Meet Dr Sandra Smith
Owner of SMVH, Veterinarian
Sandra was born in Fort Worth, TX, but has lived in a variety of places such as Iowa, Cincinnati, and Virginia. She has called Falling Waters her home though, for the past 17 years. Growing up, Sandra always had a passion for taking care of animals, even helping a Golden Retriever deliver puppies. Then in the summer of 1981, she started working for a Veterinary Hospital in Lynchburg, and she fell in love! Sandra gained experience working at Seven Bends Hospital and Blue Ridge kennels during High School and after graduating she attended VPI 81 SLL as an Animal Science Major as well as a Biology Major. In 1986 she started at the VA-MD Regional College of Veterinary Medicine in Blacksburg.
A normal day for Sandra consists of examining sick and well animals, running laboratory tests, giving vaccines, and sometimes humanely euthanizing suffering pets. She also performs surgeries, anesthetic procedures, ultrasounds, radiographs, and provides pets with needed dental care. Sandra lives at home with her husband David and son Christopher. She also has another son, Nathan, who is pursuing a career in Cyber Security. Their pets include: 3 cats; Day-Light, Night-light, and BC, and 2 dogs; Oshi, and Sophie.
Sandra spends her spare time with her family, especially at Smith Mountain Lake in Roanoke. Her and her family love to fish, boat, swim, and play on the water. Sandra also enjoys cake decorating, working in the yard, playing video games, and doing anything crafty.
Years in Practice: 27
Education: Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine
Meet Dr. Nelson
Dr. Karen Nelson (formerly Dr. Karen Thompson) first fell in love with veterinary medicine as a child after reading the James Herriot stories. Combining her strong empathy for animals with a love of science, she knew this would be her calling in life. Although she grew up on the outskirts of Atlanta, she has always been a country girl at heart. She currently lives in Hagerstown with her 3 children, Shane, Mark and Kathleen, along with 2 large dogs and 3 cats. She’s hoping to find a small farm here in WV once her youngest finishes high school in 2 years.
Dr. Nelson earned a BS in Microbiology as well as her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree at the University of Georgia (1988). Upon graduation she moved to Charleston SC. She also lived and worked in upstate NY, Newport News, VA and Atlanta GA before moving to the Tri-State area. She has a special interest in behavioral medicine and pathology, but also enjoys challenging medical and surgical cases.
In 2014, Dr. Nelson began working with the Washington County (MD) Animal Control office to examine their neglect and cruelty cases. While this is often an emotionally difficult aspect of veterinary medicine, she feels strongly that someone needs to speak on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves. To increase her knowledge and credibility as an expert witness in court, she is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Veterinary Forensic Pathology at the University of Florida. She also attends yearly seminars and takes online courses in various aspects of veterinary medicine to ensure she has the most current information to help her patients.
In her spare time, Dr. Nelson enjoys reading, knitting, sewing and gardening. One guilty pleasure is BBC TV shows I She dabbles a bit on the piano and loves walking the C & O Canal towpath or hiking parts of the Appalachian Trail.
Years in Practice: 19
Education: UGA’s College of Veterinary Medicine
Sam | Practice Manager
Years in Practice: 2
Hospital Manager, Technician/Veterinary Assistant (WA)
Heather has been involved in the veterinary field in one way or another for the past 17 years, starting as a Kennel Assistant, in her senior year of high school, then worked her way up to become a veterinary assistant, and now she is the manager at SMVH. She originally was pursuing a career as a Veterinarian, but preferred the nursing side of the animal field. Heather has many duties here at the hospital, some of which include: inventory management, monitoring pets while under anesthesia, as well as performing dental cleanings.
Heather keeps busy at home too, with her young son, Ben and her Husband Steve, who was her high school sweetheart, and has been an active part in helping her pursue her dreams. She loves spending time with her family, and they enjoy many outdoor activities together, such as hiking, gardening, and biking.
Years in Practice: 16
Education: Distance Education Veterinary Technician Program
Registered Veterinary Technician (RVA)
Before coming to SMVH in 2011, Ali lived in PA, where she met her husband John, as they both attended school to become Veterinary Technicians. Even though her husband decided to later pursue a different career path, All knew being involved in the veterinary field was where she belonged. Ali is constantly on the move at the hospital as her duties are ever changing, some of which include: training other TVAs, radiography, dental radiographs, assisting the Doctor with exams, and anesthesia.
Ali stays busy at home as well, with her two dogs Rusty and Mason; and her two cats Blaze and Oliver. She does have a special place in her heart for being near the water though, and was even married right along the water. All and her husband spend their free time hunting, camping, and skiing.
Years in Practice: 3
Education: Lehigh Carbon Community College
Assistant Hospital Manager, TVA, CCC
Caitie is a care giver by nature, so it made sense for her to have such a strong connection with animals. She started at SMVH in May of 2010, and has since become a vital part of our staff. In becoming a jack of all trades, some of Caitie’s duties include pet nursing care, and client education, but she takes on any new task thrown at her with open arms. Caitie, who grew up in Harpers Ferry, WV has attended Shepherd University and taken online courses through Cedar Valley College.
Caitie and her newlywed husband, Nick, hope to soon move into their own Tiny Home, with their cat bleep, dog Syzygy and have future plans of owning a farm with chickens, llamas, and honey bees! Caitie has a love for many types of music, as well as succulents, and spending time with her expanding family and friends!
Years in Practice: 10
Education: Shepherd University
Client Care Coordinator (CCC)
Melissa hails to us from Sterling VA, and moved to Martinsburg to pursue a career as a Kennel Assistant at the local Humane Society. She then decided to take her love of animals in another direction, and started working at SMVH. Her job here entails making patient appointments, keeping paperwork organized, and doing her best to keep our clients and their animals happy during their brief time with us.
Melissa lives with her family and her teen-age daughter, who keeps her on her toes as well. They also have 4 dogs; Sky, Jake, Mocha, and Ginger. In her spare time, Melissa enjoys reading, going to the movies, and spending time with her family.
Years in Practice: 10
Education: Coastal Carolina University
Client Care Coordinator (CCC)
Michele was born and raised here in Martinsburg, WV and expressed interest in working in the veterinary field by wanting the best possible care for her own pet, a Bichon Frise named Milo. As one of our receptionist, Michele stays busy up front tending to client needs, and making sure all of our new puppy and kitten patients are showcased on our Pawsitivly Cute Board.
Michele, who is a graduate of Shepherd University, with a B.S. in Chemistry, is the mother of 3 sons; Josh, Jacob, and Nathanael, with her eldest starting his journey at WVU. In her personal time Michele enjoys sports photography, knitting, and reading.
Years in Practice: 2
Client Care Coordinator (CCC)
Mindy has traveled to many states, while growing up, and her love for animals only grew with each state lived in. She became a foster parent to many dogs and cats, who had been abused or neglected, and needed proper care and socialization. She’s spent much of her time volunteering at local shelters and with adoption events. Then Mindy finally decided to take the leap into a career working alongside animals. In her position as a CCC she is usually one of the first and fast faces you see here at SMVH, as she books appointments, and ensures clients have a good experience while in our care.
Mindy lives with her 6 rescue dogs, and 4 cats. She also takes care of the many stray animals around her home. Mindy enjoys spending her time helping any animals in need, crocheting, and hanging out with family and friends. She is also a coach for the Special Olympics softball and bowling leagues.
Years in Practice: 2
Zuri was raised in South Berkeley County, where her family encouraged her love of animals throughout her childhood. She raised many animals while growing up including: dogs, cats, reptiles, fish, chinchillas, bunnies, and even guinea pigs. Zuri was home schooled (K-12) and during high school she realized she wanted to pursue a career in the pet industry. She was able to have the opportunity to observe routine surgeries at a small animal practice, while completing high school. Zuri feels one of her most important job duties her at SMVH is to advocate necessary care for animals, discuss patient histories, draw blood, clean ears, and prep for/assist with surgeries.
Zuri lives with her husband Martin and daughter Kira. They also enjoy spending time with their German shepherd; Athena, Pitbull; Blue, Black cat; Charcoal, several chickens, and a few fish. In her free time she enjoys biking, swimming, gardening, tending her vegetable garden, and spending time with her family and friends. She also enjoys riding at Maple Leaf Stables.
Exam Room Handler (ERH)
Dessy, who was a member of the Southern Cross 4-H Club and Musselman FFA, decided to carry over her love of animals by starting a career in the animal field. Her job here at SMVH constantly keeps her on the move as she helps the doctors and TVAs walk animals, help restrain animals while the Doctor examines them, and helping to keep the facility clean.
Dessy currently lives in Inwood with her family and 2 dogs; Paislee and Kamden, her cat Penelope, and two horses; Chowder and Spencer. Her and her family enjoy various sports during their free time, and Dessy plans to attend Blue Ridge Community College for their animal nursing program.
Brittney realized she had a passion for animals, early on, and knew she needed to be there voice when they needed one. She went to Wilson College, and then began working in Vet Offices. Brittney’s duties at the hospital include; providing care and looking after pet’s well-being, and educating clients on future preventative care. Brittney lives with her boyfriend, Justin and young son, Hunter. She also cares for her dog Rex, her cat Lance, and 4 mini horses Brandy, Honey, Buddy, and Yoshi. In her spare time, Brittney enjoys horseback riding, swimming, reading, and travelling.
Brittney was raised in Martinsburg, WV, on a farm with 7 acres of land, which provided plenty of room for her and her 5 sisters to run around. Brittney started working at Hillside Vet Clinic, then decided to come work at SMVH. She grew up around animals, and knew a job in the animal field would be perfect for her. Brittney’s job here includes: walking, feeding, and helping restrain patients. Brittney lives at home with her family, and their many animals. Her and her family’s interests include sports, cheer, and their common love for animals. She is a very big goal setter, and strives for success in her future. Brittney recently just bought her first car!
Amos | Office Greeter, Bug Catcher
Famous Amos, or more simply known as Amos, came to reside at Spring Mills Veterinary Hospital in the fall of 2012, through a series of unfortunate events. He is quite covert in nature and only reveals snippets of his secretive past with a select few, and only with those of a feline nature. We don’t really have too much background on Amos, however there are rumors of great escapades in the untamed wilds of the Wild and Wonderful West Virginia. Since the fall of 2012 he has ventured out on a few exploits but has always found his way back to the hospital. He is always looking for new adventures if/when perfect traveling companions are appropriated. In between his exploits, he can be found greeting clients or rough housing with Lucky.
Years in Practice: 4
Lucky | Office Greeter, Bug Catcher
Lucky’s litter was found outside of the Valley Pet Crematorium in September 2009. The employees at Valley Pet left the litter alone, hoping the Mama cat would return to them. Unfortunately, this was not the case, and one by one the kittens started to disappear. When leaving work one Friday afternoon, one of the employees noticed a lone kitten left and couldn’t leave knowing that come Monday, poor little Lucky would probably not be there. She instead took him home and contacted us. We each took part in raising him, taking him home with us, bottle feeding and mothering him into a happy, healthy, playful kitten. Lucky has made himself quite at home here and makes it a point to greet all those that walk through the door. His favorite past times are stealing cat toys from the display tower in the waiting room, climbing on or in clients’ cat carriers, teasing the dogs in rooms by pawing under the door, and chasing his ball throughout the hospital.
Years in Practice: 8
Q | Office Greeter, Bug Catcher
Dr. Smith found Q in the middle of Grade Rd. in Falling Waters, WV with a severe head injury on April 16, 2008. Her age and history was unknown. She was nursed back to health at Animal Health Clinic of Funkstown (her first home) and was unable to find a “forever” home. When Dr. Smith decided to open Spring Mills Veterinary Hospital, Q followed her and has not only made her home here but also became a permanent member of the SMVH staff. Her favorite past times are simply sleeping on the couch and making her rounds throughout the hospital.
Years in Practice: 9