Our Veterinarians

Dr. Nancy Cowardin

Owner, Veterinarian

One of Dr. Nancy Cowardin’s earliest memories involves a deep love of animals—she recalls going to pick out a new kitten when she was only three years old. Hurricane quickly became her best friend in the world, and the pair grew up together until Dr. Cowardin headed off to college. By the time she had started her studies in science and biology, she knew that she wanted to use her skills to foster the same kinds of relationships that she shared with her beloved cat! Now, Dr. Cowardin gets to do just that every day as the owner of Companions Animal Hospital.

Dr. Cowardin is originally from Jamestown, North Dakota and graduated with honors from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota. Next, she attended veterinary school at Colorado State University in Fort Collins to earn her Doctorate in 1992. From there, Dr. Cowardin spent a year working at a fast-paced, 24-hour-a-day veterinary practice in Michigan before moving to Texas and continuing her career at a clinic in Amarillo.

Dr. Cowardin and her family moved back to Minnesota in 1997, and she signed on as a veterinarian at what was then called Clearwater Road Pet Hospital. Three months later, she had become the practice owner! Dr. Cowardin has now been serving St. Cloud’s pets and animal parents as the owner and veterinarian of Companions Animal Hospital for nearly 20 years. Medically, she has a special passion for surgery and internal medicine cases, but her favorite part of the job is getting to talk directly with loving pet owners on a daily basis.

At home, Dr. Cowardin and her family share their lives with several pets. Mickey is a mixed-breed dog who has visited many schools in the area to help teach children about responsible pet care; Esox the Labrador lives up to his namesake with his incessant desire to retrieve; and two frisky cats named Tres and Quatro round out the furry side of the family.

In her free time, Dr. Cowardin likes to read and especially enjoys swapping good books with her son, Braden. She’s also an avid hockey fan, and loves supporting Braden at his games. She’s recently started exercising through CrossFit, which has helped her own hockey game immensely!

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Dr. Alison Johnson

Associate Veterinarian

Dr. Alison Johnson has been a scientist and an educator all of her adult life—she taught college students as a chemistry professor for many years. She has also had an intense love for the earth’s creatures for as long as she can remember! What better way to combine her experience in science and education with her adoration of pets, Dr. Johnson mused, than by becoming a veterinarian?

A Minnesota native, Dr. Johnson attended the University of North Dakota to earn two degrees in chemistry and mathematics before obtaining her Ph.D in chemistry at the University of Wisconsin. She served as a chemistry professor at Susquehanna University and St. Cloud State University for seven years before heading back to school and graduating from the University of Minnesota’s veterinary program in 2004. Dr. Johnson has worked in small-animal care ever since, even serving at a clinic in Florida and becoming the Resident Veterinarian for the Minnesota School of Business’s veterinary technology program.

Dr. Johnson started as an Associate Veterinarian at Companions Animal Hospital shortly after moving back to this area in 2015. She’s especially fond of internal medicine work and has a special place in her heart for the quirky personalities of the area’s feline companions.

In her time away from the hospital, Dr. Johnson enjoys camping and hiking, searching for rare natural orchids, quilting, and antiquing. She and her husband, Brian—himself a chemistry professor at St. John’s University!—share their lives with Bo, a standard poodle; two cockatiels named Sweetie and Jabbermowl; and seven loveable cats who go by Sid, Silas McSweater, Little Monster, Einie, Paulette, Aslan, and Sherlock.

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