Our Care Team At Barker Animal Hospital
Fear-Free for Sure! We are proud to be a Fear-Free certified clinic! Your pet’s emotional and physical well-being is prioritized with every visit. We put the patients first!
OUR CARE TEAM
Megan Rockwell, CVPM, Practice Manager
Megan likes to say that her passion for animals began before she could even talk. She’s felt an indescribable connection with the earth’s creatures ever since she was a little girl, and she’s always wanted to do everything in her power to help others in need—four- and two-legged alike. For Megan, bettering the lives of not only pets but their loving owners as well is a dream come true!
Megan is a Virginia Beach native and attended Old Dominion University to study biology. She launched her career in the animal-care world as a Veterinary Assistant after college and has been helping pets and animal parents ever since. Now, she’s the Office Manager here at Barker Animal Hospital and loves to keep things running smoothly day in and day out. Megan especially likes to help educate the public on the best ways to care for their pets, including with Fear-Free techniques that pet owners can use at home! She received her CVPM certification in April 2021.
When she’s not at work, Megan likes spending time outdoors and loves to relax at the beach, go wakeboarding, and play Frisbee golf. She has one pet: Scooter, a miniature Schnauzer.
Mikaela Higginson, Administrative Assistant
Growing up in Grand Junction, CO, Mikaela always had a deep interest in science. She was fascinated by how things worked and why. In fact, she even thought about human medicine for a brief moment but quickly realized veterinary medicine was more her cup of tea. As a Veterinary Assistant, Mikaela enjoys being the voice for her patients and the constant growth and endless knowledge this field has to offer.
After obtaining her certification from Ashworth College, Mikaela was hired by the hospital at which she completed her internship. Three years later, she decided to change hospitals in an effort to further her education. She worked at a third clinic for just over a year before moving to Norfolk and joining the Barker Animal Hospital team. Professionally, Mikaela has a particular interest in cytology and lab work. She also enjoys monitoring surgery.
Outside of work, Mikaela resides with her boyfriend and their three dogs: Athena, Oakley, and Miley. Her other dog, a Bear, currently lives in Colorado with Mikaela’s mother. In her spare time, Mikaela enjoys playing sports and spending time outdoors.
Ivey Hoy, Client Service Coordinator
Ivey has always had a passion for animals of all kinds, from small and furry to large and scaly and everything in between. Growing up, while human friends were few and far between, her dog PJ was always there for her. The two were inseparable. In fact, it was PJ’s love and loyalty that would inspire Ivey to pursue a job in the animal care industry. As a front desk agent at Barker Animal Hospital, she’s one of the first and last smiles you’ll see coming and going from the practice.
Before Ivey was even old enough to officially work, she began volunteering at her local animal shelter. As she got older, she was able to land a job working with puppies. After spending several years in that role, Ivey decided she wanted to do something that would make more of a difference. She applied at Barker and joined the team in November of 2022. Professionally, Ivey enjoys greeting clients and patients and takes great pride in helping to create a welcoming, safe, and stress-free environment for all.
At home, Ivey has a few pets of her own, including a German Shepherd named Kade, who loves his ball more than anything in the world; a cat named Omelet, who only wants attention when he’s hungry; a five-foot ball python named Butterscotch, who likes to sleep in Ivey’s pocket; and a Pacman frog named Peep, who is a very noisy eater.
Other than interacting with animals, Ivey’s favorite pastime is art, particularly drawing. She recently designed a custom diving flag for a friend who loved it so much he ended up getting it tattooed on his ribs.
Marybeth Musgrove, Veterinary Assistant
Growing up with a mom who worked at a vet clinic, it’s no surprise that Mary had countless pets throughout her childhood. She and her (human) brother shared their home with many four-legged and furry siblings, including ten dogs, six cats, and three horses, as well as rabbits, hamsters, ferrets, turtles, and more. This kind of upbringing naturally instilled a passion and knack for animal care in Mary, who would eventually grow up to follow in her mother’s footsteps.
In addition to accompanying her mom to work on a regular basis, Mary started working at a boarding facility when she was old enough. There, she quickly realized that while she loved what she was doing, she wanted to make more of an impact. She landed a job at a veterinary clinic and enrolled in the veterinary technician program at Cedar Valley College. Mary joined the Barker Animal Hospital team in August of 2022.
Professionally, Mary enjoys making personal connections with clients and their animals so that when they return, she can be a familiar, friendly face for both. She also enjoys the imagery part of veterinary medicine, particularly radiographs and ultrasounds, because it reveals what’s going on on the inside.
At home, Mary lives with her husband, son, and two daughters. Not surprisingly, she’s amassed a small pack of her own with the family’s four dogs: an Airedale-terrier mix named Charlie, a needy Boston terrier-Chihuahua mix named Stitch, an energetic beagle mix named Bruno, and a stubborn yet beautiful Husky named Mars.
When she’s not busy working or tending to her kids (two-legged and four), Mary enjoys spending time outdoors, going to the beach, and visiting the children’s museum when it gets too hot.
Kelsey Donihee, Client Service Coordinator
Kelly Wood, LVT, Licensed Veterinary Technician
Kelly always knew that she wasn’t suited for a desk job, and she had adored animals ever since her earliest days. That’s why she decided to become a veterinary professional. Now, Kelly is kept on her toes at all times and gets to learn new things on a daily basis, all while helping the area’s pets and animal owners live happier, healthier lives! She’s a proud member of Barker Animal Hospital’s Veterinary Technician team.
Kelly is originally from the Indianapolis area and received her Bachelor’s degree in biology with a minor in animal behavior from Indiana University. She completed several internships for her schooling, including one spent helping to rehabilitate wildlife, and decided to return to school to become a Veterinary Technician. The rest is history!
Kelly moved from San Diego to the Chesapeake area in the summer of 2019 for her husband’s military career, and it wasn’t long before she signed on here at Barker Animal Hospital. She particularly enjoys radiology work and the way it can help her determine what’s going on with a patient internally. Above all, Kelly loves meeting and greeting new pet owners and helping their animal companions to feel comfortable and welcome here at the clinic.
Kelly’s interests away from work include reading great books, visiting National Parks, and swimming—she even obtained a few scuba-diving certifications during college. At home, she and her husband share their lives with two cats: Luke, who acts more like a dog and follows Kelly around everywhere she goes, and Leia, who is the best at cuddling once she warms up to someone.
Shelby R., LVT, Licensed Veterinary Technician
While Shelby has always loved animals, she didn’t decide to pursue a career in veterinary medicine until her cat Choji was diagnosed with a terminal illness. Being involved and responsible for his palliative care triggered a desire to learn how to better care for animals in similar positions and help their owners navigate troubling times. It was then that she discovered that she could actually get paid to do what she loved!
Shelby began volunteering at the Jacksonville Humane Society while attending high school. There, she was able to fill a variety of roles before moving on to work as a kennel assistant in private practice. Eventually, she moved to a corporate clinic in Jacksonville, where she worked her way up to the role of technician supervisor. Upon moving back to Virginia Beach to be closer to family, Shelby joined the Barker Animal Hospital team in June of 2022.
Professionally, Shelby likes reading hematology slides and learning more about how pathology presents itself. She also plays a pivotal role in helping our patients and their parents enjoy positive experiences in veterinary care.
At home, Shelby is Mom of a human daughter named Willow and a fur baby named Zero. A mini Aussie-Collie mix, Zero is extremely intelligent, and while he loves all people, he is particularly enamored with Willow. In her spare time, Shelby enjoys kayaking, playing video games, painting, sculpting, and magic gathering – particularly the strategy involved in deck-building.
Lisa S., LVT, Licensed Veterinary Technician
Lisa has always had a love for animals since taking home her first rescued orange tabby at 5 years of age; even at that young age, she understood the connections that people have with their pets. Seeing the deep bond between pets and their people is what keeps her inspired every day.
Lisa became interested in veterinary medicine as a second career when both her senior cats, Harry & Sebastian, unexpectedly became ill and died within three months of each other. Her curiosity about their illnesses led her to complete a veterinary assistant program at the local community college in Princeton, where she was currently living.
Lisa was fascinated by veterinary medicine and thus, after working as a veterinary assistant for a short time, decided to earn her degree in veterinary technology. Shortly after moving back to the Hampton Roads area, she joined the team at Barker Animal Hospital in November 2022.
Professionally, she is passionate about the Fear Free initiative that is committed to reducing the anxiety, trauma, and stress dogs and cats can face going to the veterinarian. She enjoys educating pet parents on Fear Free concepts and techniques to improve the well-being of their pets and strengthen the human-animal bond.
Lisa lives with her husband of 20 years, two Turkish Vans, Prince Albert & Princess Alice, and two scruffy terriers, Eoin & Seamus. Outside of the clinic, Lisa enjoys exploring nature, playing tennis, and going to the beach. She also works at the Virginia Zoological Park, assisting the zoo keepers with the farm animals.
Sierra Rivers, Veterinary Assistant
Sierra can’t remember a time when she didn’t adore the company of animals. For her, helping pets to stay as healthy as possible is a dream come true—she gets to do just that on a daily basis as a member of the Barker Animal Hospital family!
Sierra’s veterinary journey began when signed on for the Veterinary Assistant program at Tidewater Community College. It didn’t take her long to know that she’d made a perfect choice! After finishing her studies, Sierra was happy to accept a job here at the clinic in June 2016. She’s been a member of the hospital family ever since.
In her free time, Sierra can be found exploring nature, relaxing on the beach, catching a yoga class, and enjoying the company of her own pets at home. She has two dogs: Stella, a Terrier/Pit Bull mix who almost always ends up in Sierra’s lap giving her kisses, and a sassy Great Dane named Vela, who tends to forget she’s too big to be a lap dog.
Lauren Wright, Veterinary Assistant
Lauren used to work in early childhood education, but she knew that she wanted a change of pace while still getting to put her nurturing instincts to good use. When the opportunity arose for her to join the veterinary field, she knew it was too good of a chance to pass up! Lauren has been helping pets professionally ever since. She’s a part of Barker Animal Hospital’s talented Veterinary Assistant team.
Lauren grew up in Yorktown and moved to Norfolk to begin her journey in veterinary care. She worked at a number of practices in the area before joining the Barker Animal Hospital family in February 2020. As an Assistant, she’s particularly fond of dermatology and the way that a change in diet can help with skin issues. Lauren also enjoys radiology and the way it can help give her inside insight into what’s going on with a patient.
One of Lauren’s main hobbies outside of work is fostering cats and puppies—she loves to find forever homes for all the pets she possibly can! She also loves to spend time with her own animal companions at home. She shares her life with three cats named Onyx, Stink Bug, and Pooper, as well as a trio of loveable guinea pigs named Biscuit, Gravy, and Mashy.
Emma Hemelt, Veterinary Assistant
Emma, like most who work in the veterinary field, has adored the earth’s creatures ever since she can remember. For her, having the opportunity to help others and their animal companions is a dream come true! She couldn’t be happier to serve as a member of Barker Animal Hospital’s talented Veterinary Assistant team.
Emma has lived in Guam, Washington, D.C., and Virginia Beach, thanks to her father’s career in the United States Navy. After high school, she took a job at a local boarding and daycare facility in Virginia Beach to get her foot in the door of the animal-care world. It wasn’t long before she’d fallen in love with the field! Emma knew she wanted to do even more—soon, she was enrolled in Tidewater Community College’s veterinary assisting program. In the future, she hopes to continue in the school’s Technician program and get her degree in biology.
Emma joined the Barker Animal Hospital family in February of 2021, where she gets to put her training to good use in a hands-on way. She’s particularly passionate about animal behavior and nutrition and loves to see the way a proper diet can improve a pet’s quality of life. Above all, Emma likes meeting pet owners and their adorable companions on a daily basis.
When she has spare time between work and school, Emma enjoys exercising, hiking, visiting the beach, and doting on her own pets at home. She and her family share their lives with three cats: Nola, Zulu, and Beau.
Tara Cashman, Veterinary Assistant
Samantha Biegel, Kennel Manager
Growing up in the rural area of Northern Wisconsin, just a few hours from the Canadian and Michigan borders, Samantha spent most of her youth surrounded by farms and wildlife. She always dreamed of becoming a vet and, as a teenager, was forever bringing home critters of some sort, from the extra rats from her biology class to a feral mama cat and her six kittens to the eight-week-old puppy she smuggled home under her coat on a 30-mile trip. It was inevitable that she’d one day end up in the animal care industry.
As they so often do, life circumstances put Samantha’s career aspirations on hold when she became a mother at a young age. After 25 years of running a household and raising her four children, she was ready to start exploring her career options outside of the home. She landed a job at a doggie daycare and soon moved on to dip her toe into veterinary medicine. As Kennel Manager here at Barker Animal Hospital, Samantha is taking every opportunity to learn and grow as she works toward her next goal of becoming a veterinary technician.
Not surprisingly, Samantha owns a multitude of pets of her own, including four and a half dogs (yes, you read that right), eight cats, a ball python, a hermit crab, and several beta fish. Charlie, who is co-owned with Samantha’s best friend and neighbor, is an amazing amateur anti-anxiety dog. Desmond is an easily-excitable cocker spaniel who loves to howl. Blue is a terrier mutt who believes he’s 100 lbs. Then there’s Opal Marie, a lab mix who was rescued as a feral pup. She still has some stranger danger but is making great progress. The cats all have their own unique personalities and are very social.
When she’s not busy running the kennel or tending to her mini-zoo at home, Samantha enjoys hiking. She recently visited Japan, where she was able to explore much of the breathtaking landscape on foot.
Chloe Miller, Kennel Technician
Chloe Miller is a Kennel Technician at Barker Animal Hospital, where she has been practicing since 2022. She attended Old Dominion University and takes great pride in ensuring the health and well-being of her patients while also keeping them happy and stress-free. Chloe is dedicated to providing the best possible care to each animal she encounters, and she finds it gratifying to see satisfied clients who trust her to maintain their pets’ health.
In her free time, Chloe enjoys reading and spending time with her pet pig, Augustus.
Tara Cashman is a highly experienced Veterinary Assistant at Barker Animal Hospital, having practiced since 2012. She attended Frank W. Cox High and completed the Penn Foster Vet Tech Program. Tara is known for her exceptional communication skills and her ability to form strong bonds with all of her patients, often eliciting wagging tails and loud purrs from even the most anxious animals.
In her free time, Tara enjoys spending quality time with her two children and her impressive fur family of 45 cats. She also loves outdoor activities, going to the beach, and discovering new breweries.