Meet Our Team

We are pleased to have a team of doctors and support staff who all share the same love and passion for animals. So if you’re looking for a new vet in Laurel, we hope you’ll consider Lakeside Veterinary Center!

Doctors

Dr. Jeffrey L. Rhody, Veterinarian and Owner

Education:
Earned his DVM from The Ohio State University, 1983
Became board-certified by the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (ABVP) in exotic companion mammal practice, 2014

Memberships:
Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians
Association of Avian Veterinarians
Association of Reptile and Amphibian Veterinarians

Family:
I have been happily married for more than 28 years and have two adult sons —one who works in mathematics and one who works in computer science.

Pets:
There’s Mosh the pit bull, Sirius the large black male cat, and Houdini the small-framed female cat. In five years, we have gone from four dogs to one; Mosh does not always play well with others and is happy being the only dog in the house now.

Most Rewarding Aspect of Your Career:
Working with animals and their owners to 1) form the healthiest bond possible, 2) prevent common illnesses as much as possible, 3) work with sick animals and bring them back to healthy, happy pets, and 4) perform surgery aimed at curing illnesses.

Greatest Accomplishments:
My marriage and my sons. I’m also privileged to be one of only a handful of veterinarians who is an ABVP board-certified specialist in small exotic mammal medicine and surgery, and the only one in Maryland.

Things You Love:
Trying to stay healthy (not that I really love this, but the result is great), sitting on a beach in the Caribbean, playing poker, and having Dr. Halapy on staff!

Hobbies:
I enjoy dehydrating fruit, wok cooking, playing poker, traveling, and working online as a consultant to other exotic animal practitioners on Veterinary Information Network.

Favorite Comfort Food:
Right now, dehydrated banana and apple chips, but homemade chicken pot pie is right up there.

Technicians

Amy East, Hospital Administrator/Licensed Veterinary Technician

Career Journey:
I started working in the veterinary field in 1990 while attending college in Texas. I found I really enjoyed working with animals and was good at it, so that’s how my journey began. I’ve worked for a few different veterinary practices throughout the years, working with large animals, zoo/exotic animals, and small animals. I’ve enjoyed them all. We moved to Maryland in Jan 2001, and that’s when I started working for Dr. Rhody. 

Family:
A wonderful husband and son

Pets:
Three dogs named Molly (Labrador), Teddi (corgi mix), and Oscar (Pembroke corgi); five cats named Charlie, Ray, Madea, Bob, and Stanley; and fish

Most Rewarding Aspects of Your Career:
Being able to work with all types of animals and owners. It’s more than just saving or helping animals; it’s allowing a pet to go home healthy when it comes in sick. It’s helping an owner say goodbye when it’s time. It’s educating adults and kids on how to take care of their pets. 

Greatest Life Accomplishment:
Having a wonderful family and a career I love

Things You Love:
My family and a beautiful sunset. It reminds me of what a gift life is. 

Hobbies:
Camping, volunteering, and spending time with friends and family

Comfort Food:
Chicken and dumplings

Interesting Facts:
I’m a substitute elementary school teacher.

Amelia Hitchcock, Head Technician

Career Journey:
Animals have always been a part of my life. My parents and grandparents always had cats and dogs in the house. Growing up with animals, I learned to love, care for, and respect them. I started my career by volunteering at local animal rescues and helping animals in my neighborhood. Once I was old enough to work, I worked at local pet stores, where I learned to groom and train. I wanted to become more involved in the health and well-being of animals, so I applied for a kennel position at Lakeside and have been here ever since. With hard work and continuing education classes, I worked my way up to head tech.  

Family:
I am happily married and have a wonderful daughter.

Pets:
Kiba, a Westie mix; Chii, a calico cat; John Snow, a blue point Siamese; and Bellatrix, a calico cat

Most Rewarding Aspect of Your Career:
Helping animals and their pet parents

Greatest Life Accomplishments:
My child and the purchase of my first home

Things You Love:
Learning and teaching

Hobbies:
Spending time with my family, camping, crafting, and volunteering with the local Girl Scout troops

Comfort Foods:
Chicken Alfredo and brownies (not necessarily in that order)

Interesting Facts:
I think people are always surprised to learn that I am into Anime, manga, comics, and cosplaying. 

Jess Wade, Veterinary Technician

Career Journey:
From a young tot, I knew I had a deep love towards animals, so when I graduated from high school, I applied for a kennel tech position at a local animal hospital and worked my way up to a vet tech.

Family:
Besides my mother, my entire family lives in Germany.

Pets:
A Labrador mix named Layla

Most Rewarding Aspect of Your Career:
Doing what I love! Not many people can honestly say that they love their job.

Greatest Life Accomplishments:
So far (because I’m still young), it’s the ability to be bilingual in German and English, and to have traveled throughout Germany and Europe.

Things You Love:
I love cooking, but not baking.

Hobbies:
Hiking, live music shows, and traveling

Comfort Food:
Mexican or anything that combines sour cream and cheese

Interesting Facts:
I used to ride horses and participate in horse riding competitions.

Favorite Thing to Do:
Laughing is my absolute favorite thing to do. I act so silly probably too often and at the worst of times, but life’s too short not to laugh.

Stephany Hester, Veterinary Technician

Career Journey:
From a young age, I had a deep sympathy for injured and sick animals. When I was in the 10
th grade, my cat, Thom, was rushed to an emergency facility for urolithiasis. He was promptly treated and eventually recovered. From that point, I knew that I wanted to help people by helping their pets. In 2013, I graduated from the Community College of Baltimore County with an associate degree in veterinary technology. I was hired at Lakeside Veterinary Center six months later, and I am proud to say that I have been here ever since.

Family:
A beautiful daughter named Gabriela (Gaby)

Pets:
A green iguana named Fay and a cat (DSH) named Puff

Most Rewarding Aspect of Your Career:
That I get to help care for animals in need

Greatest Life Accomplishment:
Having Gabriela

Things You Love:
The smile on my daughter’s face when I get home from work

Hobbies:
Playing with Gaby, going to the gym, and photography

Comfort Food:
Italian

Interesting Fact:
People might be surprised to learn that I enjoy singing.

Holly Rash, Veterinary Technician

Career Journey:
I grew up on a farm in south central Ohio, where I learned that I wanted to work with animals. I went to school at Columbus State Community College where I got my associate degree in veterinary technology. I then worked at a small animal clinic in Altus, OK, for three years. I moved to Maryland in January 2015 and have worked at Lakeside since 2015.

Family:
Husband, Keith

Pets:
Pembroke Welsh corgi named Zoey

Most Rewarding Aspect of Your Career:
Learning to handle and care for many different species of animals

Greatest Life Accomplishment:
Learning to live a life that makes me happy

Hobbies:
Anything outdoors (kayaking, camping, hiking, trail running, bird watching, etc.)

Comfort Food:
Italian

Interesting Facts:
I am a Harry Potter trivia expert. I also went to Harry Potter world at Universal Studios in Orlando for my honeymoon.

Terriann, Veterinary Technician

Career Journey:
I was raised from the Pacific Northwest to the Arctic Circle of the west coast in an outdoor-centric lifestyle. My family always had pets in the home, including dogs, cats, and Angora rabbits. My first pet was Little One, a guinea pig that came home pregnant from the pet store. She had three litters in her long life. I have worked with basenji rescue, companion animal nutrition, and behavior for over 25 years. I started volunteering in the veterinary field in 2005 and have been working in clinics in Maryland as I complete my degree to become a licensed vet tech.

Family:
I am married to the husband of my dreams.

Pets:
Two rescued basenjis, Hunter and Maggie

Most Rewarding Aspect of Your Career:
I love what I do, as it gives me the opportunity to learn something new every day.

Greatest Life Accomplishment:
Every step that has brought me to today

Things You Love:
Basenjis

Hobbies:
Spending time outside with my husband and dogs gardening, hiking, cycling, and running, or inside making healthy vegan food

Comfort Food:
Raw vegan food

Interesting fact:
I used to weigh almost 275 pounds.

Amber Schroen, Veterinary Technician

Career Journey:
As a child, I always dreamed about working with animals and ensuring they receive the best medical help possible. I went to college and achieved my Bachelor of Science degree in biology and continued on to achieve my masters in biotechnology.

Family:
I have a wonderful little boy named Maverick.

Pets:
I have a blue colored pit bull named Luna and a beautiful orange Maine Coon named Barnabus.

Hobbies:
When I’m not working, I enjoy competing in pageants, working out, cooking and spending time with my family.

Most Rewarding Aspect of Your Career:
Being able to work with so many different species of animals

Greatest Life Accomplishment:
Graduating college while working three jobs

Things You Love:
I love traveling and hope to visit many places in the world.

Comfort Food:
Pizza

Interesting Fact:
One thing people may be surprised to learn about me is that I am a pageant queen.

Ali, Veterinary Technician

Career Journey:
I’ve always loved animals, and as a child, I wanted to be a zookeeper and work with all kinds of animals. However, I ended up choosing other fields to go to school and work in. No longer happy with where I was career-wise, I took the veterinary assistant classes through PGCC and ultimately got a job here at LVC!

Family & Pets:
Married with two DSH cats, Cooper Roux and Horatio

Most Rewarding Aspect of Your Career:
When a patient no longer has to come in for follow ups after treating an ongoing issue. It’s nice seeing most patients/clients every couple weeks, but even better when we only have to see them at wellness exams.

Greatest Life Accomplishments:
Adopting two of the world’s best kitties, and finally getting my mom’s secret sauce and lasagna recipe

Things You Love:
Going for long drives with my husband, where the destination is something inconsequential (like driving 40 minutes to get a milkshake, or driving three hours to a store).

Comfort Food:
My mom’s lasagna

Hobbies:
Cross-stitching, crafts, reading, Formula 1, and traveling to see family

Interesting Facts:
I have a degree in human surgical technology and worked in an operating room.

Danielle Yaakov Lilach, Veterinary Technician

Career Journey:
I grew up knowing I wanted to work with animals (told my parents at 2.5 years old I would grow up to be a vet…). The summer between 10th and 11th grades I started working at the Jerusalem Biblical zoo (now the Tisch family zoo), and got to work with many different species in many different capacities over several years (started in the education department but spent more time as a keeper in a number of departments). During my bachelor’s degree in biology I also worked at a veterinary clinic, which convinced me it was the correct path for me. 

Family:
I am very happily married.

Pets:
We have a sweet boxer mix named Sam, who moved here from Israel with us.

Most Rewarding Aspects of Your Career:
Making a difference for pets – especially exotics, with client education and informing owners of correct husbandry, which can help pets live longer and healthier lives.

Comfort Food:
Dim Sum

Interesting Facts:
I am a veterinarian, licensed in Israel, but currently not in the US, and I did a residency in the US specializing in exotic pets (or special species).

Kennel Technicians

Lisa Armstrong, Kennel Technician

Career Journey:
I used to work at a local pet store, but I decided I wanted to work somewhere more hands-on. I also plan to become a veterinary technician.

Family:
It’s just my husband and I with our little zoo.

Pets:
Four ball pythons named Jigsaw, Corydora, Little Monster, Anubis, and two DSH cats named Dr. Fluff and Khaleesi

Most Rewarding Aspect of Your Career:
Taking care of our clients’ furry kids

Greatest Life Accomplishments:
Marrying my best friend

Things You Love:
I absolutely love my husband and my animals.

Hobbies:
Cooking, taking care of my animals, and DIY projects

Favorite Comfort Food:
Sweet potato fries or tots dipped in honey mustard

Interesting Facts:
I love collecting Pop Vinyls and watching B-rated horror movies.

Amy Holbrook, Kennel Technician

Career Journey:
I have wanted to work with animals since I was a little girl. I have always had lots of pets from a young age, and it was only natural that I would get a job working with animals.

Family:
I don’t have any children yet, but definitely one day.

Pets:
I have lots of pets. They include 3 dogs: Diesel, a pitbull/mastiff mix; Diva, a pitbull/rottweiler mix; and Daisy, a rottweiler; 3 horses: Jazz, Rainy, Navaya; as well as many rescue cats, ferrets, turtles, a tortoise, reptiles, and fish.

Most Rewarding Aspect of Your Career:
Being able to work with animals every day.

Greatest Life Accomplishments:
Training my dogs. I take pride in showing people how great bully breeds can be.

Things You Love:
My pets. They mean the world to me.

Hobbies:
Horseback riding. I’ve won several Young Rider Championship competitions in dressage.

Favorite Comfort Food:
Grilled cheese sandwich and Reese’s peanut butter cups.

Interesting Facts:
I carry a gene called heterochromia, which is when you have multi-colored eyes. My eyes are blue but my left eye is partially brown. It is the same gene that gives some dogs and cats multi or different colored eyes.

Desiree Fitch, Kennel Technician

Career Journey:
I have loved animals since I was a little girl, especially dogs. In high school I would volunteer at the local animal shelters; making sure the animals where clean and healthy made me happy. I wanted to take my passion further, so I took courses at PGCC and received my certification in April 2017.

Family:
I am the oldest of four. I have two sisters and a brother.

Pets:
I have a Shih Tzu mix named Dozie.

Most Rewarding Aspect of Your Career:
Being able to provide care and maintenance to all the animals that visit our clinic.

Greatest Life Accomplishments:
One of my greatest accomplishments thus far is being the first in my family to graduate high school and attend college.

Things You Love:
One thing I absolutely love is making people laugh. It brings me joy to see others smile.

Hobbies:
Crafting, shopping, cooking, working out, and spending time w/ my family & friends.

Comfort Food:
Panda Express

Interesting Facts:
I love designing clothes and want to also pursue a career in the fashion industry.

left-quoteA dog teaches a boy fidelity, perseverance, and to turn around three times before lying down.right-quote

— Robert Benchley