43 Russell Street (Rte. 9), Hadley, MA 01035413.587.3737

Riverbend Animal Hospital

413-587-3737

Veterinary Technicians

The backbone of our hospital is our incredibly strong team of veterinary technicians. Dedicated to providing the best care to our patients, they keep up with the latest information in the field, taking courses and training in areas that are of interest to them and useful to our clients and patients. Working closely with our doctors, they are true partners in the care of all our patients.

Lynn Candels, RN

Lynn Candels, RN

Medicine Technician

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Lynn Candels, RN

Lynn Candels, RN

Medicine Technician

Lynn came to work at Riverbend in 2005. “For as long as I can remember, I have loved animals. And I am inspired every day by the relationship between them and their people. I am a registered nurse with a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from Boston College but have found veterinary nursing to be the perfect celebration of the partnership. It is truly an honor to be able to work with these creatures who teach us how to live fully and who bring such joy to our lives.”

Lynn has spent the last 22 years working all areas of the veterinary field, “from wellness to emergencies…from the front desk, kennel, barn, and shelter to ICU and surgery…from dogs and cats to deer and dolphins…from nose to tail and from birth to death.” Animal behavior, nutrition and pet loss are areas of special interest to her.

“Following the heartache of the losses of my beloved dogs and horse, our clients at Riverbend held me afloat with their kindness and the generosity of sharing their pets. For this I am forever grateful. I am overjoyed to have recently adopted my next canine soul mate, sweet Izelle, a little Kentucky girl.”

Besides her deep love of animals, Lynn enjoys hiking, biking, adventures, good food and music with family and friends.

Sam Clark, CVT, CCTPM

Sam Clark, CVT, CCTPM

Surgery Technician

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Sam Clark, CVT, CCTPM

Sam Clark, CVT, CCTPM

Surgery Technician

Sam grew up in the Pioneer Valley, where she earned an Associates degree from Holyoke Community College and a Bachelor of Science degree in animal science from the University of Massachusetts/Amherst. She earned her certification as a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) in 1994 and is also a Certified Canine Trigger Point Myotherapist since 2000. She has worked at Rowley Animal Hospital/MSPCA in Springfield, as well as two other practices in the area. Sam joined Riverbend in 2009 as a surgical technician.

Her passion for animals began with horses. Sam is an avid trail rider and has her own amazing Arabian/Quarter Horse Cross, Parker. She competes in scent work with her two dogs Caviar and RangeMan. She enjoys riding motorcycles, bicycles and kayaking as well as traveling with friends. Relaxation, when it happens, involves reading a book with her cat Wanda on her lap.

Melinda Harris, CVT, CCRP

Melinda Harris, CVT, CCRP

Medicine Technician

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Melinda Harris, CVT, CCRP

Melinda Harris, CVT, CCRP

Medicine Technician

Melinda Harris is a Certified Veterinary Technician as well as a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner. She came to Riverbend in March 2012 after working for five years at Southwick Animal Hospital.

A 2005 graduate of the Veterinary Technology program at Becker College, Melinda went on to study at the University of Tennessee. She graduated from their program in 2009 as a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner. She is also a member of the American Association of Rehabilitation Veterinarians.

In 2012, Melinda helped us launch the Canine Rehabilitation Program here at Riverbend, where our post-orthopedic surgery patients go through a rehabilitation regimen with her. She also specializes in pain management and improving quality of life in her work with arthritic dogs, overweight dogs, and geriatric patients.

Melinda is also trained to perform laser therapy on our patients. Our post-surgery patients receive laser therapy, as well dogs and cats with soft tissue strains and sprains or inflammatory lesions (such as chronic ear infections or lick granulomas).

Melinda lives in Granby with her husband, son, three dogs (one of whom is a Bright Spot Therapy dog), bearded dragon and five leukemia-positive cats. Melinda enjoys indoor and beach volleyball, cycling, running, CrossFit, crafting, and the beach.

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Crystal Hood, CVT

Medicine Technician

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Crystal Hood, CVT

Medicine Technician

Crystal grew up in the Pioneer Valley.  Upon graduation from Westfield High School, she enlisted in the United States Coast Guard where she proudly served four years.  During that time, she became a small boat crew member of the Search and Rescue Team at Station Chatham, and then the Captain’s/Wardroom Cook on the USCGC Barque Eagle out of New London, CT.  She was fortunate enough to sail on the Eagle throughout Europe and the Caribbean.

After the military, she put herself through college at Holyoke Community College and graduated with an Associate’s Degree in Veterinary and Animal Science.  During the last year of her education she worked at Boston Road Animal Hospital in the Emergency Department.  She then moved on to Eastfield Hospital for Animals where she worked in both surgery and the wellness departments for over eight years. Crystal is one of our newest members on the wellness team here at Riverbend.

Crystal’s favorite things to do include cooking, running. and spending time with her beautiful senior cat, Mr. Orange.

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Beverley Rusiecki

Veterinary Assistant

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Beverley Rusiecki

Veterinary Assistant

Beverley, who was born and raised in England, had a passion for dogs and horses ever since she was young. She spent all her teenage years at the barn working with Show Jumpers
where she had a free loan horse named Valentine. After she graduated college, she entered the travel & tourism industry which took her on a diverse and wonderful journey. She lived in many varying locations including Ibiza, Spain, and on Carnival Cruise ships all throughout the Caribbean. Here she worked as a casino dealer which provided a lot of social and cultural experience. In addition to this, she worked as a flight attendant for British Airways where she traveled all across Europe.

She moved permanently to the US in 1996 where she spent 5 years living in Miami Beach.Finally, in 2001, she relocated to New England and permanently settled. This is when she decided she wished to pursue her childhood passion of working with animals. Her career in Animal Medicine began, and she spent 19 years working at Ludlow Animal Clinic. This exposure was a great way to kickstart her path, and allowed her to gain a lot of knowledge in veterinary medicine. This opportunity also granted her with experience in technician duties, front desk, accounting, assistance in surgical procedures, and inventory and practice management. Beverley joined the wellness team at Riverbend Animal Hospital in October of 2020, and she really enjoys working with the incredibly professional, experienced staff: “I am so grateful to be working with such a wonderful team of Doctors and staff who truly care about the well-being of their patients, and who practice such a high standard of medicine”.

Beverley lives with her 17-year-old daughter Nadia. She also has two dogs — a 10-year-old Golden retriever named Willa and a 6-year-old Pomeranian who she rescued from Tennessee. Outside of the veterinary office, Beverley loves to travel. Her favorite destinations to visit are Florida, the Caribbean or Mexico. She spends her spare time training in the gym. She is very involved in fitness and prefers to live a healthy lifestyle.

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Anna Maria Manowski

Veterinary Assistant

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Anna Maria Manowski

Veterinary Assistant

Ania’s love for animals started at a very early age. At the age of 15 she became intrigued about all the different dog breeds and what their needs were. She wanted to learn more about them, so she read the entire AKC book of dog breeds. After that, her parents realized that she really needed a four-legged companion. Since she had read the AKC book, they trusted her with the breed decision, and she got her first dog, Athena, a Great Pyrenees! She has had a dog in her life ever since – along with cats, birds, fish, and mice.

Ania has worked with animals since 2006 in several western Massachusetts practices. She enjoys hiking with her dogs and playing with her cats whenever she has a moment to spare. She spends a lot of time gardening in her vegetable garden, tubing down the Deerfield River, fishing, sewing, playing the occasional video game, and spending time with her friends and family.

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Erica Brazeau, CVT

Surgery Technician

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Erica Brazeau, CVT

Surgery Technician

Erica Brazeau joined Riverbend’s surgery team in June 2021, bringing her talents, compassion, and lots of laughter to Dr. Thomson’s surgery team.

Erica holds a BS in Political Science and Psychology from Hofstra University. After preparing for the LSAT exam, she decided law school was not where her heart was. She pivoted and got an Associates in Applied Science, majoring in Veterinary Science and Technology.

While in school, Erica had internships at two veterinary hospitals on Long Island. After becoming certified as a Licensed Veterinary Technician, she gained valuable knowledge and experience working at several animal hospitals in New York.  A native of western Massachusetts, she returned to the area in 2015, working most recently at Northampton Veterinary Clinic.

In her spare time, Erica enjoys reading, biking, and hiking.

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Kellie Riel, CVT

Surgery Technician

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Kellie Riel, CVT

Surgery Technician

Kellie Riel joined Riverbend’s surgery team in July 2021. She worked at Montgomery Road Animal Hospital while going to school to become a veterinary technician, gaining excellent hands-on training there. After graduating in 2018 and getting her certification, she stayed at Montgomery Road for a few more years and had the good fortune of working as a surgical and dental assistant to Dr. Denise Reidy. Kellie worked as a veterinary technician at another local practice before coming to Riverbend.

Not only is Kellie a CVT, she is also Fear-Free Certified. With her quiet strength, confidence, and extensive knowledge, Kellie has quickly become a valued member of Dr. Thomson’s surgery team.

When not at Riverbend, Kellie hangs out with her cute beagle, cats, horses, and donkey. And she occasionally tends bar at the Rapids Bar and Grill in Huntington.

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Kelly Parker, CVT

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Kelly Parker, CVT

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