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Santaluz Animal Care
Fear Free Practice

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Our Careteam

Your pet’s emotional and physical well-being is prioritized with every visit. We put patients first!

Team sitting outside with dogs

Practice Manager

Dan Sinclair

Fear Free Certified Professional

Dan wasn’t always a dog person; meeting his then-girlfriend and falling in love with her pet pavilion changed everything. Now he and his wife share the love of the multiple pets in their home, and now Dan gets to bring that love into the office as the Practice Manager at Santaluz Animal Care.

Dan joins the team with years of business and management experience outside the veterinary field. He has enjoyed many positions within small and large organizations, including serving as President of two educational corporations serving teachers and students in public and private institutions.

If you ever need assistance regarding Santaluz Animal Care, please call the office, and he will be glad to help.

Assistant Practice Manager

Theresa Ahrensberg

Fear Free Certified Professional

With 40 years (and counting) in the veterinary industry, Theresa has seen and experienced just about everything imaginable. Yet, every moment and milestone has only strengthened her lifelong passion for and commitment to helping animals feel special and loved. From a childhood spent bringing home strays to the countless fosters she’s helped rehome over the years, animals have defined Theresa’s life, and she’s thrilled to be able to continue making a difference in her role as Assistant Practice Manager.

At the age of 16, Theresa began volunteering at a local veterinarian in her hometown. That’s all it took to make her realize this was the field for her. Over the years, she’s held many roles, from kennel help to receptionist, from assistant technician to training and management. Professionally, she loves working with clients and their pets, listening to their stories and helping them in any way she can. Ensuring an exceptional experience with each and every visit is Theresa’s ultimate goal.

Outside of work, Theresa is happily married. The couple has been blessed with two sons, a daughter and two grandchildren. Their fur family consists of two yorkies – Abby and Cruiser, a maltipoo named Gia, and a German shorthair pointer named Sydney. 

When she’s not busy running the clinic or playing with her pups and grandkids, Theresa loves to BBQ, swim and spend quality time with family and friends. She and her husband frequently go off-roading in the desert and take trips to the mountains and beach. Avid travelers, the two recently returned from a trip to Alaska, where they were awed by the beauty of the glaciers and wildlife. 

Registered Veterinary Technician

Clara Saxton

Elite Fear Free Certified Professional

Clara grew up right here in San Diego, where she enjoyed the company of pets ever since her earliest days. She always felt a natural kinship with the earth’s creatures and had a knack for comforting and nurturing animals. For Clara, working in veterinary medicine was the only choice that made sense—now, she’s been helping pets and their owners as a veterinary professional for more than 40 years! She proudly serves as Santaluz Animal Care’s Practice Manager.

Clara’s animal-care journey started in high school when she started working at her local vet clinic in San Diego. Later, she moved to Pullman, Washington and received her Bachelor’s degree in bacteriology and public health from Washington State University, working at the college’s veterinary school as an Animal Care Technician during her studies. Next, Clara moved to Glenwood Springs, Colorado to earn her degree in veterinary technology before relocating again to Helena, Montana and taking a job at an animal clinic there.

After a few more moves and jobs—including an eight-year stint as a Veterinary Technician Instructor at the College of Southern Idaho!—Clara returned to San Diego in 2010 and joined forces with Dr. Johnson at her clinic. She moved on to another position as a Tech with the San Diego Humane Society, then left shelter medicine in 2018 when Dr. Johnson offered her the position of Practice Manager at her new clinic, Santaluz Animal Care. Clara has been a member of the hospital family ever since! She loves to keep all parts of the hospital running like a well-oiled machine, and she particularly enjoys critical care and behavioral work.

In her time away from work, Clara likes training her own dogs in rally obedience, and she’s currently working on her Certified Practice Manager accreditation from Penn Foster College. At home, she shares her life with an Australian Shepherd named Skye, a Boston terrier, three cats, and a few fish. 

Veterinary Assistant

Jessi Jackson

Fear Free Certified Professional

Jessica was inspired to help pets in the veterinary profession when she saw all of the homeless animals wandering the streets of her neighborhood. Every time she saw a neglected animal, it would ruin her day—she knew that she wanted to do whatever she could to change that. Jessica decided to take action and become a veterinary professional! She’s now a proud member of the Santaluz Animal Care family.

Jessica—Jessy to her family, friends, and coworkers—is a native of Southern California and attended Mira Costa Community College to earn her Associate’s degree in 2016. She signed up for the school’s Veterinary Assistant program immediately afterward and then launched her career in veterinary medicine after earning her degree. Jessy worked in a boarding facility for a time before taking a job in a veterinary hospital, then joined the Santaluz Animal Care team in the spring of 2019 as a Room Assistant. She’s been here ever since!

Here at the clinic, Jessy likes administering preventative medicine and helping to educate pet owners on the best possible care techniques for their animal companions. It always brings a smile to her face knowing that she’s improved a pet’s quality of life!

Veterinary Assistant

Lisa Gibbs

Fear Free Certified Professional

Lisa’s own pets have always been there for her. She’s never taken that unconditional love and loyalty for granted. For Lisa, being able to take care of animals as a member of the veterinary profession is a dream come true! She’s a proud member of the grooming team here at Santaluz Animal Care and also serves as a Room Assistant.

Lisa hails from Jackson, Georgia and has been caring for pets ever since she was a little girl. When she moved to San Diego, she knew that she wanted to continue doing just that. Lisa signed on with the Santaluz Animal Care family in 2019 and has been serving the area’s pets and animal parents ever since. Her favorite part of every shift is getting to see what a difference the team’s hard work makes for the area’s four-legged friends.

Away from the clinic, Lisa is working toward her Veterinary Assistant’s degree and enjoys fishing, drawing, and reading history books in her spare time. She has one dog of her own, adopted through her work in the veterinary world: Timber, a 70-pound-plus Malamute who likes saying hello to every human and dog he meets.

Veterinary Assistant

Ariel Bartolome

Fear Free Certified Professional

When Ariel was growing up, you could usually find her glued to the TV, binge watching shows on Animal Planet. Even back then, she had a fascination with animals and a deep desire to help them in any way she could. As a veterinary assistant, Ariel is thrilled to be able to finally put her passion to work, helping people and pets alike as she works toward her goal of one day becoming a vet.

At the age of 16, Ariel started volunteering her time at the San Diego Humane Society. After high school, she went on to pursue a degree in Animal Biology from UC Davis. While attending college, Ariel spent several years volunteering at a non-profit clinic that served the homeless community. Seeing so many people who were facing financial hardships, yet doing everything within their power to make sure their pets were taken care of – many even putting their pets’ health above their own – inspired Ariel and really brought the power of the human animal bond into perspective.

Ariel joined the Santaluz Animal Care team in the summer of 2021, at the end of her third year of college. She recently graduated with her Bachelors of Science degree and is in the process of applying to vet school. Professionally, she loves the challenge of figuring out the solution to what a patient needs. She also appreciates the variety of cases and the unique personalities of each patient. Every day is different and that really keeps her on her toes!

Outside of the clinic, Ariel has one fur baby of her own: a fluffy and moody orange tabby named Peach. In her spare time, Ariel enjoys going to the beach, and trying out new restaurants around San Diego with friends. She also REALLY loves goats and even knows how to milk them.

Customer Service Representative

Sonia Jorge

Fear Free Certified Professional

Sonia has always been passionate about helping those in the world who have no voice. She has been in the veterinary field for over 20 years and still loves every moment. Today, Santaluz Animal Care is proud to have her as a Customer Service Representative. She loves everything about her job, especially educating pet owners about wellness and preventative services so their pets can live long and healthy lives!

Having grown up in San Diego, CA, Sonia also spent a vast amount of time in Costa Rica and Panama. Being in these places helped her appreciate all types of animals, including iguanas. She grew up in a household where animals were always present.

She also recalls feeding as many homeless dogs and cats as she could while living in Costa Rica. She told herself that hopefully, one day, she would return to the country to open an animal hospital/shelter. One of Sonia’s earliest and fondest animal-related memories occurred when her pregnant cat chose her room to give birth to her kittens, and Sonia assisted.

Sonia’s first position at a veterinary clinic allowed her to experience and learn firsthand about the profession. Still, no matter her position in the field, she always returns to a customer service representative. Sonia loves the interaction with humans and their pets!

You will always find Sonia with her family when she’s not busy at the animal clinic.

Veterinary Assistant

Jamie Chu

Fear Free Certified Professional

When Jamie was in elementary school, she and a friend would often stand by the street near her home for hours, encouraging passers-by to stop and donate money for the local animal shelter. When she finally got her first dog, her lifelong love of animals turned into a career goal. As a veterinary assistant here at Santaluz Animal Care, Jamie is now one step closer to her dream of one day becoming a vet.

During her undergraduate years at UCSD, Jamie took on a biology major. The summer after graduation, she started her first job as a room assistant, right here at Santaluz. The experience taught her many valuable skills that she has applied as she works her way up. Professionally, Jamie has a particular fascination with cytology and looking under the microscope. She also enjoys radiology.

Outside of the clinic, Jamie resides with her parents and her dog, Cupcake, who won’t go anywhere without her stuffed giraffe. In her spare time, Jamie enjoys listening to music and attending concerts – the most recent of which was a performance in Vegas by BTS. She also has an interest in fashion and loves to travel to new places. So far, she’s been to the Bahamas, Hawaii, and Alaska. Still on her bucket list are Greece, Italy and her family’s home country of Vietnam.

Receptionist / Customer Service

Carol Sandham

Fear Free Certified Professional

Prior to working at Santaluz Animal Care, Carol spent more than a decade in the human healthcare field. Her deep love of animals and a desire to help their owners drove Carol to make a career change. As a receptionist and customer service representative here at Santaluz Animal Care, Carol is one of the first friendly faces our clients and patients encounter, and she does her best to ensure that all experiences with our clinic are positive ones!

Carol grew up in the San Fernando Valley and moved to Orange County during her freshman year of high school. Today, she and her partner, Scott, have three terriers – Lucky, Louie, and Lexxy – all of whom were rescues. The pups love treats and will never turn down a good snuggling session. When she’s not busy working or tending to her dogs, Carol enjoys crafting, jewelry making, and rock painting. She is also an avid Halloween enthusiast and collects costumes and vintage clothing.