Cheryl joined Veterinary Neurology and Imaging of the Chesapeake as the practice manager in 2014. Cheryl, who has 25 years of experience in the veterinary field, previously was the practice manager for a large companion animal and equine veterinary practice in Easton, Maryland for 15 years.
A native of the Eastern Shore, Cheryl has always been a "pet person." Her first job was cleaning kennels at a veterinary hospital. She worked as a veterinary assistant, practice receptionist, vet tech and office manager before becoming a certified veterinary practice manager.
Since starting on VNoC/VIoC, Cheryl says, "I'm really enjoying having the opportunity to manage two specialty practices, including one with two locations.The cases are fascinating, especially when we see the positive outcomes after surgery."
Home life is every bit as busy for Cheryl. She has three children: Thomas, age 18; Kelsey, age 16; and Andrew, age 12. "We're a big animal and sports family," explains Cheryl. "We have three cats and three dogs, including Goose, our chocolate lab; Ali, a lab who's just a puppy; and Shiloh, a 'Bug,' a Boston/Pug/Terrier mix. We rescued Goose on Christmas Eve two years ago. We joked he was our Christmas goose. As a supporter of DAAWGS—Delaware Alliance for Animal Welfare Groups, Inc.—rescue is important to me." Recently, the family has acquired ducks and chickens which have blended into the family just as the four- legged ones!
Since 2011, Baltimore native Brittany B. has typically been the first person callers speak to when contacting our practice.
"I used to work for a human neurologist," she explains, "and it's amazing how much is the same. I felt very comfortable here, right from the beginning."
A fitness buff, Brittany enjoys working out five days a week, and taking her American bulldog, Penny on long walk and hikes on the weekend. Summers the pair are often at the shore so Penny can swim in the bay.
"I'm hoping to go back to school for medical imaging," says Brittany. Whatever the future holds for Brittany, we're fortunate to have her welcoming and assisting new and returning clients.
Michele joined the administrative staff at VNoC in July 2015. A native of Pasadena, Maryland, Michele says, "I've been and out of the emergency clinic here with my animals, so I was familiar with VNoC. When I learned about the opening, I jumped at the chance to work here."
While Michele previously worked in the medical field and in the automotive business, she's not worried about the move to veterinary care. "I'm like a sponge. I love to learn. I'm passionate about what I do—and I was gifted with the caring gene. Even though I've only been here a short time, I already feel like I've known everyone at VNoC forever. I'm excited that suggestions are welcome; I know I can make a difference here."
A lifelong animal lover, Michele and her roommate have two dogs, a turtle, a bird and three silky chickens. "I pet-sit for friends and I've even fostered a pig!"
Sonia may be a familiar face to those who've been to CVRC. She explains, "I used to work for the ophthalmology practice, which gave me the chance to get to know Dr. McDonnell and the VNoC staff. Neurology interests me, so deciding to make the move was easy."
Born in Poland, Sonia moved with her family to Maryland when she was small. Animals have always been a big part of her life. "I have a Bachelor's in Animal Science—I was originally on the track to go to vet school, but now becoming an Occupational Therapist is my long-term goal. At the moment I have an Off the Track Thoroughbred named Manny, a Great Pyrenees named Delilah, two cats, Oliver and Sylvester."
Focused and organized, Sonia rides 3-4 days a week, lifts weights 3 days a week, runs 3 days a week and is in training for a half marathon—in addition to working full-time.
"Working at VNoC is refreshing. It's a different schedule, and Dr. McDonnell is so involved with the staff and supportive of our education and learning. I'm really enjoying it!"
Elizabeth is excited to be VNOC's Professional Development Coordinator. "Dr. McDonnell has such a great vision for the practice," she says.
Elizabeth leads the team of vet techs, overseeing work flow, training and hiring. "I've been in the field for more than 10 years, working in emergency, general practice and surgery, but this is the first time I've worked in neurology. I've got a lot to learn in that area, but I know that Dr. McDonnell is a terrific teacher and very committed to the staff's ongoing learning."
Outside of work, Elizabeth lives a very active lifestyle. "My husband and I love to travel, go camping, skiing and hiking - though we're not traveling abroad as much now that we have Joan, who's two and a half, and Cameron, who's three months old."
Two dogs and a cat round out the household: Rex, an orange tabby; Ada, a mixed breed the family rescued from a shelter; and Midge, a Welsh Pembroke Corgi. "I first met Midge when she was a puppy; the older couple who owned her brought her into the practice where I was working. Six months later, the couple could no longer keep her due to health problems, and were looking for a pet sitter for the short-term and a new home for her. I agreed to pet sit, and said, 'We'll see' on keeping her….and she's been with us every since."
Sarah joined VNoC in December 2012. "I've always liked working with animals," she explains. "I've been working in the veterinary field since 2006, and prior to that I worked in a pet store." Sarah is currently studying to become a vet tech, taking online classes and being trained at VNoC.
"I wanted to become more comfortable in specialized fields of veterinary practice. When I saw all the wonderful stories of animals that had been helped by Dr. McDonnell, it added fuel to the fire. I knew I wanted to be part of that. There's so much you have to learn in a specialty practice. It's exciting and amazing; and the vet techs inspire you to be better."
Sarah shares her life with her 13 year old yellow Lab, Tilghman, and her 7-year-old French bulldog, Owen. Outside of work she enjoys yoga, cooking and traveling. Sarah and her husband, Nathan, who's in nursing school, were married in June 2013.
Nikki brings a unique skill set to her work at VNoC: She's certified in canine rehabilitation. "Just as humans go through rehabilitation, so can dogs. I work with them on regaining their range of motion and strength."
Avid about animals, Nikki has a menagerie at home: "I have two 12-year-old Lhasa Apsos who were littermates: Winkie and Gizmo, who's had orthopedic surgery and is blind; a tri-color Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Crazy Ray, who's my Energizer bunny; and a seven-year-old toy poodle named May. They keep me busy…but then there are my two Dwarf African frogs, a Yucatan Box Turtle named Tex and a Red Ear Slider turtle named Crush."
Nikki, who was born and raised in Annapolis, worked for eight years in a general veterinary practice with orthopedics. "I got interested in canine rehab when Gizmo—my "heart" dog—had knee surgery and rehab. Seeing the difference rehab can make made me think about getting certified. The animals can have a quicker recovery post-surgery with a better quality of life, often with less medication. Once I got certified at the University at Tennessee at Knoxville - one of only two schools that offer certification - I knew I wanted to work with a specialty practice. Since I'm fascinated by neurology, I knew this would be a great fit. I'm excited about the opportunity to grow this part of the practice, and to get the knowledge out there that canine rehabilitation is available. It can have a big impact, especially with large breed dogs."
"My friend, Nicole who works here talked about how great Dr. McDonnell is, so I decided to apply," says Susan, who joined VNoC in April. "I knew I'd be able to get to know the owners and pets—something I'd missed in my previous job. Since joining the staff at VNoC, I've been so impressed at the level of care and concern, and how everyone is connected to the people and animals."
An experienced vet tech, Susan worked for a general veterinary practice for four years, a surgery referral center for over two years and an orthopedic practice for six years. "I grew up in Pasadense, Maryland, where my parents still live. I graduated from the University of Montana with a degree in wildlife biology. Working instead with companion animals is so satisfying, and I've really enjoyed all the on the job training I've received."
Now a resident of South Balltimore, Susan shares her home with Ariel, her cat. "I'm a big gardener—i love flowers," she says. "I also love to bake and bring things I've made to work, especially anything with chocolate. My co-workers all seem to enjoy this—but not the extra pounds they say they're putting on!"
Joey, a Kent Island native, also joined VNoC in April 2014.
"I worked at a general practice for eight years, but I've always been interested in neurology," he explains, "so I was ecstatic when I was offered the position. It has been a challenging transition, and I've worked hard to learn what's needed, and how I can help patients, the vet techs and the veterinarians. I enjoy working with everyone—and I've learned a lot. They're so helpful. I also see a different level of care from the clients; they're so committed to getting the best for their pets."
Joey received his Associates degree from Chesapeake Community College, and is now working on his B.S. in biology at Towson University.
He plans on doing agility and earth dog with Solo, a Norfolk Terrier.
A graduate of SUNY Canton with a degree in veterinary science technology, Lisa had been a licensed veterinary technician for 11 years when she joined VNOC in summer 2016.
Lisa explains, “I’ve worked in a variety of settings and practices. I started in Ithaca and at Cornell, mostly working in orthopedics doing anesthesia and induction. I’ve also worked at a referral hospital in Pennsylvania, and in an orthopedics practice in Maryland. “
She continues, “I love VNOC. I couldn’t tell you my favorite part as it can be something different every day! I appreciate the opportunity to continue to learn. Dr. McDonnell is the most brilliant doctor, and the cases we get to see are truly spectacular. We see dogs that were paralyzed go home walking. I couldn’t have fallen in with a better team: Everyone brings so much to the table.”
A lifelong animal lover, Lisa has an Australian Shepherd, Rowdy, two cats, Lucy and Lil’ Man, and an American Paint horse, Josie. An avid competitor, she hopes to take Josie to the Western Pleasure World Show in 2017.
Kate had been working in the veterinary field for four years when she joined VNOC in June 2016.
“I have a degree in criminal justice. My original goal was to become a canine handler for the police, which led me to want to know how to take care of dogs,” explains Kate. “I initially learned on the job, working for a primary care veterinarian, then I earned continuing education credits when I was working at a surgical specialty practice. I’m so excited that Dr. McDonnell has in-house continuing education. He’s a terrific teacher. My plan is to go to school and become a licensed veterinary technician.”
Born and raised in Annapolis, Kate lived for a year in Louisville, Kentucky. She has a horse, Romeo, two Boxers, Panda and Sophie, and a cat, Charley. She describes herself as “super active.” Kate rides, is a triathlete, hunts, fishes—and loves to cook.
Monique is now becoming a familiar face at VNoC, having joined the staff in September. A native of Baltimore, she has a B.S. in Biology and Veterinary Terminology from Wilson College in Chambersburg, PA.
"I've always been interested in animals," says Monique, her enthusiasm bubbling over. "I spent four years as a emergency medicine tech and specialty surgery tech in Frederick, MD. When I worked in emergency, we sometimes referred the patient to neurology. so it's nice to see what happens here. I'm just loving the work, the staff and Dr. McDonnell. I also love helping people and the education I'm getting here. I'm here to stay. You have me forever!"
Monique is continuing her education by studying to become a Licensed Veterinary Technician, and plans to sit the Veterinary Technician National Boards in 2017.
Monique is married to Kristofer, an assistant service manager at a car dealership, and together they have a two-year-old daughter, Aubrie. Monique and her family share their life with two rescue Pitbulls, Diesel and Brody, and two rescue cats, Madison and Maxwell.