Michelle Oakley

Michelle Oakley

Reality Star

Michelle Oakley was born in Munster, Indiana, on September 16, 1969. She is an American reality T.V. personality and a veterinarian who has worked with a variety of animals for many years, with a specialization in wild animals.

Full Name
Sep 16, 1969
5' 6"
Net Worth


She has demonstrated an outgoing personality and a strong desire to create good breeding and living conditions for wild and domestic animals throughout her life. Michelle Oakley was born in Munster, Indiana, on September 16, 1969. She is of Caucasian heritage and was born to Steve and Georgia Plantinga. She would always go to her uncle’s dairy farm in Indiana throughout the summer. Dr. Jane Goodall, an English primatologist and anthropologist, was her idol when she was 11 years old. Dr. Oakley used to enjoy watching her on T.V. and admired her passion for animal welfare. She graduated from the University of Michigan with an undergraduate degree in zoology. While studying there, she went to the Yukon for the first time as a field assistant on an arctic ground squirrel ecological study. She met and fell in love with local wildland firefighter, Shane Oakley, on that trip, who kept calling her ‘squirrel girl.’ She received her doctorate in veterinary medicine from Atlantic Veterinary College in 2000 after marrying Shane and worked for Yukon Fish & Wildlife for nine years as a wildlife veterinarian and regional biologist. Dr. Oakley also interned at the Calgary Zoo, where she now volunteers as a relief veterinarian.

Being the only all-species vet for hundreds of miles in the Yukon Territory in Northern Canada, no two days are ever the same for Dr. Oakley. She could be darting bison with a helicopter, stalking wolverines in the wild, performing surgery on a bear, or facing any number of new difficulties with the incredible wildlife of the north. Animals, both wild and domestic, are extremely important to the Yukoners, and Dr. Oakley will go to great lengths to ensure their safety and well-being. “Dr. Oakley, Yukon Vet” on Nat Geo WILD and N.B.C’s Saturday morning series “Wilderness Vet” introduces viewers to Dr. Oakley’s world. She drives hundreds of miles a day through snowy mountain passes in harsh weather, dedicated to her clients and assisting local animals. The majority of her clients live off the grid, with no access to electricity or running water. Dr. Oakley conducts her own mixed practice throughout Northern Canada and Alaska, in addition to the clinic she runs out of her home in southwest Yukon, with the support of her three daughters, who also feature on her T.V. show regularly. She also volunteers at the Yukon Wildlife Preserve, the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, and the American Bald Eagle Foundation as an on-call veterinarian. She is in charge of specialized wildlife collection and conservation operations in Canada, as well as Scandinavia, Sri Lanka, and Europe.

Dr. Oakley and her husband tied the knot on December 10, 1992, in Hawaii. The couple is blessed with three daughters, namely: Sierra Oakley, Maya Oakley, and Willow Oakley, born in 1998, 1999, and 2005, respectively.

Life Timeline

<div id='' class='timeline-item'><p id='' class='timeline-year'>2001</p><h3 id='' class='timeline-title'>Dr. Oakley Receives a Doctorate</h3><p id='' class='timeline-text'>Oakley earns a doctorate at PEI’s Atlantic Veterinary College in 2000.</p></div><div id='' class='timeline-item'><p id='' class='timeline-year'>Mid-2000s</p><h3 id='' class='timeline-title'>She is a Biologist</h3><p id='' class='timeline-text'>She works as the wildlife veterinarian and regional biologist for Yukon's Fish & Wildlife department for nine years, shortly after her doctorate.</p></div><div id='' class='timeline-item'><p id='' class='timeline-year'>2014</p><h3 id='' class='timeline-title'>Star of “Dr. Oakley, Yukon Vet”</h3><p id='' class='timeline-text'>Dr. Oakley's Nat Geo WILD television series, "Dr. Oakley, Yukon Vet," premieres and welcomes viewers into her world.</p></div><div id='' class='timeline-item'><p id='' class='timeline-year'>2016-2017</p><h3 id='' class='timeline-title'>Star of “Wilderness Vet”</h3><p id='' class='timeline-text'>She appears on the Saturday morning series "Wilderness Vet," which airs on N.B.C.</p></div><div id='' class='timeline-item'><p id='' class='timeline-year'>2021</p><h3 id='' class='timeline-title'>WIN Award Nominee</h3><p id='' class='timeline-text'>Dr. Oakley is nominated for Outstanding Actress in a Reality Series at the Women’s Image Network Awards (WIN).</p></div>

Why We Love Them

<div id='' class='whywelove-item'><h3 id='' class='whywelove-title'><span class='whywelove-leter'>A.</span>She is determined</h3><p id='' class='whywelove-text'>During a lecture, Dr. Oakley spoke fondly of her time pursuing a doctorate in veterinary medicine at A.V.C., while simultaneously raising two of her kids. She narrated the story of how one of her mentors, Dr. Jeanne Lofstedt, saw her husband carrying their baby into the college so she could feed her multiple times a day in a corner. Fortunately, Dr. Lofstedt was kind enough to create a fully equipped private nursing room for her. We admire how Dr. Oakley did not allow this situation to deter her from her goal.</p></div><div id='' class='whywelove-item'><h3 id='' class='whywelove-title'><span class='whywelove-leter'>B.</span>She balances work and family admirably</h3><p id='' class='whywelove-text'>When asked how she cultivates a good work-life balance with such a demanding career, Dr. Oakley explained that while approaches to building a good work-life balance are individualized and dependent on the individual, one thing she suggests is not taking on too much. She also noted that although early-career veterinarians should not expect a lot of time off in their first few years, they should be fair to themselves and remember what really matters: the people they care about and the other animals in their lives.</p></div><div id='' class='whywelove-item'><h3 id='' class='whywelove-title'><span class='whywelove-leter'>C.</span>She loves animals</h3><p id='' class='whywelove-text'>By preserving the lives of the animals we love, Dr. Oakley benefits others and contributes to society. According to her, she grew up on a creek and spent a lot of time on her uncle’s dairy farm with horses and cattle. Neighbors knew that she loved animals, so if there was an orphaned rabbit or an injured raccoon, they would bring it to her. This inspired her choice of career path.</p></div>

Interesting Facts

<div id='' class='facts-item'><h3 id='' class='facts-title'><span class='facts-number'>1.</span>InStyle Magazine</h3><p id='' class='facts-text'>Oakley was named one of the 50 women changing the world in 2019 by “InStyle” magazine.</p></div><div id='' class='facts-item'><h3 id='' class='facts-title'><span class='facts-number'>2.</span>Her first trip to Yukon</h3><p id='' class='facts-text'>She met her husband Shane on her first-ever trip to Yukon.</p></div><div id='' class='facts-item'><h3 id='' class='facts-title'><span class='facts-number'>3.</span>Her daughter is studying to be a vet</h3><p id='' class='facts-text'>Her daughter Sierra is currently studying for a pre-vet degree in London.</p></div><div id='' class='facts-item'><h3 id='' class='facts-title'><span class='facts-number'>4.</span>Her salary per episode</h3><p id='' class='facts-text'>Oakley’s salary per episode is estimated at $15,000.</p></div><div id='' class='facts-item'><h3 id='' class='facts-title'><span class='facts-number'>5.</span>Pursuing a doctorate</h3><p id='' class='facts-text'>Oakley was pursuing her doctorate while having to raise her two daughters,</p></div>


What happened to Dr. Oakley's dog, Daisy?

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She died of Thyroid cancer.

What does Michelle Oakley make per episode?

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Being the star of Nat Geo WILD’s “Dr. Oakley Yukon Vet,” she receives an estimated salary of $15,000 per episode.

Does Dr. Oakley live in Yukon or Alaska?

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Dr. Oakley and her family live in Haines Junction, Yukon, Canada since 1992.