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.
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 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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Owner, Veterinarian
One day when she was 12 years old, Dr. Andrea Carlson and her father heard loud cries coming from the next door neighbor’s garage. When they investigated, they discovered a small kitten stuck under the door. The instant that Dr. Carlson pulled the kitten free, she felt an overwhelming sensation—right away, she knew that she was destined to become a veterinarian!

Dr. Carlson grew up in Miller Beach, Indiana, where her father instilled a love and respect for animals early on in life. She was only a junior in high school when she started working here at Southlake Animal Hospital as a Veterinary Assistant, and continued serving pets at the clinic throughout her undergraduate and veterinary studies at Purdue University. After graduating in 2002 with her DVM degree, Dr. Carlson began her career as an Associate Veterinarian at Southlake Animal Hospital. In March of 2015, Dr. Carlson became the owner of the clinic.

Dr. Carlson’s professional interests include reproduction, training, rehabilitation, and integrative medicine. She breeds Bernese Mountain dogs under the kennel name Singing Sands, and loves helping other breeders with their programs. She’s trained all her own dogs in conformation, agility, and rally, and is even a Canine Good Citizen evaluator for the American Kennel Club.

Dr. Carlson believes in integrative medicine which combines traditional veterinary medicine with holistic veterinary care that allows her to focus on the whole patient and preventing illness. Nutritional counseling and natural allergy treatments are the primary ways she incorporates holistic medicine into our traditional veterinary practice. She is certified thru the CHI institute in Chinese veterinary food therapy, as a veterinary food therapist she uses the energetic properties of food to provide dietary therapy to patients. Her recommendations include store bought pet foods and home cooked recipes depending on what works best for you and your family. Additionally, Dr. Carlson is certified in Chinese herbal medicine, which can be used to treat chronic medical conditions and is often used to relieve pain, improve and restore proper organ function, and strength the immune system. Additionally, Dr. Carlson has become certified in Veterinary Acupuncture and she is going to school to to become certified in Veterinary Medical Manipulation (chiropractic treatment for animals), she is expecting to be certified in Spring 2020.

One day, Dr. Carlson hopes to build a training and rehabilitation center on the property behind Southlake Animal Hospital. The facility would include underwater treadmills, allowing pets to recover from surgical procedures with targeted and efficient physical therapy.

Currently, Dr. Carlson and her husband live in Valparaiso with her five Bernese Mountain Dogs- Spirit, Ayla, Cassidy, Lilac and Rio; as well as, five cats, three orange males named Patchy, Tanqueray, Irish and two black cats Burrito and Toops. All of their cats were rescued. Dr. Carlson has had multiple cockatiels, guinea pigs, rabbits, lizards, fish, and even a rooster!

In her spare time, Dr. Carlson enjoys breeding and showing her Bernese Mountain Dogs, reading historical fiction, traveling, dining out, and practicing photography. She and her husband keep several photo galleries in their home from their trips to state parks in Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin. With their new RV Dr. Carlson and her husband hope to find the time to camp and enjoy the state parks. Dr. Carlson hopes to eventually embark on an extended vacation through Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to photograph all the waterfalls that she can find and a special trip to Jackson Hole, Wyoming to see the majestic mountains.
Dr. Lauren Beaird DVM
Dr. Beaird shares Dr. Carlson’s view of holistic and integrative medicine. We are proud to welcome her to Southlake Animal Clinic.