Harrisonburg Team

Cate Lemmond CEO and Founding President

Cate is the founding President and CEO of the Anicira Veterinary Centers. Since starting in this position in January of 2005, Cate has worked to improve the lives of pets and the families who love them. During this time, the veterinary hospitals have seen major growth both in the number of non-human family members served and the breadth of services provided. Cate received an MS in public policy and animals from Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine and a BA in government from the University of Virginia. Cate is a Certified Animal Welfare Administrator (CAWA) as well as a Certified Veterinary Practice Manager (CVPM). She shares her life with her three mixed-breed adopted dogs Bernadette, Liliana, and Louie

Melissa Gilligan Hospital Administrator

As Hospital Administrator, Melissa spends most of her time making sure daily operations run smoothly. Melissa is very passionate about her job at Anicira and cares very deeply about providing high-quality veterinary care and excellent client service. She works tirelessly to create an environment that feels welcoming where pet parents can be confident that their four-legged family member is receiving the best care. Her favorite part of working at Anicira is helping pets and their families who would otherwise not receive necessary veterinary care and seeing the happy success stories. In 2021, Melissa earned her Certified Veterinary Practice Manager (CVPM). Outside of work, Melissa shares her life with her long-term significant other and their six beloved pets. She loves cooking and trying new foods, being outside, watching new movies, and spending time with her closest friends and family.

Dr. Megan Oelstrom

Dr. Oelstrom has been involved with Anicira Veterinary Center since October 2013. She started as an associate veterinarian at the Manassas hospital helping the practice to grow and helping countless pets and their families. She now serves as the Chief Medical Officer overseeing all of the Anicira hospitals.

Megan received a BA in biology from the University of Virginia in 2005 and earned a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) from Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2010. After graduation, she completed a small animal rotating internship at Regional Veterinary Referral Center in Springfield, Virginia.

She has exhibited a passion for surgery and helping animals in need since veterinary school. During that time, she volunteered with the Rural Area Veterinary Service providing spay/neuter and vaccine clinics in remote areas of the United States.

Megan feels blessed to be able to help animals in her community by providing affordable surgical services.

When not in the hospital, Dr. Oelstrom enjoys many outdoor activities (beach-going, skiing, camping) with her husband, two children, and her “Mississippi mutt”, Obi.

Dr. Chelsea Bond

Dr. Bond graduated from Christopher Newport University with a Bachelor of Science in cellular, molecular, and physiological biology. She continued her studies at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine where she earned her doctor of veterinary medicine degree. Dr. Bond loves working together with pets and their families to formulate a successful treatment plan. She is very passionate about client education and fully believes no one knows their pets better than their parents. Working at Anicira, she enjoys being able to provide medical and surgical care to animals that might not otherwise receive it. Outside of work, you can find Dr. Bond working out at Crossfit Harrisonburg and hiking with her dog. She has a soft spot for male orange tabby cats and has three of her own named Finn, Killua, and Gojo. Her dog, Lucy, came from a shelter in West Virginia and was the first dog she performed a spay surgery on during vet school.

Dr. Anna Artale

Dr. Artale graduated from UNC-Wilmington with a degree in biology and a minor in chemistry. She then received her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Artale enjoys treating patients for a wide variety of reasons that they visit Anicira. She is most interested in soft-tissue surgery and dentistry procedures. When she is not at work, Dr. Artale spends her time riding four-wheelers and kayaking in local rivers. She enjoys spending time with her family and taking her nieces and nephew fishing and crawfishing. Dr. Artale shares her life with two beloved dogs Biddy, a Saint Bernard, and Dori, a chocolate Poodle mix.

Dr. Whitney Eure

Dr. Eure graduated from the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine. Throughout his years as a Veterinarian, he has enjoyed inspiring others, providing high-quality care to animals in need, and focusing on helping both pets and their families live better lives. Dr. Eure shares his life with a dog named Shashta and a cat named Gandalf. During his time not in surgery, he loves to go whitewater kayaking especially at Watauga River Gorge and he has kayaked through the Grand Canyon a total of four times- 227 miles each trip!

Dr. Laura Kivlighan

Dr. Kivlighan graduated from UVA with a degree in biology and fulfilled her life-long dream of becoming a Veterinarian by receiving her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Kivlighan’s day is never the same and she loves it that way.  She works in the medical department at Anicira and enjoys seeing pets for routine preventive care, sick visits, and emergencies. In her free time, she enjoys being by the water with her two dogs – who are, in her opinion, the cutest and funniest dogs ever. Dr. Kivlighan enjoys seeing the love between pet parents and their animals and engaging with them in a meaningful way.

Dr. Micah Thompson

Dr. Thompson received her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine and joined the team at Anicira in July 2021. She was raised on a ranch in rural New Mexico surrounded by many animals and knew from an early age that she wanted to work with animals. Dr. Thompson truly enjoys every aspect of veterinary medicine, especially working with pet parents to provide the best possible care. She loves Anicira’s collaborative and friendly environment. Dr. Thompson has many pets of her own – a horse named Rafiki, a dog named Bee, and two cats named Penny and Leonard. Outside of work, she enjoys riding her horse, taking long walks with her husband and dog, gardening, and traveling whenever she gets a chance! Being a New Mexico native, she enjoys eating any food that has  Hatch Green Chile in it.

Brittney Hoover Licensed Veterinary Technician

Brittney is a talented veterinary technician and leader with a B.A. in Animal Science, an M.S. in Agricultural Education, and an AAS in Veterinary Technology. Brittney first became interested in veterinary medicine when she was a young girl. Her father was an x-ray engineer and she would travel with him to many different veterinary practices. Brittney began her professional experience working in a large animal practice focusing on horses. Her favorite part of working at Anicira is helping patients that may not be able to receive veterinary care anywhere else and improving their quality of life. It brings her joy to see her patients improve! Brittney loves being busy inside and outside of the veterinary center. In her free time, she and her husband enjoy skiing, golf, visiting vineyards, and entertaining guests. They share their lives with their two cats, Inky and Charlie, and their border collie mix, May.

Lauren Law Licensed Veterinary Technician

Lauren received her Associate of Applied Science in Veterinary Technology at Blue Ridge Community College in 2021. She is passionate about pet care and gives each animal the same level of care and attention that she would want her own to receive. Lauren most enjoys working on dentistry cases and teaching clients more about pet care. She loves seeing the strong bonds between people and pets. Lauren shares her life with her husband and pets. She has a goat named Ralph, a cat named Goober, and two dogs named Jasmine and Baxter. In her free time, she enjoys hiking with her dogs and watching movies with her fiancé.

Lauren Landram Licensed Veterinary Technician

Lauren received her AAS in Veterinary Technology from Blue Ridge Community College. She has been an animal lover from a very young age and brought many animals home as a child.  Lauren’s passion for animals has grown even deeper over the years. She loves watching pets improve after receiving veterinary care and working with their families to teach them more about how to care for their pets. Lauren is very energetic, outgoing, and enjoys working closely with her work “family.” When she’s not working, she likes spending time with her family and friends, visiting local wineries and breweries, and kayaking. Lauren has a yellow Labrador named Paisley.

Elizabeth Peters Licensed Veterinary Technician

Elizabeth graduated from the Veterinary Technician program at Blue Ridge Community College in 2021. She grew up near Harrisonburg on a farm and has always had an interest in helping animals. Elizabeth loves getting to know pets and their families and is grateful for the opportunity to form a relationship with all family members. Her favorite part of working at Anicira is helping pets receive care that may not be able to afford care elsewhere. Outside of work, she enjoys camping with her family. Elizabeth has two cats – Flounder and Zero – and two dogs – Gage and Ruger.

Kelsey Stephens Licensed Veterinary Technician

Kelsey received an Associate Degree in Applied Science with a major in Veterinary Technology from Blue Ridge Community College.  Kelsey always knew she wanted to work with animals and enjoys being an advocate for her patients. Kelsey likes spending time with her wife, watching action and comedy movies, reading mystery and sci-fi books, playing video games, and spending time with their dog Rumple and cat Freya. Kelsey’s favorite parts of working at Anicira are assisting with dentistry and oral surgery, being able to help our animal welfare partners and working with feral cats.

Jessi Vent Licensed Veterinary Technician

Jessi attended Bridgewater College where she received a bachelor’s degree in biology and then went on to earn her AAS in Veterinary Technology at Blue Ridge Community College. Her love of animals started at an early age, and she works each day to love and care for each patient as if it were her own pet. Jessi’s favorite part of working at Anicira is that the focus is on the patient’s health and well-being above all else. She is grateful to be able to make a positive impact on the outcome of each patient visiting Anicira. Professionally, Jessi is most interested in cases involving feline neonatal and geriatric care, chronic disease management, and emergency care. In her free time, Jessi likes to garden, watch and play sports, go antiquing and listen to music. She enjoys spending time with her friends, family, and pets.

Karen Yowell Licensed Veterinary Technician

Karen received her AAS in Veterinary Technology from Blue Ridge Community College. Karen loves serving our clients and patients at Anicira so much that she drives an hour each day to work. Growing up, Karen would bring home animals that needed care and would work tirelessly to save them. She believes that we are the voice for animals and loves being able to help them in any capacity. During her free time, she enjoys hiking at Bear Church- a 12-mile hike – kickboxing, and watching movies with her husband and two teenagers. Karen has two rescue dogs – a chihuahua named Ruru and a Pitbull name Jelly Bean – and a cat named Optimus Prime.

Rachel Mirabelli Veterinary Nurse

After working in South Carolina for several years as a receptionist and Veterinary Technician, Rachel moved to Virginia and has continued her career in veterinary medicine. Her favorite part of working with the animals is seeing the joy they bring to their families. Rachel has four dogs –  Cooper, Luna, Banjo, and Max – and a cat named Bea. She spends her weekends with her husband hiking in the Shenandoah National Park, going to breweries or her favorite vineyard Barren Ridge.

Candice Whetzel Veterinary Nurse

Candice is working towards receiving her AAS in Veterinary Technology from the Penn Foster Tech Program. She has worked in animal welfare for 10 years and has a deep love for cats and dogs. In addition to her love for companion animals, Candice has a lifelong passion for wildlife conservation. She enjoys working in the surgery department at Anicira and providing affordable care to pets in need. Candice loves being a voice for animals and advocating for each pet she interacts with. When a pet is in her care, Candice considers them part of her extended family and treats them as such. Outside of work, she enjoys live music, gardening, and spending time with her cat named Skye.

Haley Brazeau Resource Center Supervisor

Haley has always had a passion for helping animals. She thrives in this field of work where she is able to be a voice for the animals and help care for them. Each day, Haley works in various capacities to help the Veterinary Center run smoothly. When she is home, she enjoys gardening, going to amusement parks, swimming, and spending time with her three cats Moe, Momma, and Puff. Haley considers the work she does to be very rewarding and it is what drives her passion for animal welfare.

Dan Chavez Operations Coordinator

Dan graduated from Northern Arizona University with a degree in Political Science. When he is not working, Dan enjoys spending time with his wife, building fun things for his two boys, having an outdoor movie night, and visiting the local breweries with his dogs Tucker, Flash, and Aurie.  Dan also has three cats, Monty, Abigail, Wednesday, and usually a foster cat, too. Flash, an Anicira Alum, considers himself more a person than a dog and loves to sit on the arm of a couch. Dan loves seeing the transformation of animals as they move through a recovery process, whether it be from illness, injury, or abandonment. He is proud of his work managing Anicira’s Pet Food Pantry and helping the program expand to help even more pets.

Katie Nicholson Marketing and Communications Manager

As marketing and communications manager, Katie is responsible for sharing the stories of the pet families helped by Anicira. She spends her days crafting copy for web, email and social media posting, working on advertising campaigns, and developing marketing materials such as video testimonials and newsletters. Her favorite part of working at Anicira is witnessing the happy stories of pets healed through veterinary care and observing the deep connection between pets and their families. Katie graduated from the University of Virginia in 2017 with a degree in Media Studies. In her free time, Katie enjoys hiking with her dog Pookie, yoga, paddleboarding, playing volleyball, and hanging out at local breweries.

Jennifer grew up in Northeastern Pennsylvania. She knew she wanted to have a career with animals ever since she was a small child. Her family always had a hard time prying Jennifer away from anything with fur, feathers, or scales. At family gatherings throughout her entire childhood, she could always be found wherever the nearest animal was. Even while all the other kids might be playing in a pool, she would play fetch with the dog or feed snacks to the horses.

Jennifer spent her early adulthood and college years trying to make time to live her passion by working and volunteering for a variety of animal organizations such as wildlife education centers and animal shelters. She also spent time training dogs.

She began her career with Anicira as an Adoption Specialist in July 2018 and eventually transitioned to her current role as a vet assistant. Her favorite part of working at Anicira is being a source of comfort for the animals and helping pet parents to feel at ease knowing their pets will be treated as her own.

Jennifer is always learning more about animal care and building her education. She has an associate’s degree in Wildlife Biology and her bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education. She is also a certified dog trainer with a certification from Animal Behavior College. She has recently begun a course in Canine Massage Therapy.

Jennifer shares her life with her husband and a menagerie of animals. She loves spending time outdoors in nature and is working toward our dream of someday owning a hobby farm.

As a member of the resource center team, Liliana enjoys helping pets get the vital care they need. She finds it especially rewarding to help pets in emergencies and loves to hear the joy and relief in the voice of pet parents once they know that their pet is going to receive care. Liliana attended Blue Ridge Community College. She shares her life with a 5-year-old Siberian Husky named Jax. Outside of work, Liliana enjoys spending sunny warm days outside with her friends and family and cold days cuddled in bed with her dog watching Grey’s Anatomy.

Brandy has been working in the veterinary field since 2017 and joined the team at Anicira in 2021. She enjoys being able to help pets because they are always grateful and appreciative. Brandy maintains a positive outlook on life and looks for the good in all situations. Outside of work, Brandy and her husband enjoy watching their daughter play college softball for Eastern Mennonite University.  When the weather is nice, you can find her hiking and walking. In the colder months, you can find Brandy curled up with the furbabies or making her infamous lasagna or punch bowl cake. Her family has three dogs – a Maltese-Yorkie named Mason, a Yorkie named McKenzie, and a Goldendoodle named Kingston.

Liz has always loved animals and grew up with many dogs. She enjoys working at Anicira because it lets her combine two things she loves: assisting people by providing awesome client service and helping pets get the care that they deserve. Liz loves coming to work every day and is proud to be a part of an amazing team that impacts many pets in the community. Liz enjoys taking her dog Suzy on adventures and going out to dinner with her husband outside of work.

Starr absolutely loves animals and is passionate about helping people help their pets. It brings her joy when she can help pets receive veterinary care. Starr is originally from Philadelphia. She studied at Temple University where she received a degree in telecommunications and mass media. She is a curious person who enjoys learning new things. She is currently learning to speak Spanish and enjoys reading suspenseful/mystery and self-help books. Starr is a wife and mother of two kids. She loves to garden, and her favorite flower is a hydrangea. and spend time with her family and pets. She has three dogs – a lab/collie mix named Buttercup, a Lab/Husky mix named Axel Blue, and a Great Pyrenees named Zeus -, one cat named Freddy Freeloader, and a rabbit named Sophia.

Paula is a resource center team member who is a passionate advocate for pets. She will go the extra mile to meet your pet’s needs. She listens and advocates for the needs of your pet. Paula enjoys helping clients, learning about veterinary medicine, and hearing all the unique pet names. She believes that pets create happiness, love, and companionship in their families lives. Paula has a bachelor’s degree in social work. Paula has a busy life outside of work and enjoys running, writing, painting/drawing, cleaning, and spending time with her son. She has two cats and a dog.

After high school, Teresa joined the Army where she served for a combined six years as an active service member and a reservist. She is passionate about providing excellent client care and helping pets receive the care they need. Teresa loves pets because they each have such unique personalities. In her free time, she enjoys camping with her two dogs: Max, an Irish Setter, and Rooster, a Yorkie. She lives on a farm that keeps her busy.