Who We Are

Our Mission Statement

Veterinary Emergency Center strives to operate a superior and ever-advancing emergency veterinary hospital at which patient health and well-being are of paramount importance, with the satisfaction of our pet owners and referring veterinarians, and the fulfillment of our employees, following as a natural extension of our primary goal.

Our Staff

Veterinary Emergency Center is staffed by skilled veterinary professionals dedicated to the complete, compassionate care of injured or ill animals.

Dr. Shannon Bertolino, Emergency Veterinarian, Canton CTDr. Shannon Bertolino, MS, DVM- Founder

Dr. Shannon Bertolino received her Master’s degree in molecular biology in 1997 and her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from the University of Minnesota in 2003. She has practiced in Connecticut ever since, first in East Hartford, then in Farmington, where she partnered in ownership of a private small animal clinic. After that clinic was sold, Dr. Bertolino decided to pursue wholeheartedly her interest in emergency medicine. She identified a need in the Canton area for urgent care and established the Veterinary Emergency Center in late 2012. Her colleagues in veterinary centers throughout the area rely on Dr. Bertolino and the Center for expert care and collaboration around the clock.

Dr. Bertolino is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Animal Hospital Association, and the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society.


BEA Beatrice Kalajian, CVT- Veterinary Nurse

I have always had a love for animals, an interest in medicine, and a desire to help others, so in 2002 I embarked on a career in small animal veterinary medicine.   I received my bachelor’s degree in pathology and veterinary science from the University of Connecticut in 2003 and went on to become a Certified Veterinary Technician in 2006.  I have been with Veterinary Emergency Center since its opening in November 2012, where I strive to provide quality care with compassion to all our patients and their families.

In addition to my husband and children, my family currently includes three cats (Aria, Forte, and Legato) and a golden retriever (Rhythm).   I cannot remember what it was like to be without these companions, and their presence has enriched my life greatly.

Although I enjoy veterinary medicine as a whole, I am especially interested in pathology, histology, immunology, integrative medicine, and critical nursing.



JEN Jennifer Baker, CVT- Veterinary Nurse

I have enjoyed working in the veterinary field since 2004.   I became a Certified Veterinary Technician in 2007 after earning my degree in Veterinary Technology from Northwestern CT Community College.  I then went on to earn my BA in Psychology from Saint Joseph College.  I joined Veterinary Emergency Center in November 2012.

 I enjoy all aspects of veterinary medicine, but take special interest in geriatric care, critical nursing, and the human-animal bond.  I respect the relationship that owners form with their pets and love being a part of a medical team that provides compassionate care to such an important aspect of people’s lives.

I share my home with my cat Joey and my rescued dog Olive.



 Brittany Benoit- Veterinary Nurse

For the past six years, Brittany has been working with livestock and small animals. For the past four years, she has worked in the veterinary field, starting as a kennel assistant and working her way up to veterinary assistant.  Her passion for animals started when she was a young girl, helping her grandmother take care of baby squirrels and rabbits, and saving those who were attacked by the cat.  “One day I saved a poor chipmunk my cat was beating up.  He ran to my feet, looked up at me, squeaked and ran away.  I’ll never forget that day”.

Brittany has been with Veterinary Emergency Center since the practice opened in November 2012.  This is the first time she has worked in an emergency facility but feels this is a great way to help save even more lives.  At home Brittany has three cats (Oliver, Tasia, and Hecate), three rabbits (Duke, Pip and Blueberry), two mice (Lennie and Mr. Jingles), and a Hypo-Tangerine Leopard Gecko named Gizmo.

NEWPAM Pamela Andross, CVT- Veterinary Nurse

Pam has over 30 years of experience as a veterinary nurse, several of those years spent in veterinary specialty practices including emergency and critical care.  She became certified in 1992 while attending Capital Community College and the University of Connecticut majoring in Animal Science and business.  Pam also became a human Emergency Medical Technician in 1992 in an effort to decide between ‘human’ or animal medicine.  For several years, she did both.

Pam has been with Veterinary Emergency Center since the practice opened in November 2012.  Along with her husband, Pam spends time with her son, dog “Cash” and cat “Samwise Gamgee” and provides foster care to several kittens every year (for Animal Friends of CT).


ELAINE Elaine Fish- Veterinary Nursing Assistant

I have worked in a veterinary clinic since I was 18, then took a break to stay home with my children.  I am happy for the opportunity to return to doing what I love.  I feel the most important part of my job is client education.  I live with 2 dogs, 3 cats, 2 rats, 2 prairie dogs, and a chicken.






Lindsay Lindsay LeFort- Veterinary Nursing Assistant

I graduated from Central Connecticut State University in the spring of 2009, with a Bachelor’s degree in English. Though literature and writing are a passion of mine, I find myself drawn to the world of veterinary medicine. I began my journey a little over a year ago as a veterinary assistant in Chesapeake, Virginia.  I worked in a privately owned practice while also enrolled in a program to become a veterinary technician.

I have been at the Veterinary Emergency Center since the center opened in November 2012 and will be continuing my education at Northwestern Connecticut Community College starting in January 2013. This is my first time working in an emergency hospital, and it is not only proving to be challenging but also an excellent learning experience.



Caitlin Footit- Veterinary Nurse

Caitlin attained her first position in a veterinary clinic at the age of 16 as a kennel assistant.  With her love for all animals combined with a nurturing personality, working in veterinary medicine only seemed natural.  She graduated from Middletown High School’s Vocational Agricultural program in 2006 with her major in Animal Science.  Since then she has worked in emergency and specialty medicine, where her true passion lies.  She is currently seeking her Bachelor’s Degree in nursing at Goodwin College.  She is owned and loved by her son Carl, chihuahua Tego, cats Beryl & Redden, tarantula Christine, and some odd goldfish.


 Leslie Rivera- Veterinary Nurseimage

Leslie comes to us with eight years of experience in the veterinary field.  She started as a volunteer in 2006 and went on to be hired as a veterinary nurse.  She especially enjoys working with small animals.  She moved to the United States from Puerto Rico two years ago.  She shares her home with her husband, two young sons, and her cat, Rocco.