Operations Manager

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 a dog named Bones.

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!

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Veterinary Technician

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 fiancé, 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.

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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.

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Marjorie has owned pets all her life, and knows firsthand the incredible bonds we share with our animal companions. For her, getting to nurture and strengthen those connections by working in the veterinary field is a dream come true! Marjorie is thrilled to continue her animal-care journey as a member of Southlake Animal Hospital’s skilled front-desk team.

Marjorie’s path in pet care began in her hometown of Crown Point, where she started working as a Kennel Attendant at a family-owned practice. There, she worked her way up to a receptionist position before becoming the clinic’s Inventory and Kennel Manager! After relocating and starting her collegiate studies, Marjorie decided to continue her work in pet medicine—that’s when she joined the team here at Southlake Animal Hospital as a front-desk receptionist.

Marjorie is a self-described people person, so her favorite part of the job is getting to interact one-on-one with the area’s loving pet owners; getting to know owners and their adorable companions truly makes Marjorie’s day! She also loves to help answer questions and make both patients and clients feel as comfortable as possible here at the hospital.

When she has spare time between work and her collegiate studies, Marjorie enjoys riding her horse, Loki—together, they won Reserve Champion in Showmanship during Marjorie’s last year as a member of the 4-H organization!—and spending time with her pets at home. She and her family share their lives with Koda, a German Shepherd/Border Collie mix; a pair of aging cats named Arthur and Moses; a cat named Dani California who is the diva of the group; and a talkative kitten who goes by Gilbert.

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Veterinary Assistant

Ever since she was young, Alexis has been interested in science and animals. However, she didn’t consider getting a job in an animal hospital until her neighbor, who worked here at Southlake Animal Hospital, told her about the Veterinary Assistant position. Alexis jumped at the chance to apply, and has been here ever since!

Alexis is a native of Crown Point and was a three-year Vice President of the largest 4-H club in Lake County while growing up. She holds two Associate’s degrees in equine medicine and equestrian sciences, which she earned in 2009. In the fall of 2013, Alexis joined the team here at Southlake Animal Hospital and couldn’t be happier with her work. She’s particularly fond of getting to know each and every client and pet who walk through the clinic doors—no two animals have quite the same personality.

Alexis’ work in the animal care field isn’t just a lot of fun; it literally saved her dog’s life! One weekend, Alexis’ husky, Sky, wasn’t eating normally, so Alexis let Dr. Carlson know. When Dr. Carlson examined her at the beginning of the following week, they discovered a dangerous uterus infection! After emergency surgery, Sky was saved and is now a happy and healthy 11-year-old.

Alexis has a four-year-old daughter, Madison, who is shaping up to be just as big of an animal lover as her mother. In addition to Sky, Alexis also owns a 32-year-old Arabian horse named Tony who regularly gives rides to special-needs adults. Tony is so docile that even young Madison is able to ride her!

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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.

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Veterinary Assistant

Payton has been surrounded by pets ever since her earliest days. She’s always wanted to learn more about their health and behavior in order to better the lives of as many animals as she can. Now, Payton is proud to do just that as one of Southlake Animal Hospital’s Veterinary Assistants!

Payton grew up in Merrillville and Crown Point, and began her journey in animal care by fostering cats with a local rescue organization. It wasn’t long before she knew that she wanted to take on a more hands-on role—that’s when Payton started volunteering here at Southlake Animal Hospital. Now, she helps pets as a member of the clinic team!

Payton lives in Crown Point with her family, several dogs, and multiple feline companions. In her time away from the office, she enjoys practicing her origami skills and taking the dogs on long walks.

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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.

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Mascot, Stress Reliever

Fajita is our second clinic cat. We got her from a shelter because no one wanted a 15 year old cat that needed to have her eye removed. We believe that once her eye was removed she would be pain free and could have a great life no matter how long it is. Fajita come to our clinic in September 2016 and had took up residence at the front desk soon after recovering from surgery. She has now lost sight in her other eye, but she still brings joy and comfort to our receptionist.

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