Wilkinson Animal Hospital is a full-service practice that strives to offer excellent care to our patients and clients. We understand the uniqueness of each pet, and we are committed to working with each pet owner to help ensure his or her pet’s overall wellness. Our highly trained staff and state-of-the art equipment and facility are important to the care we provide, but that is only part of our story. You and your pet will be treated with friendliness, care, compassion, and professionalism, which are critical to the friendship we hope to build with you. Call today to learn about our services or to schedule an appointment.
Meet Our Team
Sally StonePractice Manager
Sally came to work for Wilkinson Animal Hospital in 1991 as our Practice Manager after previously working at several veterinary hospitals in California and Illinois. She hails from Kentucky but has lived in many places since, due to her husband’s military career. Sally is a spirited team leader, and you can find her in many places in our practice making sure everything runs smoothly while helping both people and pets.
“I always loved animals – my mom said I had a cat or puppy in my arms since I started walking! When I came to Wilkinson Animal Hospital, I was pleased to see that this practice was not only caring and professional but extremely organized. The staff here are really dedicated to their jobs and to the hospital’s mission, which makes me proud to be part of this team. I also like the fact that WAH provides me with continuing education to enhance my job.”
“But," she says, “My favorite thing is working here with our clients. I have met the most amazing individuals and call them my friends. I’m honored to know them and proud to serve them. I truly believe in our slogan that pets and their people are special.”
Sally is involved in the community, with her church, PTO, as well as many civic groups. She loves hanging out with her family and her 4 grandchildren. She has earned numerous awards for community service and other endeavors. She was even a winning contestant on the famous TV show The Price is Right!
Belinda Higginbothan, RVTVeterinary Nurse, RVT; Technical Delivery Manager
Degree: Registered Veterinary Technician (RVT)
Belinda has been with Wilkinson Animal Hospital since 1988. Not only is she a highly trained and experienced veterinary nurse, but in addition, she trains other nurses and manages the veterinary services department, including doing all the purchasing of supplies for the hospital. Belinda has demonstrated years of excellence in maintaining the highest standard of care for all of our patients, as well as our clients.
“As child, I always wanted to care for the family pets and make them better. I love helping pets to live long, healthy lives by helping our clients understand preventative care and treating pets when they are sick or injured.”
Belinda says she likes working here because “all the staff care for animals and our clients and it’s a joy to be around my teammates that have the same purpose to help pets live longer.’
Belinda is from Bristol, Virginia but has lived in Belmont for a long time. She loves the beach, traveling and caring for flowers and plants…and of course, her dog, Prissy.
Molly Norton, RVTVeterinary Nurse, RVT
Degree: RVT (Registered Veterinary Technician)
Molly came to work for Wilkinson Animal Hospital when she was in high school in 1989 and has excelled ever since. She grew up in Belmont, NC, attended South Point High School and went on to complete her Veterinary Technology degree at Gaston College. Molly has been nursing and caring for animals since she was a youngster. It’s not a surprise that she is one of our most experienced veterinary nurses now!
“Animals are little people that talk in their own language that I seem to have the ability to understand. I have a unique and special compassion for animals because they depend on us to help them. I absolutely love helping pets to get well, but I also enjoy doing my part to strengthen the bond between pet parents and their pet by helping educate them on how to better care for them.”
“Wilkinson Animal Hospital is like home! This is where I have grown up and helped make me the person I am today. I love my clients and their furbabies and I couldn’t be working with a better group of people.”
Molly loves horses and riding hunter / jumpers. She was volunteer Firefighter for 17 years. She has 4 cats and a dog.
Lesley JohnsonBoarding & Grooming Manager, Groomer, Veterinary Assistant
Lesley started here in 2006 helping as Pet Caretaker. She now manages the grooming and boarding area, is a groomer, and also helps out as a veterinary assistant in the hospital.
“I love taking care of pets when they stay with us. It comforts me to know they have lots of blankets, a warm bed, and a full belly and are napping comfortably! I also love the ‘new look’ of a pet after I groom them! And when I work in the hospital, seeing our pet patients get better and come back to health is great!”
She likes working at Wilkinson Animal Hospital because “there is always something new I learn every day. I enjoy working with my coworkers because we are a tight team and they are like family to me. This has become my home away from home!”
Lesley graduated from Forestview High School. She has 2 dogs and a cat and enjoys reading, puzzles, and playing games.
Shelley ReevesClient Service Representative (Finance)
You will see Shelley’s friendly face helping people and their pets at the front desk. Shelley has been a vital part of our team since 2014. When you meet Shelley, you will find her passion for helping pets and their people shines bright!
“I’ve been fascinated by animals all my life having an innate love for them from a very young age, even before I was able to speak! I’ve always wanted to help them and learn anything I could about them. A great part about my job is getting to know and help our pet parents and their pets – they become like family to me and knowing that we are there no matter what the situation just makes me feel good!”
“I love doing my part to contribute to the results of what we do – making pets better so they can continue to enrich the lives of their families. Pets provide unconditional love for us and I am part of a team that is taking responsibility to care for them in return…that’s what I love about my job!”
Shelley was born and raised in Gastonia, NC where she graduated Summa Cum Laude from Ashbrook High. She was awarded the Robert C. Byrd Academic Scholarship and attended NC State University where she was on the Dean’s List and earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Science. Also a musician, she earned the prestigious Semper Fidelis Award for Musical Excellence.
Johanna Smith, RVTVeterinary Nurse, RVT
Degree: RVT (Registered Veterinary Technician)
Johanna was born and raised in Gastonia. She graduated from Ashbrook High School where she was a member of the Marching Band. She then went on to Gaston College Veterinary Tech School where she graduated in 2008. She has been a staff member here since then.
“I’ve always loved to be around animals. I love to help keep them healthy and help to restore them back to health when they are sick. It makes me happy to know that I am giving pets the care they need to stay healthy so that they can be with their owners for a long time.”
“Wilkinson Animal Hospital is a great place to work. I like it because everyone here is great to work with and they know their jobs. The hospital is a very clean and pleasant environment to work in.”
In her spare time, Johanna likes hanging out with her husband and helping him around the house. She enjoys cooking, shopping, the mountains and beach, jet skiing and is very active in her church. She has 2 cats.
Leslie GarrettVeterinary Assistant
Leslie grew up in Mt. Holly and has been a long time animal lover and has been a staff member here since 1990. She is an integral part of our team working as a Veterinary Assistant.
“I have always loved animals since I was a young girl. I have been a staff member here a long time and I can say with certainty that working here fulfills my purpose to love and help pets. I have had the privilege to help, love and care for many furbabies over the years. We have the wonderful clients and I love working with them. It’s hard to explain the wonderful feeling I get from being able to help pets and their families and being a part of their lives!”
“I love working at Wilkinson Animal Hospital because I get to work with amazing teammates who help one another and are like family to me. The owner and management team are ethical and great to work for. They provide us with training and classes that have really helped me improve at my job.”
In her spare time, Leslie loves music, singing, and taking care of her 4 cats and 1 dog. She says, “I love life and do what I can to help make the world a better place.”
Vicki GillAccounts Payable, Marketing, Artist
Vicki has been a backbone of the practice since its inception in 1987. Not only is she a very supportive wife of Dr. Jim, but she is responsible for all the bill paying and accounting for the practice. Over the years, she has “worn many hats,” including receptionist, graphic artist and marketing director, computer systems consultant, etc. She has been largely responsible for designing spaces both in the older facility and the new hospital. We call her the “space engineer,” because she can make any space work in its utmost efficiency!
In addition to the above, Vicki is an artist and potter. She owns Bluegill Pottery and Studios, which is located in the building next to the hospital (the old veterinary hospital). This is her true love, which is making beautiful pottery and ceramic art. You will see examples of her work in our hospital reception area – all the tiles were done by her as well as the large paintings in the lobby.
Her studio, Bluegill Pottery and Gallery, is located on Wilkinson Blvd – right next to the hospital. She teaches pottery classes and has pottery for sale in the gallery.
Michelle KantnerVeterinary Assistant / Pet Caretaker
Michelle decided at an early age that she wanted to help animals. She says, “I love working with animals because it makes me feel good to know that I am helping them and making a difference in their lives. I have always been involved in animal’s lives.” As a youngster, she helped find homes for stray animals and that passion for helping pets improve their lives is obvious in her care for our pet patients.
“When working with pets, I find the most satisfaction in knowing that their pet parents are happy with the service that I have provided them and that they know that I took great care of their furbabies while they were with us. I love to see that satisfaction in their eyes when I hand pets back over to their pet parents. I love to see that the pets are excited to stay with us when they come in. This gives me the greatest sense of joy.”
“I love working for Wilkinson Animal Hospital because everyone is friendly and the amount of care that our Doctors and Staff give to our clients and patients is amazing. There is a sense of belonging and family between everyone and it makes working here a pleasure. When walking into the hospital I can feel that warmth and happy energy immediately and it makes the hospital that much more amazing.”
Michelle grew up in Clearwater, Florida. She likes going back for a visit to the beach every now and then but also, enjoys hiking in the mountains and reading. She has a Business Administration Degree and aspires to go to veterinary school one day. She lives with her husband, 2 children, 4 cats and her dog.
Caitlin SmithVeterinary Assistant / Pet Caretaker
Caitlin came began her work here in 2017. As a student in the Veterinary Technology Program at Gaston College, she is thrilled to be working at the hospital taking care of our pet patients. “I am so thankful to work at a hospital that has welcomed me with open arms and helps me succeed in school and learn from some of the best veterinary technicians around. The compassion all the staff have towards all animals is wonderful.”
“As a little girl I always wanted to be around animals. I have had everything from goats, cows, to horses. The love and compassion that animals give us is what amazes me. Animals are so judgement free and put all their trust in humans. An animal is not born hating humans. When I can comfort and gain the trust of a scared animal is when I am the happiest.”
Caitlin lives on a small farm with my mom, five dogs and three horses. In her free time, she enjoys rodeo, cattle roping, trail riding and competes in barrel racing. Caitlin is also a retired national champion Clogger.
Karen MoleClient Service Representative - Appointments
Karen has been working in veterinary field for several years. She comes to Wilkinson Animal Hospital with a BS in Small Animal Science and Conservation. Originally from Connecticut, she started her interest in veterinary medicine when she was 7 years old after spending a day at a following the veterinarian around at a veterinary hospital where her mom worked.
“I love getting to meet and help different people every day and having the opportunity to treat their pets like they are my own. That personal connection with our clients and their pet makes me happy.”
Karen is an avid volunteer and supporter of various charities and causes. She volunteered at a zoological park where she taught children at summer camp about the zoo and its animals. She also runs in 5K races to support charities and raise awareness for various causes.
Karen has 4 fur babies – Brodie (a Yorkie), Little Dude & Bella (her 2 kitties), and Chin Chin (a chinchilla).
Karigan McCurryVeterinary Assistant / Pet Caretaker
Keri SmithAdministrative Assistant / Receptionist / Pet Caretaker
Keri joined the Wilkinson Animal Hospital team in 2017 as a recent graduate of Forestview High School. Keri was raised in Gastonia, NC and plans to continue working for WAH as she furthers her education at Gaston College. “I plan to obtain a degree in Applied Sciences and I have high expectations to pursue a career as a Veterinary Technician in the near future”, she says. Keri claims that her passion for animals led her to the desire to work at Wilkinson Animal Hospital. Although she has a love for all animals, she says that, “dogs and horses are closest to my heart.”
“I feel that I am purposeful when I am able to help clients and their pets,” said Keri. She enjoys the many different opportunities she is given at Wilkinson Animal Hospital. Whether it is welcoming everyone with a smile at the front desk or assisting in the examination rooms, Keri’s goal is that she is able to positively impact each client in some way. The positive environment, friendly clients, and a constant support system from her fellow co-workers is what Keri says she enjoys most about being with Wilkinson Animal Hospital.
Keri began riding horses at five years old and was showing competitively by the age of nine. To name a few of Keri’s recent successes, she was a 2014 National Barrel Horse Association Youth World Qualifier, 2016 Open Show Reserve Hunt-Seat Champion, and 2017 NC State 4-H Horse Show Qualifier. Keri is also an active member of her 4-H club. Her time in 4-H has allowed her to grow individually while obtaining more knowledge about many different animals. Keri’s horse judging team was top five at the State Horse Judging Contest and Keri has had numerous successes while showing her horse, “Little Streak” in 4-H recognized events. Keri’s pets include her Quarter Horse “Little Streak”, and the family’s Quarter Horse, Carhartt and their Blue Heeler dog, Xena.
Heather BeardVeterinary Assistant / Pet Caretaker
Heather started at the hospital in 2017. She is enrolled in the Veterinary Technology Program at Penn Foster College and is soon to be graduating to continue her career as a Veterinary Technician. She has had a burning desire to work with animals since a young age. “I always knew I wanted to work with animals since I was young. I remember being the third grade and saying I wanted to be a veterinarian.”
“I love working at Wilkinson Animal Hospital because the staff is very friendly and tight-knit and they love helping me learn along the way. I learn something new every day when I am here. I love helping the animals, and also letting the pet parents know that their fur-babies will be in great hands with us, and just being able to help sick patients get better and watching them progress along the way. I have only been employed at Wilkinson Animal Hospital for a few short months but it is the best job I have ever had.”
Heather grew up in Mooresville, NC and graduated from South Iredell High School in 2011. She has 2 dogs, Syd and Frankie.
Marrah TroutmanVeterinary Assistant / Pet Caretaker
Marrah graduated from Forestview High School and then went on to Belmont Abbey College to further her education. It was there that she decided she wanted to pursue a career in the veterinary field. She came aboard with our team in 2017 and is working towards her new career path as a Veterinary Technician.
When it comes to caring for our pet patients, Marrah is definitely passionate. In her own words, “Helping animals is something I’ve always dreamed about ever since I was a little girl and will always do it to my best ability. Someone once told me that if you love what you do you’ll never work a day in your life. Getting to work with our pet patients is what lights me up and puts a smile on my face every day. The love you always get from the pet and client after a successful treatment or simply seeing one of our patients come back in when they are well is rewarding. Making the pet comfortable, happier and healthier makes me extremely happy”.
When it comes to working at Wilkinson Animal Hospital, Marrah has this to say, “The reason I love working here is because all of my coworkers love animals just as much as I do. We work as a family. Not everyone is as lucky as I am to be working in an environment where people care about you and have a passion for their job”.
Marrah has also been very successful in softball, volleyball and basketball. She played on the Belmont Abbey softball team and received many awards in her sports career, such as All State Awards and even the Most Valuable Player in her senior year of high school. She has a kitty named Boog who keeps her company at home.
Lizz AycockVeterinary Assistant / Pet Caretaker
Lizz has wanted to work with animals since she was a youngster and now is pursuing her career here at Wilkinson Animal Hospital. "I love animals because they love you back no matter what and I love seeing them happy and healthy. When I can help them and their pet parents, it makes me feel like I'm giving back to the world.”
Lizz says, "I like working here because all the staff are wonderful with open hearts and genuinely love what they do.”
She was born in Virginia, raised in Maine and now lives in Gastonia with her 5 dogs. She is aspires to attend Gaston College to enter the Veterinary Technology Program.
TJ LambertVetererinary Assistant / Pet Caretaker
TJ started out in the veterinary field working as a Pet Caretaker in 2012, where he later became a kennel manager. He then started working as a veterinary assistant. He is a welcome addition to our staff as a key veterinary assistant directly working with our veterinary nurses and doctors. You will likely see TJ working with our doctors and nurses in the exam rooms. He says, “I like working with animals because I care a great deal about my own pets and I like caring for others' pets as well. I enjoy my job because firstly, I love animals, and secondly I love the client and patient interaction.”
“I love working at Wilkinson Animal Hospital because everyone is really friendly and great to work with.”
TJ is originally from Plant City, Florida.