Our Careteam

Michelle

Practice Manager, Veterinary Technician

Cats, dogs, frogs, turtles, and butterflies were but a few of the animals that Michelle rescued as a child. Thanks to the unconditional love of pets, she’s wanted to serve as an advocate for them for as long as she can remember!

A native of the Cicero area, Michelle originally worked in administrative positions in the corporate world. One day, she decided she needed to follow her heart—she enrolled in a Veterinary Technology program and applied for a job in an animal clinic. To this day, Michelle considers it one of the best choices she’s ever made! Having been friends with Dr. Hammerschmidt previously, Michelle joined the South Shore Veterinary Hospital family on the day the clinic opened in 2005.

For Michelle, the biggest reward of her job is seeing the happiness and appreciation of pet owners when their beloved companion is returned to them in full health. She also loves new puppy or kitten visits and swapping pet stories with clients.

In her free time, Michelle and her husband enjoy kayaking, cross-country skiing, biking, hiking in upstate New York, and spending time with their rescued kitties.

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Melissa

Client Care Supervisor

Melissa’s own pets have always been an essential part of her life. Working alongside others who feel the same way makes coming to work a pleasure! She gets to exercise her passion for animal care every day as one of South Shore Veterinary Hospital’s receptionists.

Melissa is a native of upstate New York. After moving back to this area from Kansas, she joined the South Shore Veterinary Hospital team in July of 2010. Building relationships with clientele and working with her caring and compassionate colleagues inspires her daily!

At home, Melissa and her husband Preston have two furry children: Lizzy, a Pekapoo who loves being pampered, and Elouise, a Great Pyrenees rescue who managed to take over Melissa’s home in no time.

In her free time, Melissa loves reading, canning vegetables from her garden, and camping. She’s especially fond of taking her dogs to pet-friendly campgrounds, where the whole family can go for long walks or scenic bike rides.

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Carol

Receptionist

As far back as she can remember, Carol has wanted to work with animals—she felt that becoming a veterinary receptionist was her calling! She’s been serving pets and their owners in the animal care field for over 14 years.

Carol grew up in Kirkville, New York and secured her first veterinary job in 2001. After working at that hospital for 10 years, she took her services to an emergency clinic before joining the South Shore Veterinary Hospital family in the summer of 2014. Carol is responsible for everything from taking medication requests to handling emergency appointment scheduling.

Carol and her husband, Brett, live with five dogs named Wu, Wookie, Grizzabell, Annibell, and Lucas. Carol’s main interest outside of work is horses; she used to compete in trail riding competitions, and still enjoys caring for horses at the barn.

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Heidi

Receptionist

If there’s one thing that Heidi loves as much as her own pets, it’s being able to watch people bring in their own animals and receive excellent care. Heidi never takes for granted the essential role that pets play in our lives, and she’s proud to be a part of fostering that bond!

Heidi grew up in West Monroe, New York. Her veterinary career began in 2011, when she began working at another local animal hospital. In 2013, she began looking for another clinic to call home; as soon as she visited South Shore Veterinary Hospital, she knew it was the perfect fit for her.

At home, Heidi has several pets of her own. Aydan Meiko is a black Labrador who enjoys swimming; Husky/Retriever mix Claira Marie will sit outside in the snow all day if she could; and Dehlia Amora is a German shepherd who loves to stay active. Heidi also has two cats named Buddy and Payton.

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Jeanna

Veterinary Assistant

Jeanna was inspired to pursue a career in veterinary medicine because of a single movie: Hachi: A Dog’s Tale. By the end of the film, Jeanna decided to dedicate herself to what she felt truly passionate about—helping animals!

Jeanna grew up in Syracuse, New York. She received her Veterinary Assistant’s certification from the Animal Behavior College, then applied at South Shore Veterinary Hospital to complete her externship. Upon finishing her requirements, she was hired on as an employee in December of 2012.

As a veterinary professional, Jeanna particularly enjoys learning about diseases and conditions of particular pet breeds. She’s also a fan of puppy visits! Within the past year, she even became a certified dog trainer.

Outside of work, Jeanna enjoys attending Syracuse basketball games with her boyfriend Sean, golfing, hiking and camping in the Adirondacks, as well as spending time with her dog named Buddy.

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Jen

Veterinary Technician

The innocence of animals was never a concept that was lost on Jen—she always empathized with pets’ dependent nature and felt a duty to provide them quality care. She gets to do just that as one of South Shore Veterinary Hospital’s Licensed Veterinary Technicians!

Originally from Camillus, New York, Jen received her Bachelor’s degrees in music and art from the State University of New York-Buffalo in 2008. After working a few jobs over the next two years, Jen started to realize she wasn’t truly fulfilled. In 2010, she decided to follow her heart and returned to school for animal care. Jen received her degree in Veterinary Science Technology from the State University of New York-Canton, and passed her board exams shortly after graduation to become a licensed Technician.

As a Tech, Jen particularly likes dentistry work and finds it quite refreshing to clean and polish a pet’s dirty teeth. She’s also fond of helping a doctor remove diseased teeth. Seeing the pep it puts in a pet’s step is the best part!

Jen and her husband Jeff, who works as an engineer, live with an Australian shepherd mix, Arthur, Alfie the Border collie, and two cats named Ivan and Boopy. When she isn’t spending time with family or caring for pets around the hospital, Jen enjoys writing, recording, and performing her own songs. She plays a variety of instruments including guitar, piano, bass, and accordion, and even surprised her husband at their wedding with a live rendition of her own tune!

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Lori

Veterinary Technician

As a child, Lori and her friend dreamed of owning a giant farm in which they housed every animal species they could think of. As she got older, Lori realized that the next best thing to having a farm would be to work with animals in the veterinary field! Now she serves as a Licensed Veterinary Technician.

Lori grew up in Gloversville, New York, in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains. She attended the State University of New York at Delhi, then secured a job at an animal hospital in Utica, New York. In 1991, she came to Syracuse and worked in five separate practices before joining the South Shore Veterinary Hospital family in the fall of 2006.

Nursing geriatric patients back to health is one of Lori’s favorite parts of her job. She’s also passionate about surgery and anesthesia, and feels extremely gratified when she and the team can reach a successful outcome with these techniques.

Lori and her husband Patrick live with their young daughter, Payton, and a beagle named River. When she has a spare moment between work and family life, you can find them all on Oneida Lake, boating, fishing or swimming. Lori is also a former member of the Syracuse Scottish Pipe Band, in which she played the snare drum. Payton has taken up trumpet, and will hopefully follow in her musical footsteps.

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Sarah

Veterinary Assistant

While attending college to become a math teacher, Sarah found that her heart wasn’t truly in her studies. Having previously volunteered at the local SPCA, she started to wonder about a career in animal care. After looking into veterinary job options and shadowing several Veterinary Technicians, Sarah realized that the animal care world was her true passion!

Sarah is a Syracuse native. She’s currently studying online at San Juan College to receive her Veterinary Technician’s degree, and has been gaining experience here at South Shore Veterinary Hospital since 2013. Sarah is particularly passionate about quality client education and making a difference in the lives of pets and owners alike.

Sarah’s family has two dogs, Rufus and Sophie, who are brother-and-sister Golden retriever mixes. When she isn’t studying, working at the hospital, or relaxing with her pups, Sarah likes playing lacrosse and spending time with friends.

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Shannon

Veterinary Technician

Shannon had a special bond with animals ever since she was a little girl, but found herself working in other fields by the time she was out of high school. When she realized that she wasn’t truly happy or fulfilled, Shannon decided to take a leap of faith and pursue her longtime dream career: veterinary medicine! Now, she is a Licensed Veterinary Technician and couldn’t be happier.

Shannon is a native of central New York. After 10 years in the retail and food-service industries, she returned to college to study animal medicine. Shannon attended Onondaga Community College for a year before transferring to the State University of New York-Delhi to earn her degree in animal science. During the summer of 2014, she interned here at South Shore Veterinary Hospital and was thrilled to be hired on as an employee after her requirements were completed. Shannon became one of the hospital’s Licensed Veterinary Technicians in May of 2015.

Around the clinic, Shannon enjoys cleaning pets’ ears and performing thorough dental cleanings. She’s also fond of giving in-hospital patients extra love and attention on a daily basis.

When she’s not at work, Shannon can be found spending time with her husband on Oneida Lake; they love to go boating, fishing, and swimming whenever they get the chance! She also enjoys reading, spending quality time with family and friends, and tending to her own pets. Shannon and her husband have a recently adopted black Lab named Patton; three cats who go by Bonnie, Clyde, and Midnight; and four gerbils that Shannon adopted when she was a part of SUNY Delhi’s Breeding Colony Management Program.

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Karen

Veterinary Technician

Karen grew up in the country surrounded by farm animals—she quickly became interested in the veterinary field after watching large-animal veterinarians work their magic on horses and dairy cows. She knows just how much joy our animal companions bring, and is thrilled to make a lasting impact on the community’s families as a member of South Shore Veterinary Hospital’s care team!

Karen was still in high school when she first started working as a kennel attendant at a local clinic. It wasn’t long before she moved up the ranks to an assistant position, getting her first taste of hands-on medical care, before enrolling at the State University of New York-Delhi to study veterinary technology.

After graduating with her license, Karen continued working at her local clinic for the next six years before moving on to a larger practice. In February of 2016, she was happy to join the South Shore Veterinary Hospital family on the recommendation of a close friend (the hospital’s very own Jen!). Karen has special interests in dental work and comforting anxious or difficult patients.

In her time away from the clinic, Karen enjoys hunting, fishing, hiking, four-wheeling, and tending to her garden. She and her husband have two wonderful sons, Kip and Jimmy, as well as a gorgeous black Labrador named Arrow and a loveable cat, Moosifer.

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Leah

Veterinary Assistant

Leah has felt an innate connection with animals ever since her early days growing up in Pennsylvania. She knew that it was her obligation to give pets the best lives that she possibly could! Coupled with her interests in biology and the sciences, Leah’s passion for animals led her to the perfect choice of career: veterinary medicine.

Leah’s veterinary journey began 13 years ago—that’s when she started working at her local PetSmart. The more she dealt with the medical side of her job, the more she knew that she wanted to work in the veterinary field. Leah began serving as an assistant in her home state of Pennsylvania before passing her national examinations and becoming a licensed Veterinary Technician. She served as a tech in a specialty and emergency hospital for seven years before relocating to the Syracuse area with her boyfriend in early 2016. By the fall of that year, Leah had become a member of the South Shore Veterinary Hospital family!

Around the clinic, Leah enjoys internal medicine and tricky behavior cases. She’s also particularly passionate about working with senior pets and practicing great hospice care. In total, Leah has spent 13 years in the veterinary field—she loves passing on her knowledge to fellow staff members as well as the area’s loving pet owners.

Outside of work, Leah enjoys playing video games and taking continuing education courses. She’s currently earning another degree in veterinary technology in order to transfer her Technician’s license to the state of New York! Leah lives with her boyfriend and their menagerie of pets: the couple has five Chihuahuas, a Husky mix, a hound mix, a trio of rescued cats, two conures, a rainbow lory parrot, and a 17-year-old leopard gecko.

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Jennifer

Veterinary Assistant

Jennifer grew up in Ithaca, New York, where she was surrounded by the family pets from day one. For her, animal care has always been a natural part of life! She’s happy to continue her veterinary journey as a member of South Shore Veterinary Hospital’s compassionate care team.

Jennifer first served as a Veterinary Assistant in Oregon before moving back to New York to finish her Bachelor’s degree at Cazenovia College. She lived and worked at an equine training and showing center throughout her time in college, and continued to work in the horse industry for a brief time after graduating. Jennifer then spent several years in the financial and sales industries before making the decision to return to what made her truly happy: animal care. She joined the South Shore Veterinary Hospital family in April of 2016, and is thrilled to supplement her studies in veterinary technology with real-world experience here at the clinic!

Around the hospital, Jennifer enjoys getting to witness the various animal personalities that cross her path every day. Her favorite parts of the job are interacting directly with pet owners just like herself and helping to make a lasting impact in the community with her efforts.

At home, Jennifer and her partner live with a pair of German shepherds, two cats, three horses, and a flock of 12 chickens. In her free time, she likes going on long hikes with the dogs, saddling up the horses for trail rides, maintaining her property, and relaxing with a good book.

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