Years before she would earn the title of doctor, Kristin Tvrdik found the career she was looking for at the Hinsdale Humane Society. While working at the shelter as a summer intern, Tvrdik discovered her professional path.

"After that experience, I knew for sure I wanted to go to veterinary school," said Tvrdik.

More specifically, the experience convinced her to focus on shelter medicine. As medical director at Hinsdale Humane Society, she's seen that plan come to fruition.

It's Tvrdik's job and personal mission to see that every animal that comes to the Hinsdale Humane Society has the very best chance to find their forever home. Every animal that arrives at the shelter gets a full exam, including a dental checkup and all necessary vaccinations. Every pet is spayed or neutered. If there's a problem in need of attention, it usually can be addressed by Tvrdik, who has performed a variety of surgeries and procedures during her two years at the shelter.

When a family chooses an animal from the Hinsdale Humane Society to add to their family, it's with full knowledge of that pet's current health status and needs, Tvrdik said.

Along with preparing surrendered animals for their new homes, the humane society takes steps to help pet owners avoid the need to give up their animals due to obstacles like the cost of care. Low-cost vaccinations help pet owners to afford their pet's care. The next vaccination clinic is set for 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 5.

"Prior to COVID, we traveled with this," Tvrdik said.

Over the last year, vaccines have been delivered curbside. But when mobile clinics resume this summer, they also will offer services like microchipping and wellness care.

Microchipping, Tvrdik said, is a simple but important step in ensuring an animal's safe return should they become lost. The simple procedure is offered at the Humane Society for $10 and could be the difference between the devastating loss of a pet and a happy reunion.

Tvrdik said she works with about 10 area shelters and rescue programs to offer low-cost spays and neuters, all in an effort to help control the animal population. But despite all of the efforts to curb overpopulation, spring still brings an influx of kittens to places like the Hinsdale Humane Society. To care for these furry babies, the Humane Society is accepting donations of food and unscented, non-clumping clay litter.

"We're going to be blowing through the litter," Tvrdik said.

A full list of needed supplies can be found online at

The return of the Pet Walk Festival on June 26 is one of many opportunities for the public to celebrate and support the work of the Humane Society.

Tickets are $25 for adults, $5 for kids 6-13. Details about this and other events are available on the Hinsdale Humane Society website.

Nine years into her career, Tvrdik said seeing a pet leave the shelter with their new family is still the very best part of her job, and a reminder of why she chose a career in shelter medicine. She's not just spaying, neutering and administering vaccines. She's creating happy homes for animals and their families.

- by Sandy Illian Bosch

Author Bio

Sandy Illian Bosch is a contributing writer to The Hinsdalean