Meet the Staff
Get to know the veterinarians and staff that will make your stay comfortable and have your pet feeling brand new!
Coming from a family of doctors, I always felt I would find myself as a medical professional but it was my love of animals that drew me to the veterinary field. While still in school I always found myself being pulled towards the operating room as my primary interest and many of my electives were surgical.
I was inspired to go out on my own, not only because of my desire to limit my scope to surgical procedures, but also to provide quality yet affordable surgical procedures beyond what many of the low cost clinics offer which are often limited to simple spays and neuters.
I received my D.V.M. at Virginia Tech in 1998 after completing my undergrad work at The University of Florida, James Madison University and Old Dominion University. Before opening Helping Hands, I worked full time at Locke A. Taylor DVM and part time for Prevent A Litter and Cat Nip. The experiences I have gained have both sharpened my skills and led me to fulfill my need for more advanced surgeries. Dentistry also runs deep in my ‘genes’ as my father and brother are both human dentists. So in combination with surgery, I am excited to provide pets with affordable dental care.
Special thanks to my wonderful husband, Jake, and colleague and friend, Jackie. Without my own personal cheerleaders, Helping Hands might still be only a dream
Practice Manager & Co-Founder
Like many people, I have always had a passion for animals and fortunately have always found a way to surround myself with them. With this passion comes a desire to help those in need, which brought me to Locke A. Taylor’s office many years ago. After much on the job training I found myself in the hands on position working alongside Dr. Lori Pasternak in surgery. When Dr. Lori decided to venture off on her own to pursue her dream of a surgical center for animals, it was only natural for me to follow.
Dr. Pasternak and I have always said we held hands, closed our eyes and jumped together when we started Helping Hands, and neither of us have ever looked back. The idea of offering affordable surgical and dental care for pets in need is very exciting.
Helping Hands now has several veterinarians, technicians and support staff who help make a difference to animals on a daily basis and I am very proud to work alongside such amazing talent and devotion.
A native of Montreal, Canada, I moved to the United States in 1991. Richmond has been home to my family since 1998. Along with Dr. Lori, I am excited to be able to provide the same love and attention to the animals we treat as we do for our own.
Dr. Catherine Page Dyer graduated from Tuskegee School of Veterinary Medicine in 1994. Two years later, she opened her own mixed animal practice in Chester, S.C. working emergencies for 13 years. She has done a lot of rescue work, helping local groups with spay/neuter and medical care. After selling her practice, she moved back to her hometown in Virginia where she did relief work until going back into full-time practice. She enjoys working with rescue groups and worked at a full-service low-cost clinic until she joined Helping Hands. She and her husband Robert have 5 rescue dogs (Cletus pictured here), 4 cats, and 2 horses. She has a passion for rescue animals and the beach!
Brian Collins graduated from Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2010. He began his career as a large animal veterinarian in northeast Iowa. During that time he started to work with more and more dogs and cats and eventually transitioned into the primary small animal veterinarian at his clinic. He developed a strong interest in surgery and dentistry and decided to pursue those interests, which ultimately brought him to Helping Hands. He and his wife Jodi, and daughter Emery moved to Richmond in November 2015. They live in the Lakeside area with their three dogs (Jinx, Karma, and Lilly) and cat (Kitty). Brian also serves as a veterinary field officer in the US Army Reserves with the 949th Medical Detachment Veterinary Services unit in Ames, Iowa. In his free time, Brian can be found spending time with his family, traveling the world, in the middle of home improvement projects, collecting comic books, or just relaxing while watching a good movie.
Kristen graduated from Purdue University school of veterinary medicine in 2006. Along with working at Helping Hands she practices equine emergency medicine locally. While in Virginia Dr. Talbott has practiced at a high volume spay/neuter clinic and general practice hospital for the Richmond (low income) community. She is an avid photographer and artist. Her current project is renovating their city home built in 1903! Dr Talbott is active in international veterinary volunteer groups and has traveled many times to Mexico and the Dominican Republic. Dr Kristen has a soft spot for giant breed dogs and is a long time Great Dane rescuer. A 6year old naughty dane named ‘Puppy’ currently has her heart.
Veronica started at Helping Hands as a volunteer. She moved to Richmond from New York to help care for a family member. An avid cat lover and owner, she wanted to help make a difference. She was such a kind spirit and hard worker that when we needed more help, we knew she was the one we wanted. Her warmth and compassion for both people and animals is infectious. She helps in many ways, but her primary job is in the recovery room. She sits with your pet as they awaken to be sure they are safe, warm, clean, and well loved while they are with us. She becomes their surrogate mother for the day. She is a parent to Ella, Trillius, and Maude, all special cats.
Elaina came to work at Helping Hands at first as a volunteer. Her own dog needed veterinary care and in exchange for care she offered to volunteer to answer the phones when Helping Hands first opened. It wasn’t long before she was a full time member of the team. Elaina fit right in with the enthusiasm, spirit and ethics of what Helping Hands is all about. You will feel her kindness and warmth not only when you meet her, but even through the phone when you call. Elaina was born and raised on the South side of Richmond. She is Mom to “M.J.” and “Cat”
Chilly joined the Helping Hands team in July 2011. He came to Helping Hands through B.A.R.K. as a rescue in need of veterinary care. Lori and Chilly had an instant attraction for one another and it was decided that they could not live without each other. In October of 2011 Chilly became rainbow colored so he could be cotton candy for Halloween. You can now see Chilly prancing around up and down the East Coast with Jake handing out Chilly Cards to help promote the work we do at Helping Hands. Chilly loves the extra attention his new colors have brought to him and is enjoying making new friends everywhere he goes.
Be sure to come introduce yourself when you see him around town. Jake also is leading the charge to encourage medical tourism to Richmond for pets – the Veterinary Vacation. Enjoy the history, culture, food & drink of Richmond, VA while ensuring your pet gets surgery or dental treatment at an affordable price. You can also relax in Chilly’s Chill Zone Client Lounge while waiting for your pet. For more information on activities for your Veterinary Vacation, please contact Jake at firstname.lastname@example.org.