Bellwood Animal Hospital's Dedicated Team
Our team of veterinary professionals is dedicated to delivering the best customer service and compassionate care to you and your pets.
Jill Shachter — Hospital Manager
Jill brings over 20 years of human resources experience in both the service and manufacturing industries to the Bellwood Animal Hospital team. She has a passion for customer service and always strives to give clients the best experience possible. In 1992, not long after obtaining her MBA from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, she moved from Chicago and made the Rockford area her home.
She keeps busy with two teenage daughters and her cat Cupcake. She is still optimistic about the Chicago Bears and is enjoying the transition to veterinary medicine.
Tammy Burkon, CVT — Veterinary Technician
Tammy grew up in Cherry Valley, IL and now lives in Poplar Grove. She has been working in the animal field since 2002 and later graduated from Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, TN. In 2008, she earned a CVT designation.
Tammy lives in Poplar Grove, has two awesome kids, two cats, and a dog. Tammy's hobbies include art, music, gardening, and hiking.
Brenda Brown, CVT — Veterinary Technician
Growing up in a 4-H family has its advantages! Brenda grew up showing cattle, pigs, ducks, chickens and horses. Her love of animals fueled her desire to work in veterinary medicine. Brenda is a graduate of Bel-Rea Veterinary Institute in Colorado. Today Brenda is now a Certified Veterinary Technician working at Bellwood by day and on the farm at night with several animals by her side: Gracie the Pit Bull mix, Pretty the Calico cat, and Elvis and Fancy, her horses.
Brenda enjoys farm life, spending time with family, camping and horseback riding. She has extensive experience in surgery and is very knowledgeable about veterinary medicine.
Lindsay Wares, CVT — Veterinary Technician
Lindsay has been lighting up Bellwood Animal Hospital with her beautiful smile since April 2014. She is a graduate of Rockford Career College's Veterinary Techician program and holds a CVT designation. Her veterinary special interests include nutrition and behavior.
Lindsay lives in Belvidere with her family and dogs. She is especially fond of boxers. Outside of work Lindsay enjoys spending time with family and gardening.
Caitlin Yeoman, CVT — Veterinary Technician
Caitlin graduated from Rockford Career College in 2015 and joined Bellwood in 2016 as a Certified Veterinary Technician. She enjoys educating pet owners and caring for the animals in her community. With her soft-spoken manner and warm smile, Caitlin gives our clients and their pets compassionate and attentive care.
Caitlin loves spending time outdoors with her two Labradors, Benny and Ellie, and lounging around with her two cats, Kitty Baby and Dunkin.
Becca Irvin, CVT — Veterinary Technician
Becca graduated from Rockford Career College as a Certified Veterinary Technician in 2013. She worked at Hillcrest Animal Hospital for seven years prior to joining Bellwood Animal Hospital in 2014.
Becca is originally from Stillman Valley but now resides in Rockford with her family and two dogs, a Boston Terrier and an English Mastiff.
Dawn Anderson — Veterinary Technician
Dawn grew up in Monroe Center, IL. She has an associates degree in Applied Science and brings over four years of experience as a Veterinary Technician to the Bellwood Animal Hospital team. She works with a quiet confidence, and any pet in her care are in great hands. Some of Dawn’s work passions include client education, assisting in surgery, and overall helping animals.
At home Dawn has several pets: five cats, Jesse, Lucky, Peanut, Sam and Stella; a Labrador and Pit Bull Mix, Roscoe; and two Call ducks, Yeti and Aries. For fun she enjoys reading, scrapbooking and spending time in nature.
Emily Coulahan — Veterinary Technician
The sparkly purple color of Emily’s 2010 Harley Davidson Iron Sportster matches her sweet personality! Born and raised in Rockford, Emily has worked at Bellwood since 2015. Previously, she earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana in Animal Science. Emily is all smiles and eager to take care of our furry friends and their families.
Jen Lesak — Veterinary Technician
Jen has a passion for making people happy. You can see it in her eyes when she welcomes clients to Bellwood and when she talks about her two young sons, who keep her on her toes. Jen has an associates degree in Veterinary Technology from Rockford Career College and was formerly with Banfield in Rockford.
At home she has two pets including Minnie Mouse, a Rottweiler, and Buster Douglas, an American Bulldog. In addition to working with animals, Jen enjoys being outside and spending as much time as she can with her family.
Nicole Mann — Veterinary Assistant
Nicole joined the Bellwood Animal Hospital Staff as a Kennel Attendant in January of 2013. Since then she has added Client Care Specialist and Veterinary Assistant to her role at the clinic. Nicole graduated from Rockford Christian School and went on to complete an Associates Degree of Science from Rock Valley College. Currently, Nicole is working towards completing a bachelor's degree in Animal Science at the University of Illinois. She hopes to one day become a Veterinarian.
She always looks forward to coming back to Rockford and working at Bellwood Animal Hospital during winter and summer breaks. At home, she has a toy Poodle named Emma and a cat named Kitty.
Samantha Wallace — Customer Care Specialist
Samantha is a recent addition to the Customer Care Specialist team. Since beginning to work at Bellwood Animal Hospital in August 2017, she has graced our customers, pets and staff with her amazing personality. Samantha's seven years of previous customer service experience gave her skills to ensure a great client experience.
Her home life in “Lovely Rockford, IL” includes bowling and spending time with her sister, friends and family, which includes a one year-old Black Lab Lailah and five year-old Tiger cat Precious. She is determined to bring a smile to your face!
Jeanine Rosati — Customer Care Specialist
Our clients rave about the exceptional care they receive from Customer Care Specialist Jeanine. Coming to us with ten years of veterinary experience, we are lucky to have her on our team.
You would never guess it from her mild-mannered, soft-spoken demeanor, but Jeanine enjoys scary movies and a good game of poker, alongside spending time with her two daughters and many fur babies. She has two cats, Milo and Toby, and two dogs, Charlie and Luna.
Laurie Carlson — Customer Care Specialist
Laurie joined our Customer Care Specialist team in August 2017, bringing over nine years of veterinary experience with her. She was born and raised in Belvidere. Having cared for turtles, lizards, and even a giant python in the past, Laurie is especially well suited to assist our clients with exotic pets.
Laurie likes to travel, take nature photos, backpack and scuba dive in her spare time. When she’s not on an adventure, she enjoys her Domestic Short-hair and Bengal cats, Aspen and Arya Windflower; Basset Hound, Flash; Siberian Husky, Leonidas; and American Bully, Vader.
Felicia Kubica — Customer Care Specialist
Felicia readily shares her animal care knowledge with clients in her role as Customer Care Specialist. She joined Bellwood Animal Hospital in 2016 and works hard every day to make sure our clients’ needs are being met. Felicia first got her start in the animal field working in a pet boarding and a daycare facility.
Felicia likes all animals, except spiders! At work she’s our informal "tech guru." Outside of work she enjoys making good food, especially Italian and Chinese!
Shane Harris — Grooming Manager
Shane grew up in Genoa, IL, and has been the Grooming Manager at Bellwood Animal Hospital since 1997. He has a way with dogs! It’s common for him to be able to groom a dog "au natural" when they were referred to us as needing sedation - clients call him "the Dog Whisperer!" Shane's friendly personality, contagious laugh, and passion for customer service are notable throughout Bellwood Animal Hospital.
Shane's animal companions are his dogs Lola, Angelica and Madge. When he's not at the hospital, he enjoys gardening, home improvement, camping and hiking.
Taryn Walls — Groomer
Grooming extraordinaire Taryn came to Bellaire Grooming in August 2016. She has five years of grooming experience and a love for animals. As a kid, Taryn's mom couldn't get her to play with dolls, only animals! Taryn has a creative side, and enjoys drawing. Her creativity is clear in the angles and shapes of her cuts when groomming pets - not to mention the adorable bows and kerchiefs she makes for them!
At home Taryn keeps company with Nora and Patsie, her kitties, Sage, her guinea pig, and Darby, her canine companion.
Mackenzie Hutchins — Groomer
Mackenzie has been grooming pets since 2011 and has been a member of the Bellaire Grooming team since November 2016. She says that working as a groomer doesn't even feel like a "job", and she loves making your pets look and feel good!
Mackenzie has what she calls a "zoo" at home, including Cowboy, a Poodle, and his best friend Leia, a Tabby cat. She also has a Great Dane named Jersey and rare white-faced, pastel grey Cockatiel named Mukey. Mackenzie enjoys hiking with her dogs and playing with her three children in her spare time.
Kim Wilhelm — Kennel Assistant
Kim has been a Kennel Assistant at Bellwood Animal Hospital since 2012 after moving to Rockford from Chicago. She brings over 50 years of animal care experience including raptor handling and training, reptile husbandry and working at a no-kill animal shelter. Kim has had her own collection of snakes and lizards for over 20 years. In the past, she has volunteered at the Sonoran Desert Museum in Arizona where she cared for reptiles and Illinois Raptor Rehab and Education in Loves Park. Since 1995 she has also volunteered at Willowbrook Wildlife Center in Glen Ellyn, IL, as a raptor interpreter.
Mykaela Austin — Kennel Attendant
Working at Bellwood after high school was a natural transition for Mykaela. She’s been an animal lover from the very beginning, having always had a canine member of her family. Though she loves dogs enough to provide a foster home for puppies, horses are her true passion. As a little girl Mykaela remembers making her grandpa pull the car over whenever she saw horses in a pasture.
Currently, Mykaela has Thor, a seven year-old English Mastiff, eight month-old Hammy, the rescue mutt, and her pride and joy, Leland, a six year-old Irish Sport Horse. Mykaela has been riding since age seven and enjoys jumping competitions. In addition to working here part time and working with Leland, Mykaela is a psychology major at Rock Valley College.
Vanessa Raisenan — Kennel Assistant
Vanessa is one of our Kennel Assistants, and she is always eager and enthusiastic when interacting with pets! Currently enrolled in a Veterinary Technician program, Vanessa works at Bellwood Animal Hospital around her class schedule. She also has an associates degree in arts, as well as a wealth of experience taking care of animals.
Vanessa was destined for a life with animals as she has been riding her family's horses since she was five years old. Vanessa now has several other pets in addition to horses, including rabbits, cats and chickens. Outside of work and school, Vanessa enjoys boating and helping others look after their animals.