Meet Our Staff

Dr. Norm Smith, Veterinarian

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. 

Dr. Linda Colburn, Veterinarian/ Owner

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. 

Heather Stafford, Practice Manager

 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, Clinic Administrator, and is now our Practice Manager. 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 MBA in 2017.  She joined our team in April 2012 and has proven to be a hardworking individual. In her free time, Heather enjoys spending time with her daughters, crocheting, knitting, and fundraising for the Lupus Foundation of America. 

Technician Staff

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

Megan Dennis, Veterinary Assistant

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. 

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 stepmother, 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. 

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. 

Kylie DelaTorre, Veterinary Assistant

Reception Staff

Eva Brokaw, Receptionist

Eva joined the team at Companion Animal Clinic in April 2016.  She loves working as a receptionist because it blends her love of animals with her medical and hospitality background.  When not working, Eva can be found reading or hiking the wilderness with her husband and pack of German Shorthaired Pointers.

Christina Watson-Wynn, Receptionist

Gena Pliss, Receptionist

Gena graduated as Valedictorian from Joshua Springs Christian School in 1997, shortly before marrying her high school sweetheart, Matthew.  She has a beautiful daughter, Gwyneth, and enjoys family time activities such as board games, reading together, family dinners, and camping.  Two of her favorite things in life are singing on the praise team at her church and leading a woman's bible study.  Gena recently received her Bachelors in Biblical Studies.  She has an extensive history in the Chiropractic industry.  This is her first experience in Veterinary Medicine.  She is very creative and loves decorating custom cakes, doing art projects of any type and repurposing old stuff.  She loves people and enjoys helping them.  She knows no stranger and is eager to meet new friends.

Kennel Staff

Sierra Kahrs

Ceillo Garcia