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Meet Our Team

Dr. Jeff Smith, Dr. Dana Shackelton, Dr. Joanna Holtz


  • Jeff Smith

    Dr. Smith grew up with the goal of one day being a  veterinarian. He had a keen interest in animals and made a hobby out of using live traps to catch and release native animals for many years as a boy. Jeff longed to have a horse, but was only able to ride on special occasions like birthdays and scouting pack trips. Boy Scouts was another favorite of his, and allowed him to learn a good deal about animals through merit badges like Rabbit Raising and Animal Husbandry on his way to becoming an Eagle Scout. During high school and college, the future Dr. Smith worked summers as a cowboy on ranches in Wyoming. While in school he worked as a tutor, farm hand on a dairy, and as kennel worker in a veterinary clinic. One thing that many people do not know about Dr. Smith is that he has practiced karate for over thirty years and is currently a third degree blackbelt with the Japanese Karate Federation--both of his sons are also blackbelts! Dr. Smith graduated from Cornell University in 1986. He completed an internship in Thousand Oaks, California in 1987, and stayed on for another year as an associate. Before opening MAH in 1991, he worked in a small animal clinic, in an equine practice, and in an emergency clinic. In 1990 Dr. Smith came to Middletown with the goal of building a veterinary hospital that the community could be proud of. Little by little he cleaned up the property, added staff and equipment, and built-up the reputation of the hospital. The mission of the hospital is simple: We Promise to Provide Compassionate, Expert, Well-Communicated, and Affordable Veterinary Care. Dr. Smith places a high value on continuing education and medical technology in order to offer the best care available. Community involvement has always been a high priority to Dr. Smith and his wife, and they participate in several organizations including: Rotary, the Catholic Church, Boy Scouts of America, Canine Companions for Independence, the California Veterinary Medical Association (Past President), the MendoLake Veterinary Medical Association, Middletown Boosters, and several others.  Dr. Smith has a special interest in Laser Therapy and Rehabilitation and after working hard for over a year, received his Certification as a Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner.

  • Joanna Holtz

    Dr. Holtz joined our staff July 2010 and is experienced with treating both large and small animals. Dr. Joanna Holtz was born and raised in a large and supportive family in Southern California. From the time she was a young girl she had aspirations to become of veterinarian. Her first love was horses and she acquired her horse, Splinter, when she was 16 years old. After graduating from UC Davis in 2003 with a degree in Animal Science and Management, she entered veterinary school at Oregon State University. Initially, she had her sites set on large animal only medicine. However, after various experiences with multiple species in veterinary school, she elected to pursue mixed animal practice. After obtaining her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine, she moved to the small town of Brookings, Oregon to practice in a large private mixed animal practice. Over the past three years there she has solidified her love of practicing medicine on a variety of species. Dr. Holtz is excited about joining the team at Middletown Animal Hospital and returning to her home state of California. She also looks forward to spending more time with friends and family in her free time. She shares her home with her cat, Monster and her Doberman, Woodford.

  • Dana Shackelton

    We are excited to announce the addition of Dr. Shackelton to our practice November 2014!  Dr. Dana Shackelton graduated from UC Davis Veterinary School where her track was small and large animals.  She then completed an internship for a year at Pioneer Equine Hospital in Oakdale, CA.  Growing up, her father worked for the National Park Service and his career took her to rural parts of Hawaii, California, and Alaska.  Her interest in veterinary medicine was sparked at a young age in Eagle River, Alaska where she dreamed of becoming a veterinarian on the Iditarod Trail.  During college she decided that she wanted to be in the back country of Yosemite National Park and pack mules full time.  However, when she graduated from college she realized that she wanted to continue learning and that her passion remained in veterinary medicine.  She just moved from Mariposa, CA near Yosemite National Park to Hidden Valley Lake.  She shares her life with a rescue dog named Kiko and a mule named Josephine.  In her spare time Dana enjoys hiking, riding her mule, and hunting for the perfect mocha!  Dr. Shackelton's greatest asset is a positive attitude with exceptional attention to client and patient care.   We are thrilled to have her as part of our team at Middletown Animal Hospital.  

  • Scott Fetherston

    MAH is pleased to offer cutting edge surgical solutions for cruciate ligament ruptures as well as other orthopedic procedures. TPLO, or tibial-plateau-leveling osteotomy, is a surgery performed on dogs to repair and stabilize the stifle (knee) joint after a rupture of the cranial cruciate ligament. Dr. Jeff Smith and Dr. Scott Fetherston partner to provide the highest quality surgical repair for a ruptured cranial cruciate ligament. Dr. Fetherston is an orthopedic surgeon, who travels to Middletown for special cases and surgeries, in particular the TPLO's. Dr. Fetherston received his doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from the University of Wisconsin in 2003. He divides his time between various practices in the Mendocino-Lake County, CA area.


  • Teresa Axthelm
    Office Manager

    Teresa joined our team at Middletown Animal Hospital September of 2005 as a full-time receptionist. Teresa can always be relied on to get a job done. In 2010 she took on the responsibilities of managing Middletown Feed & Pet Supply. As of February 2013, Teresa helps out as a Veterinary Technician when needed but also has taken on the role of Marketing & Social Media Manager as well as being in charge of staff meetings, scheduling, and quality control. Teresa is always willing to take on new duties which makes her invaluable to our clinic!  As of January 2018 Teresa replaced Sheri as Office Manager.  Teresa worked at Kathy Fowler Chevrolet in Lakeport for 5 years as Office Manager and for Esposti and Manly Auto Centers prior to that. She also worked for a veterinary hospital in Healdsburg for 4 years where she assisted doctors with patients, helped in the kennels, and helped clients as a Receptionist. Teresa has a can-do attitude and is not afraid to try anything. Teresa grew up in Healdsburg where she went to high school and was involved in 4H and FFA. She became a rabbit leader and bred rabbits as a hobby. She lived in Cloverdale for 10 years, then moved to Cobb. Teresa recently moved to Clearlake Oaks with her mini Dauchund, Codi. 

  • Jennifer Tenneson
    Hospital Manager

    Jennifer was a client who became a staff member because she believes in the quality care that is provided at MAH.  Originally from Idaho, Jennifer has lived in Lake County since 2000.  Jennifer worked previously as an office assistant at St. Helena Hospital so is familiar with medical office procedures.   She became a receptionist at Middletown Animal Hospital in 2014 and as of 2018 she took over as Hospital Manager and her easy going demeanor is an asset when communicating with staff.  Her outside hobby is breeding/showing her 3 Collies; Faith, Teddy, and Mikala.  She also enjoys riding her 2 horses; Beth and Rocky.  

  • Sheri Smith

    Sheri has been involved with running the business office of MAH since July of 2001. She assists in the day to day functions of the hospital, staff management, banking, Payroll, Accounts Payable, and Accounts Receivable. She previously worked as an insurance underwriter since 1989 in Santa Rosa. Prior to that she worked in several veterinary clinics while in college.  She is devoted to her two boys Connor and Trevor, her 2 Missouri Fox Trotter horses, her rescue black lab Jilly and Anatolian/Golden Retriever Brook, her rescue cat Skittles, and her two Cockatoos Polly and Chipper.

Animal Care Team

  • Brandi Parsons

    Brandi graduated from school June 2010 where she studied for 2 years to become an Animal Health Technician. A welcome addition to our staff, she joins Middletown Animal Hospital July 2010. Brandi grew up in Lake County and returned to stay after graduating from the Carrington College Veterinary Technology program. She worked at a variety of small and large animal clinics while attending technician school. She enjoyed volunteering for Fix Our Ferals in Oakland and the Redwing Horse Sanctuary in Lockwood. Brandi looks forward to spending many years at Middletown Animal Hospital. Brandi shares her home in Loch Lomand with her daughter Kayla, her cats Little Mew & Mina, dogs Rudy, Homer, & Olivia.

  • Monica Ruiz-Myers

    Monica lives in Middletown with her husband who owns a hair salon here. Originally from Colombia, Monica went to 6 years of schooling after high school to become a veterinarian in Colombia. When she moved to the United States and got married, she was not licensed in this country as a veterinarian. So she has been working for the last year as a veterinary technician until someday she can apply for her license here. After previously working at a vet clinic in Santa Rosa, she is happy not to have to make the commute over the mountain and hour away. Monica is bi-lingual in Spanish and is a welcome addition to our Animal Care Team March 2016.

  • Jackie Hickson

    Jackie joins our Animal Care Team staff September 2013 after finishing 40 volunteer hours at our hospital required for her Veterinary Assisting Certificate at Boston Reed College.  She also completed her Clinical Medical Assistant Certificate at Boston Reed but decided that she prefers working with animals.  A graduate of Middletown High School in 2005, Jackie likes being able to live and work in a rural town instead of commute to Santa Rosa.  After gaining some experience in a veterinary hospital, Jackie hopes to one day become a Registered Veterinary Technician.  She shares her home in Hidden Valley Lake with her fiance, Miles and dauchund, Sparks

  • Michelle Brooks

    Welcome Michelle to our Animal Care Team November 2017.  Michelle worked for 2 years as an overnight pet care associate at PetSmart Hotel where she cared for up to 300 dogs and cats.  She also bathed and managed appointments for the grooming salon; provided care to the resident reptiles, fish, birds, and rodents; and operated the cash register.  Michelle loves the opportunity at Middletown Animal Hospital to work with animals daily and eventually wants to learn how to be a veterinary technician.  Michelle was born and raised in California and currently resides in Clearlake with her son, dogs, cats, and reptiles.

  • Mandy Olson

    Originally from Novato, Amanda moved to Loch Lomand in 2016.  She previously worked as lead animal care attendant for the Humane Society of the North Bay as well as receptionist for Kensington Vet Hospital in Berkeley.  She joined the Animal Care Team at Middletown Animal Hospital February 2018 and loves the positive atmosphere and helping the technicians and doctors treat the animal patients.  She shares her home with Bailey, a 5 year old rescue from Orphan Dog; Lacie, a rescue from Solano County Friends of Animals; and Booker, a 2 year old rescue from the Humane Society of the North Bay.  

  • Chandra Kingston

    Chandra has loved animals her whole life. She has a heart for homeless animals and has found numerous homes for abused and abandoned cats and dogs. She herself has 3 rescue dogs, Lydia a German Shepard/Chihuahua mix, Reece a mini Aussie, and Ava a Doberman Pinscher. She also has a cat named Emma.

    Chandra has a passion for caring for sick and injured animals, so it just seemed natural for her to choose a career where she gets to work with fury family members. She started out her career working with animals as a dog groomer in 2010. Soon she realized she wanted to do something more then give animals haircuts, she wanted to really help those in need.

    She decided to go back to school to become a Register Veterinary Technician. After extensive research she decided to go to Consumnes River College in Elk Grove. Chandra began taking her general education classes in 2014. She was accepted into the Veterinary Technician program in 2016. Chandra will be graduating with an AA in Veterinary Technology in 2018. In addition she will be able to take her board exams to become a Registered Veterinary Technician.

    Originally from Turlock, Chandra moved to Cobb with her husband and 2 sons. An interesting fact about her is that she played roller derby for 7 years. Chandra has been able to start her career in animal medicine here at Middletown Animal Hospital as of June 2018 after previously working at Ceres Veterinary Clinic since April 2016. She is super excited to be working here and loves her job. She can’t wait to meet you and your fur babies.

  • Danielle Hart

    Danielle and her dog recently relocated to Middletown from Northern California. She is a welcome addition to our Animal Care Team. While working she is also taking classes online with her goal of eventually going to Vet School. 


  • Reuben Duran

    With previous receptionist experience at 2 veterinary hospital in Napa, Reuben is a welcome addition to our Receptionist Team.  Originally from Napa, he relocated to Pope Valley in June 2017 and wished to find a fulfilling job in Lake County where he is embracing the rural lifestyle.  Reuben fit right in at MAH where he is proud to be a part of a practice with a pleasing atmosphere and high standards for providing optimum veterinary care. 

  • Amanda Bates

    Amanda moved to Middletown in 2015 with her husband and kids.  As general manager of Chipotle in Santa Rosa since 2013, Amanda enjoys not commuting an hour to work and is up to the challenges of offering great customer care.  She was also a caregiver for IHSS for 11 years and can empathize with pet patients and their caregivers.

  • Lori Jones

    Lori joined our reception staff July 2018 after moving to Lower Lake from Illinois. She worked as a Veterinary Technician for 5 years before having children as well as working for Nutro pet food company for 10 years. She shares her home with her husband, 3 children, Severe Macaw and Cockatiel. As a receptionist, Lori likes to meet and take care of the clients and their pets. Lori enjoys reading, gardening, and spending time with her family when she is not working at MAH.

Facility Maintenance

  • Bryan Rodriquez

    Middletown Animal Hospital is a freestanding building situated on 5 acres including the hospital, boarding center, rehabilitation facility, hay barn, equine stocks/stalls, round pen, and 7 pastures.  Needless to say there is a lot of time spent keeping the place looking great!  Bryan previously worked in construction and managing cattle in Middletown.  He still does stone/rock work on the side and takes classes at Woodland Community College. Originally from Napa Valley, Bryan has a new home in Clearlake that he shares with his wife. 

  • Jeff & Sheri Smith
    Owners since 1990.

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