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.


suzanneuntitledDr. Suzanne Gerber

Dr. Suzanne Gerber was born in Pennsylvania and completed her Bachelor Degree in Animal Bioscience at the Pennsylvania State University.  She went on to Cornell University, where she received her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine in 2000. She had been a general practitioner in small animal medicine and surgery since graduation until she joined the Veterinary Emergency Center in September of 2014.  She has been enjoying practicing emergency medicine immensely and is thrilled to be part of such a knowledgeable and compassionate veterinary team.  When she is not busy practicing veterinary medicine, she loves the time that she spends with her husband, two sons, and pets.  She also likes singing (with both a choral group and in a band) and is an avid college sports fan.



shapiroDr. Pamela Shapiro

Dr. Pamela Shapiro was raised in Massachusetts and received her Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Science at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 2007. She worked as a veterinary technician for 2 years in Connecticut before choosing to become a Veterinarian.  She attended Iowa State University and completed her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine in 2013. Since graduation she has practiced general medicine and surgery at a private small animal hospital in Connecticut.  Dr. Shapiro joined the Veterinary Emergency Center in September of 2016 and has been really excited to start practicing emergency medicine and working with the wonderful team at this hospital.  When she is not practicing medicine she is spending time with her husband, their young daughter, and pets. She also loves to bake, read and sing.




Dr. Michael Sanders

Dr. Michael P. Sanders received his Master’s degree in Conservation Biology and Biodiversity from the University of Connecticut in 2009 and his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Purdue University in 2016.  For as long as he can remember, non-human animals have always been some of his best friends.  He became a veterinarian so that he can act as a voice for their best interests, and to be an expert that people can turn to when they need help.  Relief of discomfort and improving quality of life are top priorities for him.  He has a passion for client and public education about animal welfare and veterinary medical issues.  He finds working as an emergency veterinarian to be an extremely rewarding experience, and could not ask for a better team of coworkers or hospital culture than he has found at VEC.  His favorite hobbies include wildlife photography and videography, reading, writing, jiu-jitsu, cooking and taking his five rescue dogs to the dog park.




Dr. Anne Falbowski

Dr. Anne Falbowski grew up in Haddam, CT, and completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Science at the University of Connecticut in Storrs.  After graduation, she worked as an assistant at a veterinary practice before pursuing her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Iowa State University.  Since graduation in 2013, she spent 3 years in small animal practice (one in Illinois and two after moving home to Connecticut) before transitioning to emergency medicine.  Dr. Falbowski joined VEC in August 2017 and is excited to be a member of such an experienced team.  In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband, her Australian Shepherd, her 3 cats, and a herd of beloved guinea pigs, as well as traveling and cooking.





imageLeslie Rivera- Veterinary Nurse, Manager: Nursing and ICU Services

Leslie started working as a veterinary nurse in 2006 at a general practice hospital in Puerto Rico.  She moved to CT in 2013 with her husband and their two little boys. Shortly after they introduced Rocco (a male Ragdoll) and Taylor (a female Great Dane) to their family.  She started working at the Veterinary Emergency Center on February of 2014 as a veterinary nurse. She has always enjoyed working with small animals.  She loves to care for critical patients and their families when they needed.  In her spare time she enjoys going out with her family. Her hobbies include boating, fishing, water sports, and gardening. When she is not in town she is in PR visiting her family.





jamieJamie Beyer- Manager: Office and Client Services

Jamie has been in the veterinary field since 2004 and joined the Veterinary Emergency Center team in 2016. She was previously in the finance and lending fields but left after volunteering at a local animal shelter to pursue her childhood dream of being in the veterinary world.  She has an amazing daughter who is the joy of her life and two rescue pets: a spirited feline named Luke and her loyal four-legged best friend, a large and goofy German Shepherd mix named Bo.  She enjoys riding on her Harley when the weather permits, long walks in the woods with Bo and projects around the house.





BrittBrittany Benoit- Veterinary Nurse, Laboratory Supervisor

Since 2007, Brittany has been working with livestock and small animals. Since 2008, she has worked in the veterinary field, starting as a kennel assistant and working her way up to veterinary nurse.  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.  Brittany graduated from Tunxis Community College in 2011 with an Associate’s Degree in Visual Fine Arts- Photography. Even though she still dabbles in photography, veterinary medicine is her real passion.

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 enjoys cooking, hiking, knitting, painting, and photography while enjoying the company of her three cats, two dogs, one rabbit, and reptiles.




aprilApril Walker- Veterinary Nurse, Surgery Room Supervisor

In 2004, April received her Associate’s Degree from Ocean County College, where she studied print broadcast and journalism.  She has always had a passion for animals, and in 2006, she began her journey in veterinary medicine by joining Berkeley Veterinary Center in New Jersey as a Veterinary Assistant. She then moved to Connecticut to be with her boyfriend in 2013, and continued in the veterinary field by working as a Veterinary Nurse at Animal Medical Clinic.  April joined the Veterinary Emergency Center family in October 2015, and is really enjoying emergency medicine because you never know what kind of cases will come through the door.  She shares her life with her significant other JR.  Together their family consists of their cat Hayzael, American Pitbull Terrier Lycan, chinchilla named Acadian, a 40 gallon fish tank of African Cichlids, and a variety of lizards, frogs, and toads.  April doesn’t like to play favorites with her reptiles, but her Blue Tongue Skink named Perdue holds a very special place in her heart.  April is very passionate when it comes to reptiles and enjoys reptile education, fostering and adopting them, and would someday like to work at a zoo caring for them.  She is also a huge Godzilla fan and collects everything from old-school monster movies to Godzilla memorabilia.  In her free time you can usually find her at comic conventions, renaissance fairs, the movies, hiking with the dogs, gaming with her boyfriend, or down in New Jersey spending time with family and friends.



scarlettScarlett Szaley- Veterinary Nurse, Imaging Supervisor

Scarlett graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2008 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology.   From 2011 to 2013, she attended Northwestern Connecticut Community College, and graduated with a degree in Veterinary Technology.   During her time at NWCCC, she interned here at VEC, as well as  volunteered and worked in another local veterinary hospital.    Upon graduation, she lived abroad in England, and since returning in the fall of 2015, she happily joined the team here. Scarlett currently resides in Connecticut with her English kitty Colin, whom she loves very much, despite his lack of expected politeness!





pamPamela 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, dogs “Cash” and “Credit Card,” and provides foster care to several kittens every year (for Animal Friends of CT).


caitlinCaitlin 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.




IMG_0133Melissa Covino, CVT, VTSCP- Veterinary Nurse

Melissa Covino has been with the Veterinary Emergency Center since August of 2014.  She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Connecticut in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.  Melissa became a certified veterinary technician in 2005 and has been an accredited Veterinary Technician Specialist in Canine/Feline Clinical Practice since 2012. She lives with her two dogs ‘Mojo’ and ‘Phoenix’, two cats, and two young children in Lebanon, CT.





RuthRuth Stoeckert- Veterinary Nurse

Ruth started in the veterinary field in 1992 as a kennel attendant at Olde Towne Animal Hospital on Long Island. She moved to Massachussetts in 1996 and worked at Rowley Memorial Animal Hospital as a technician until 2001, then at Catzablanca Cat Clinic from 2001 through 2007, Meriden Veterinary Associates from 2007 through 2014, and Yalesville Veterinary Hospital from 2014 through 2015. She was in the Army National Guard from 2001 until 2010 as an army cook. She has five cats, Ninja, Luci, Lilly, Calvin and Hobbes, and her dog Peanut. In her spare time she loves to cook, go for long hikes, and plant flowers.





amandaAmanda Leavenworth, CVT- Veterinary Nurse

Amanda started working in the veterinary field in 2014 as a veterinary nurse; before then she worked as a farm manager at a horse farm. In May of 2016 she graduated from Northwestern CT Community College with an Associate’s degree in Veterinary Technologies. Soon after Amanda started working at Veterinary Emergency Center. She then received her CVT in August of 2016.

When not working, Amanda spends her time with her boyfriend Eli and their daughter Graysyn and their personal animals: Shelby, Cooper, Derp and Anubis. She also enjoys, ice cream, baking, fostering animals and sewing.




annaAnna Huddart- Kennel Attendant

Anna started working at Veterinary Emergency Center in August of 2016.  She attends Avon High School and hopes to go to college for veterinary medicine.  Anna spends her time studying and is a member of the high school Crew team. She shares her home with her two dogs Lily and Troy and her rabbit Eeyore. Anna hopes to gain as much knowledge as possible working in the emergency veterinary field.






Gigi Locicero- Veterinary Nurse

Gigi’s passion for veterinary medicine started when she was in her junior year of high school.  She came to VEC as an intern in 2014 to learn more about the veterinary field. She graduated from UCONN in May 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in Animal Science/Pathobiology and hopes to attend veterinary school in the near future.  Gigi likes to share her time with her furry family- dogs, cats and birds as well as her human family.  She also has a passion for all things Disney!






Shelby Gerrol- Receptionist

Shelby has always had an interest in the animal kingdom.  Being fortunate enough to grow up in a household with every pet imaginable, this interest flourished and has persisted to this day.  After graduating from Westfield State University with a B.S. in Biology, she’s continued her education at various sanctuaries across the United States and abroad.  Having worked with everything from beluga whales to elephants, Shelby has had some exciting experiences.  After moving back to Connecticut, she joined the VEC team in May 2017.  Shelby lives with her dog Turkish, and her cat Dosi-doe. In her free time, she enjoys hiking with friends, paddle boarding, watching movies, and cuddling on the couch with her pets.





Becky Silver- Veterinary Nurse

Becky joined the staff at Veterinary Emergency Center in February of 2017. Becky has always had a passion for animals and she began working in this field as part of a work-study program at her school, working in the university’s vivarium.  For 5 years, while still in school, she worked as a veterinary receptionist. After that, she worked in general practice as a veterinary technician for two years before coming to VEC. Becky resides in Harwinton with her husband and their two daughters, plus two large dogs, a cat, and a leopard gecko. On her down time, Becky enjoys outings with her kids, playing guitar, and reading the newest Jodi Picoult book.





Holly Bugbee-McCue, CVT- Veterinary Nurse

Holly has been a veterinary nurse for over 12 years. It has been quite a journey! She loves emergency medicine and has worked in many emergency facilities including ICU at the University of Florida where she learned most of her higher clinical skills. She is mom to three amazing kids and lives in a crazy home with cats, a dog, parrots, fish, chickens and a bearded dragon!