by JENNIFER FRAKES | photos by Soul of Photography

Unbreakable Bond

Mark Goldstein, DVM has spent over 40 years caring, advocating, and fighting for the welfare of animals. Ever since Mark was a small child, he was drawn to all animals, from insects to horses. “I was fortunate enough to attend Cornell University, and the more I learned from the best minds in animal medicine, the more I knew it was my calling,” revealed Mark. He was a senior staff clinician in the medicine department at Angell Memorial Animal Hospital in Boston and, before moving to the West Coast with his wife and daughters, Mark was the head of the Boston Zoos. Once relocated in California, Mark led the Los Angeles Zoo before taking the helm of the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA.

Although Mark is officially retired, he continues to share his knowledge and passion with fellow animal lovers. “Once a veterinarian, always a veterinarian. I love consulting about issues that my friends and my colleagues are facing with their pets. I also enjoy speaking at youth events and schools and at a variety of other events. As I entertain and educate, I get to shine a light on the importance of the human-animal bond,” said Mark. He also serves as a mentor to young adults who are thinking about careers in animal welfare.


Name: Mark Goldstein, DVM
Profession: Veterinarian, animal advocate, former zoo director, public speaker, and author
Community: Carmel Valley
Family: Married 40 years to Kris Goldstein; daughters – Emily Howland and Nicole Goldstein; son-in-law – Rich Howland; grandchildren – Gwendolyn Howland (7) and Richard Bruce Howland (5); granddogs – Brucie (Shiba Inu mix) and Rhone (Dutch Shepherd)
Hobbies & Interests: Hiking along the ocean and Torrey Pines State Reserve, experimenting with different cuisines with my wife, and playing shuffle board at dive bars. I also have to admit I love binging on Netflix – comedies are my favorite genre.


“Caring for animals and their welfare and understanding the value of the human-animal bond is part of what makes up the fabric of a healthy community.”

Recently, Mark selected memories and stories that span his career as a veterinarian, zoo director, and animal advocate and wrote a book titled Lions and Tigers and Hamsters. “My amazing grandchildren inspired me to write this book,” he shared. “I love telling them about my adventures, like being tossed around by an elephant or examining a rhino who was still alert.” The book also discusses the cost of veterinary medicine and other issues regarding animal welfare and the human-animal bond.

Mark enjoys living in coastal North County San Diego, an area that is dog-friendly, has walking paths that wind through natural habitats, and is close to the ocean. However, Mark especially loves the warm and welcoming community. “It’s a joy living in a city that allows me to fall asleep at night knowing good people are doing their best to love and care for all animals,” he said. “People here embody my philosophy – caring for animals and their welfare and understanding the value of the human-animal bond is part of what makes up the fabric of a healthy community.”

Dr. Goldstein’s book is available on Amazon and will be added to the bookstores at the San Diego Zoo next year. A book signing is planned for mid-February. Join the Lions and Tigers and Hamsters Facebook page for more details.