Staff

Mike Whitten, IT Support and Photographer

Mike WhittenMike Whitten is married to Dr. Mel and is Animal Care Clinic’s photographer and IT support provider. He has a Bachelor of Science in Biological Engineering and a Master’s degree in Computer Science, both from Mississippi State. He has been a photographer since his college days and inherited his talent from his father. He was a credentialed photographer for the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York City and the Reliant World Series of Dog Shows in Houston, Texas. Mike is also the proprietor of his own business called Limestone Creek Photography; his studio is located within our clinic.

Mike, a manager at ERC (a subcontractor to NASA), confesses that he is as much an animal-lover as Dr. Mel, with a special weakness for Labrador Retrievers. "During the work day, Mel frequently sends me pictures from her phone of the cute puppies she sees. One day I had to text back, 'Your job is better. We don’t get puppies at NASA.' ”

Mike says that beyond his photography and tech duties, his first responsibility is keeping the doctor happy and adds he is an, “Ace dog walker, pooper-scooper and vomit cleaner-upper, as any veterinarian’s spouse can attest to.”

At home, he shares a range of pets with Dr. Mel and his interests include SCUBA diving, traveling and bicycling.

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Larry Bonner, Office Manager

Larry BonnerLarry Bonner has been the Office Manager at Animal Care Clinic since February of 2010. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Business and is always an upbeat and friendly person who is very good at helping our clients receive the best client care possible.

"I truly enjoy working for Dr. Mel because she is fair and honest without any pretense,” he says. "She allows us to do our jobs yet provides good guidance when necessary, which is good because I feel as if I still have a lot to learn from her."

Larry's pets include a terrier mix named Gus, two Catahoulas named Hooch and Katie, and a Labrador Retriever named Speedy. His interests include remodeling his home, spending quality time with family and friends, and going to the theater when he has the time.

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Dani Pennington, CVAII

Dani PenningtonDani Pennington is a Level Two Certified Veterinary Assistant who has been with Animal Care Clinic since August of 2011, but began working in companion animal care in 2008. She recently earned her Level Two CVA Accreditation.

Dani says that each day she hopes to, “Bring a friendly and comedic tone to the clinic with a bit of hands-on experience sprinkled on top.”

Dani has two Border Collies named Delilah and Jolene, a cat named Kim Son, and a quarter horse named Blazer. Her interests include working with horses, movies, video games and drawing.

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Amanda Erickson, BS, CVAII

Amanda EricksonAmanda Erickson is a Level Two Certified Veterinary Assistant who has been with Animal Care Clinic since May 2013 and has been working in the animal related field since 2009. Her responsibilities include assisting the doctor, general patient care, running laboratory tests and monitoring pets during and after surgical procedures.She earned her Bachelor's Degree in Animal Science from Sam Houston State University and has obtained her Level Two Veterinary Assistant Certification.

Working at Animal Care Clinic offers Amanda a continual learning environment that she enjoys. "My desire is to always learn what I can in this field of study," she said. "I enjoy assisting Dr. Mel in surgery and monitoring pets to make sure they are stable during surgery and that they recover normally." Amanda also enjoys working here because of the professional environment as well as the pet owner community.

In her spare time Amanda teaches her three dogs – Sam, Sable and Sputnick – new tricks and takes them to the local dog park. She also is a self-described "movie-freak" and loves a good movie night with popcorn. She also enjoys board games, baking and cooking.

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Bailey Tolleson, CVAIII, Kennel Manager

Bailey Tolleson

Bailey Tolleson is our kennel manager who claims she is "OCD about doing a good job" and thus enjoys working hard and completing any task she is asked to do. Her job responsibilities include overseeing the boarding kennel and its occupants to make sure it is run smoothly and our boarders are getting the care and attention they need. She supervises and helps the kennel staff with walking dogs, cleaning the kennel facility and yard, feeding the animals, and cleaning stalls. Her favorite part of her job is "meeting and caring for all the various critters," she said.

Bailey graduated from Barber's Hill High School and attended Lee College. She joined our Animal Care Clinic staff in the summer of 2012 as a volunteer and worked her way up to full-time status as kennel manager, earning her level 3 Certified Veterinary Assistant title along the way.

"I love meeting so many animals, all with completely different personalities," Bailey said. Her affection for animals comes through at home with her own pets - two dogs (Snoopy and Presley), and two horses (Darlene and Stella). In her free time, she enjoys teaching Snoopy sign language and trail riding.

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Traci Alexander, Kennel Assistant

Kennel Assistant Traci Alexander has been a member of the team at Animal Care Clinic since August 2014. Traci is a senior at Anahuac High School, and since arriving she's provided the hospital with a cheerful personality and an enthusiasm for all animal care. Her responsibilities include watering and feeding boarding dogs and cats, walking the dogs, keeping the feline facility and canine camp clean, and feeding, watering, grooming and cleaning up after the horses.

"I love working here because of the animals I allows me to interact and play with," Traci says. "Plus, my manager Bailey is pretty cool."

Traci is the pet parent of Quarter horses Tony, Missy and Jellyfish, an F-1 heifer named Bell, a bull named Leroy, a Husky mix named Duke, a Cocker Spaniel mix named Mr. Polka Dot, a cat named Little Thing, and a micro-pig named Tatum. In her free time Traci enjoys duck hunting, fishing, and riding horses. She's also in the FFA, where she participates in speaking events and horse education competitions.

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Michelle Griffin, CVAIII, Receptionist

Michelle Griffin

Michelle Griffin joined the Animal Care Clinic team as a receptionist in December 2014, but she's been employed in the animal-related field since 2003. Michelle's responsibilities include greeting clients, checking patients in and out, answering the telephone, making appointments, keeping the lobby clean and tidy, making follow-up calls to check on patients, and assisting the doctor or technicians with patients when needed. She is a level 3 Certified Veterinary Assistant (CVA).

Michelle loves the comfortable, small-town feel of Animal Care Clinic. "I enjoy the atmosphere," she says. "Everyone is always made to feel welcome, and completely at home working at this clinic."

At home Michelle is the pet parent of two dogs: a 7-yr-old Miniature Pinscher named Pinnie and a 5-yr-old toy poodle named Skyler. She loves family activities, including family puzzle time, family fishing trips, or simply lounging around the house, relaxing with a good movie or television show. She also enjoys trips with her husband to resale shops in search of unusual, interesting items.

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Angelica Rivas, CVA, Kennel Manager and Veterinary Assistant

Angelica Rivas joined the Animal Care Clinic in July of 2015. Her responsibilities include managing the day-to-day kennel activities, keeping the camp clean, medicating and feeding the boarders and making sure all kennel operations are running efficiently. Angelica says her love for animals and her work ethic make her a great fit for the position. She is a Level One Certified Veterinary Assistant.

"I like the small town feel here and how everybody knows each other," says Angelica. "I enjoy working alongside my co-workers, and the environment in the clinic is always positive."

Angelica has two dogs: Obi-Wan, a Maltese, and Starsky, a black retriever. In her free time she enjoys gardening, hiking, camping, shopping, swimming and spoiling her dogs.

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