Meet Our Team
To improve the relationship people have with their pets through anxiety-free veterinary care.
Charlotte Lucas, DVM
Dr. Lucas graduated from Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2011. She moved back to her hometown of West Branch with her husband Josh to begin her career as a veterinarian. Working as a veterinarian and owning her own practice was a dream she had since childhood. Prior to attending veterinary school, Dr. Lucas studied abroad in Ireland and then worked on a Thoroughbred breeding farm and a large equine hospital, Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, in Lexington, KY. Working with Thoroughbred foals taught her the importance of being able to recognize and understand when an animal is not normal- which is a skill she continues to utilize daily. Dr. Lucas feels that she worked alongside the best veterinarians and medical teams at Hagyard, and it helped solidify the goal of becoming a veterinarian. After veterinary school, Dr. Lucas had the opportunity to come “home” and begin her career. It didn’t take long to begin realizing that the dream of practice ownership was on the horizon and Compassionate Veterinary Care began to be formed.
Owning and operating her own practice meant that Dr. Lucas could put into motion some of the values that she believed were essential to workplace happiness and balance. She also knew that this meant that she could facilitate a low stress approach to visits for both clients and their furry family members. Building a fantastic team has been a huge part of CVC’s success. She says, “Our team is the best- everyone believes in treating all of our patients as they would want their pets to be treated. I laugh every day, even on the hardest days- there is always a pet or a person that will lift my spirits.” As a team, we are focused on slowing down and listening to our clients, and taking the time to really observe our patients.
Compassionate Veterinary Care strives to find connections with clients and their pets. Dr. Lucas is most fulfilled when she’s able to help senior and geriatric pets so they are able to live more comfortably during the last phase of their life. At CVC we appreciate the trust people have in us when working with their pets at all stages of life. When we are meeting new puppies and kittens we try to establish healthy habits as early as possible to help prevent future problems.
Dr. Lucas’ favorite CVC Core Value is: Compassion, naturally. “I’m afraid of how people seem to lack empathy with others. We lack Compassion as a society. I believe I can help by actively listening so I can understand how to best help a nervous pet parent, in addition to being a doctor for the animal. At home, we try to teach our children that what makes people (and animals) different is what makes us beautiful and great- and that the better we understand, the more of a positive impact we can make.”
Dr. Lucas loves living in Michigan and taking advantage of all it has to offer! You will often find her and her husband Josh, on the Banks of the Red Cedar proudly wearing Green and White during football season, enjoying the sun and sand on a lakeshore somewhere, or bundled up playing in the snow. Their three daughters, Marlee, Lila and Annie keep them on their toes and are a daily reminder that life moves too fast not to enjoy every moment. Their fur family members include their Christmas puppy Jack and their cat Gus, who is king of everything.
In Memory of Mabel
Sarah Gaudard, Licensed Veterinary Technician
Sarah says that her favorite parts about working at CVC are the atmosphere and the food! She believes that respect and kindness are values that help drive her work and personal life. Sarah has two family dogs: an English setter named Schrute, and a Pitbull mix named Bindi. Recently, the Garrett family lost their beloved Blu, one of Sarah’s dogs growing up. Sarah provides great care for CVC patients, she is very motivated by helping our patients live happy, healthy lives.
Michaela Smith, Licensed Veterinary Technician
Michaela graduated from the Baker College Veterinary Technology Program in the year 2021. While in the program she completed her externship here at CVC, and has been a part of the team since. Her favorite part of being at CVC is the focus that is placed on providing a positive experience for clients, patients, and staff. Michaela also enjoys educating clients and advocating for all animals, especially her patients.
Her own pets include a goldendoodle named Colt, a coonhound rescue named Louise, and a cat named Little. She enjoys doing anything that involves her animals tagging along, such as taking them swimming, going kayaking, hiking, and overall spending time outdoors. When Michaela is not with her fur-children, she loves spending time with her nieces and nephews.
Terry McDonald, Customer Service Representative
In her free time, Terry can be found taking in her daughter’s high school activities, camping throughout Michigan with her family and friends, crocheting, and spending time outside gardening. She is also enjoying a new grandbaby as often as she can. Terry has the cleanest vehicles you will find in Ogemaw County! If Terry could solve one of the world’s problems it would be to “Save the Bees, plant wildflowers!”
Terry takes special interest in Fear Free handling. She is certified as Elite in Fear Free. Terry helps lead CVC Fear Free staff training and updates our staff on Fear Free best practices.
Ashley Smith, Health Information Technician
She was born and raised in West Branch and enjoys spending time with her four children, and husband, Kit. The Smith family has two rescue dogs, Rihanna who is 9 years old, and Chip who is 8 years old. Both dogs love pup cups from the local Dairy Queen, going for car rides, camping with the family, and wearing their bandanas from CVC! Ashley loves to spend her free time making memories with her family, camping in the summers, enjoying soccer in the fall, playing board games or doing puzzles, and always planning their next Disney vacation. She considers herself an attempted crafter and enjoys whipping things up in the kitchen. Ashley is also our in-house Britney Spears and taco expert.
Ashley holds the very important and prestigious title of CVC Creative Director. She enjoys planning fun and games, crafts, lunch potlucks, and theme days.
Josh Lucas, Practice Manager
In his free time, Josh loves sports and cheering on his favorite teams whether local high school kids, MSU Spartans or even the Denver Broncos. Golf and fishing are his favorite summer activities. Being the Dad of three little girls provides multiple adventures year round. Josh was born in West Branch, but has lived in quite a few other places including Colorado, Oklahoma, and even Hawaii. Being “back home” has always been a preference and he loves that he is able to help provide our local community the kind of care CVC offers and proudly provides.
Erin Veitengruber, Technician Assistant
Erin started working at CVC in July, 2022. She most appreciates CVC’s core value of Compassion and would love the world to provide more access to service dogs for those in need, especially PTSD dogs for veterans. Daily, she loves getting to see the amazing bonds that pets and their owners show off while visiting CVC. In her time outside of work, Erin loves to take part in outdoor summer activities, spend time with the horses all while enjoying the family home she’s lived in since she was 1 year old. “ALL THE PASTA” is one of Erin’s favorite lines!
Kelly Bernert, Licensed Veterinary Technician
CVC Relief Veterinarians
Lloyd Phinney, DVM
Leslie Wintz, DVM
Dr. Wintz graduated from Michigan State University and practices relief veterinary work all over the state of Michigan: Jackson, Lansing, Clinton, Coldwater, Troy and here at CVC in West Branch. I was an associate at a mixed animal practice in Somerset, MI for 6 years prior to becoming a relief veterinarian. She has a daughter and husband whom travel with her when she comes to West Branch. They love visiting Irons Park and spending time at the pool in the hotel they stay in. They have 2 dogs, a cat, a horse, a guinea pig, chickens and fish! It’s a zoo.
Dr. Wintz is most fulfilled by giving other veterinarians time off. She says: “Another term for relief is “locum tenens” which means “in the place of” in Latin. I hope to be an effective, trustworthy substitution so the doctor can truly unplug and not think about their business. Burn out is a very real problem for veterinarians, and rest is one of the things that can help us best!”
When asked about her favorite part of coming to provide relief at CVC Dr. Wintz said: “The staff. Coming to CVC as the relief veterinarian, it’s so easy to slide in as part of the team for the week and the “machine” continues to run smoothly. It is wonderful to work at a place where everyone knows their job and knows how to support each other in doing their job.
Dr. Lucas became a mentor of mine over 10 years ago when I was still in vet school. I was a fourth year vet student and was paired with her for 3 weeks for one of our required rotations, Practice-Based Ambulatory. We clicked then and always dreamed of working together. I have deep roots in southern Michigan, but when I began doing relief we finally found a way to work together again!”