Our Staff

The staff at Capitola Veterinary Hospital are caring and competent. We are dedicated to ensure the health and comfort of your companions.  Shauna, Katharine and Jana are our client service representatives in charge of keeping things organized and making sure our clients’ and patients’ needs are met.   Neal, Anthony, Cheryl, Melissa, and Christina are our veterinary nurse/technician staff members.  Shauna, Katharine, and Jana also frequently assist the technicians in caring for patients.  Dr. River May, Dr. Katie Volat, and Dr. Tiffany Mitchener are grateful to work with such a competent and compassionate team.


Neal is our operations manager and one of our most senior technicians.  His many years of carpentry experience help keep the hospitals many systems running in top form.  He grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and has lived in Santa Cruz for over a decade.  His family members include a dachshund named Scooter and a cattle dog named Kona. Neal enjoys hiking with his dogs and wife Amy, playing guitar, camping, and fishing.  He is a graduate of Carrington College’s veterinary technician program!  



Anthony has over 8 years experience in the field of veterinary medicine and it shows in his ability to work with even the most reluctant patients.   Anthony also takes care of our inventory and has great ability to fix just about anything.  If he isn’t catching waves here in the Santa Cruz area, you most likely will find him up in Tahoe – either hiking or snowboarding. He has great respect for nature and is happy to be part of an environmentally friendly veterinary hospital.  Anthony is progressing through school with the goal of becoming a veterinarian.  Anthony shares his home with his two cats, Tuxie and Tawny, and his wife, Sumer.




Melissa has been a veterinary technician for over 10 years and loves being a part of the team at Capitola Veterinary Hospital. She grew up in the bay area and graduated from University of Oregon in 2002 with a degree in biology. She took a job as a kennel assistant while trying to determine her career path and ended up falling in love with the veterinary field and quickly decided she wanted to become a technician. She became a registered vet tech in California in 2010.  Melissa provides meticulous nursing care for her patients and she can often be seen cuddling with them when they need it!   She is also our staff supervisor.  She is happy to be settling in Santa Cruz where she can enjoy all of her hobbies including hiking and moutain biking.  In powder season she can be found pursuing her passion for skiing. Until recently she had a sharpei mix named “Sobi” who was her best friend and hiking/backpacking companion. Now she enjoys spending time w/her shared family pets include ”Jazmine”, a fun loving boxer mix, and “Freddie Five Toes” an extremely affectionate poly dactyl cat.



Katharine grew up in Davis, CA and developed a love for animals from an early age. She moved to Santa Cruz to attend Cabrillo College and enjoy the beautiful beaches and redwoods. Katharine hopes to transfer to UCSC to finish her undergraduate degree and then apply to veterinary school. Katharine started at our practice volunteering as an intern, and now she is one of our most experienced client service representatives.  She has had years of experience working with horses and has cared for a variety of animals. Katharine finds working with animals and people who love animals very rewarding. In her free time she enjoys going to the beach, running, hiking, knitting, playing video games, and playing with her rescue dog, Daisy. She also lives with her boyfriend and their two cats, Bidam and Wiggles.



Shauna graduated from UC Santa Cruz, where she began her interest in animal rescue. She volunteered for the Marine Mammal Center, CA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, and the UCSC Long Marine Lab, where she had years of hands on experience with seals, sea lions, sea otters, and dolphins. After college, Shauna became an animal control officer for Santa Cruz County. After two years as an officer, she transferred positions to become an animal health technician for the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter. Shauna is excited to expand her career in the veterinary field. Shauna and her husband, Joe, have just welcomed baby boy, Orion and have two twin boys, Austin and Logan. Shauna and Joe also have three furry four-legged children: dogs, Sierra and Sonoma, and cat Fluffy (all rescue pets). When Shauna is not working, she spends her time hiking with her dogs, attending her sons’ sporting events, and being surrounded by her amazing family and friends.





Cheryl has loved animals from a very early age, and has been working in the clinical veterinary field since 2009. She grew up in the Bay Area and is currently attending classes to complete her prerequisites for veterinary school. A NorCal girl through and through, when she’s not in class, at work, or with friends and family, she’s up in Tahoe or outdoors somewhere on her motorcycle or hiking with a furry friend. Cheryl loves the sustainable mentality of the Santa Cruz County area and is looking forward to getting involved and being a valuable member of the community.







Jana was raised in Santa Cruz and developed a deep love of animals and the ocean at an early age. Participating in a youth dolphin trainer program helped her make the decision to pursue a career in the marine sciences and animal behavior fields.  Jana graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a B.S. in Marine Biology and now splits her time between our hospital and training CA sea lions at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories.  She thoroughly enjoys animal training and the process of creating such positive, trusting relationships with these animals.  She hopes to one day be employed at an aquarium working with animals for research, conservation, and education purposes.  In her free time, she enjoys hiking, camping, going to the beach, and other outdoor activities with her golden retriever/mix, Annie, hanging out on the couch with her cat, Sam, (both rescue pets) and spending time with her friends and family.



Christina is a recent graduate from the veterinary technician program at Foothill College.  She feels very fortunate to have grown up in Santa Cruz, where natural wonders like the forest and beach and their inhabitants have nurtured her interest in animal sciences from an early age. She graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a B.S. in Zoology and has just received an A.S. in Veterinary Technology. Christina aspires to one day transition into zoo and wildlife medicine, where she hopes that her familiarity with small animal medicine will make her a well-equipped advocate for animal welfare and habitat preservation. She is absolutely thrilled to be a part of a veterinary team that values sustainable practices and is always striving toward progress. In the moments when she doesn’t have her nose in a textbook or hands on a cat or dog, Christina enjoys painting, playing the banjo, and exploring the outdoors with her German Shepherd, Roxy.



Brooke and Brando

Brooke and Brando

Brooke moved to Santa Cruz in 2012 and attended UC Santa Cruz where she graduated with a B.S. in Marine Biology. While in school, Brooke, started volunteering as a research assistant at the Pinniped Cognition and Sensory Systems Laboratory at Long Marine Lab. Still an active volunteer, here is where she began her passion for marine mammal research and her introduction to marine mammal training. Brooke is also a dog trainer with Karma Dog Training. Her favorite cases to work with are basic obedience, therapy dogs, and service dogs.

Now a member of the Capitola Veterinary Hospital team she hopes to broaden her knowledge of veterinary medicine.  Her goals are to become a marine mammal trainer at a facility contributing to the understanding of marine mammal physiology and conservation.  Brooke’s hobbies include scuba diving, enjoying the mountains in her hometown of Pinecrest, training animals, and being around her friends and family.