Our Veterinary Team
Meet the Veterinarians & Team of Riverbend Animal Hospital! We’re pleased to provide exceptional vet care for your pets!
Born and raised in England, Sarajane has always had a deep passion for animals. Her journey in the veterinary field began as a Customer Service Representative lead, and she worked her way up, gaining experience as a vet assistant and later as a vet tech in animal hospitals across New York City. Sarajane’s love for animals even led her to work at the Central Park Zoo, where she cared for sea lions and polar bears.
She furthered her dedication to animal welfare by working at a zoo in Thailand for an Australian nonprofit organization. In collaboration with her aunt in Bangkok, Sarajane co-founded a nonprofit, where she served as the North American Adoption Coordinator, helping animals find loving homes.
After taking some time to raise her daughter and gain experience as a retail manager, Sarajane is thrilled to return to her roots in the veterinary field as the Practice Manager at Riverbend Animal Hospital. Outside of work, she enjoys the discipline of Muay Thai kickboxing and expresses her creative side through watercolor painting. At home, Sarajane shares her life with her teenage daughter, two feline companions, Phil and Banksy, and a new addition to the family, their beloved puppy, Juniper.
Dr. David Thomson, DVM
Chief of Staff, Surgery
Dr. David Thomson attended Harvard University, graduating in 1976. After spending a year as an assistant shepherd in Wales, he went south to attend the Tuskegee Institute School of Veterinary Medicine in Alabama, graduating in 1982. Following graduation, Dr. Thomson undertook a 14-month internship program at Rowley Memorial Animal Hospital/MSPCA in Springfield. He then stayed on as a staff doctor, taking care of a large caseload and being mentored in surgery by Dr. Joseph Stoyak.
In 1988, Dr. Thomson was accepted into the three-year residency program in surgery at the Veterinary Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Following the successful completion of the program, Dr. Thomson returned to the MSPCA/Angell Memorial Animal Hospital West in Springfield, where he joined the staff as a surgeon.
In the fall of 1999, he and Ann McEwen opened Riverbend Animal Hospital. Initially, Dr. Thomson handled all the wellness care, medicine, and surgery cases. Since 2004, however, as the referral-surgery side of the practice grew, his work has been exclusively in surgery.
David lives in Northampton with his wife and a small gang of animals: Tiny Tim (pug), Jackson (golden retriever), and two cats (Louise and Clementine). They have two sons, Jamie and Mikey. In his free time, David loves to run, hike (especially in the Grand Canyon), travel, read, ski, canoe, and putter on the Connecticut River in his little Boston Whaler.
Beth Pelletier, DVM
Medical Director, Medicine
Dr. Pelletier is a native of western Massachusetts and is very happy to be making her home here in the Pioneer Valley. She grew up in Ware and attended UMass Amherst for her undergraduate degree, where she studied Animal Science. She graduated from UMass in 2005 and went straight to The Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, where she earned her doctorate in 2009. Dr. Pelletier has completed two internships, providing advanced training in medicine and surgery, and she has worked in emergency, large animal, and small animal practice. Her special interests include soft tissue surgery and exotic small mammals. She is a member of the Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians (AEMV), which provides continuing education and support to veterinarians dedicated to advancing the care of small exotic mammals such as rabbits, ferrets, and rodents.
Dr. Pelletier lives in Hadley with her husband, Miles, and their son, Remy. Keeping them company is their little dog, Odin, and their two kitties, Nymeria and Pippin. Besides spending time with her family and cuddling her pets, Dr. P. enjoys tending to her flower gardens and houseplants. She also enjoys attending live music events and occasionally attempts to play the mandolin.
Brion Reagor, DVM
Brion started working in the field at 13, as a kennel assistant at a busy small animal hospital in N. Dallas, Texas. He claims that veterinary medicine chose him, not that he chose veterinary medicine. He graduated from Texas A&M University in 1995.
Brion held every position, including doctor, at the animal hospital before moving to southern Maine in 2001. In 2004, Brion designed and built his own small animal practice in Berwick, Maine. In 2018, Brion sold his practice and completed his role as Chief of Staff in 2020. Rarebreed Veterinary Partners hired Brion as their original Director of Medical Operations. He has continued to work and grow within the Rarebreed portfolio and is now happily an associate at Riverbend Animal Hospital.
Fun Fact: Dr. Reagor was a nationally ranked gymnast and worked out 9 hours a day throughout junior high school and high school.
Margaret Burgess, DVM
Dr. Margaret (Peg) Burgess has over 30 years of combined experience in large and small animal clinical practice. She graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelor of Science degree in neurobiology and behavior in 1975. She went on to earn her DVM degree from the New York State College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell in 1979.
While in college, Dr. Burgess was an instructor in a laboratory section of the introductory biology class and a swimming instructor. She also worked as a regional hospital’s phlebotomist, blood bank, and medical lab technician.
After graduating, Dr. Burgess worked for the next seven years at the Nassau Veterinary Clinic, where she treated dairy cattle, horses, and small animals. She next worked at several small-animal hospitals in Pennsylvania, including a stint as a house-call veterinarian.
Peg moved to western Massachusetts in 2007 and lived on a mountaintop farm in Southampton with her husband and an assortment of pets and 4H ponies left by her college-aged children. Her interests include trail riding, snowboarding, and driving her favorite toy, a John Deere tractor.
Denise Reidy, DVM
Dr. Denise Reidy brings more than 15 years of experience in the veterinary field to our Wellness team, having worked in several practices and hospitals across Massachusetts. Focused on building close client relationships, she is dedicated to performing thorough workups of our patients to ensure their continued health and well-being. Alongside this commitment to providing quality care for her patients, Dr. Reidy is interested in dentistry and surgery.
A graduate of the Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Reidy completed her clinical rotation at Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. Before attending veterinary medical school, she worked as an emergency/critical care veterinary technician. She also volunteered at the New England Aquarium in their rescue and rehabilitation program and at the St. Kitts Sea Turtle Association.
In her spare time, Denise enjoys hiking with her two dogs, Rey and Charlie, and her two human sons, watching movies with her cat, Lucy, reading, and keeping houseplants alive.
Lynn Candels, RN
Lynn came to work at Riverbend in 2005. “For as long as I can remember, I have loved animals. 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 I have found veterinary nursing to be the perfect celebration of the partnership. It is truly an honor to work with these creatures who teach us how to live fully and bring such joy to our lives.”
Lynn has spent the last 32 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.” She is particularly interested in animal behavior, nutrition, and pet loss.
“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 delighted to have adopted my next canine soul mate, sweet Izelle, a little Kentucky girl.”
Besides her love of animals, Lynn enjoys hiking, biking, adventures, good food, and music with family and friends.
Sam Clark, CVT, CCTPM
Sam grew up in the Pioneer Valley, where she earned an Associate’s 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 and 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 with her unique Arabian/Quarter Horse Cross, Parker. She competes in scent work with her two dogs, Caviar and RangeMan. She enjoys riding motorcycles and bicycles, kayaking, and traveling with friends. Relaxation, when it happens, involves reading a book with her cat Wanda on her lap.
Melinda Harris, CVT, CCRP
Medicine Technician, Certified Canine Rehab Practitioner
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 studied 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, and 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 two children, two dogs, three cats, ten chickens, and a bearded dragon named Barter. Melinda enjoys volleyball, hiking, mountain biking, CrossFit, gardening, and being outside.
Crystal Hood, CVT
Crystal grew up in the Pioneer Valley. Upon graduating from Westfield High School, she enlisted in the United States Coast Guard, proudly serving 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 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 the surgery and wellness departments for over eight years. Crystal has been on the wellness team for four years.
Crystal’s favorite hobbies include cooking, running, and spending time with her beautiful cat, Carl.
Beverley, born and raised in England, had a passion for dogs and horses 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 incredible journey. She lived in various locations, including Ibiza, Spain, and Carnival Cruise ships throughout the Caribbean. Here she worked as a casino dealer who 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 and spent five years living in Miami Beach. Finally, in 2001, she relocated to New England and permanently settled. This was 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 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 2020. She 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 has one daughter Nadia, who attends Providence College. She has a 7-year-old Pomeranian Kai, whom she rescued from Tennessee. Outside of work, Beverley loves to travel. Her favorite destinations are Florida, the Caribbean and Mexico. She is a Christian and a member of the Red Oak Church in West Springfield. She spends her spare time training in the gym and prefers to live a healthy lifestyle.
Whitney joined Riverbend in early 2022 as our Practice Manager. With over ten years of experience in healthcare management, she has a diverse medical and veterinary practice management background.
She graduated from Bay Path University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Services Administration. She is a current master’s candidate at Tufts University School of Medicine, seeking a Health Informatics and Analytics degree. She loves data, numbers, animals, and nature.
Whitney lives in Longmeadow, MA, with her husband, her 15-year-old son, and her parents. Also living in the household are two dogs and two cats, who live on opposite sides of the house and have never met. Whitney enjoys traveling to hike, trail running, hanging out with her family, and reading about British history. She hopes to hike the Appalachian Trail in the future.
Margaret Flaherty, CVT
Margaret Flaherty has been with Riverbend Animal Hospital since its opening in 1999. Her responsibilities cover every hospital area, from providing support to the doctors and veterinary technicians, supervising our laboratory, working with chemotherapy and dental patients, supporting the reception desk, troubleshooting our computer system, and handling all of our ordering needs.
Margaret graduated from Stonehill College in eastern Massachusetts in 1976 with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and attended graduate school in Zoology at the University of Rhode Island. She is a Certified Veterinary Technician.
In 1978, she joined the staff of the Brockton Animal Hospital and became the nursing supervisor in 1985. She moved to western Massachusetts in 1998 to take a position with Rowley Memorial Animal Hospital/MSPCA as the internal medicine specialty technician and the assistant nursing supervisor. Margaret’s areas of interest in veterinary medicine include oncology and the clinical laboratory.
Margaret lives in Florence with her partner and their five children. The family includes Hercules (a basset mix), Grace (a black lab mix), four cats, two cockatiels, and assorted fish. Margaret enjoys cooking, gardening, and reading.
Sharon Sweeney, CVT
Sharon Sweeney joined us in May 2012. She graduated from the veterinary technology program at Becker College in 1992, earning her certification as a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT). For the past 30 years, she has worked at several animal hospitals in central and eastern Massachusetts.
At Riverbend, Sharon wears many hats. She supervises and helps at the front desk and the wellness department. She especially loves working with cats, singing to them to lessen their anxiety. Using her experience, Sharon loves working with owners and patients to help pets live healthier lives.
Sharon lives in Hatfield with her husband and their three cats. They are avid movie watchers. Sharon also enjoys reading, cooking, and going to sci-fi conventions in her spare time.
Shauna Kosak joined Riverbend’s Front Desk team in March 2012. She has worked in the veterinary field for nine years as a receptionist and a veterinary assistant. Shauna has recently started working with our wellness team as a veterinary assistant. With a kind heart and deep love for animals, Shauna has been a foster mom for many cats and dogs, fostering her first baby kitten when she was just 13 years old.
Shauna lives in Longmeadow with her husband (Scott), two exceptional children (Coraline and Ashton), two crazy rescue dogs (Homer and Yogurt), their intrepid disabled rescue cat (Napoleon), and a sweet snugly kitty (Eva).
After a long retail sales career, Sara switched to veterinary care and never looked back. In 2009, Sara started working as an adoption counselor at the Dakin Humane Society. From there, she took on a role in Dakin’s high-volume spay/neuter clinic. After intensive training at Humane Alliance in North Carolina, Sara became a veterinary assistant. Sara spent over seven years at Dakin learning every position in the clinic (except veterinarian!). Eventually, it was time for a change from the specialized environment of a spay/neuter clinic, and she ventured into private practice as a veterinary receptionist. Sara joined our Riverbend crew in April 2019; we love having her here. This is the perfect position for Sara, blending her love of animals, people, and science. Her spot behind the front desk at Riverbend is a dream come true! Working with a group of like-minded, compassionate people who love animals makes it a joy to go to work every day!
Sara enjoys making art, music, and bike riding when not answering the phones or snuggling animals at work. She lives at home with her son, a cattle dog mix named Rue, and a Chiweenie called Zoe.
Nancy joined us earlier this year when the pandemic started, and we needed extra help around the hospital. She helps with the phones, cleaning, running out to the cars, and giving an extra hand whenever and wherever needed!
Nancy is an artist who enjoys working with many mediums. Leaf collages are a specialty. She has worked at many places, including Glacier National Park, a backpacking store, the Vincent Smith Art Museum, a stained glass studio, and even on the Cape at a clam factory and a Bed and Breakfast.
At home, Nancy enjoys being creative with art and cooking, reading, walking, biking, and any activity that gets her outside in nature.
Kelly Parker, CVT
Elite Fear Free Certified Veterinary Professional
Kelly is a Certified Veterinary Technician and an Elite Fear Free Certified Veterinary Professional with nearly 30 years of experience in the field. She started working at Riverbend in 2021. Her career started in a large and small animal practice that served many species. She did everything from assisting in surgery to treatments and wellness care on all manor of creatures, from cats and dogs to horses, goats, and llamas.
After 12 years, Kelly moved on to the Northampton Veterinary Clinic where she continued her career for the next 15 years. At this very busy, multi-doctor practice, Kelly wore many hats. She was the hospital Laboratory Manager, but also worked as a surgical technician, administering anesthesia and monitoring patients, and as a nursing technician, in charge of the care and treatment of hospitalized patients. Kelly holds two degrees. She graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a BA in English and Journalism. She worked as a newspaper reporter for a short time before deciding to pursue a career in veterinary medicine. She has an associate’s degree from Holyoke Community College in Veterinary and Animal Science. Kelly is also a 200-hour RYT (registered yoga teacher). But her certification as an Elite Fear Free Certified Veterinary Professional is what gives her the greatest feelings of joy and accomplishment. She is dedicated to improving the human-animal bond and believes that an animal’s emotional well-being is as important as its physical well-being. By preventing and alleviating fear, stress, and anxiety in her patients, Kelly believes she is fulfilling her oath and duty as a veterinary technician.
Kelly has always loved animals. She grew up participating and competing in 4-H events with her registered Quarter Horse Misguided Missile – her first love. Kelly now lives with her five cats, Harry, Hermie, Toonie, Lay, and Hell Razor, and her husband Scott on the Congamond Lakes in Southwick. Kelly and Scott stay busy as active members of Citizens Restoring Congamond, a group that advocates for the conservation, maintenance, and upkeep of the Congamond Lakes. Kelly and Scott share a love of water sports. Every weekend from May until October you’ll find them water skiing, wakeboarding, and wake surfing on the lakes.