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Southlake Animal Hospital

3570 E. Lincoln Hwy
Merrillville, IN 46410

Our Careteam

Your pet’s emotional and physical well-being is prioritized with every visit. We put patients first!

Jen

Jen

Receptionist

Jen has always been a people person and loves the everyday interactions in the clinic. She enjoys being able to help clients figure out symptoms and what to look for in different cases. Jen started working for a local vet in 2006 and took a break for a few years to work in the regular medical field; missing animals, she was eager to come back into the veterinary field.

Her dog Murphy has bad skin allergies and since working with Dr. Carlson on switching his diet to raw and being introduced in learning about different Chinese herbs, there has been such an improvement in his skin! Because of that, she loves to able to help clients get a better understanding on pet care. Jen feels that working for a integrated vet has helped her in so many ways about the approach to treat different ailments.

Jen grew up in the NW of Indiana (Hobart) for most of her life and had a short stay in West Virginia. She has a husband named Chuck and 2 daughters named Emily and Haley. In addition to Murphy who is a Schnauzer and who likes to bark at airplanes in the sky, they also have a miniature Schnauzer named Meeka who loves to eat ice cream and sometimes loves to chase it around the kitchen floor. Jen loves doing home improvement projects with her husband and working in the yard in addition to spending quality family time, watching movies or going to concerts.

Jen
Shannon

Shannon

Receptionist and In-Room Veterinary Assistant

Growing up in a rural area outside of Griffith, Shannon was constantly brushing, feeding, and riding her neighbor’s horses. By the time her parents finally got a dog and a cat, Shannon was fully immersed in the world of animal care. She knew that she would love to do it for a living!

In 1994, a former neighbor of Shannon’s called her parents to let them know there was a position available here at Southlake Animal Hospital. Shannon jumped at the opportunity to work in pet care, and has spent her entire professional career here at the clinic! She’s well-versed in all areas of the hospital, and especially enjoys seeing the joy on a pet owner’s face when the clinic team is able to take care of their beloved companion.

Shannon lives in the Crown Point area with her two children, Tristan and Josephine, who are already huge animal lovers themselves. The family shares their home with two cats— Pastel, and Pixie—and two dogs named Bones and Parker.

In her spare time, Shannon enjoys spending time with family and friends. She’s also an avid bowler, a hobby she first picked up from her parents. Her most memorable moments include her all-time high-scoring game of 279 and the time she won a free bowling ball!

Shannon
Tara

Tara

Veterinary Technician / Nurse

For as long as she can remember, Tara has been fascinated by animal behavior. Her desire to be up-close-and-personal with pets and witness their interactions with humans is what drew her to the veterinary field. As a Veterinary Technician here at Southlake Animal Hospital, she gets a front-row seat!

Tara was born on a Florida Navy base and moved to Indiana as a baby. She never had pets while growing up; she says this only made her want them more! Tara first applied here at Southlake Animal Hospital before graduating from high school, wanting to gain experience before heading off to veterinary technician school. She earned her degree from a school in Michigan City and graduated in 2013.

Tara’s love of animal behavior was only affirmed in 2014 after she rescued a dog named Jyl. Jyl became very attached to Tara and her own dogs, but eventually needed to be adopted out to a loving family. On her second night in her new home, Jyl slipped out of her collar and escaped. After many nights of organized searches and fruitless false sightings, Tara decided to take her own dogs out to the area where Jyl was last seen. Within five minutes, they’d tracked the missing dog down!

Tara lives with her husband, Michael, son Theodore and many pets of their own. They have two Border collies, two mixed-breed dogs, a German shepherd, and three Chihuahuas. The animal family is rounded out by two cats and a bearded dragon.

Outside of work, Tara’s interests include geocaching, canine sports, animal rescue, and camping with her family and dogs.

Tara
Susie

Susie

Office Assistant and Receptionist

Susie grew up in Hammond, Wisconsin, where her family kept everything from dogs, cats, and fish to hamsters, guinea pigs, and rabbits. She also spent plenty of time on her grandfather’s farm, where she would help care for cows and chickens. For Susie, animal care has always been a part of life—a career in the veterinary world is simply natural!

Susie started her pet-care career in 1990 at a Petland store, then began working for a veterinarian in Orlando Park, Illinois in 2002. She would remain there for the next 12 years before moving back to Indiana to be closer to family. After settling in this area, Susie visited Southlake Animal Hospital—right away, she knew that she’d love to work here! Susie has served as one of the clinic’s receptionists ever since.

Susie and her husband, Chris, live on Lake George, where she loves watching all of the wildlife that visits their backyard feeders. The couple has one daughter, Kendra, and lives with two dogs and two cats. Beatrix is a French bulldog who loves to snort; Bozco is a cuddly French bulldog/Boston terrier mix; Arthur the Siamese cat is very vocal; and Sphinx cat Deliah can always be found wrapped up in blankets.

Susie
Mallory

Mallory

Receptionist and Veterinary Assistant

Mal’s own family pets have always been patients here at Southlake Animal Hospital—watching the team work their magic on her companions left a permanent impression on Mal. Ever since she can remember, she’s wanted to improve animals’ lives by serving as a veterinary professional!

Mal received a job offer here at the clinic in October of 2016, and gladly accepted. She’s been caring for the pets and animal parents of the area ever since—in the future, Mal plans to attend school to study veterinary medicine, and even hopes to become a veterinarian herself! Around the hospital, she particularly enjoys helping to prepare patients for surgery and seeing pets’ remarkable progress during follow-up appointments.

When time allows between her work and school commitments, Mal likes rescuing animals—she’s fostered nearly 100 pets over the years!—and listening to music. She’s also fond of drawing and has even won awards for her work. At home, Mal has six loveable pets: Sunny the parakeet; Bambi, a rabbit who runs the household; a social and rambunctious kitten named Olive; a blind Australian Shepherd who goes by Keller; a senior Dachshund named Molly; and Cavi the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

Mallory
Ashley

Ashley

Veterinary Technician / Nurse

Ashley joined the Southlake Animal Hospital team in April of 2021. She serves the area’s pets and animal parents as a Veterinary Technician and looks forward to seeing you at the hospital soon!

Ashley
Ashley D.

Ashley D.

Veterinary Technician

Born on the south side of Chicago, Ashley and her family eventually relocated to northwest Indiana where they settled on a ten acre horse farm. There, Ashley showed horses, sheep and dogs competitively. Growing up surrounded by animals, it was inevitable that she’d end up in this field.

Ashley attended school at Murray State in Kentucky before moving home to complete an accelerated veterinary technician program. As one of the skilled Vet Techs here at Southlake Animal Hospital, Ashley really enjoys building relationships with people and their pets, and being able to guide them through the beautiful journey of pet ownership.

Outside of the clinic, Ashley is Mom to two rescue dogs: an extremely handsome pit bull named Marshall Tucker, who has a southern accent, and the most recent addition to the family, Shema. Her other fur babies are two cats: Jerry Garcia and Pink Floyd.

Ashley D.
Natalie

Natalie

Veterinary Assistant

Bio Coming Soon.

Natalie
Sydnee

Sydnee

Veterinary Assistant

Growing up in Valparaiso with two younger brothers and an older sister, Sydnee remembers always having a deep love of animals. As she got older, she also developed an interest in holistic medicine and alternative treatments. Working at Southlake Animal Hospital has allowed her to pursue both of her passions at the same time!

Syd currently resides in Hebron with her two dogs: an old English bulldog named Trotter and a mastiff mix named Bo. She also has a cat named Schmidt and a bearded dragon named Pumpkin.

Sydnee
Savannah

Savannah

Veterinary Assistant

For most people, striking a balance between a personal passion and a career can is the ultimate challenge. Working as a veterinary assistant has allowed Savannah to do just that. She has never once questioned what she wanted to do when she grew up – she always knew she would be working with animals. As an integral part of the Southlake Animal Hospital team, Savannah is thrilled to be able to do what she loves each and every day!

Savannah’s career journey began at the age of 18, when she was hired at a small local practice. From there, she worked her way up to a higher-volume clinic where she was named kennel manager while cross-training as a veterinary assistant. Several years and a few clinics later, Savannah had the opportunity to move from traditional veterinary medicine to a holistic clinic. It was there that she found her niche. She joined the Southlake team in May of 2022, having initially been a client.

One of Savannah’s favorite things to do here is to clean ears, primarily because it brings such relief to patients in need. Senior pets have a special place in her heart and she gets tremendous satisfaction seeing such a difference in their quality of life just by managing their diet. The right nutrition can work wonders, and she loves seeing a pet return to the clinic with a pep in their step and a smile on their face.

At home, Savannah is mom to a young son named Hudson and a large animal family that includes five dogs and two cats – all of whom have been rescued. Of special mention is Cindy Lou, an ex-fighting pit bull whom Savannah scooped up on the day she was scheduled to be euthanized. Given her history, Cindy was extremely aggressive, but thanks to many months of work and endless amounts of patience and love, she has made a complete turnaround. And, then of course, there’s Chase – Savannah’s quarter horse, who has been a huge part of her life for as long as she can remember.

In her spare time, Savannah can usually be found outside or in her favorite place in the world: the barn.

Savannah
In loving memory of Sweetheart

In loving memory of Sweetheart

2014 – 2020
Mascot, Stress Reliever, Entertainer, Client and Patient Greeter

Sweetheart is our comfort cat. If your pet is recovering from anesthesia, Sweetheart will be laying right there next to your pet to keep him/her warm. If you are worried or upset Sweetheart will go into the exam room with you. If your pet is sick, Sweetheart will wrap her body around your pet. Sometimes Sweetheart just needs a little attention herself and is not sensing any worry or sickness, so she will be sure to cuddle up to get the pets she needs. She is also great at socializing dogs and other cats and is used to test the 2×2 pets with other pets before placing them in a foster home.

Paw