Dr. Michelle Oakley’s job as a veterinarian is not just a walk in the park. Her dedication comes from her deep love for animals. Living in the adversity of nature, Dr.Oakley does not shy away from making house calls in the far reaches of Northern Canada. Her job includes driving for long stretches in the wilderness and sometimes lack of proper roads leads her on her journey. And while Dr.Oakley can avoid all the hardship, she is passionate about her job and has come a long way to suddenly change her way of life. In this article, we will explore Dr. Oakley’s biography.
Date of birth
September 16, 1969
53 years old
Place of birth
Munster, Indiana, United States
Steve Plantinga, Georgia Plantinga
Veterinarian, TV personality
$1.5 M (estimated)
Munster High School (g. 1987), University of Michigan (B.S. in Zoology, 1991), Atlantic Veterinary College (D.V.M., 2000)
Sierra Oakley, Maya Oakley, Willow Oakley
Haines Junction, Yukon, Canada
Dr. Oakley, Yukon Vet
Nat Geo Wild
April 12, 2014
12 (as of 2023)
Yukon Vet Clinic
Haines Junction, Yukon, Canada
All-species veterinary care for domestic and wild animals
Dr. Michelle Oakley (owner and veterinarian), Sierra Oakley (daughter and veterinarian), Maya Oakley (daughter and vet assistant), Willow Oakley (daughter)
Worked for the Canadian government as a wildlife veterinarian for 7 years before opening her own clinic; involved in various wildlife conservation and research projects in the Yukon and other parts of the world; treats animals such as moose, caribou, bison, muskoxen, bears, wolves, lynx, eagles, owls, etc.
Travels long distances by car, plane, helicopter, snowmobile, etc. to reach remote locations; faces harsh weather conditions such as snowstorms and freezing temperatures; deals with dangerous and unpredictable animals that may require sedation or immobilization; works with limited resources and equipment in the field; balances the needs of wildlife and human communities
Works with various organizations and agencies including Yukon Wild Life Preserve, Yukon Conservation Officer Services, Environment Yukon, American Bald Eagle Foundation.
Featured in various media outlets such as National Geographic Magazine, People, etc.;
Loves nature and outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, camping, skiing, etc.; enjoys spending time with her family and pets; likes to travel and explore new places and cultures; passionate about educating and inspiring others about wildlife and veterinary medicine
Has several pets at home such as dogs, cats, horses, chickens, etc.; some of them are rescued or adopted from her wildlife work
Struggles with balancing her busy work schedule and family life; faces criticism and backlash from some people who disagree with her wildlife work or TV show; deals with stress and emotional toll from witnessing animal suffering and death
To continue her wildlife work and TV show as long as possible; to expand her clinic and hire more staff; to write a book about her experiences; to visit Antarctica and see penguins; to retire in Hawaii with her husband
A veterinarian by profession, Dr. Oakley is also a television personality who stars in the Nat Geo Wild reality series “Dr. Oakley, Yukon Vet.” Specializing in wildlife veterinary medicine, Dr. Oakley operates a vet clinic out of her home in Haines Junction, Yukon Territory. Her patients are not just wildlife, catering to the needs in her hometown she has mastered her skill in all kinds of animals and treats accordingly.
Dr. Michelle Oakley Birthdate, Age, Ethnicity
Dr. Oakley was born on September 16, 1969, in Munster, Indiana. She was born to Steve Plantinga and Georgia Plantinga and has a brother sibling. Although her roots tie her to America she gained Canadian citizenship after her marriage. If ethnicity is concerned she belongs to white.
Dr. Oakley married to longtime husband and mother of three daughters
When Dr. Oakley first came to study wildlife in Yukon not only she did fall in love with the place but also a young local firefighter Shane Oakley who is her husband now. On her first Yukon Trip, she met Shane and fell in love with him. Back then Shane would refer to her as “Squirrel Girl”.
The two got married in Hawaii on December 10, 1992. Following marriage, the pair settled in Haines, Yukon, and have since been living there. Dr. Oakley and her husband mostly find themselves traveling in Yukon while tending to the job, Shane as a firefighter and Deputy Conservation Officer, and no need to explain Dr. Oakley’s job as a Veterinarian. At home, they make the most of the family time.
In their years together, the couple has given birth to three daughters. Sierra Oakley is their eldest who looks up to her mother and has completed DVM education. Then came Maya, and the youngest child is Willow Oakley. All three are raised in the remotes of Yukon against cold and wilderness.
Dr. Oakley and her husband use vacations as recreation and family time. On the occasion of their 20th marriage anniversary, Mr. and Mrs. Oakley went to Hawaii, to the Big Island the very place they got married. They were joined by their girls. The family is used to Scuba diving and loves snorkeling.
Dr. Oakley’s Early Life
Growing up in Munster, Indiana she had a strong affinity towards animals. Spending her time by the creek she would build fort and rescue animals. She loved riding horses and raised pets such as a pug cross and a snake. Her uncle owned a farm and she would take her time learning there.
She attended Munster High School graduated in 1987 and enrolled in pre-med studies at the University of Michigan. During her time at the university, she took her first trip to the Yukon as a field assistant on an arctic ground squirrel ecology study. In 1991, She graduated with her Bachelor of Science in Animal Biology.
Career & Progression
What began as a love for animals during childhood and as a grown up Dr. Oakley finds herself indulged in the profession of helping and rescuing them. Not a coincidence, right?
After the pre-med, Dr. Oakley joined Atlantic Veterinary College in Canada where she graduated with a degree in veterinary medicine in 2000. She worked as a Wildlife Veterinarian and regional biologist for the Yukon Government from October 2001 to January 2009. Around the time she also worked as a contract veterinarian at Yukon Wildlife Preserve in Whitehorse Canada and continues to this day.
Always a student of learning, in 2008, Dr. Oakely joined a zoo medicine internship program hosted by the University of Calgary. There she learned about zoo and wildlife health. In 2011 She worked for Calgary Zoo for less than a year.
She currently operates a veterinary service out of her home in Haines Junction a village with barely 800 inhabitants. She has performed her skill in pets as well as wild animals including sled dogs, horses, cows, lap dogs, and snakes. Also, Dr.Oakley works on-call at the All Paws animal clinic. Sometimes she has to travel for hours in the freezing cold to attend to the emergencies at the patient’s home.
Dr. Oakley operates her satellite clinic in Haines while sharing it with the American Bald Eagle Foundation which houses injured birds unable to survive in the wild.
Her television career began in 2014 when she starred in the reality series Dr. Oakley, Yukon Vet on Nat Geo Wild. The show follows her adventures as she travels across the vast and rugged landscape, treating animals of all shapes and sizes, from sled dogs to muskoxen, from owls to reindeer. She often faces challenges and risks, such as darting bison from helicopters, operating on a caribou with growths on its nose, or dealing with an angry muskox. She has been on the air for 12 seasons. She has earned many fans and admirers for her work and her astounding. She also balances her professional duties with her personal life, as a wife and a mother of three daughters, Sierra, Maya, and Willow.
Dr. Oakley’s Salary and Net Worth
Dr. Michelle Oakley has an estimated net worth of $1.5 million USD. She has established a successful career as a reality star, which has become her primary source of income. She reportedly earns around $20,000 per episode of “Dr. Oakley, Yukon Vet”. Her net worth is also influenced by her earnings as a veterinarian and a wildlife conservationist.