Meet Your Neighbor: Kathleen Halat |

Meet Your Neighbor: Kathleen Halat

Interview by Kara Fox of the Sierra Sun
Jason Kelley/Sierra SunKathleen Halat and Whitney

Podiatrist at North Tahoe Orthopedics

I recently moved here. I moved here a month ago with my husband, John Hillstrom.

We moved from San Francisco. We lived in the Presidio. I just love the mountains and I wanted to get away from the traffic. My husband lived in Truckee nine years ago. Everybody is so friendly and every person I meet loves it here. I have no complaints whatsoever.

I would come up for skiing, biking and fishing. The only one who doesn’t like it is my St. Bernard who doesn’t like the snow. She’s a weird one. She’s picky. Her name is Whitney. I got her from the Sin City St. Bernard Rescue in Las Vegas. I guess she’s a desert dog. I’ve had her four-and-a-half years.

Always growing up we had St. Bernards. They are so friendly. They are big lap dogs. They are so cute and always want to be around you. They’re cuddly. The only drawbacks are they shed like crazy and slobber and are heavy breathers. They always want to eat. But if you can get past that, they’re great. I’m trying to convince my parents to rescue one and trying to convince my husband that we should be a foster home for St. Bernards. I can’t help it. I love them.

Bicycling. I’m a big cyclist. I started in 1998 when I did the AIDS Ride. That was the first ride I had ever done and I fell in love with it. The [biking] community is great. It’s a good way to burn a lot of calories and then eat a big dinner. One of the better rides I’ve done lately is by Gold Lakes and Bassets out of Gray Eagle. I did the Death Ride in 2002. But school and my residency kept me from training to do future rides.

I finished my residency in June. This is my first practice. After I finished, my husband and I went to Africa for three weeks and climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. We both made it. When we first met, we realized it was something we both wanted to do and said we would do it after I completed my residency. We went on a safari, which was great. We saw every imaginable animal. There are a lot of beautiful birds, which surprised me. Then we spent a week on the beach. Then we moved here.

I took a women’s fly fishing class in Jackson Hole. I have a degree in entomology. I did that before I went to podiatry school and I had always wanted to fly fish and did that two years ago. I’ve had a long-standing interest in bugs.

Like my parents told me, getting a job in entomology was hard. Jobs were few and far between. I had a problem with my foot, and when I was at the podiatrist I asked him about being a podiatrist and followed him around his office. It just kind of worked out. It’s great. Most people are embarrassed to show their feet, but people’s feet are really not that bad after you’ve seen some really bad cases.

What are the worst feet you’ve seen? Really long four-inch toe nails or a really bad infection. Probably the worst are the really long toe nails that look like they came out of the Guinness Book of World Records. It makes you feel good to help someone like that. I have a pain in the ball of my foot and I have a bunion. I made myself a new pair of orthotics and I was able to finish the Big Sur Marathon.

That’s about it. I spend time with my dog and husband and I like to read and bake.

Right now I’m into making jam and I’m a big cookie maker. I love snicker doodles. That’s why I need to run, so I can eat more cookies.

I’m looking forward to the snow. I’m just so excited for it to be a Sunday evening on a snowy weekend and I don’t have to drive down the hill. I will wake up Monday morning and I’ll be in Truckee.

The Sun’s Kara Fox interviewed Kathleen Halat for “Meet Your Neighbor.” Please send suggestions for “Meet Your Neighbor” to, subject: Meet Your Neighbor.

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