Meet Our Incredible Veterinarians and Support Staff

Our veterinarians, technicians, and assistants here in Hugo give 200% in everything they do to help pets and their loving owners. Want to know more about them? Read on!

Dr. Michelle Beck, D.V.M. (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine) & Owner

Hi, I am Dr. Michelle Beck and the owner of P.A.W.S. Pet Hospital. I have been practicing veterinary medicine in the Twin Cities since graduating Veterinary School from the University of Missouri in 1995. I have truly enjoyed all that veterinary medicine has had to offer and have been so glad to have started this practice in this community that has become my home. Being a veterinarian was always my life’s dream, and to do what you love is a real treat.

It was my goal in starting this hospital, to provide a place where clients and their four-legged family members would feel at home, confident that they were being cared for in a manner that was on par with the best medical care any of us would expect. It was also important to provide the team members delivering service an environment where they feel confident that their service and skills are the best, appreciated, and that they are supported and promoted in their crucial roles in the care of pets and their families. In doing so, this has helped to accomplish the mission of helping our clients enjoy the benefits of a long, healthy and active relationship with their pets. What I had not expected was how amazing the relationships we have formed would be, and the extent of the feeling of family and support among all of you who have become part of the P.A.W.S. Family.

The past six years have been amazing, and have seen such change and growth. We have seen new faces with client and business growth, as well as seen some leave. The support that has been shown to us, we have tried to return, with expansion of service for urgent care for our area. This has been a new venture that I am very proud of, and have felt so good for being able to service as a need in the community. When you are scared with a pet that is sick, or had something scary happen, it has been amazing to see the impact we can have in being there to help.

While I spend a lot of time here, which I do love, I also enjoy my down time with my husband Matt and our two huskies, Amarok and Czar Nicholas. We all got into snow shoeing this winter, which the dogs loved!!! I started curling this year as well with the Cairn Lassies, which was a lot of fun, making the winter try to go by a bit quicker. With having a good team around me, I have tried getting back into some cooking, and look forward to helping Matt with the building of a “kit” car. We also had some time for traveling, which we love to do. ​

Dr. Heidi Johnson, D.V.M.

Dr. Heidi Johnson joined the P.A.W.S Pet Hospital team in June of 2010, having practiced medicine in Shoreview and Brooklyn Park 3 years prior. She graduated from Saint Cloud State University with a degree in Biology, was accepted into the Veterinary Medical Program at the University of Minnesota, and completed her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine in 2007.

Her interests include internal medicine, dermatology, pain management, and preventative and senior pet care. She feels one of the most rewarding aspects of this job is strengthening the human-animal bond.  Dr. Heidi looks forward to building long-lasting relationships with her clients and patients and providing the best possible care.

When she is not at P.A.W.S, she can be found spending time with her husband and their household of pets. Their pets include one spoiled Boston Terrier, “Nala,” and four adoring felines (Chloe, Lakota, Martin, and Opie). She enjoys traveling, watching movies, wine tasting, reading, and spending time with friends.

Dr. Sean Ross, D.V.M.

Dr. Sean Ross has been a member of the team at P.A.W.S. Pet Hospital since September 2016.  He is originally from New York, where he graduated from The State University of New York College at Geneseo with a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology. Knowing that helping animals was his true passion, he moved to St. Paul in 2012 to continue his education at the University of Minnesota, where he received his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine in 2016.

Dr. Ross’s clinical interests include preventative care, radiology, and internal medicine. While he loves working with all of his furry patients, he also enjoys being part of the community and getting to know each and every one of his clients on a personal level as well.

When not practicing medicine, Dr. Ross can be found in his yard playing with his cat, Richard Parker, trying all of the awesome restaurants and breweries the Twin Cities has to offer, and participating in any sport or physical activity—he was the captain of the varsity wrestling team in high school, and played rugby in college. He also enjoys working on his car and keeping in touch with his friends and family back east– including his identical twin brother, who is also a veterinarian!

Dr. Ross truly enjoys being a part of the team at P.A.W.S. Pet Hospital and looks forward to working with all of our clients with the ultimate goal of making animals healthy again.

Jenny Wehmas, Lead C.V.T. (Certified Veterinary Technician)

Jenny is a Certified Veterinary Technician who graduated from Argosy University. She has worked as a CVT not only in her home state of Minnesota, but has spent some time in Georgia and Arizona.

Jenny and her husband enjoy camping, hiking, and anything outdoors with their dogs. They currently have 2 pets at home: a yellow Labrador, Chloe, and a cat, Heria.

Kristen Nadeau, Lead C.S.C. (Client Service Coordinator)

Hi there, my name is Kristen and I graduated from the Medical Institute of Minnesota with an associate’s degree in Certified Veterinary Technology in Dec 1995.  I had practiced as a tech for about 10 years before I started a different venture in my career and decided to go back to school to obtain my Bachelors’ degree in Business, which I obtained from Concordia St. Paul in May of 2015.  My love for animals came calling again in 2013 when I was on the look-out for a new position. I worked for a veterinary practice as the office manager from August 2013, until I came to work for P.A.W.S. in August of 2016.

I have known Dr. Beck since I was just out of tech school way back in 1995, and we always said we’d love to work together, when and if she had her own clinic. Once I found out that she had her own practice, I was so happy for the possibility to come work with her. In all of my veterinary history, this has been the best decision and work place I have been at.

In my spare time, I have a passion for photography, scrapbooking, and cardmaking. I have two adorable puppies: Fergie, a Yorkie mix born in January 2016, and I just got a new Yorkie puppy (Sophie), who was born in February 2017.  I have my hands full with those two, and enjoy taking all kinds of pictures.

Courtney Larson, C.V.T.

Hi, my name is Courtney Larson. I completed my externship at P.A.W.S. while in school at Minnesota School of Business. When I graduated in June 2014, I was hired as a technician and became certified as a Veterinary Technician. My interests as a Certified Veterinary Technician include anesthesia, surgery, and alternative medicine. Some of my outside interests include knitting, camping, and relaxing at home with my husband Steve, two dogs Leah (Yorkie) and Annie (Mini Schnauzer), and our rabbit, Sarah (Lionhead mix).

Janae Binger, C.V.T.

My name is Janae Binger. I started at PAWS Pet Hospital in August 2015 as a veterinary assistant, while attending school at Minnesota School of Business to become a Certified Veterinary Technician. I graduated in September 2016 and was promoted from assistant to technician. I earned my certification in December 2016. I love all aspects of veterinary medicine; however, I’m especially passionate about anesthesia and dental health. I also enjoy getting to know the clients and pets that walk through our doors.

Outside of work I enjoy spending time with my husband Tim and our two fur children, Lucy (Pug/Pekingese) and Charlie Brown (Hound mix). We love to camp, check out local music events, and visit our favorite breweries around the Cities.

Britta Colon, C.V.T.

Britta, a native of the area, graduated from high school in 2005, where she then enlisted in the Minnesota National Guard and was deployed the summer of 2007 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Upon return to the States, she welcomed two children and became a stay-at-home mom prior to her return to Minnesota. After settling in, she enrolled in Argosy University’s veterinary technician program to pursue her lifelong dream of working with animals. Between school and caring for two kids, she would go on to graduate in 2016 with her Associate’s degree. After graduation, she was hired by P.A.W.S. and in April of 2017, she passed the necessary exam to become a certified vet tech! Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with family, reading, camping, and playing with her dog and two cats.

Krista Finnegan, C.V.T.

Krista received her Bachelor of Science degree from BSU, and her Associate of Applied Science degree in Veterinary Technology from Argosy University. She lives with her husband, Scotty; a Black domestic shorthair named Onyx; a Bearded Dragon named Izzy; a Dutch Rabbit, Cookie; a Siamese called Whipple, and recently had Daisy, her beloved black pug (pictured), pass away. She loves being outdoors, gardening, doing crafts and spending time with her family.

Demi Shukas, C.V.T.

Demi has been a Veterinary Technician since 2012, after graduating from the Bel-Rea Institute of Animal Technology in Denver, Colorado. Growing up in Colorado, she was surrounded by all kinds of furry companions; she always knew she wanted to take care of them. The best part of her job is not only taking care of furry companions but meeting and helping the two-legged counterparts as well. She moved to Minnesota to start a new adventure with her husband, Patrick, and fur baby, Chips. In her free time, she enjoys being outdoors.

Jill Nordstrom, C.V.T.

Jill has been a Certified Veterinary Technician since 2009 and a member of the P.A.W.S. Team since 2010. She has a passion for the veterinary field and finds great joy in being able to help educate owners so they can make the best decisions for their pet’s care. In her spare time, she works on home improvement projects. For fun, Jill enjoys playing volleyball, grilling, going to baseball games, attending continuing education seminars, and spending time with her 2 dogs (Kaiya & Parker) and 3 cats (Kermit, Bunsen Honeydew, & Zoe).

Geri Mortenson, T.A. (Technician Assistant)

Prior to joining the staff, Geri volunteered at P.A.W.S. from time to time for 2 years. In 2015, she completed a 10-week internship at P.A.W.S. and was hired as a vet tech assistant that same year. She earned her Associate degree in Biological Sciences at Anoka Ramsey Community College in 2014, and earned her Bachelor degree in Animal Sciences at the University of Minnesota in 2016. Geri is currently a student in the veterinary medicine program, class of 2020, at the University of Minnesota where she is pursuing her childhood dream of becoming a veterinarian. Outside of work and school, Geri enjoys spending time with her 4 cats, boyfriend, family, and friends. She also enjoys fishing and camping during the summer months.

Elsa, T.A. 

Hi my name is Elsa. I just graduated from University of Minnesota, Morris, with a Computer Science B.A. and a Math minor and decided to take my life in a completely different direction! I volunteered at a humane society while I went to school and really missed it once I graduated, so I decided to look into careers with animals.

I started working as a Vet Tech assistant at P.A.W.S. in July, 2017. I am now following my passion and pursuing a career as a vet tech! I really love working here–the staff are kind, caring, and they really love what they do. And our patients are great as well!

I have a goofy pyrenees/lab mix (pictured) named Yama and a friendly black cat named Rosie. In my free time, I love taking Yama to the dog park, hanging out with my friends, watching Netflix, and learning new things. Currently I’m learning how to ice skate!

Jacqui, T.A. 

I started working at P.A.W.S Pet Hospital in December 2017 after moving to Hugo in November 2017. I took the position as a Vet Tech Assistant at P.A.W.S so I could work with pets and the people that love them. It has been my dream to work with animals. I finished my Bachelors Degree of Animal Science in 2016 from University of Wisconsin River Falls.

When I’m not at P.A.W.S, I enjoy spending time with my friends and driving down to my hometown in Rochester to visit family! I like exploring my new home here in Hugo with my roomie and her cat, m&m, aka my niece! 🙂 I like going on nature walks with m&m, but mostly love our cuddles at home while watching a movie or TV show. Also, I enjoy crafting, decorating my home, putting puzzles together, reading, and shopping/browsing!

Ani Schleifer, T.A. 

My name is Ani Schleifer. I started at PAWS in August of 2017 as a veterinary technician’s assistant and I continue to work and love my job. I also volunteer at Tamarack Nature Center as an Animal Care Volunteer for reptiles and amphibians.

I currently go to Mahtomedi High School and I am looking forward to studying human medicine. I aspire to specialize in a field like neuroscience, general surgery, or neurosurgery.

I live at home with my mini schnauzer Jed (pictured) and enjoy spending time with my family (including 3 brothers) and friends. I also enjoy swimming, playing piano, and exploring the outdoors.

Megan Cheney, T.A.

Hi, my name is Megan. I have been a vet tech assistant at P.A.W.S. Pet Hospital since March 2017. My love and compassion for animals has driven me to further my education and career as a vet tech.

My dog Max and I enjoy walks around the lake, hikes at state parks, and soaking up the sunshine with our friends at the Washington Square patio.