Meet our veterinarians

Peter Berk | Roaring Brook Veterinary Hospital | Canton, CT

Peter Berk, DVM

Roaring Brook Veterinary Hospital began as a one-veterinarian, three-room clinic when Dr. Peter Berk purchased the facility in 1964. After more than forty years and three additions, the facility has expanded to a large three-veterinarian, fully-equipped hospital with a full-service boarding and day care center.

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 | Roaring Brook Veterinary Hospital | Canton, CT

David Staudacher, DVM

Dr. David Staudacher grew up in Connecticut and returned in 1988 when he joined the veterinary team at Roaring Brook Veterinary Hospital. Co–owner of the hospital, Dr. Staudacher has enjoyed watching the practice grow during the two decades he has cared for pets.

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.

Sharon Potanka, DVM

Coming Soon…

Meet our hospital managers

Allie | Roaring Brook Veterinary Hospital


Allison earned an associates degree in science with a focus on veterinary technology and became a certified veterinary technician in 2012 from Northwestern Connecticut Community College. After completing her final internship at Roaring Brook Veterinary Hospital, she was happy to be granted a position.

She has been working within the veterinary field since 2004 when she started in a veterinary hospital in her hometown of Bethel. She has held many different roles in the hospital, and since 2015 she has been the head technician at Roaring Brook Veterinary Hospital. She has always loved working at Roaring Brook because of the great staff that strives to provide clients and patients the best care possible. She is proud to be part of this team.

She currently has two Pitbull’s (Olivia and Ruby) and a Scottish fold named Bonnie. When not working she enjoys taking the pup’s on as many adventures as possible, making dog collars (to keep them looking dapper) and visiting friends and family.


Ann-Marie has worked in the veterinary profession for almost 35 years including 12 years in veterinary pharmaceutical sales.

She has two grown boys, 31 and 28 years old and also a son going on 13 years of age. She has been blessed with a beautiful grandson and two granddaughters.

Her and her husband have a frenchie, pitbull, maine coon, ragdoll and four chickens. They enjoy spending time with their family, pets and friends, late night camp fires and gardening.

Meet our veterinary technicians


Samantha 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.

Kerry McGrath - Roaring Brook Veterinary Hospital - Canton, CT


Kerry has been working in the veterinary profession for the past 11years. It is the hospital and clients that keep her where she is.

Her hobbies include movies, concerts, cooking and spending time with her four cats and chinchilla.


 Ashley 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 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 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 earned her Associates in veterinary technology from Northwestern Connecticut Community College. She has now been working in the industry for the past ten years and at Roaring Brook for three years. Katie is thankful for her team members who have become a second family.

In her spare time, Katie enjoys being in the outdoors hiking, biking and kayaking. She also enjoys snuggling with her chihuahua, Rosco and her cat, Mr. Nibblers.


Brianna earned her veterinary assistant certificate from Tunxis. She has worked with Roaring Brook for the past two years.

Her hobbies include horse back riding, hiking and kayaking. Her pets include two dogs, two ferrets, one cat, one snake and a duck.


Kiera attended Northwestern Region 7 High School and took both large and small animal science classes all three years that she was there. She loved the agriculture program and was very involved with the animals. As a child she also showed horses in 4-H fairs. She attended Northwestern Connecticut Community college and completed all prerequisite courses for their veterinary technician program. She loves learning how to provide the best care and treatment options for pets each and every day.

She has worked in the veterinary field for three years. For her, there is nothing more rewarding than working with her coworkers and meeting and providing care to the community’s pets daily. Her favorite thing is getting to watch her patients grow from a puppy to a huge goofball dog or the smallest, sickly kitten turn into the most handsome cat.

She has worked with Roaring Brook for a year and a half.


Sarah became a certified veterinary technician in of August 2021. She graduated from Northwestern Connecticut Community College with an Associates Degree in Veterinary Technology in May 2021. She joined Roaring Brook Veterinary Hospital in June 2021 as a veterinary technician.

She enjoys working in the lab and has enjoyed meeting and treating patients at the hospital.

She has a calico named Ellie, a wheelchair-bound dog named Lulu and a parrotlet named Oliver. In her free time, she enjoys reading and spending time with her family.

She has a calico named Ellie, a wheelchair-bound Beagle-Coonhound named Lulu, and a parrotlet named Oliver. In her free time, Sarah enjoys reading and spending time with her family.

Meet our client care specialists


Sarah has been working for Roaring Brook since June 2013. She started out working for Roaring Brook Kennels as their receptionist. She has had many opportunities to work with rescue organizations and be a part of numerous fund raising events that help support the local community.

She has always had a passion for animals and people and she gets the best of both worlds working at Roaring Brook Veterinary Hospital.

Currently, her own pets include a 14 year old Border Collie, Ellie and an eight (ish) year old Hound Mix Toby, who was a foster failure. She also has two adult children.

She feels fortunate to be a part of the big Roaring Brook family.


Kate has been working at Roaring Brook Veterinary Hospital since May 2021 as a receptionist. She is currently attending Ashworth College to become a licensed veterinary technician and had previously attended Johnson and Wales University to obtain a bachelors degree in event management. Kate has been working with animals professionally for the last five years at a doggy daycare, as a certified pet nutritionist for PetValu and volunteering through various dog rescue organizations. In her free time she loves spending time with her four year old dog Zeus whom has been her partner in crime since he was five weeks old.

She is honored to be a part of the Roaring Brook team and is excited to learn from some of the best in the business!


Coming Soon…


Coming Soon…


After 20 years in Veterinary Medicine, Christina prides herself on client education and customer service. She loves developing lasting relationships with client and patients alike.

She runs COPES, a pet loss support group and has a passion for helping pets live longer, healthier lives by achieving a healthy weight.

She is a new mom, so when she has free time, she enjoys sports, especially softball and loves to go hiking with her husband, son and maltipoo – Rory.