Giving Dog Treat

Meet Our Staff in Suffolk, VA

The COVE’s veterinary specialists are supported by an incredible team of veterinary technicians, managers, and support staff. Meet key members of our team below, and be sure to call us at (757) 935-9111 if you have any questions.

Our Administrative Team

Danielle T. Russ

LVT, Hospital Administrator

Animals have always been an important part of Danielle’s life. Her formal education began at North Carolina State University where she obtained bachelor’s degrees in chemistry and biochemistry. She went on to earn an associate in science degree in veterinary technology from St. Petersburg College.

With over two decades of experience as a veterinary technician, Danielle has a unique understanding of referral medicine and the needs of primary care veterinarians, clients and team members. She has honed her skills as both a licensed veterinary technician and practice manager, becoming adept in all aspects of running a busy practice with a 24/7 caseload.

Respected in her profession, Danielle has served as a Veterinary Support Personnel Network (VSPN) board moderator and course assistant, and is a sought-after speaker for national professional conferences. Additionally, she is an advisory committee member of the TCC Veterinary Science Program. Outside of work, you’ll find her tending to her horses and family pets at Brydelle Farm in Gloucester County.

Jennifer L. Meads

Office Manager

Jennifer graduated from Kempsville High School with plans to pursue a degree in music, but a summer job as kennel help at a local veterinary hospital changed her mind. She eventually rose through the ranks, from receptionist to veterinary assistant to management.

During this time, Jennifer was a founding member of the Great Dane Rescue of the Commonwealth and has remained an active member, serving on the board. She joined The COVE in 2012 as part of the inaugural client liaison team, and became part of the administrative team the next year. When Jennifer isn’t working, you can find her playing the bassoon, piano or clarinet surrounded by her furry family.

Julie L. Meyer

LVT, Operations Manager

Julie developed a passion for animals as she grew up in the countryside of Northern Virginia surrounded by dogs, cats and horses. After high school, she worked as a veterinary assistant in a general veterinary practice, and enrolled in Blue Ridge Community College’s distance veterinary technology program, earning her associate’s degree in applied science of veterinary technology and becoming a licensed veterinary technician.

Julie served as an LVT at a veterinary emergency clinic, honing her skills as a leader among her co-workers, an advocate for patients, and a source of comfort and confidence for their owners. Julie also spearheaded a local animal blood banking program.

In 2012, Julie joined the inaugural veterinary technical team at The Center of Veterinary Expertise and helped facilitate our successful opening. In early 2013, she became operations co-manager, and divides her time between working as an ICU LVT and developing protocols & procedures, training and scheduling.

When Julie isn’t at The COVE, you can find her with her feet in the sand of the beaches of Hatteras, NC, and spending time with her friends, family and pets.

Melody Beshel

Administrative Assistant

Melody was born and raised in Gloucester and grew up on a 25-acre farm, so her earliest memories involve animals. She has worked in the veterinary field for more than 15 years, most of which were spent in smaller general practices. She’s excited to be a part of The Cove and see the expanded services and care we provide to our patients.

Melody currently lives in Chesapeake with her husband, son, and a Pit Bull named Brogan. In her spare time, she enjoys anything involving water—pools, beaches, rivers, boating, and fishing. She also loves reading and snacking on popcorn.

Our Referral Coordinators

Lisa Johnson

LVT, Referral Coordinator

Lisa spent most of her childhood in the Hampton Roads area, and has had a love of animals for as long as she can remember. While attending college, she became a veterinary assistant and realized her love of veterinary medicine. She attended Bel-Rea Institute of Animal Technology in Denver, Colorado, and graduated in 2005. Once she moved back home, she worked in both general practice and emergency and specialty hospitals in the area. She received her Bachelors in Veterinary Technology from St. Petersburg College in 2012 and went on to receive her Masters of Science from Kansas State University in 2019.

In her spare time, Lisa enjoys gardening, dancing ballet, traveling, playing trivia with friends, and spending time with her family, which includes her Golden Retriever, Daisy, and her mischievous cat, Ollivander. Lisa joined the COVE team in January of 2022 and loves being able to make a difference in the lives of our patients and their parents!

Shannon Smith

LVT, Referral Coordinator

Shannon was born in Arkansas and raised in Mississippi. Since childhood, she has always had an affection for, and morbid curiosity about, animals; in fact, her mom used to fuss at her for bringing home injured animals so she could fix them. Shannon started working at a local vet clinic her senior year of high school, and was hooked after that. She went to Vet Tech School in 2001 at Hinds Community College and Mississippi State University and graduated in 2003 as a Licensed Veterinary Technician. Her husband’s military career brought them to Virginia Beach, where she first discovered emergency medicine at Tidewater Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care in 2004.

Shannon and her husband spent some time in Charlottesville, where she was a clinic supervisor for 4 years prior to returning to the Hampton Roads area. Upon her return, Shannon began working for Dr. Stallings, and during that time found her love for anesthesia and surgery. She helped get the surgery service up and running when The COVE opened in 2012.

Shannon currently resides in Virginia Beach with her husband and 2 children, along with Schmelly Cat, a tortoiseshell calico, Angus the red bone coon hound, Han So Low, a mini-Dachshund, and various freshwater fish. Shannon’s current hobbies include watching and carting her children to various sporting events, cooking, road biking, aquascaping freshwater aquariums, grooming, music, and finding homes for less fortunate pets.

Rhiannon Ward

Referral Coordinator Lead

Rhiannon Ward serves an essential role here at The COVE as our referral coordinator. She works closely with referring veterinarians to keep them updated on the prognosis and treatment of their patients.

Rhiannon is originally from Texas, but as a proud military wife, she has lived throughout the United States from San Diego to Virginia Beach. Before joining The COVE in 2015, Rhiannon worked as a vet tech in a spay/neuter clinic, a veterinary receptionist, and a dog trainer. In 2016 she transitioned from client liaison to referral coordinator.

Her furry family includes a six-year-old Lab and Golden mix, named Troubadour and a 16-year-old Blue Heeler, Kaiser.  When she is not working, she enjoys spending her time traveling to new places, going to concerts, sailing on the water and dinners on the back deck.

Our Team Leads

Danielle Owens

LVT, VTS (Dentistry), Dentistry Team Lead

Danielle graduated from Northern Virginia Community College in 2014 with an AS in Veterinary Technology and shortly after, became a Licensed Veterinary Technician. Danielle joined Team COVE in 2016 and achieved her VTS certification in 2021 as a member of the Academy of Veterinary Dental Technicians. Danielle is especially interested in endodontics and orthodontics and enjoys teaching about her passion. Her speaking engagements include First Flight Veterinary Conference in 2017, Tidewater Veterinary Academy in 2018, Seaside CE Series in 2018 and she also visits local primary care practices to share her knowledge and expertise. Danielle and her fiancé have two dogs at home (a Yorkie-Poo and a Husky). Outside of work she enjoys tending to her succulents and being active in nature.

Marie Moore

LVT, Cardiology Team Lead

Marie is a Hampton Roads native and graduated from Poquoson High School. In 2012, she obtained her AS in Veterinary Technology from Blue Ridge Community College. She has been a member of Team COVE since our opening in May of 2012. Marie’s speaking accomplishments include Seaside CE Series in 2018 and she was selected to present at the Technician Case Report Track at ACVIM Forum in 2019. In her free time, Marie enjoys camping in the mountains or at the beach and spending time with her Chesapeake Bay Retriever named Hank.

Meg Carrasco

LVT, Critical Care Team Lead

Meg was raised in Chesapeake and went to Old Dominion University where she graduated with a degree in biology. She knew from a very young age that she wanted a career in veterinary medicine. When she started working in a clinic in college, it was there she learned how hands-on LVTs were and what advocates they were for their patients. It was then she knew she wanted to be a Licensed Veterinary Technician. Meg obtained her AS in veterinary technology from Blue Ridge Community College and has been a member of Team COVE since 2014.

Meg has spent most of her veterinary career in emergency medicine, and critical care became her passion through the years. Meg loves helping the most critical patients recover and return home (even the ones people may have given up on). She has shared her knowledge and expertise with various presentations to local primary care practices, and has also presented at the Seaside CE Series in 2018. Outside of work, Meg enjoys trivia nights, concerts, being a foodie (AKA general hipster things) and traveling with her husband.

Rachel Griffin

LVT, Training Supervisor and Anesthesia Team Lead

Rachel obtained her AS in veterinary technology from Blue Ridge Community College in May 2008, and became a Licensed Veterinary Technician in VA shortly thereafter. Rachel quickly advanced her knowledge and skills in the practice setting, and began doing relief work at an emergency hospital. After 2 years, she transitioned to surgical specialty medicine. It was during her time as a surgical technician that anesthesia sparked her interest, and that has remained her career-long passion.

For the last 10 years, Rachel has focused on expanding and honing her anesthesia/analgesia knowledge and skills in specialty practice (ophthalmology, surgery and dentistry), and has been an honored member of Team COVE since early 2012. During her time here, Rachel has conducted many Lunch & Learn presentations to share her knowledge with team members at local primary care veterinary practices. She also was a speaker at Seaside CE Series 2018 and at Blue Ridge Community College Technician’s Conference in 2018. When Rachel isn’t working, she enjoys time at the beach, traveling with her husband and spending time with her beloved dogs, Todd, Maggie and Buddy.

Tawny Humphrey

LVT, Day ER Team Lead

Tawny has devoted herself to the veterinary profession for 20+ years. She graduated from the Blue Ridge Community College Veterinary Technology Program with honors in 2015 and then joined Team COVE. Her passion within the field is emergency medicine and specifically the triage of emergency cases, and she shares this with the local veterinary community through Lunch & Learn presentations. Most of her time outside of work is spent with her 2 children, her 3 dogs Molly, Sam, and Carolina, and her horse, Buddy. Tawny also enjoys fishing, being out on the boat, hiking, horseback riding, and rock painting. She is an advocate for rescue and has been doing volunteer work with Chesapeake Bay Retriever Relief and Rescue for the past 9 years.

Tyler Bailey

LVT, Surgery Team Lead

Tyler developed a passion for animals at a young age. She grew up around horses, saving the baby birds that fell from their nests and bringing home the barn cats. Tyler was determined to be a voice for the unspoken, which led her to consider careers in veterinary medicine or pediatric medicine. She began work as a veterinary assistant in a primary care veterinary practice while pursuing a degree in business/marketing. Quickly, she realized her passion was in veterinary medicine and enrolled in Blue Ridge Community College. Tyler completed her associate degree in applied science of veterinary technology, and shortly after, she passed her board exam to become a Licensed Veterinary Technician.

Tyler began her LVT career in a small family practice. Yearning for more, she came across a brochure for the opening of The COVE in 2012 and promptly applied shortly after The COVE opened its doors. Initially, Tyler worked in the emergency service, then transitioned to cardiology and ended up finding her niche in surgery. When she is not at The COVE, you can find her at the barn with her beloved equine companion, Crest, a.k.a Waxing Crescent Moon, spending time with her fur babies Finley (a Teacup Pomeranian) and Birdee (an English Lab), on an outdoor adventure of some sort with her kids and husband, or relaxing on the beach.

Alison Eavey

Day Client Liaison Team Lead

Alison grew up around animals and during middle school, she volunteered with the SPCA, where her love for animals blossomed. She graduated from Radford University in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in communications, minoring in psychology. After graduation, Alison joined Team COVE as a Client Liaison. Her canine companion is an Australian Shepard named Dusty.  In her spare time, Alison enjoys TV marathons, hanging out with friends, and sipping on iced coffee.

Michelle Pearson

Evening Client Liaison Team Lead

Michelle was born and raised locally. She graduated from ODU and spent time teaching before changing careers and finding a home at The COVE in 2015. Michelle originally visited The COVE as a client, after her dog had been hit by a car. Michele was super impressed by the collaborative care from the surgery and ER service, and that was when she knew she wanted to join the team. Ultimately, Michelle fell in love with the fast pace of ER medicine, which is why she is an anchor for the evening team at the front desk. Her spare time is spent visiting with her family and friends, traveling to the Outer Banks, hanging out poolside, and loving on her Pit mix, Rel. She also enjoys digging in the dirt and loves spring time, when she can freshen up the yard and flower beds.

Our Facilities Management Team

Deanna Clay

Inventory & Equipment Manager

Deanna grew up in the Hampton Roads area and always had a love for animals, especially cats! Before joining Team COVE in June of 2022, Deanna had some veterinary experience under her belt, however, she sought a position that was more “behind the scenes”. As our Inventory and Equipment Manager she ensures that all of our equipment is running smoothly and that we have all the supplies needed to provide top-notch care for our patients! Outside of work, Deanna enjoys spending time with her husband and 9 cats, and trying out new recipes!