the doctors and the coworkers alike.
Laurel earned a B.S. degree in education with a concentration in mathematics and science from St. Francis University in Pennsylvania in 1974. She was a teacher at St. Bartholomew in Middleburg Hts. and an LD teacher in the Berea school system for years thereafter. She received her associate degree in veterinary technology from Tri-C in 2001, passed her boards in the same year and maintains a current RVT license.
Laurel lives with her husband and one dog. She enjoys her children, grandchildren and their pets outside of work. Her life’s purpose to make a difference motivates her volunteerism as well—especially for the monthly community meals at her church.
Alexandria Narowitz, RVT
Alex attended Bowling Green State University in the hope of discovering her passion. She was initially interested in human medicine and wanted to pursue a career in nursing. While in college, however, she realized her calling was to help animals. She followed that calling by obtaining her veterinary technology degree. Along with this education and training, Alex brings a gentle, nurturing manner to the care of every patient that passes through our hospital.
As a registered veterinary technician, Alex is proficient in the technical aspects of veterinary medicine. Beyond the basics, Alex enjoys helping to educate clients whether it be on diabetes, hyperthyroidism or heartworm disease. She has a particular interest in providing low-stress exams and procedures for every pet. She is quick to note anxiety in an animal and will make adjustments to make the situation as comfortable as she can for both the pet and its owner. Her goal is to make every pet feel loved and secure.
Alex lived in Erie, Michigan for 4 years until she decided to move back home to Ohio. She attended Stautzenberger College while in Michigan where she earned her degree in veterinary technology in 2016 and passed her licensing board exams the same year. Alex relishes learning about new techniques and advancements that can improve outcomes for patients. She takes advantage of continuing education whenever possible. She is also equally committed in getting to know a pet and its owner and the nature of the bond that is shared.
In her free time, Alex enjoys camping, hiking, photography, reading and exploring music festivals. While in Michigan, Alex volunteered at a wildlife rehabilitation center and is interested in getting involved in a similar program here. She enjoys the company of her 2 cats, Jaxson and Merlin who know how to “high five” & “speak” for treats.
When asked why she chose St. Francis Animal Hospital as her place of employment, Alex stated that she enjoys the close family atmosphere, strong relationships with pet owners, and the research and quality of medicine practiced here. Alex is a perfect fit to our professional family.
Daniel Mielke, Veterinary Assistant
Daniel joined our staff in 2014 after 14 years of experience at a veterinary hospital in Columbus, Ohio. He is accomplished in all areas of this practice and has a very steady, consistent manner. He loves to work closely with the veterinarians and to see the puzzles of diagnosis and treatment unfold. He, therefore, is a go-to person for X-ray imaging and laboratory test processing. He loves to serve as a communication go-between from the doctors to the owners.
Daniel found his calling by working at an animal shelter—coincidentally, also where he met his wife. After working in the veterinary field for so many years, he is making his career official and has now started taking the courses at Tri-C toward obtaining a degree in veterinary technology.
Daniel earned an associate degree in animal management from Northwest Career Center in Columbus in 1998. He is currently pursuing an associate degree in veterinary technology at Tri-C. He has placed in the top 5 in individual and team dog obedience competitions at the state level for several consecutive years in the late 1990s. He is married and, together with his wife, they share their home with 4 cats.
Dorrie Dabato, Veterinary Assistant
Dorrie finally decided to follow her heart and find a job where she could work with animals after working in an office for most of her life. She found what she was looking for when she started to work at St. Francis Animal Hospital in 2011.
She has the biggest heart for all of our patients and she provides comfort and enrichment to every pet during its stay whether it be an additional blanket warmed in the dryer, an extra walk outdoors, a special treat, some play time or some quiet attention.
Even when the rest of the staff is busy with procedures in the treatment area, Dorrie has already made the recovery area comfy and homey for the patient. She checks on patients constantly and is able to notice the little changes that are important for recovery such as a perked up appetite or a changed body posture. These observations are as important as the vital signs the doctors and technician measure to assess progress.
Dorrie’s empathy for pet owners is also profound and she will help them navigate through therapy options while understanding the pressure owners feel even as she advocates for the pets.
If you have special instructions for when your pet stays at St. Francis, then Dorrie is your go-to person.
Dorrie graduated from Valley Forge High School in 1976 and received some additional training in computer programming from the Cleveland Institute of Technology in 1986. She has had over 20 years of experience in customer service and logistics. She shares a home with a dog, a cat and a bird—and during the Christmas season, also with an elaborate Christmas village she sets up.
Julie Bender, Veterinary Assistant
Julie gained all her experience working with animals here at St. Francis since 2005 but she came with a natural ability to read animals. She has become so accomplished in so many areas but perhaps her most distinctive talent is in animal restraint for which she is both fearless and reassuring.
Owners whose cats become extremely anxious when here will likely appreciate Julie as a “cat whisperer.” Julie is always understanding of a cat’s anxiety—even if it becomes spiteful. Julie will use peanut butter for dogs and pheromone sprays for cats to lower their anxiety when necessary for a exam, then hold them in such a way as to make them feel safe and secure. She is ever patient with animals.
Julie is the perfect support person in our practice, always anticipating the needs of the doctors and other team members. In an emergency when seconds matter, it is an advantage to have Julie assisting. She has gained a deep knowledge of all the areas of this practice and usually through her own initiative. She is so dependable and helpful with special needs pets that many of our clients have employed her to tend to their pets at their homes when they have been unable to do so themselves.
Julie graduated from Strongsville High school in 2002. While in high school, Julie completed the Ohio Peace Officer Training at Polaris and was elected to the National Vocational Technical Honors Society. As soon as her children are old enough to be in school, Julie plans to finally enroll in preparatory courses for the veterinary technology program for which she is ideally suited. She lives with her husband, 2 children, 2 cats and 1 dog. Possibly because of her special connection to animals, she has the best trained dog of any of us.
Ann Klatka, Weekend Kennel Manager
If St. Francis is our patron saint, then Ann is our angel. A long time assistant to Dr. Dalia Bloze’s father, veterinarian Dr. W.H. Bloze, Ann has maintained a long-standing affection for the entire Bloze family. and continues to work for Dr. Dalia Bloze to this day. Her diligence, generosity and dependability for the weekend care of our patients for 2 generations of veterinary practice is a rare treasure. Ann has a quiet, gentle manner that reassures the hospitalized pets and should reassure owners who have left their pets in our care.
When not working at St. Francis on weekends, Ann works full-time at the Strongsville Giant Eagle Marketplace as a cake decorator in the bakery department. It is like Christmas morning every holiday when our staff gleefully finds the bakery Ann drops off for us in the wee hours as Ann goes to her weekday job. In her free time, Ann takes her dog with her everywhere and always keeps it perfectly groomed—something she learned to do while working years ago for Dr. Dalia Bloze’s father.