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Santaluz Animal Care

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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

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. 

Team Leader / Vet Assistant

Kate Napier

Fear Free Certified Professional

Kate was inspired to help pets partly thanks to her former canine companion, Sativa. Sativa was in training to become a search-and-rescue dog when she was called upon to look for a missing boy in the Chico area. Kate and her dog were helicoptered to a remote area in the Sierra Mountains—within an hour, Sativa had found the boy’s backpack. A few hours later, she found the boy, who was rescued and went on to make a full recovery. That experience made a permanent impression on Kate, and she decided to dedicate herself to helping those who help us in so many ways. That’s why she became a veterinary professional! 

Kate is originally from Washington, D.C. and settled in San Diego with her family at the age of nine. She attended a trade school in the area to become a Veterinary Assistant, graduating in 2000, and has been helping pets and animal parents in that capacity ever since. She has a special interest in veterinary dentistry, having studied under one of the country’s premier veterinary dentistry specialists, and never tires of seeing the incredible difference that proper dental care can have on her patients.

Kate worked with Dr. Johnson for many years at another animal clinic and was called upon to join her once again when she opened Santaluz Animal Care. Kate had left the veterinary field for a time to raise her children, but she couldn’t say no when she heard about Dr. Johnson’s idea for her own practice! Kate has been a member of the clinic family since day one and couldn’t be happier to continue serving the area’s pets and animal parents. 

Kate and her husband, Eric, have a lovely daughter named Grace. As a family, they love riding bicycles, hiking, and going to the beach.

Veterinary Assistant

Jessy 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.

Registered Veterinary Technician

Jamie Cobb

Fear Free Certified Professional

Jamie got a Chocolate Labrador puppy when she was 15 years old and fell in love instantly. She was so inspired by the bond that she developed with her beloved pet that she decided to devote herself to animal care full-time. Jamie enrolled in a Veterinary Assistant program during her senior year of high school and hasn’t looked back since!

Born and raised in San Diego, Jamie earned her Veterinary Assistant’s certification at Health Occupations Center in Santee, California. She began her career working on horse ranches, then began working in veterinary clinics to gain hands-on experience in the world of pet care. Jamie started studying through Penn Foster College in 2019 to earn her Registered Veterinary Technician’s certifications and joined the Santaluz Animal Care family that same year. She’s been here ever since, and will soon be a Registered Veterinary Technician.

Medically, Jamie enjoys dental work and geriatric care—she loves to help older patients feel as comfortable as possible during their golden years. She’s also passionate about helping dogs who have eaten things they shouldn’t have and is even Veterinary Life Support- and CPR-certified through the Recover Initiative. Jamie fondly remembers saving one memorable patient who ate two socks and a t-shirt!

Jamie likes cooking, hiking and camping, visiting the beach, and spending quality time with her family in her time away from the clinic. She and her husband, Sean, have identical twin boys named Jake and Alex and also share their lives with two pets: Riley, the very same Chocolate Labrador who started Jamie’s passion for the world of pet care; and a sassy Bengal cat named Moonshine.

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.

Veterinary Assistant

Jenise Gonzalez

Even as a young child, Jenise knew deep in her soul that she would one day work with animals. Helping pets and making them feel better remained a passion throughout her youth and into her adulthood. As a veterinary assistant, Jenise is fulfilling her lifelong mission of being an advocate for those who cannot speak for themselves.

Jenise’s journey began at Pima Medical Institute, through which she secured an externship here at Santaluz Animal Care. Upon completion, she was officially hired as part of the Santaluz team in February of 2022. 

At home, Jenise is fur-mom to a sweet Chihuahua named Leila, who loves to cuddle and give endless amounts of kisses.

Veterinary Assistant

Simran Kaur

As a child growing up in Punjab India, Simran witnessed far too many cases of animal abuse and neglect. This experience sparked a deep desire to one day become a doctor and save as many innocent creatures as she could. As a veterinary assistant here at Santaluz Animal Care, she is turning that childhood dream into a reality, one patient at a time!

Simran’s journey began in Northern California, where she volunteered and worked in a number of clinics, shelters, rescues and sanctuaries. She then relocated to the San Diego area to attend school and pursue her degree in biology. After reaching out to a few clinics in the area, she was referred to Santaluz Animal Care, and the rest is history. 

Professionally, Simran enjoys the challenge of coming up with solutions to a patient’s health concerns. Additionally, she values the variety of instances and the distinctive characteristics of every patient. The fact that every day is unique keeps her on her toes. While she is currently an assistant, her goal is to attend vet school and eventually become a veterinarian.

At home, Simran has a virtual zoo of her own. Her animal family includes five German shepherds, several sheep and goats, some tortoises and hundreds of chickens. Caring for all of these critters keeps her pretty busy in her off time.

Groomer

Maria Cuevas

Fear Free Certified Professional

When Maria was a little girl, her father brought home a baby bird that had fallen out of its nest. He put it in a box and tried to save it. She remembers asking him why he would try and save the bird if it was dying. He responded, “Every creature deserves a chance to live.” Those words instantly changed the way Maria viewed the world. Over time, she began to feel a strong pull to work with animals, which is what ultimately drove her to pursue a career as a professional pet groomer.

As a person living with ADHD, Maria finds that grooming helps to keep her brain stimulated while the animals hold her interest. Prior to Santa Luz Animal Care, she worked at another facility where she felt profits were put before the happiness and health of the pets. Not surprisingly, she found the experience unfulfilling. A chance visit to our clinic with her own pet opened the door to an opportunity to join our team. The rest, as they say, is history!

Professionally, Maria enjoys working with reactive dogs that other grooming facilities would otherwise turn away. Having the opportunity to provide a safe place for them to go and getting to see their parents’ reaction when they come out looking healthy and happy is worth the challenge that these special customers pose.

Outside of work, Maria and her husband have one fur baby of their own, a dog named Piper, who was just one of the countless animals she has brought home to care for over the years. While hubby wasn’t initially on board, it took Piper less than a day to win him over, and now the couple couldn’t imagine life without him!

Groomer

Victoria Valentine

Fear Free Certified Professional

Bio coming soon!

Customer Service Representative

Sonia Jorge

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

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.