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Steven Baker, DVM, MS, DACVS

Years in Practice: 9

Education: Michigan State University, University of Pennsylvania, Kansas State University

Dr. Baker grew up in Dearborn, Michigan, and spent 8 years in East Lansing obtaining his undergraduate degree in zoology followed by a doctorate in veterinary medicine from Michigan State University. He then completed a small animal rotating internship at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, followed by a small animal surgical residency at Kansas State University. Following his residency, he worked as a small animal surgeon in private practice in the northern Chicago suburbs.  He has published articles relating to biliary surgery, drug elution pharmacokinetics, and rehabilitation. He is a board-certified small animal surgeon and professional interests include soft tissue, oncologic, orthopedic, and neurologic surgery.  He enjoys spending free time with his wife and two sons and staying active and outdoors as much as possible, and of course avidly supporting the Spartans.

Christine Homik, DVM  christine.JPG

Years in Practice: 17
Education: University of Wisconsin-Madison

Dr. Homik is a native of this beautiful state, growing up on a small farm in Grand Haven, and a member of the local 4-H club showing dogs and horses. As a young girl she had dreams of being a veterinarian. She fulfilled that dream, receiving her DVM degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After receiving her DVM, Dr. Homik completed a year-long internship in small animal medicine and surgery at the University of Washington. She spent another year at a busy specialty practice in Fountain Valley, California, under the guidance of a boarded surgeon. She then spent 3 years in Louisville Kentucky with a board certified surgeon. Dr Homik joined our SMAEH team in 2004. During her time with us she has treated interesting cases, met unique/lovable patients and their compassionate owners. She is looking forward to the coming years.

Dr. Homik and her husband live in Delton on a small farm. They have 2 young, energetic boys. They also have 2 dogs, 2 cats, 2 horses and a donkey. The family loves the great outdoors, hiking with the dogs, swimming, spending time with the horses, and camping.

Gary Ryder, DVM  gary.JPG

Years in Practice: 9

Education: MSU, Ross University

Dr. Ryder grew up in Howell, MI. He attended Michigan State University where he graduated in 2003 with a BS in Physiology. He attended Veterinary School at Ross University in St. Kitts. He completed his clinical year at University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2007. After practicing emergency medicine in Cleveland for 1 year, he joined SWMAEH in the summer of 2008. He takes special interest in emergency surgery, shock therapy and pain management.

He currently resides in Texas Corners with his wife, Alisha and their three kids, Zayden (human), Mac (canine) and Megatron (feline).  He spends his free time playing hockey, camping, golfing and being disappointed weekly by the Lions.  However, "this" is the year!

Dr_LaBar_Staff_Photo.jpgTammy LaBar, DVM

Years in Practice: 17

Education: SUNY Oswego, Michigan State University

Dr. LaBar grew up in Rochester, NY and attended SUNY Oswego where she earned her undergraduate degree in biology. She moved to Michigan and obtained her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine degree at Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1999. Following graduation, Dr. LaBar practiced emergency and critical care medicine in Grand Rapids, MI for 12 years and she has been with our hospital since April 2011. She has special interests in transfusion and internal medicine.

Dr. LaBar and her husband are busy spending time with their four children and two dogs. She enjoys camping, spending time at the lake, traveling, gardening and trying out physical challenges such as a triathlon and the Michigan Warrior Dash.

Shane Thellman, DVM

Years in Practice: 9

Education: Louisiana State University

Dr. Shane Thellman graduated from the Louisiana State University of Veterinary Medicine in 2007. Born and raised in a small town in western Arkansas, Dr. Thellman was privileged to be a part of the local 4-H clubs, Hunter Jumper competitions, and be involved in AKC dog showing. After a thriving career as an avid cyclist, he made the difficult decision to return to college following a long time ambition of becoming a Veterinarian. While in his third year of veterinary school, he married his delightful wife, Nikki (Bourgeois) Thellman, a Michigan native and classmate. 

During Veterinary school he discovered an affinity toward surgery, exotic medicine, and the business aspects of veterinary medicine. Dr. Shane Thellman began his career as a Veterinarian in 2007 at Pebble Road Maryland Parkway Animal Hospital in Las Vegas, NV where he developed the necessary skills to be a success. After the birth of their son, Clayton, Dr. Thellman and his family returned closer to family settling down in Bloomington, IN while working in nearby Indianapolis at Noah's Animal Hospital as the overnight emergency veterinarian. 

Dr. Thellman and his family made another significant move to Grand Rapids when his wife was accepted into a PhD program at Van Andel Institution to pursue a profession in research. Dr. Thellman shares his home with two amazing sons: Clayton and Tyler, two cats, a dog (currently spending time in Arkansas with family), a tortoise, and an iguana. In his free time Dr. Thellman enjoys spending time with his family, cycling, and exploring the wonders of Michigan. 

Jen R., Manager

Years in Practice: 12

Education: PCDIVA

Jen has lived in Southwest Michigan her entire life.  Growing up she had many pets including her Australian Shepherds in which she participated with in Obedience and Conformation Trials in 4-H.  Upon graduating high school, she completed an online certification program through Professional Career Development Institute for Veterinary Assisting.  She started working at Texas Corners Animal Hospital the fall of 2004 and became the Office Manager in 2011. She was promoted to Practice Manager of the Southwest Michigan Animal Emergency Hospital in 2015. Jen has two dogs named Beemer and Howie Bear and a cat named Keke. In her spare time she enjoys outdoor activities including kayaking, camping, and hiking. 

Ericia, Assistant Manager

Years in practice: 3

 Education: Ross Medical Education Center

Ericia started working for Dr. Moiles just before completing the Veterinary Assistant program at Ross Medical Center in 2013. She is now the Assistant Office Manager of the Southwest Michigan Animal Emergency Hospital. While she is not at work she enjoys spending time with her son and three cats Bailey, Mr. Bond, and Jasper.


    Steve, LVT

    Years in Practice: 32

    Education: Michigan State University

Steve received  his certificate of completion from Michigan State University vet tech program in 1984. He then worked in research for four years. Steve thought the research part of this job interesting, however he decided the wanted something that works more closely with animal. He worked on a dairy farm, close to his home in Coldwater, milking cows for 12 years. Steve then started back in small animal medicine in 2001 and has been working as an over night technician here at Southwest Michigan Animal Emergency Hospital since late 2003. Steve really enjoys and excels at his job. He takes pride in reassuring pet owners that there is someone out in the community that cares for their pets.

Steve currently has four cats and two dogs, however he as owned several different pets over the years including caymen, rabbits and tropical fish.

Jessica Staff Photo_1.jpg   Jessica, LVT Team Leader

   Years in Practice: 12

   Education: Michigan State University

Jessica received her Veterinary Technician license at Michigan State University in 2005. She has been working here at Southwest Michigan Animal Emergency Hospital since the summer of 2004.

Jessica and her husband have 4 young children. She spends most of her free time shopping, scrapbooking, and lots of time with her family.

Erin, LVT

Years in practice:  5
Education: Bel Rea Institute

Erin has been working as a veterinary technician since 2011. Her previous endeavors involved training Arabian horses and oil painting. Erin has a strong interest in feline nursing, animal rights and behavior. She is a bonafide tree hugger who will compost anything. When not working, Erin can be found bird watching with her pride of house panthers (aka cats), riding horses and illustration. 

Jennelle, LVT

Years in practice: 7

Education: International Business College

Jennelle graduated from International Business College in Fort Wayne, IN in 2009. She moved to Virginia Beach, VA and spent over 2 years working with exotic and wildlife animals. In 2012, she relocated to Michigan to be closer to family and friends. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, being crafty, spending time with friends and being on stage. She has 2 cats, Moe and Shoo, and her chihuahua, Phantom. 

Hope, LVT 

Years in practice: 5

Education: Vet Tech Institute, Ohio

Hope attended the Vet Tech Institute in Columbus Ohio and graduated in February 2011. She moved to Hawaii in the fall of 2011 and worked at a busy small animal practice as the lead surgery technician. She relocated to Kalamazoo in early 2015 and joined the team at Southwest in April. Hope has a special interest in small animal surgery and anesthesia and is working towards specialty certification in both areas. 
In her spare time Hope enjoys cooking, reading, crochet, and spending time with friends. Hope has a dog, 2 cats, and a chinchilla.

 Kerri, LVT 

Years in practice: 17

Education: Michigan State University

Kerri graduated from Michigan State University in 1999 with her Veterinary Technician degree and has also received an Associates in Science degree from Lansing Community College. She started her career in emergency medicine in 1997 while in college. After graduation, Kerri worked at several daytime veterinary clinics while working part-time at an emergency hospital in Grand Rapids. In 2005, she decided emergency medicine was where she wanted to be and started full-time. In 2016, Kerri joined Southwest Animal Emergency and Referral Hospital to work with Dr. Baker and the surgical team.

Kerri and her husband have three children and one cat. In her free time, she is a leader of a Girl Scout troop and President of the parent group at her children’s school. She enjoys camping, geocaching and spending time with her family.

Beth, AVA

Years in practice: 2

Education: Ross Medical Education Center

Beth grew up in Galesburg, Michigan and currently lives in Portage, Michigan. She is the oldest of four children. Growing up around animals, Beth always knew her career choice would somehow involve them. She then pursued the Veterinary Assistant Program at Ross Medical and graduated in September of 2013. She did her externship at Woodland Animal Hospital and joined Texas Corners Animal Hospital in the fall of 2013 and transferred to the Southwest Michigan Emergency Hospital in 2015. In her spare time she enjoys in-home pet sitting, spending time with her family and friends, football games, and playing softball.

Kendra, AVA

Years in practice: 1

Education: Ross Medical Education Center

Kendra is a recent graduate from Ross Medical. Prior to becoming a Veterinary Assistant she worked as a private home caregiver and has an Associates degree from Brown Mackie College as a Health and Fitness Trainer. When she is not at work she plays as much softball as humanly possible and enjoys listening to music and drawing. She also is the proud mother of three fur babies. A dog named Juno, and two cats named Bleeker and Liberty Bell (or Bella for short). 

Hannah, Veterinary Assistant

Years in practice: 3

Education: Kalamazoo College

Hannah currently attends Kalamazoo College and is pursuing a biology major. She has dreamed of becoming a veterinarian for as long as she can remember and plans to apply to vet school once her undergrad is complete. Hannah grew up in Detroit and started as a veterinary assistant at Platz Animal Hospital her senior year of high school. Hannah is excited to gain new knowledge and experience while working in the emergency veterinary setting. She has one fur baby, Doug, a cat who likes to give people hugs.

Brittany, AVA

Years in practice: 3

Education: AVA certification from Ross Medical Education Center, RLAT (Registered Laboratory Animal Technician) from MPI Research

Brittany grew up in Portage, Michigan. She is the youngest of four children.  After graduating from Portage Northern in 2009, she moved to Kentucky for a year and has since returned to the area.  Brittany graduated the Veterinary Assistant program at Ross Medical in 2013, and has been in the field ever since.  She currently lives in Kalamazoo with her boyfriend, Andrew and her 3 fur babies, Casey, a rescue cat, Xena, a Catahoula lab mix and Chevy, a German Shepherd/Golden Mix.  In her spare time she enjoys taking long motorcycle rides with her boyfriend to South Haven, watching hockey (Go Redwings & WMU Broncos!), playing softball and spending time with friends and family.

Jessie, Veterinary Assistant

Years in practice: 15

Jessie has lived in Barry County all her life. Throughout her childhood, Jessie has had various pets; large and small animals, been involved with 4-H  as well as many equestrian events. In her senior year of high school, Jessie was able to work at Seidl Veterinary Hospital in Hastings Michigan and has been with them since August 2001. In November 2016, Jessie started working at Southwest Animal Emergency Hospital on the weekends.

Jessi is a mother to two daughters and has three horses, two dogs and two cats who keep her very busy in her off time! 

While not at work, she enjoys spending time with family, biking, running and riding her horses.

Melanie, Veterinary Assistant

Years in practice: 6

Education: Baker College of Jackson

Melanie has been working as a veterinary assistant for six years. She started attending Baker College to become a veterinary technician in 2015. When she is not working or in class she is playing with her husky named Oden or horse back riding.‚Äč

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