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 Nassar, 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).
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
Hospital manager Tim Burns joined the Roaring Brook Animal Hospital staff in 2002. He has worked in the animal care field for more than 20 years and previously worked at St. Mark’s Veterinary Hospital and Animal General Veterinary Hospital in New York City. He likes interacting with clients and pets and enjoys helping keep pets healthy. Outside the hospital, Tim works part–time as a spinning instructor at a local gym. He also enjoys gardening and cooking. He and his wife, Bonnie, and their daughter, Kendall, share their home with two dogs, Maxwell, a French Bulldog, and Chico, a Chihuahua, as well as Stewart, their sphynx cat. They also have a ten-year-old African Grey parrot named Kuka, who you are likely to see at the front desk.
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.
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
Veterinary Technician Samantha Lackey says she derives great satisfaction from playing a role in the care of our clients’ pets as well as the family-like atmosphere among staff members. “The staff at Roaring Brook Veterinary Hospital is wonderful and fun to work with,” she says. “I love that I am able to spend each day helping all of the different animals in numerous situations, and feeling at the end of the day that I have helped in some way care for these pets.”
At home, Samantha has an 8-year-old Springer Spaniel named Ralphie that she enjoys taking to dog dock diving trials. 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.
Ashley Caruso joined the Roaring Brook Veterinary team in June of 2018, having previously worked as an veterinary assistant and technician for the past six years. As a Certified Veterinary Technician, Ashley’s favorite part of her job is surgical nursing, preparing and caring for patients undergoing anesthetic procedures.
In her free time, Ashley enjoys hiking, traveling, and reading. She has two cats, Barney and Seamus, two rabbits, HipHop and Pinot, and a Russian Tortoise named Boris.
Jenn Rosado joined the Roaring Brook Veterinary staff in March of 2015, having previously worked as a zookeeper and an emergency veterinary technician. She holds a Bachelors of Science in Animal Behavior from the City College of New York. Jenn enjoys assisting our Doctors with patients needing urgent care.
In her free time, Jenn enjoys spending time with her husband and twin daughters, and their dogs, Max and Penny.
Hannah Carlson joined the Roaring Brook Veterinary staff in January of 2018. As one of our veterinary assistants, Hannah enjoys helping care for patients who are boarding, visiting for exams, or awaiting surgical procedures.
In her free time, Hannah enjoys hiking, baking, and reading. She has a calico cat named Mya, and a Guinea Pig named Rocky.
Katie Tolhurst rejoined the Roaring Brook Veterinary staff in March of 2019. She holds an Associate Degree in Veterinary Technology from Northwestern Community College. She has been working in the veterinary field since 2010. As one of our certified veterinary technicians, Katie especially enjoys taking radiographs and meeting new puppies and kittens at their first visits.
She has a cat named Mr. Nibblerz, and a Chihuahua mix, Roscoe. In her free time, Katie enjoys hiking, backpacking, camping, and fishing.
Meet our receptionists
After five years of working at Roaring Brook Kennels, Sarah Faucher joined the Veterinary team in May of 2018. Sarah now enjoys welcoming many of our kennel guests as patients to the hospital, as well as meeting some new canine and feline friends.
In her free time, Sarah enjoys spending time with her two children, as well as her two dogs, Toby and Ellie.