MEET OUR BOARD-CERTIFIED SPECIALISTS
As The COVE’s reputation for excellent care, service and accessibility has grown, so has demand for its services. As a result, the practice has tripled the size of its staff since its founding, and now employs more than 50 highly trained team members, including board-certified veterinarians with advanced, specialized expertise. They include:
Merrilee T. Small, DVM, DACVIM (Cardiology)
Co-founder, Dr. Small has worked her entire career in the Hampton Roads area, first as a veterinary technician, then practice manager, followed by becoming an emergency veterinarian before completing a residency in cardiology at NC State. She became a board-certified cardiac specialist in 2005.
During her residency, Dr. Small earned numerous awards, including being named outstanding resident twice by her classmates, the Bedside Manner Award bestowed by the faculty.
A true local, Dr. Small grew up in Norfolk, attended Old Dominion University, and is deeply embedded in the fabric of life in Hampton Roads. She has been a member of the viola section in Symphonicity, the Symphony Orchestra of Virginia Beach, for over 20 years.
In addition to the satisfaction Dr. Small receives serving the community she calls home, she also enjoys gardening, and spending time with her husband, son, and pets.
Jeff T. Stallings, DVM, DACVS
A Virginia Beach native, Dr. Stallings earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Virginia Tech, then moved to Georgia to work on a cattle ranch. In pursuit of a veterinary education, he subsequently took a job as a veterinary technician at the University of Georgia Animal Sciences Department, and was accepted into the school’s College of Veterinary Medicine the following year.
After completing his DVM and an internship in small animal medicine and surgery, Dr. Stallings worked as an emergency veterinarian for a year prior to entering a three-year surgical residency at the University of Florida. After his residency, Dr. Stallings moved his family to Maryland to work in a referral practice before returning to the Tidewater region, where he established a mobile surgery service. His practice moved to a fixed location many years ago where he proudly offered pet owners and referring veterinarians the latest techniques in soft-tissue, orthopedic, oncologic, and neurologic surgical procedures.
As a Co-founder of The COVE, Dr. Stallings has been encouraged to pursue his dream by his supportive family.
Jacqueline Nobles, DVM, DACVECC
Dr. Nobles obtained her DVM from Auburn University, completed internships in small animal medicine, surgery, and emergency and critical care, then completed her residency at BluePearl in Florida. She became a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care in 2015.
Dr. Nobles started and expanded two large specialty hospitals in Oklahoma and Florida before joining The COVE team in 2017, where she brings her considerable skills to our emergency and critical care service. Her professionalism, kindness, extensive veterinary knowledge and skill-set, and steadfast dedication to patient and client care have impressed pets, their owners, her coworkers, and referring veterinarians alike.
Colleen Fox, DVM
Dentistry and Oral Surgery
After earning her bachelor of science and DVM degrees at Cornell University, Dr. Fox has called Virginia home since 1998. She developed a deep passion for veterinary dentistry when she discovered how dramatically a pet’s quality of life and longevity could be improved through proactive oral health protocols and advanced corrective and restorative procedures to treat infection and oral pain. She is highly proficient in employing leading-edge veterinary dentistry technologies, techniques, and materials.
Dr. Fox has traveled thousands of miles and devoted countless hours to advance her dental knowledge and skills through continuing education and practice. She is a member of the American Veterinary Dental Society and has limited her practice to dentistry as a DVM.
In recognition of her innovative veterinary practice as well as her service to the community, Dr. Fox was honored in 2012 as one of Inside Business magazine’s “Top 40 Under 40 in Hampton Roads.” In 2017, she was awarded Inside Business – The Hampton Roads Business Journal’s with a Woman in Business Achievement Award.
Alicia Thomas, DVM
Emergency and Critical Care
Dr. Thomas earned her DVM from the University of Tennessee in 2015. She completed a small animal medicine and surgery rotating internship at Texas A&M in June 2016. She has special interests in emergency medicine, oncology, ophthalmology, and soft-tissue surgery.
Dr. Thomas was born and raised in Midlothian, Virginia, and is excited to be living back in her home state. She shares her home with Penni, a four-year-old Golden Retriever, and Lily, a cat she hand-raised since its birth in 2008. In her spare time she enjoys traveling, hiking, and spending time with family and friends.
Leah Simons, DVM
Dr. Simons is originally from New York and received her DVM from Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. After graduating veterinary school she completed a small animal rotating internship at Red Bank Veterinary Hospital in New Jersey. She moved to Virginia after her internship and has been working as an emergency doctor in the Richmond area ever since. Dr. Simons appreciates the ability to have variety in her work life and supplements her time with frequent freelance work at emergency and general practice hospitals in the Richmond area. Even though she does not live nearby she is grateful for the opportunity to work at The COVE on a regular basis and is always in awe of the compassion and care that is provided to her patients and clients by her fellow staff members. She is a current member of the AVMA and VECCS.
In her free time, Dr. Simons enjoys yoga, pottery, exploring the outdoors, and spoiling her 3-legged cat Millipede (AKA MIllie).
Todd White, DVM
Dr. Todd White is from Hickory, North Carolina and received a Bachelor of Science from Wake Forest and his DVM at North Carolina State University in 1993. Ever since then he has been working in small animal medicine both in general and emergency in the Hampton Roads area. Even though Dr. White primarily serves as an ER doctor at The COVE his professional interest include ophthalmology and oncology.
In his free time Dr. White enjoys cooking, growing super-hot peppers, music, the cinema and spending time his wife, Leslie Dragon, also a small animal veterinarian and owner/operator of Four Paws Mobile and their fur family; Dylan a Great Dane and two cats Stella and Chip.
Laurie Granata, DVM
Dr. Granata graduated from Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine in 1998. Since then she has worked in general practice, emergency/referral, and mobile ultrasound. Her special interests include ultrasound, surgery, and critical care. An original New Yorker, Dr. Granata moved to Virginia in 2014 and is enjoying southern living with her husband, son, and two dogs, Robert and Walker.
In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and backpacking in the national parks.
Small Animal Rotating Interns:
Suzanne Schindler, DVM
Dr. Schindler grew up in Newport News, Virginia. She received a B.S. in Biology from Virginia Tech (2012) and a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Lincoln Memorial University College of Veterinary Medicine (2018). Prior to veterinary school, Suzanne was an animal trainer for exotic species, worked as a veterinary assistant in an emergency clinic and general practice, and rehabilitated wildlife. During veterinary school, Suzanne spent a summer at the University of Kentucky Gluck Equine Research Center examining immunological changes taking place in transported horses. Her interests include soft tissue surgery and emergency medicine. When she is not working, Suzanne enjoys running and hiking with her four-legged partner in crime.
Kristen Voglewede, DVM
Dr. Voglewede obtained her DVM from Ross University (with her 4th year at Colorado State’s College of Veterinary Medicine) in May 2017. She recently completed a Small Animal Rotating Internship at Carolina Veterinary Specialists in June 2018. Dr. Voglewede is interested in specializing in surgical oncology.