Growing up in northern Wisconsin, Heather was surrounded by everything from dogs, rabbits, turtles, and chameleons to salamanders, cockatiels, cattle, and pigs! She’s had a soft spot for animals ever since she was a little girl, and couldn’t imagine doing anything else than caring for pets every day.
Heather was a sophomore in high school when she first heard about veterinary technician programs. She began volunteering at a local boarding and grooming facility to gain experience, then moved to the Twin Cities after graduating. After earning her Veterinary Technology degree from Argosy University, she completed an internship here at Burnsville Parkway Animal Hospital and simply never left!
The satisfaction she gets from cleaning a pet’s dirty or infected mouth is one of the most rewarding aspects of Heather’s job. She even holds an advanced qualification as a Veterinary Dental Technician. Heather also enjoys educating clients and helping them learn the best ways to care for their pets. Heather lives in Farmington with her husband Matt, their two sons Dylan and Jude, and two dogs: Sophie, a Boston terrier, and Louie, a German shepherd/Border collie mix.
When she has time between work and family life, Heather enjoys taking her kids to the zoo, going to the cabin in Wisconsin, and cheering on her home-state Green Bay Packers.
Darla grew up on a hobby farm in Lakeville, Minnesota, where she was surrounded by everything from dogs and cats to rabbits and chickens. When she saw an advertisement on TV for the Medical Institute of Minnesota, she knew that the animal care world was her true calling!
Darla attended that same school she’d seen on TV, the Medical Institute of Minnesota (now Argosy University), and graduated with her Applied Science degree as a Veterinary Technician. She began working at Burnsville Parkway Animal Hospital as a Vet Tech and the Office Manager, and stayed on as Office Manager once Dr. Kruse took over the practice.
Darla lives in Burnsville with her husband and two teenagers. The family has two brother cats, Cowboy and Roper, as well as a dog named Rio. They also have a 19-year-old pufferfish who splashes excitedly when he knows he’s about to get fed.
For Nicole, it was love at first sight when it came to animals. She’s been fascinated by creatures of all types—but especially cats—ever since she can remember! Being able to care for pets every day as a Certified Veterinary Technician is the ultimate reward for her.
Nicole was born and raised in New Ulm, Minnesota. After attending school at the University of Minnesota for a few semesters, she transferred to the Medical Institute of Minnesota (now Argosy University) to study veterinary technology. Shortly before graduating, she moved to Burnsville with her future husband and applied to Burnsville Parkway Animal Hospital a few days later.
Dentistry is one of Nicole’s favorite aspects of veterinary medicine—she’s even a certified Veterinary Dental Technician! She also enjoys placing catheters, monitoring pets under anesthesia, and helping out in surgery.
Nicole lives with her daughter Maya and son Owen. Outside of work, Nicole enjoys working out, gardening, cooking, decorating, making crafts with her kids, and working on DIY projects for her home.
Certified Veterinary Technician
During high school, Sammi had the opportunity to visit Alaska and watch the Iditarod Dogsled Race. When she saw how well the dogs were treated, she realized she wanted to become someone who could provide that level of compassionate care!
Sammi grew up in Rosemount, Minnesota with her parents and a toy poodle. She started volunteering at the Humane Society as soon as she was old enough, and then attended Argosy University to study veterinary technology. After graduation in 2009, she began working as a technician in various clinics before signing on at Burnsville Parkway Animal Hospital in 2011.
Laboratory work is one of Sammi’s favorite parts of her job; analyzing samples under the microscope never ceases to amaze her! She’s also fond of the clinic’s newest addition, a therapeutic laser. Last but not least, Sammi loves interacting with clients and making a lasting connection.
Currently, Sammi lives in Apple Valley with her sister, her sister’s two cats, and her own two dogs named Brady and Toby. Brady is a young Chihuahua who sticks by Sammi’s side wherever she goes, and Toby is a Jack Russell/Dachshund mix who is the smartest dog Sammi has ever met.
When she’s not at work or spending time with her dogs, Sammi can be found with her friends at a country music concert. She’s become very active in the local music community in the past few years, and loves seeing live shows and meeting new people.
Licensed Veterinary Technician
When she was little, Lauri would always go into local pet shops and see if they needed help, even though she was far too young to hold a steady job. She’s adored animals ever since she can remember! When Lauri heard about the Veterinary Technician profession, she was hooked—she started in the field shortly afterward and has been caring for pets professionally ever since.
Lauri is originally from St. Louis Park, Minnesota, and lived and worked in Virginia for 35 years before returning to Minnesota in 2007. She began her career at a clinic in Virginia while attending school to study veterinary technology; Lauri ended up staying at that hospital as a Veterinary Technician for 25 years. After moving with her family to Minnesota, she began working at a clinic in Farmington until joining the Burnsville Parkway Animal Hospital family in March of 2016.
Around the clinic, Lauri is particularly fond of client education. She loves keeping pet owners up-to-date on the constantly changing field of veterinary medicine! She also enjoys chatting with animal owners in the exam rooms and hearing fun pet stories.
Lauri enjoys spending her time away from work with family. She and her husband, Chris, have a son named Joshua who currently attends the University of Wisconsin-Stout. He’s a linebacker on the school’s football team, and Lauri and Chris travel nearly every weekend to attend his games!
Certified Veterinary Technician
Pet care has always played an important role in Claudia’s life—she grew up with everything from dogs and cats to hamsters and guinea pigs, and her brother even saved a baby squirrel. For Claudia, helping animals to live happier, healthier lives is simply what she loves to do. She’s a proud member of the Burnsville Parkway Animal Hospital Veterinary Technician team!
Claudia is originally from Detroit and attended Argosy University to study veterinary technology. After completing an internship at another pet clinic, she launched her career in veterinary care and hasn’t looked back since. Claudia honed her skills at three separate animal clinics before joining the Burnsville Parkway Animal Hospital family as a Certified Veterinary Technician. In total, she’s been helping pets professionally for more than 15 years!
Around the hospital, Claudia especially likes indulging her scientific interests by running tests and studying samples under the microscope. She’s also fond of performing dental cleanings to really make patients’ pearly whites sparkle. Most of all, Claudia enjoys meeting the area’s pet owners in the examination rooms and getting to know their animal companions on a personal level.
Aside from her interests in veterinary care, Claudia enjoys gardening and spending quality time with her family. She and her husband, Jackson, have a son named Nick and share their home with one pet: CB, a rambunctious orange tabby cat.
Certified Veterinary Technician
Heather had always had an intense passion for medicine, but she knew she didn’t want to enter the human healthcare field. Once she discovered what a Veterinary Technician did, a lightbulb went off—this was Heather’s opportunity to put her passion for animals and her love of medicine to good use!
Heather grew up in Apple Valley, Minnesota. She attended Argosy University to receive her Veterinary Technology degree and joined the Burnsville Parkway Animal Hospital family shortly after graduating. She’s been here ever since! Dental cleanings, puppy and kitten visits, and quality client education are her particular favorites around the hospital.
Heather still lives in Apple Valley with her husband and two young children. They have one pet: Oliver, a rescued greyhound who is enjoying his laid-back retirement years.
Outside of her interests in the veterinary care world, Heather is passionate about reading, spending time with her family, and running. She’s even completed a few half marathons and plans on running more in the near future!
After spending three years volunteering with an animal rescue in her spare time, Katie Jo had a realization: she wanted to work a full-time job in animal care. Seeing firsthand the extraordinary changes that quality veterinary care made in pets’ lives inspired her to join the veterinary profession herself! Katie Jo hasn’t looked back since—she’s now a proud member of the Veterinary Assistant team here at Burnsville Parkway Animal Hospital.
Katie Jo is from Northfield, Minnesota, and spent a decade working in retail management before making the jump into veterinary medicine. She began by assisting the veterinary manager at her local animal rescue facility, then transitioned into veterinary reception work. Now, she’s a Veterinary Assistant and couldn’t be happier to serve the pets and animal owners of the area as a member of the Burnsville Parkway Animal Hospital family! Katie Jo’s favorite part of the job is forming long-term relationships with the clinic’s clients and their adorable four-legged companions.
When she isn’t helping pets live happier lives here at the hospital, Katie Jo enjoys reading, going to the movies, trying out new restaurants, and staying active in animal rescue work by continuing to foster pets and volunteering her time at the shelter. At home, she has three cats: Luna, who Katie Jo has owned for nearly nine years after initially agreeing to cat-sit for only a few weeks; Neville, Katie Jo’s very first foster pet after she got involved in rescue work; and Bella, who came to Katie Jo as a sickly kitten and was hand-raised back to full health. Katie Jo also shares her life with a sweet and gentle Pit Bull, Pansy, who serves as a great ambassador for her breed.
Jackie’s father frequently brought home stray animals while she was growing up, and it was Jackie and her siblings’ job to take care of them. It was those early experiences bettering the lives of the earth’s creatures that made a permanent impression on her. Jackie always knew that she would love to care for pets every day as a member of the veterinary profession! Now, she gets to do just that as a Veterinary Assistant.
A Minnesota native, Jackie began her animal-care career as a Kennel Attendant. Next, she joined the team here at Burnsville Parkway Animal Hospital as a Veterinary Assistant and couldn’t be happier to learn more and more about the hands-on side of animal medicine.
In her spare time, Jackie enjoys thrift shopping and hunting for antiques. She and her husband have two sons, Adryan and Jaxson, and Jackie also shares her life with a Corgi mix, a Basset Hound, and a Shih Tzu: Cash, Bowser, and Smoosh. There’s truly never a dull moment around the house!
Haley graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in 2021. Growing up in South Florida she always had a passion for animals and a love for Minnesota, where she was born and spent summers visiting her family. So, UWRF was naturally the perfect fit!
Haley is currently enrolled in the Penn Foster Vet Tech Associate Degree program and continuing her education to become a certified veterinary technician.
Haley’s time volunteering for the Animal Humane Society in Woodbury ultimately led to the adoption of her two beloved Border Collie mix rescues, Alice and Thomas. She also fostered a pregnant cat who gave birth to seven kittens, one of which became Haley’s first “foster fail,” Theodore.
After adopting her dogs, Haley became very interested in dog behavior and started her own dog training business to help owners teach their dogs how to have proper manners and social skills.
During Haley’s off hours, she loves to go camping and horseback riding in the summer, and snowmobiling and ice fishing in the winter. At home, she enjoys cooking new recipes, watching movies, or getting sucked into a good book.
Veterinary Assistant / Client Service
Sarah’s father was a veterinarian at an emergency clinic in her home state of California, and she loved going to work with him whenever she could. Some of her earliest memories include helping to bring newborn puppies into the world! For Sarah, working in veterinary medicine is her way of giving something back to the pets who have offered her so much over the years.
A lover of science and anatomy ever since she was young, Sarah attended Iowa State University to earn a degree in biology. After graduation, she brought her own dog here to the clinic to see Dr. Kruse. It wasn’t long before she was offered a job! Now, Sarah serves the pets and animal parents of the area as a Veterinary Assistant, and has become particularly fond of laboratory work and one-on-one interactions with clients and patients.
In her time away from work, Sarah likes swimming, surfing, hiking, horseback riding, and spending time with her family and pets at home. She and her husband have three young daughters, a crazy cat named Hiccup who truly rules the roost, and three English mastiffs: Maizey, Kenai, and Faith.
Shelley always wanted to work in an animal clinic, both because she loves animals and because she wanted to learn more about what goes on behind the scenes! In 2007, her dream came true when she was hired on at Burnsville Parkway Animal Hospital.
Shelley grew up on a farm in North Dakota with her parents and brother. A friend referred her here to the clinic, and she started in the fall of 2007 as a receptionist. Shelley loves being the first and last person a client sees and helping them to feel comfortable and welcomed. She also enjoys helping the staff when they need an extra hand—assisting with X-rays, holding a pet for blood draws, or helping out with dental charting is a lot of fun for her!
Shelley and her husband Jeff own three cats: Bengal, a Siamese mix; Gizmo, an attention-hogging Manx; and Little Man, a young domestic shorthair who bobs his head when Shelley talks to him.
When she has free time, Shelley enjoys reading books on her kindle, spending time with her husband, and visiting her dad’s farm in North Dakota.
Rachel grew up caring for cows and kittens on her family’s Farmington, Minnesota dairy and crop farm—she’s been passionate about the welfare of animals ever since she was a little girl. She couldn’t be happier to jumpstart her career in veterinary medicine as a member of the Burnsville Parkway Animal Hospital team!
Rachel worked as a hair stylist and a Certified Nursing Assistant for several years before deciding to jump headfirst into her childhood passion: animal care. That’s when she joined the team here at Burnsville Parkway Animal Hospital! Rachel especially likes doting on each and every visiting pet and getting to witness firsthand the special bonds between animals and their owners.
In her time away from work, Rachel volunteers with the Minnesota Companion Rabbit Society and enjoys visiting the zoo and practicing her photography skills. She and her husband, Jake, live with three grumpy and stubborn betta fish: Louie, Blue, and Petey.
Meghan’s parents instilled a simple principle in her at a young age: always help anyone in need. That philosophy also applied to animals, which Meghan has been obsessed with ever since she can remember. When the opportunity arose for her to use her customer-service background to help not only pets, but the people who care for them, she jumped at the chance! Meghan is now a proud member of the hospital’s front-desk team.
Meghan is a Minnesota native and attended college in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, where she spent her time off from classes volunteering at the local Humane Society. After graduation, she worked in customer service jobs and the banking industry for a time, but still felt that something was missing. That’s when she heard about an opening here at Burnsville Parkway Animal Hospital—Meghan knew it was her chance to get back to doing what she truly loved!
Here at the clinic, Meghan likes the fast-paced nature of her work and also loves to learn new things from the medical staff. Her favorite part of the job is being on the front line for the hospital’s clientele; she makes it her mission to make every visitor to the clinic feel comfortable and welcomed.
Away from the office, Meghan’s interests include cooking and baking, hockey—she’s played for many years, including at the collegiate level!—and spending quality time with her friends, family, and pets. Along with her significant other, Ben, Meghan shares her home with a foster-fail Terrier mix adopted during her time at the Humane Society in Eau Claire.
Bob was first brought to the hospital with a litter of kittens who were all suffering from severe upper respiratory infections. The wonderful doctors and technicians at Burnsville Parkway Animal Hospital nursed the kittens back to health, and they felt Bob was great enough to keep around!
Bob is one of the younger resident cats at the age of six. He’s made himself right at home here at the hospital—usually, visitors will find him on the front desk waiting to greet patients as they walk in the door. He also enjoys sunning himself by the large window or hanging out in his cat tree. From his vantage point there, he can keep an eye on everything and ensure all staff members are doing their jobs correctly.
At three years old, Duncan is the youngest Burnsville Parkway Animal Hospital resident cat. He was brought in with a litter of kittens at only 12 weeks of age—the hospital staff simply couldn’t let him leave!
Duncan has trained plenty of visitors to the clinic to tell him how cute he is and how pretty his blue eyes are. He even trained a receptionist to carry him around for a few months! Duncan is most often found napping in his front-desk basket or sunning himself in the chairs by the window.