Meet Our Team

Vision Statement


To improve the relationship people have with their pets through anxiety-free veterinary care.

Charlotte Lucas, DVM

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.

Josh Lucas, Practice Manager

Josh is the husband of Dr. Lucas and has been involved with the overall vision and creation of Compassionate Veterinary Care since the beginning.  This past summer, Josh left his career teaching middle school to become CVC’s Practice Manager.  Josh is enjoying the new career and the challenges that come with it.  Being part of a workplace that makes decisions for both clients as well as our own team based on Core Values provides such an important part of wellbeing and workplace gratification.  He believes that the culture of CVC is what makes CVC a great place to both work and bring furry family members.  He loves helping the team at CVC work through challenges, developing systems that make the clinic’s work more efficient, and being a positive part of people’s lives in a new, exciting way.


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.

Sarah Garrett, Licensed Veterinary Technician

Sarah Garrett, Licensed Veterinary Technician

Sarah is one of our Licensed Veterinary Technicians. Sarah was born and raised in Houghton Lake, Michigan. She attended Alpena Community College on volleyball scholarship, then finished schooling and licensing to become a Licensed Veterinary Technician at Baker College in Cadillac. She loves spending summers out on the lake, and visiting different wineries or restaurants. Sarah is a lover of all food (besides fish).

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 three dogs: A yellow lab named Blu, an English setter named Schrute, and a Pitbull mix named Bindi. 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 was born and raised in Houghton Lake, Michigan. She graduated from the Baker College Veterinary Technology Program and has been a Licensed Veterinary Technician at CVC since.  Michaela most likes working at CVC because of the focus on making the clinic experience as stress-free as possible for owners, patients, and the team itself. Ensuring that the patient is as comfortable as can be while at CVC is important, and she loves that the entire team strives for this for each and every pet.  Michaela values being an advocate for animals and giving them the voice they don’t have. She works hard to provide care for your pets in the same way she would want her own pet to be treated and cared for.  Michaela also strives to provide great client education so that their pets can live their best lives.


Michaela has a Goldendoodle named Colt who she loves spending time with.  She also loves to try new restaurants and new foods while hanging out with friends.  Michaela also enjoys spending time with her little nephews and new niece!

Sharon Minnich, Client Care Consultant

Sharon Minnich, Client Care Consultant

Sharon joined us as a veterinarian assistant in January of 2018. She grew up in Mikado, MI near the Air Force base. She feels fortunate to have grown up in Northern Michigan exposed to many different cultures. With her family, Sharon likes to play board games, roller skate & watch movies. Before joining the CVC staff, as a client, Sharon was impressed by the care and kindness of the CVC staff, so when an opportunity became available, she was eager to join the team.

“During our first visit to the clinic as clients, Dr. Lucas and the rest of the staff made us feel very at ease and really took their time addressing all of our questions and concerns.”

Home is quite busy, as Sharon and her husband Marc are often foreign exchange student parents.  They also have one dog, several cats, so there is never a dull moment. On the weekends that Sharon and her family are not cheering her daughter Emma on at the soccer fields, you might find them enjoying the perks of living in town. “Marc and I love taking the dogs for walks on the Riverwalk path and through the park. We feel very fortunate to live in such a beautiful small town.”

Sharon has a passion for many of the best parts of CVC.  She loves entering into a relationship with pet owners so that she can help provide great care, education, and being part of the difference that helps pets live their healthiest lives.

Sharon is now CVC’s Client Care Consultant.  She is highly trained in pet nutrition as well as taking special care of clients as patients as they work through euthanasia decisions.  Sharon is Fear Free certified and can wear just about any hat CVC asks of her at any time.  Sharon can assist clients in developing a specialized diet tailored to their pet’s individual needs.  She is fantastic at working through and overcoming challenges regarding pet diets and highly values the care that she is able to provide owners and patients through diet consultation.  Sharon also helps develop specialized care that fits senior pets’ needs individually.  She can work through a plan for care while here at CVC for visits, as well as changes and adaptations at home that will make the aging pet’s quality of life much improved.

Terry McDonald, Customer Service Representative

Terry McDonald, Customer Service Representative

Terry is a life-long resident of the West Branch area. With many years of customer service experience she brings a steady approach to even some of the most challenging situations. Terry has always had a love for animals; from growing up on a farm, raising animals in 4-H, and now having pets of her own. Juno, the cat, is the family staple.  She admires the commitment that the CVC team has to promote a compassionate, stress free visit for our furry friends. Terry is always excited to see a successful treatment plan for a pet and knows that it truly helps the pet and it’s family. She also knows that the culture of CVC is to support each other as family, we are often each other’s support group!


In her free time, Terry can be found volunteering with her daughter’s Girl Scout troop, camping throughout Michigan with her family and friends, crocheting, and spending time outside gardening.  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, Customer Service Representative

Ashley joined the CVC team in February of 2021, bringing with her a wealth of knowledge working in the human health care and human resources fields.  Ashley’s experience with customer service for families and patients made her a great CVC fit.  Ashley finds it very fulfilling to work in a place that has the Core Values that CVC adheres to. She is also inspired by the compassion, empathy and care an owner is given when coming in with a sick pet.


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 8 years old, and Chip who is 7 years old. They both bring so much love and excitement into our life. They love pup cups from Dairy Queen, going for car rides, camping with us and wearing their bandanas from CVC!  Ashley loves to spend time together with family camping in the summers, enjoying soccer in the fall and playing board games and doing puzzles together. 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 recently graduated with a Health Information Management degree and is beginning to utilize her newly attained skill set and background here at CVC as well.  Ashley holds the very important and prestigious title of CVC Creative Director.  She enjoys planning fun and games, crafts, lunch potlucks, and theme days.

Erin Veitengruber, Technician Assistant

Erin comes to CVC with a great amount of experience working with pets.  Erin has quite the furry family totalling 15 members, not counting her husband and preschool aged daughter!  The Veitengruber furry family includes 4 dogs: Yukon, Denver, Nagi and Severide; 3 cats: Tuck, Taya and Doss; 3 horses: Girl, Ozzy and Rico as well as 2 Donkeys: Minnie Mouse and Cruzita.


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!


Huey is the newest addition to Team CVC!  Huey came to CVC as a rescue who survived a snow plow accident.  When another veterinary office contacted us asking if we knew of anyone who might like to adopt him, we knew that it was us!  We had begun to consider a clinic cat a couple of months earlier.  Huey is a spunky kitten who loves to play, to greet new friends every day, and loves to be VERY involved with what he would surely call “helping”.  He is a very spoiled boy, but what did any of us expect!?

In Memory of Mabel

Mabel was Dr. Lucas and Josh’s first “baby” and she “worked”  alongside Dr. Lucas since vet school. Mabel was her constant companion for over 13 years. She was adopted as a 1 year old at the Capital Area Humane Society in Lansing, and she immediately became “the best dog ever” .  Mabel went to work almost everyday, in the beginning during Vet School, she taught Dr. Lucas and her classmates exam skills.  After that, she spent most of her time snoozing underneath the doctor’s desk or trying to convince any one on the team that she needed a treat. Dr. Lucas calls Mabel “my heart dog”, as  she was the embodiment of unconditional love and forgiveness. Mabel also helped Dr. Lucas be a better veterinarian,  “Mabel is still my constant reminder of the incredible bond we all have with our pets, which is one reason why this job is so fulfilling.”  Mabel may not be sleeping under her desk anymore, but she will forever be Dr. Lucas’s inspiration to be the best veterinarian possible.