Jill Sackash, DVM
Dr. Jill, as most people call her, has a long story due to her age, experience and history. Many years ago, she graduated from New Haven High School. She married Dan Sackash in 1976 and thanks to his understanding and support and the support and generosity of her parents; she graduated from Purdue Veterinary School in 1984. Her senior year she received the American Animal Hospital Award for excellence in small animal medicine and surgery. After receiving her DVM degree, she was very fortunate to work under the mentoring of Dr. Larry Ackerman and Dr. Doug Bruinsma. They were instrumental in molding her into the vet she is today, especially Dr. Ackerman. Mobile Veterinary Services was her next venture where for 5 years she operated a house call practice and drove a 23 foot mobile clinic around Fort Wayne and the surrounding counties. The mobile van was so well equipped; she could do surgery in your drive-way!!
In 1991, she decided to “move” to Indianapolis and work full time in the Animal Emergency Clinic in north Indy…this proved to be a very valuable learning and networking experience. Two years later, the Fort Wayne Emergency Animal Clinic needed another associate veterinarian, so she jumped at the opportunity to come back “home.” As hard as it was, she sold her mobile van and concentrated on emergency medicine for another 3 years. Then came an opportunity she couldn’t pass up, and she purchased an established practice at 905 W. Gump Rd. So on May 18, 1995, exactly 11 years to the day after receiving her diploma from Purdue, Veterinary Services opened its doors with 3 employees including Dr. Jill! Things were slow at first, so because the Indianapolis ER clinic needed help again, she jumped back into part time ER work.
In 1999 she was asked to help with ER at Northwood Veterinary Hospital in Anderson, where she continues to work ER to this day! This also proved to be such a gift to her professionally and personally as she has meet and worked with many talented colleagues, especially Dr. Tim Lee. And she continues to be honored to be exposed to numerous veterinary specialists at this practice! Even though, by reading this, it seems she was worked all the time…in 1996 she managed to “squeeze” in the birth of her very best attribute, her son Mac! Time has truly flown by he is attending Indiana University in Bloomington getting his degree from the Kelly School of Business!!!
In her spare time, she travels with Mac, likes to read, and manages to take care of their 3.5 acres and the menagerie of animals including dogs, cats, chickens and goats. But then wouldn’t you worry about a vet who does not have animals? She loves what she does and cannot imagine having a more rewarding profession! God has truly blessed her with a wonderful family, a multitude of good friends and co-workers and numerous opportunities that have allowed her to become whom she is today! And of course, she can’t forget to acknowledge all the awesome clients and their special pets she has come to know over the years! She looks forward to meeting many more furry friends in the years to come.
Nicole Koch, DVM
Dr. Nicole knew from a young age that she wanted to be a veterinarian. During high school, she began working for Dr. Jill as an assistant. Working at Veterinary Services only strengthened her desire to pursue Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Nicole received her bachelor degree in Animal Sciences from Purdue University. After graduation, she packed her bags for the beautiful island of St. Kitts to attend Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine. Although 3 years of island life was amazing, Nicole was happy to head back to her alma mater, Purdue, for her clinical year of vet school. She started her dream job back “home” at Veterinary Services with her remarkable mentor and friend, Dr. Jill, in February of 2010. Dr. Nicole and her husband, Ryan, have two very busy boys, a dog and a cat. In her free time, she loves spending time with her family, is involved with her church and loves visiting the Ft Wayne Children’s Zoo.
Natalie Houser, DVM
Dr. Natalie is a 2013 graduate of Purdue University of Veterinary Medicine. From an early age, Dr. Natalie knew she wanted to work with animals. While completing her bachelor’s degree in Biology from IPFW, she worked for Dr. Jill and gained the experience to start veterinary school. After completing her degree in Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Jill and Dr. Nicole offered her a job back at Veterinary Services. Dr. Natalie enjoys working with cats, dogs and rabbits. She is a volunteer leader for the local 4-H rabbit club and recently began volunteering as a puppy raiser for Leader Dogs for the Blind. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family at the lake and taking care of her own critters.
Meet our caring and compassionate veterinary care team.
Registered Veterinary Technicians
Cindy Beard, R.V.T.
Cindy graduated from the Veterinary Technology program at Purdue University in 1986. Along with her Veterinary Technician degree, she also has two Bachelor’s degrees. She has four Golden Retrievers, one cat, one guinea pig and one rabbit. Cindy loves working with her dogs in different sporting venues such as agility, obedience and UKC nosework. She also raises Future Leader Dogs for the blind. Her greatest joy is learning about the clients who are paired with the Leader dog puppies she has raised and hearing about how the dogs have changed each person’s life for the better. Cindy is also a talented quilter! Pictured with her is her 6th Leader Dog puppy named Kane.
Jessi Miller, R.V.T.
Jessi is a Registered Veterinary Technician and has been working at Veterinary Services since 2006. She and her husband, Greg, have 2 daughters in college. One is studying vocal performance with plans to begin her graduate degree in the fall. The other is an undergraduate piano performance major. Jessi enjoys traveling with her family when she is not working and has two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.
Shannon L. Bartels, R.V.T.
Shannon joined our staff in February of 2010. She graduated from Purdue University with her bachelor degree in Veterinary Technology in 2007. She lives in North Webster with her husband, Paul, and their three children, Chloe, Peyton, and Wyatt. With both girls in school, they are very busy with homework and after school activities such as dance and softball. When not busy with work and home chores, Shannon’s family enjoys visiting the different zoos in the area, swimming, kayaking and watching movies. Shannon’s furry family includes two Labrador retriever mixes (Zeek and Rigby), a Chi-Russell (Rango), and five female cats (Corona, Snickers, Rosetta, Tiger Lilly, and Trinity). Amazingly, all get along great! There may be a tussle every once in a while, but everyone seems to back to their routine without too much hassle!
Jennifer Dunn, R.V.T.
Jen began working at Veterinary Services in late 2011. She graduated from Michigan State University Veterinary Technology Program in 2009. Although she and her husband moved to Ft. Wayne from Michigan, they remain loyal Michigan State University fans. Go Green! Jen has 2 children, Josh 11/13 and Josie 7/16. Her fur babies include a golden retriever mix named Cadence and a miniature poodle mix named Bella. She enjoys spending time with her family, staying active, camping, and watching Spartan sports.
Heather Lake, R.V.T.
Heather began working at Veterinary Services as a high school intern in August of 2007 and has been working here ever since! She graduated from Purdue University’s Veterinary Technology Distance Learning Program in 2014. Heather currently has 2 dogs, 2 cats and 7 goats! When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with her fiancé, Zack. Heather also enjoys gardening, hiking with her dogs and anything involving the outdoors. Here at Veterinary Services, she is our Patient Care Technician. From extra blankets to monitoring pain and intravenous fluids, we can be sure our patients are in good hands with Heather!
Lilly Gordon, R.V.T.
Lilly graduated from International Business College, Vet Tech Institute in February of 2016. She began working at Veterinary Services in March of 2016. Lilly has 5 rescue pets: 1 mixed breed dog named Steve, 2 cats (Cotton and Momo) and 2 Guinea pigs (Otis and Marvin). In her spare time, she enjoys camping trips and traveling with her close friends and family.
Kelsi Johnson, R.V.T.
Kelsi joined Veterinary Services in 2017 after graduating from the Vet Tech Institute here in Fort Wayne and passed her national exam to become a Registered Veterinary Technician. She is married, has two children, a Yorkie mix named Chloe, and a cat named Nemo. In Kelsi’s free time, she loves hanging out with her family, coaching her kid’s soccer teams, DIY home projects and playing the piano.
Jessica Mills, R.V.T.
Doris has been at Veterinary Services since 2004. She works in the mornings assisting with surgeries and dentals, helping with appointments, or filling in wherever needed. She is also in charge of our Facebook page, submitting coupons, and sending out email reminders. When not at work, Doris keeps up with her busy family, supporting her children in their athletic and music activities. She and her husband, Bob, have 4 children. As is typical in the veterinary field, all of her pets are rescues; her family includes a mixed breed dog and 3 cats.
Ann got her start working with pets in 1988 at East State Veterinary Clinic and has continued her love of animals. She has been working with Dr. Jill since 1995. The one-on-one of a small practice keeps her in touch with our clients. Ann’s job is keeping things organized and also helping with the animals. She has six cats of her own on the “plantation” she shares with her husband, Larry.