Meet Our Staff at Companion Animal Clinic

At Companion Animal Clinic, our friendly staff is committed to making your pet the priority! Our veterinarians, technicians, and staff members work hard to provide your pet with the highest quality of care. It is our mission to ensure every client receives the information they need to ensure their pet is probably cared for outside of our office. Should you have any questions about the options we have provided you with, feel free to call us to talk to either Dr. Norm Smith or Dr. Linda Colburn.

Norm Smith | Companion Animal Hospital

Dr. Norm Smith

Veterinarian / Owner

Dr. Smith has called the Morongo Basin home since 1962. He attended school in Yucca Valley from kindergarten through 12th grade. After high school, he attended Cal Poly Pomona and graduated with honors obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science. Culminating his academics in 1987, he graduated from the school of veterinary medicine at U.C. Davis as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine.

Compelled to serve the High Desert communities he had grown to love, Dr. Smith returned to Yucca Valley and started an equine ambulatory practice in 1990. Within two years the practice developed into a small animal hospital and still maintained the quality equine service.

Dr. Smith and his wife Shara have two sons, Camron and Taylor, and enjoy the fresh air and wide open spaces that living in Yucca Valley allows. Their two dogs (Mia & Oliver) and two cats (Onyx & Ricky) complete the family.

Megan Smith | Companion Animal Hospital

Dr. Linda Colburn

Veterinarian

Dr. Colburn is California native, who had been making her way eastward for the last 25 years before returning to her roots. She spent junior high and high school in Leadville, Colorado. Her bachelors degree in biology was earned at Hastings College, Nebraska. Dr. Colburn enjoyed veterinary school in the beautiful island of Grenada at St. George's University, with the clinical year completed at University of Pennsylvania. She graduated magna cum laude in 2007. One year of advanced training as an intern was completed at the Center for Specialized Veterinary care in Long Island. After working in general practice and emergency on the east coast for the last seven and a half years, she returned to Grenada as a visiting professor for a few months. Now Dr. Colburn is happy to be back in California, close to family. Her approach to veterinary medicine is that she is a pet’s advocate and her goal is to work within a pet “parent's” means to achieve the best possible healthcare outcomes. When she's not working, she enjoys spending time with her schnoodle named Romeo, playing word games, climbing, and exploring outdoors.

Jenny Wagner | Companion Animal Hospital

Jenny Wagner

RVT/Lead Technician

Jenny has been a California Registered Veterinary Technician since 2010. She has been a member of the high desert for almost her entire life. As a child she grew up watching her father, a game warden, rehabilitate wildlife. This gave her the inspiration to form a career in veterinary medicine. She started her career working for a veterinarian in Joshua Tree, CA who treated wildlife and exotics, as well as domestic small animals. While employed there, her love for working with animals grew tremendously.

In 2000, she began working for Dr. Norm Smith and has since worked her way up to the position of lead veterinary technician. Jenny is dedicated to providing animals with the best care and love possible. She has developed an interest in animal behavior and has attended seminars to further her education and training on dealing with patients who have behavior problems.

Jenny resides in Yucca Valley with her husband Paul, son Bryce, two dogs (Riley and Evie), and three cats (Kuma, Toby, and Persephone). In her spare time, she enjoys training her dogs, gardening, cooking, baking and spending time with her family and friends.

Linda Seick | Companion Animal Hospital

Linda Seick

Veterinary Assistant

Linda has lived in the High Desert since 2003. She previously hailed from the Palm Springs area where she was raised around horses, dogs and cats. She formed a career in veterinary medicine, working at Palm Springs and Desert Animal Hospitals for a combined total of 16 years. Linda has greatly enjoyed working with animals in the veterinary field. She joined the team at Companion Animal Clinic in 2006 as a veterinary technician.

Linda currently resides in Yucca Valley with her son Casey, three dogs (Dozer, Chevy and River) and two cats (Kitty and Pinecone).

Cindy Austin  | Companion Animal Hospital

Cindy Austin

Receptionist

Cindy moved to Yucca Valley in 2012. Prior to  being hired at CAC she was employed for 3 years in the lower desert as a veterinary receptionist.  She joined the Companion Animal Clinic team in January 2015 and has been a valued employee since! She lives with her husband Rob and two cats, Little Bit and Gracie.  Little Bit recently went through a diagnosis of diabetes and thankfully reverted back to normal due to early detection and dietary therapy, effectively achieving a cure!

In her spare time Cindy enjoys DIY home projects and oil painting. 

Cindy Austin  | Companion Animal Hospital

Tami Ottosen

Receptionist

Tami grew up in Orange County, California.  Although living in the city, she was always a country girl at heart.  She always loved animals of all kinds and has a great passion for wildlife.  As a child she grew up with lizards, frogs, fish, birds, dogs and cats.  She currently owns 3 dogs, 4 cats and 2 desert tortoises. 

Tami moved to Morongo Valley with her boyfriend in September 2014.  She has a 20 year old son currently in college studying business.  She started her first job as a veterinary receptionist in 1990. Having over 25 years of experience, she brings a deep well of knowledge in veterinary reception to our team. We were very happy to welcome her to the Companion Animal Clinic in September 2015. Tami is quoted saying "There is nothing else I would rather be doing and I feel very fortunate to be part of this team!"

In her spare time Tami enjoys fishing, camping, off road riding and riding Harleys.

Shara Smith | Companion Animal Hospital

Shara Smith

Practice Manager

Shara has always been an animal lover. She grew up in a household with multiple pets...everything from Mastiffs to hamsters. Originally from the east coast she moved to the desert in 1987 and immediately fell in love with the desert lifestyle. She fully realized how to put her love for animals to work when she met Dr. Smith in 1991 and they married in 1995. Together they are able to help our companions that are unable to help themselves. Shara was instrumental in developing the Pioneer Pet Fund which helps owners who don't have the finances to treat a life threatening emergency for their pet.

Shara enjoys spending time with her husband, two boys, good friends and menagerie of pets.

Megan Dennis | Companion Animal Hospital

Megan Dennis

CVT

As one of Companion Animal Clinic's newest additions, Megan is an animal enthusiast and devoted pet owner! With a natural desire to nurture and heal, she has been in the animal medical related field for five years. Megan graduated from the Bel-Rea Institute of Veterinary Technology in 2008 with an Associates Degree in Applied Sciences. It has truly been wonderful being involved in a career field that she absolutely loves.

She has a few pampered pets of her own, a Great Dalmatian mix named Peaches, and an incredible Arabian Mare named Ari.

Heather Stafford | Companion Animal Hospital

Heather Stafford

Clinic Administrator

Heather's love for animals began at an early age. She began volunteering at Northridge Veterinary Clinic in Yucca Valley when she was just 11 years old. Through the years, she worked as a kennel attendant, lead receptionist, veterinary assistant, and is now our Clinic Administrator. She has worked in both general practice and orthopedic specialty hospitals around the country. Heather earned her AA in General Studies in 2008, BS in Business Accounting in 2011, and is currently enrolled in a Master's program for Business Administration. She joined our team in April 2012 and has proven to be a hardworking, friendly individual. In her free time, Heather enjoys spending time with her daughters, crocheting and knitting, and fundraising for the Lupus Foundation of America.

Arrington Nevitt | Companion Animal Hospital

Arrington Nevitt

Veterinary Assistant

Arrington grew up in North Carolina. She has been around animals her whole life, spending time during her teenage years volunteering at an animal hospital in her home town and at the local humane society. She shadowed her step mother who is a lead RVT and decided to form her own career in veterinary medicine. She is currently enrolled in Penn Foster to acquire her degree in Veterinary Technology and has plans to become an RVT.

She came to the High Desert in 2012 and currently resides in 29 Palms with her husband, son and four dogs (Daisy, Harley, Roxie, and Lilo). In her spare time she enjoys spending time with family and pets.

Heather Stafford | Companion Animal Hospital

Rhealene Fowler

Veterinary Assistant

Rhealene was born and raised in a small town in Northern Illinois where her grandma always had an array of animals, from dogs to raccoons and everything in between.  She developed a compassion for animals and their well being early on, particularly for wildlife.  She hopes to eventually be involved in marine life rescues.  At present, she plans on continuing her schooling to become certified as a Veterinary Technician.

Rhealene moved to the high desert in early 2015 with her Marine husband Andrew, their 2 dogs (Noah and Maya), 2 cats (Sheldon and Cas), and her lizard, Nessie.  She joined our team at Companion Animal Clinic in September 2015 and has proven to be a quick learner and a great team player!

In her spare time she enjoys reading, camping and trips to the beach.