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Good Friends Animal Hospital

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Our Care Team

Meet the folks who make it all happen. We see big potential in every moment, and care deeply about what we do every day.

Jessica

Jessica

Practice Manager

Jess was born and raised in Springfield, Illinois, as part of a large and loving family. Even as a child, she was a natural problem solver and found great joy in the companionship of both people and animals. As she grew older, Jess gravitated toward the veterinary industry because it gave her the opportunity to put her talents to good use and serve the community through caring for humans and their furry family members. 

Jess didn’t waste any time climbing the career ladder, starting out as a part-time receptionist, and quickly moving up to office manager, then practice manager. After relocating to the Champaign Urbana area, Jess took a role as hospital administrator until COVID hit. When the dust settled, Jess decided to change gears and try human medicine, but quickly discovered it didn’t offer the same fulfillment as veterinary medicine had, so she returned to her roots and joined Good Friends Animal Hospital.

Professionally, Jess enjoys team building and development, and is still adept at solving problems. She takes great pride in supporting her team and providing them with all the tools they need to be successful. Jess also feels strongly about doing the right thing for the right reason. She understands that there isn’t always a black and white answer, which is why it’s so important to be thorough and open-minded. This approach has served her well throughout her career.

Outside of the clinic, Jess resides with her boyfriend, Kevin, and her teenage son, Owen. They currently have two fur-babies of their own, including a sassy rescue cat named Rizzo and a bi-eyed rescue dog named Blue. In her spare time, Jess enjoys bowling, crocheting, sewing, drawing, traveling with Kevin, and cheering on her beloved St. Louis Blues. Her other passion is cooking—especially her Grandma Rosie’s famous lasagna recipe, which some say is the best lasagna they’ve ever tasted.


Francisco

Francisco

Certified Veterinary Technician

Unlike many of his colleagues, Francisco didn’t grow up knowing he wanted to work with animals. In fact, it wasn’t until he graduated high school, when his family adopted a tiny Shih Tzu puppy, that he began to discover his love of caring for pets. As a veterinary technician, Francisco is able to share that passion with others as he provides care and service to patients and their owners.

Francisco joined the Good Friends Animal Hospital team in November of 2022, while in his second year of vet tech school. In his role as a CVT, one of his favorite tasks is placing IV catheters, as it’s a skill that took a decent amount of time to master. He also enjoys drawing blood for diagnostics.

Outside of the clinic, Francisco has two fur-babies of his own: long-haired cats named Loki and Maki. Loki is calm and well-behaved, and often accompanies Francisco to work. Maki is a feisty little kitten who is a menace, but absolutely adores her big “brother” and follows him everywhere he goes.


Abby

Abby

Veterinary Assistant

The seeds of a person’s career are usually planted during their youth. This is definitely the case for Abby, who is currently a veterinary assistant at Good Friends Animal Hospital. Abby can remember the exact moment in her life when she decided that she wanted to devote her life to helping animals!

When she was younger, Abby would go hunting with her dad and she’d be accompanied by her Brittany Spaniel named Sebastion. One day she noticed her dog badly limping and discovered that he had cut the pad of his foot. She cleaned and bandaged his wound every day for the next week, and the dog began to look at her more lovingly. This made Abby feel amazing, and it was then she knew that this was her calling.

Abby grew up in a small town, and as an only child, she took a liking to sports and hunting time with her father. She landed a job at the local humane society, which would be her first experience working with animals. Her most memorable moment was helping save the life of a young pitbull who came to the hospital with a terrible mange. She took the dog (which she named Bella) back home and nursed it back to health. Once Bella was back on her feet, Abby put her up for adoption.

As much as Abby loves to help save animal lives, she also loves working closely with her Good Friends Animal Hospital family. She loves meeting and dealing with new clients and their pets, and has taken a liking to seeing cats. Whether it’s dealing with the unpredictable nature of cats or learning about skin issues in animals, Abby is constantly seeking knowledge and learning.

In her free time, Abby is kept busy by her husband,  their two sons and a whopping 7 (8 if you count her fish) pets! To decompress, she enjoys going to concerts and taking quick getaway trips to the mountains.


Dr. Dmytro Berezhnyi

Dr. Dmytro Berezhnyi 

Veterinary Assistant

The first book Dr. Dmytro read in his life was “Dr. I-Bolit”. It was about a wonderful, kind veterinarian whom he wanted to emulate. This was especially the case since many of the vets he’d encountered growing up in Ukraine were less than competent. So, Dr. Dmytro decided to take matters into his own hands and be better!

At the age of 14, Dr. Dmytro was already performing surgery on animals. He attended university and applied to study with a practicing veterinarian. When his dog, Wise, became sick with distemper, and all the other vets said there was no hope, Dr. Dmytro followed his gut and administered medication via an IV. Wise made a full recovery, and Dr. Dmytro knew he’d made the right choice in becoming a vet.

Prior to relocating to the Champaign area, Dr. Dmytro served as the head physician and orthopedist of Dr. Berezhny’s veterinary surgery clinic, as well as a professor of anatomy and surgery at a university. He is thrilled to be part of the Good Friends team and looks forward to serving our clients and their beloved pets for many years to come.


Faith

Faith

Veterinary Assistant

When Faith was a young child, the family vet would allow her to listen to her pet’s heart and assist with some of the little tasks. This seemingly simple gesture inspired Faith to pursue a career that would allow her to work with animals for a living. And the rest, as they say, is history!

Faith’s journey began as a kennel assistant at a vet clinic in Decatur. While there, she also took on a role with animal control assisting with adoptions and answering questions from the community. Since then, she has interned at the Scovil Zoo and worked at the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Faith joined Good Friends in the spring of 2024. Clinically, she has a special interest in urgent care cases.

At home, Faith has two cats of her own: Alvin and Theodore, who are littermates that started out as medical fosters but ended up staying with Faith. Both are particularly skilled at using their sad eyes to get more food after they have just finished a meal. As a full-time college student and working veterinary assistant, Faith doesn’t have much free time, but when she does, you will likely find her at a concert.


Lydia

Lydia

Veterinary Assistant

When Lydia was growing up, animals were her life. In particular, she was charged with caring for the barn cats—a job that she did with great pride. She remembers vividly the day the gray tabby gave birth to a litter of seven healthy kittens while Lydia watched in awe. She was eight years old, and even then, she knew that she wanted to work in the veterinary field. Today, she is thrilled to be living her childhood dream.

Lydia got her start while still in high school, when she started pet-sitting for several people in the community. After relocating to Champaign in June 2023, she enrolled in Parkland’s veterinary technician program and a month later, started a job here at Good Friends Animal Hospital. So far, she’s discovered she has a knack for drawing blood, and is always eager to learn new things. 

Outside of work, Lydia resides with her long-time girlfriend, Alyssa, and their three cats. Lucifer, a black domestic shorthair, was originally a farm cat but quickly adapted to the indoor lifestyle. Lillith, another black kitty, was a stray they took in. And then there’s Saint, an orange tabby they adopted from a local rescue. When she’s not busy working, studying, or playing with the cats, Lydia enjoys fishing, traveling, playing sports, and spending time with friends and family.


Rachael

Rachael

Veterinary Assistant

From a young age, Rachael felt a strong connection with animals and was fascinated by their behavior, biology, and the unique bond they share with humans. Becoming a veterinary professional was a natural extension of that passion. As an adult, Rachael has dedicated her life to ensuring the health and wellbeing of animals, whether they are beloved pets, wildlife, or exotic species. 

During her undergraduate year of college, Rachael sought as much hands-on experience as she could get. This included working at a dog training facility, a research lab, and a horse farm, as well as completing internships at both the University of Illinois Vet Med Wildlife Clinic and a local animal shelter. After graduating in May of 2021, Racheal joined the Good Friends team and hasn’t looked back since! 

Clinically, Rachael enjoys assisting with surgery and urgent care appointments. Specifically, she finds anesthesia monitoring particularly fulfilling, as it plays a critical role in ensuring patient safety. She also appreciates the challenge of emergency medicine because it allows her to apply her problem-solving skills while also providing much-needed relief to sick or injured patients.

Rachael lives in Champaign with her two cats, Sugar and Stubby, both of whom were adopted from local rescue organizations. Sugar is very friendly and cuddly. Stubby came from a hoarding situation and got his name because he came into the clinic for emergency care with a tail injury. He is very shy but is closely bonded to Rachael. 

In addition to animals, Rachael’s other interests include reading, attending concerts, and working out at the gym.


Tori

Tori

Veterinary Assistant

People sometimes turn their childhood passions into their future careers. Take Tori, for example. She grew up loving animals. Today, she’s a vet assistant at Good Friends Animal Hospital, so she literally turned her passion into her career!

Tori was born and raised in Champaign county. As a youngster, she enjoyed exploring the outdoors and loved learning new things. She would gradually zero her focus on animals.

Tori lists her childhood dog, Natal, as her greatest inspiration for entering the veterinary field. She considered the gentle German Shepherd/black lab mix to be her best friend, as he had a sweet soul and a great listening ear. He was always there for her, and he initiated her love for large dogs. As the years passed and she worked in different clinics, she would gradually bond with animals of all sizes.

When it comes to experience, Tori’s first time working with animals came as a kennel worker at Quarter C Pet Resort. She worked there for five years, soaking up knowledge on various pets, wildlife, farm animals. She would eventually attend Southern Illinois University and earn her bachelor’s degree in zoology. After graduating, she moved back home and found the position at Good Friends Animals. The rest is history!

Tori’s favorite part about working at the animal hospital is witnessing the growth and maturation of each of the young animals as they return for visits. She’s amazed watching these animals morph from tiny puppies and kittens into adults with their own unique personality. She also enjoys the challenge of making progress with any animal that comes into the office scared, nervous or apprehensive.

When she’s at home, Tori is kept busy by her 2 pets. She has a German Shepherd/pitbull mix named Oakley, and a spunky cat named Moschi. Just like her younger days, she still enjoys exploring the great outdoors – you can catch her hiking with her dog, fishing, kayaking and camping!


Kylee

Kylee

Title coming soon!

Bio coming soon.


Cuddles

Cuddles

Practice Cat

Every animal hospital needs a resident animal to keep the mood light and everyone on their toes. That’s exactly what Cuddles the Cat provides for Good Friends Animal Hospital. Cuddles can be a sweetheart who everyone loves to pet and play with, but every now and then you might also find him getting into some mischief!

Cuddles arrived at the animal hospital years ago in need of assistance. Once he got there, he immediately noticed what a warm, welcoming environment it was that was filled with smart, funny people, so he decided to stick around for a while. Not only that, he also realized that the hospital needed his help and would be utterly lost without him.

Animal hospitals can be places where you find pet owners sad or anxious while waiting for their pets. To comfort them, Cuddles lovingly purrs and even rubs his face on theirs. The truth is, Cuddles has become somewhat of a celebrity at the hospital and has even developed a legion of fans who he enjoys interacting with. Pet owners routinely visit the hospital asking about him and vie for his attention. Everyone on the staff plays an important role in keeping the hospital running smoothly, but so does Cuddles.

When he’s not busy being a rock star at the hospital, you can catch Cuddles pretending to be asleep. Then once everyone’s guard is down, he’ll push their things off the counter. He’s pretty sure they find it as hilarious as he does!

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1,358

SLOPPY KISSES

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4,858

BELLIES RUBBED

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2,345

TREATS GIVEN