Our Veterinary Staff
The staff at Circle of Life Animal Hospital is made of dedicated animal lovers who care for your pets as if they were our own. We invite you to meet our veterinary hospital team below:
Registered Veterinary Nurse
Melissa has been in the veterinary field for more than 25 years. She earned her A.S. with honors in veterinary technology. In addition to being one of our Registered Veterinary Nurses, she is also one of our hospital’s Critical Care Coordinators and in charge of advanced dental training/continuing education. Melissa excels in anesthesia and dentistry and has a special interest in preventive care, pain management, and emergency medicine. (Melissa also works on Sundays and holidays as a level 2 emergency technician at Blue Pearl Specialty and Emergency Hospital in Tampa.) She has been instrumental in developing our state-of-the-art in-house laboratory and is currently working hard on writing templates for our new Paper-Lite software system. Her own pets include Noodle, a miniature Dachshund; Petunia, a pug mix; Popit, a Yorkie poo; Butternut, a pygmy goat; and Squash, a pygmy goat. Melissa is married with 2 children. When she isn’t at work, she enjoys scuba diving, underwater photography, and wildlife observation.
Lisa has been a veterinary technician since 1981 and a Registered Veterinary Nurse since 1983. She is also our hospital’s Nursing Care Coordinator and technical “cat whisperer!” Lisa’s patience and ability to calm, medicate, and pull blood from unwilling cats is truly amazing! She was nominated for Technician of the Year and was on the cover of Veterinary Technician Magazine in January of 1995. She enjoys giving extra nursing care to our hospitalized patients so that they can get better quickly, and she also loves being able to assure owners that their pets are receiving the best care that can be provided. Lisa has a son who is an Eagle scout who graduated from FSU with a master’s degree in accounting. He is a graduate of Jesuit High School. Her pets include Stitch, Chloe and Pogo, three Chihuahua rescues. When she isn’t working, Lisa enjoys golfing, cruising, walking around flea markets, most pro-sports, college football, and traveling.
Johnny earned his Certified Veterinary Technician degree (now called Registered Veterinary Nurse!) from St. Petersburg Community College in 2015, Johnny started volunteering at the Humane Society of Tampa Bay in 2008 as well as the Animal Health Center. This work sparked his interest in the field of veterinary medicine, and he decided to go back to school while working as a veterinary assistant, and graduated with his Certified Technician degree (not an easy degree to obtain!)! One of the most rewarding aspects of his job is helping owners in what is sometimes the most crucial part of their pet’s life.
When he’s not with owners and their pets here, he enjoys watching movies and playing sports. He also likes watching sports too, and is a fan of the New York Yankees and New York Giants.
Sarah began working as a veterinary technician 11 years ago in Chicago, IL, where she gained most experience, and has also worked as a tech in Georgia and Florida. Since she was a little girl, Sarah knew that working with animals was her calling. She always brought home strays and volunteered at the Humane Society of Chicago. Sarah’s cache of experience includes working in day practice, ER, and exotic animal care. She has 2 domestic shorthair cats named Cash and Boniface, and a Pit Bull named Dex. Sarah is currently working on going back to school for Animal Behavior.
Zakiya joined our team in winter of 2017, looking to settle down her fast-paced life. She is very excited to be a part of our veterinary family, having known since she was a little girl that she wanted to spend the rest of her life taking care of animals. She graduated high school as a veterinary assistant, and became a trained veterinary technician not long after. 7 years later, Zakiya has played a part in virtually every aspect of the veterinary field, from kennel technician, to marketing, to practice management, she has done a little bit of everything. While she loves animals, she does not have any of her own. She has a little girl who fills her days with laughter and love, keeping her hands full in her free time. She loves to spend time with her daughter outdoors, or snuggled at home eating ice cream and watching movies.
Shonna has always had a soft spot for animals. As a child she used to bring home injured animals and nurse them back to health. When she began working for her local veterinary office in 2014, everything fell into place. At home, she has a cat, Hellsing who she bottle-fed as a kitten, and a rescued teacup chihuahua, Tulsa.
Beyond animals, Shonna’s passion is art. When she’s not at work, you can often find her painting or at the park. She’s even had some of her pieces of art on display at the Lakeland Museum of Art, and some of them have even travelled around the country! She is currently painting a beautiful mural in room #3 and we can’t wait to unveil it when it’s done!
Amani recently joined our team in May 2017, and she is loving it! She enjoys the behind the scenes work dynamic that ensures the safety and care for all of our furry patients that come in to our practice. Amani graduated from Tampa Bay Technical High School with a certification in Veterinary Assisting, and is currently attending the University of South Florida to pursue her veterinary education. When she isn’t working she enjoys late night gaming with friends, delving into the world of makeup, and binge watching TV shows with her mom.
Client Care Coordinators
Brenda has been in the veterinary field for more than 20 years, and she has been with Circle of Life Animal Hospital since the beginning. She has helped in all aspects of building and advancing our clinic for over 15 years and she loves the camaraderie that the employees and doctors share at the hospital. Brenda is married with one son and her pets include Mary, a Jack Russell and cats Chicky, Grayson, Baby, and Li’l Man. She loves spending time with her family.
Shannon joined our team in December 2015 after attending ATA and earning her education as an X-ray technician. She loves animals, enjoys working with them, and is excited to pursue a career that is all about them! She has 3 cats, Creepy, Itty Bitty Kitty, and Formula One, Jackson a mini horse, and of course Halo, the new Great Dane in her life. When she isn’t working, Shannon loves horseback riding, boating, and spending time with family.
Alethea Smith works up front helping all our wonderful clients and does all our marketing at Circle of Life Animal Hospital (she brings a wealth of experience to the position!). She has worked with several pet care organizations, starting with doggy daycares. After working in the fast-paced world of a mobile vaccine clinic as a district manager, Alethea moved into private practices while in Louisiana. While there, she worked with a veterinarian who specialized in dental procedures, and her passion for animal health care was ignited even further. She loves her job and is always learning something new!
When she’s not helping the pets and owners of our animal hospital, she’s enjoys spending time with her boyfriend, Josh, and her two Pembroke Welsh Corgis, Riley and Tyrion. She loves to travel and often takes her corgis with her to various corgi events! Making art is another favorite pastime, but she’s always brought back to her job where she makes a difference by advocating for the pets of Tampa.
Sylvia’s background includes a degree in child care management, but it was her deep love for animals that led her to use her skill in the veterinary field. She finds her career to be most rewarding, particularly the connection and bond shared between owners and pets—and her role in strengthening that bond! You can regularly hear her laughing and interacting up front with all our clients!!!
She is married to Eric Miller and has two beautiful children and two wonderful step children. Her four-legged children include a Pitbull, Gaia; a Boston-Terrier, Maynard; and a Chihuahua, Maya. She loves being with her family and is proud to be a wife and mother. When she’s not at the hospital, you can find her enjoying the outdoors, whether at the beach, by the pool, in parks, or traveling.
Baloney & Chedda
Meet Baloney and Chedda! Even though we don’t treat pocket pets, we do love them! Jenna (our technician) took them in as pets and we all fell in love with them so much, they now reside at Circle of Life Animal Hospital. They’re very active and growing girls who are super sweet and love to be held.