Meet our veterinarians
Peter Berk, DVM
Dr. Berk received his Bachelor’s of Science Degree and his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Missouri. He interned for one year in Bradenton, Florida and completed a one-year post-doctoral study in surgery at the University of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Berk is very involved in the veterinary community. He is a past president of Hartford County Veterinary Medical Association and is an active member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Animal Hospital Association, the Connecticut Veterinary Medical Association and the Hartford County Veterinary Medical Association. Dr. Berk was a recipient of the NIH grant for study in thoracic surgery and a consultant with a United Technologies primate space research project.
Dr. Berk’s three children have also been successful in their careers. Katie, who lives in Vermont, is a clinical psychologist with a Ph. D., and sons Andrew and Jeff are equine veterinarians living in Los Angeles and Florida, respectively.
His hobbies include competitive horse sports – he frequently participates in equestrian events and polo. He also enjoys skiing and tennis. Dr. Berk has a cat, Joe Black, who resides with us here at the hospital, eager to greet each visitor.
David Staudacher, DVM
Dr. Staudacher completed his undergraduate education at the University of Pennsylvania and received his Bachelor’s Degree in Biology in 1978. He continued his veterinary education at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine and was awarded his Veterinariae Medicinae Doctoris in 1986. He counts internal medicine and soft-tissue surgery among his favorite areas of professional interest. He is a member of the American Animal Hospital Association and the American Veterinary Dental Society.
Dr. Staudacher and his wife, Allison, are the proud parents of three children: Adam, Christian and Emma. The family’s four-legged members include a Yorkshire terrier named Artie and a cat named Cuddles. During his leisure time, Dr. Staudacher enjoys gardening, cooking, listening to music and cheering on New York’s sports teams.
Jacoba van der Giessen, DVM
Dr. Jacoba van der Giessen grew up in Nova Scotia, Canada, and graduated from the Atlantic Veterinary College in Prince Edward Island, Canada. After practicing for 2 years in Pittsburgh, she decided to move closer to extended family and joined the RBVH team. Her special interests in veterinary medicine involve internal medicine cases and radiology. Having had exposure to holistic practices at her last position, Dr. van der Giessen decided to pursue chiropractic training to enhance her approach to optimize quality of care. She received her certification from the Healing Oasis Wellness Center; the only nationally accredited chiropractic school in the country, and has demonstrated and appreciated significant improvement in success rates of treatments by integrating chiropractic with traditional care.
Dr. van der Giessen shares her home with three cats: Nimbles, who was abandoned as a kitten at a veterinary clinic; Scotch, who she adopted from the humane society, and Pocus, a four-legged (and beautiful) gift from a client in Pittsburgh. She also lives with her dog Harley; a Nova Scotia Ducktolling Retriever, who was a rescue while Dr. van der Giessen attended veterinary school, Harley had been abused for the first 10 years of his life. After investing in years of training, Harley has shown tremendous improvement, from the days of severe conflict aggression to now being considered a therapy dog. When she’s not at the clinic, or traveling to visit with friends and family, Dr. van der Giessen really enjoys spending time outdoors and loves to be out on the water (Harley joins her in the kayak).
Josh Malouin, DVM
Dr. Malouin has a beagle/Jack Russell terrier mix named Peanut. In his free time he enjoys landscaping, building fish ponds, fly fishing, RC planes and intricate pumpkin carving.
Aaron Begg, BVSc
Veterinarian Aaron Begg grew up in New Zealand and attended the Massey University Veterinary Teaching Hospital, where he met his Farmington-born wife. He spent many years practicing in New Zealand, and in late 2017 moved to Connecticut to be closer to her family. He has worked in emergency as well as general practice, and spent two years as primary care veterinarian for Auckland’s police dogs. His special interests in veterinary medicine include bunnies, all aspects of feline and canine medicine and surgery, and a minor interest in ophthalmology. When he’s not at the clinic, Dr Begg is obsessed with food and baking, and is always happy to share a recipe or two.
Meet our hospital managers
Joanne LeClair joined Roaring Brook Veterinary Hospital in March, 2013. As our Office Manager, she handles the day to day administration operations at our practice, and supports our reception staff, technicians, and doctors. As a certified back country trail guide, her previous experience has revolved primarily around horses, but Joanne has enjoyed expanding her professional experience to include small animals as well.
“I love being a part of a team that makes a difference,” Joanne says. “We make a positive impact in the lives of families and their pets in this community.”
Joanne has a menagerie of pets, including horses, dogs, cats, and chickens. In her free time, she enjoys relaxing at her farm, and hiking and fishing with her husband.
Allison Smith joined the Roaring Brook Veterinary team in June 2012. She has been working with animals since 2004, and became a certified Veterinary Technician after graduating from Northwestern Connecticut Community College in 2012. As our head technician, she ensures the comfort and safety of all our patients, from those here for a routine appointment, to those undergoing extensive surgical procedures. Allison dedicates her time to mentoring our technician staff and supporting our doctors. She teaches a certification program for veterinary assistants at Tunxis Community College.
Roaring Brook Veterinary Hospital’s friendly atmosphere appeals to Allison. “I really enjoy my co-workers. Everyone is friendly and very knowledgeable,” she said. “All of the doctors specialize in different areas and make for a better overall experience.”
Visiting her family is one of Allison’s favorite things to do in her spare time. She also enjoys fishing, hiking and cooking. She shares her affection with her two dogs, Olivia and Ruby, and her cats, Jack and Bonnie.
Meet our veterinary technicians
At home, Samantha has an 8-month-old Springer Spaniel named Ralphie that she enjoys taking to dog dock diving trials. She also has an 8-year-old Maine Coon Cat named Buddy. Beyond her work and pets, she also enjoys playing soccer, working out, going out dancing, running, and spending time with friends and family.
An avid pet person, Kerry says that her work provides a great opportunity to mix her love of animals with her day-to-day work-life. “I enjoy working at this veterinary hospital because we see a wide variety of animals,” she says, “including birds, small animals, and reptiles, which I have a lot of experience with.”
Kerry also manages a wide array of pets at home, which include two cats, a Jenday Conure, a Chinchilla, five Gerbils, one Hamster, five toads, and two Beta fish. Her free time is spent watching movies, working out, playing Wii, cooking, reading, visiting museums, travel and pet sitting and grooming.
Tatiana Bechard is a veterinary technician at Roaring Brook Veterinary Hospital. She joined our team in December, 2012, and her responsibilities include assisting our veterinarians in surgery and exam rooms, taking patient history, educating clients, and assisting with treatments. Her favorite part of her job is working with our exotic patients. She has an Associates Degree in General Studies, and is a certified Veterinary technician, graduating from Northwestern Connecticut Community College. She also has a Veterinary Assistant Certificate from Tunxis Community College.
Tatiana has a dog, three cats, a snake, and a leopard gecko. She also paints pet portraits in her free time and enjoys camping and going to the beach.
Veronica Cordon joined the Roaring Brook Veterinary team in August 2015, after previously working as a canine medical manager at a local rescue. As one of our veterinary technicians, Veronica takes pride in providing outstanding care to our patients, from assisting our Doctors to providing resources and education for our pet parents.
In her free time, Veronica enjoys spending time with her son and fiance and their dogs, Remi and Charlie, and their cat Lumos.
Samantha Higley joined our team as a veterinary technician in October 2016, after previously working as an ICU technician. Sam brings to Roaring Brook a dedication to the comfort and safety of our patients.
In her free time, Sam enjoys riding her American Paint, Bugsy, and relaxing with her other pets, including her dog Fern and two cats.
Meet our receptionists
Alicia has two dogs: Pistol, a Beagle, and Hudson, a Dachshund. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, crafting, cultivating her “not-so-great green thumb,” thrifting, repurposing, and cooking. She also writes for the Winsted Journal and spends her weekends working at a winery.
Paul Logan joined our reception team in July of 2017. Paul brings to Roaring Brook an enthusiasm for pets of all kinds, having previously worked as an adoption counselor and a doggy daycare attendant.
In his free time, Paul enjoys relaxing with his tortoiseshell cat, Kinsey.
Having previously worked at Roaring Brook, Lisa Brophy rejoined our staff in 2016. As one of our receptionists, she enjoys welcoming new and returning patients to our hospital
In her free time, Lisa enjoys spending time with her fiance and their two dogs, Betty and Vince, as well as their four cats.