Juliana Lyles, DVM

Like many veterinarians, I knew I wanted to be an “animal doctor” from the time I was very young. Even though I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago with its abundance of domestic pets, there was never a shortage of injured wild animals, such as rabbits, baby birds, and even a field mouse or two whose tiny little eyes had not even opened yet, which needed my loving care.

I continued working towards my goal of becoming a veterinarian by receiving my bachelor’s degree in Zoology and Genetics from Iowa State University and my veterinary degree from Mississippi State University, where I also met my husband, William. We later added a furry member to our family, our adorable cat Trika.

Throughout my veterinary career I have had the pleasure of working with a wide variety of medical disciplines. I interned at an exotic animals only practice, cared for working Clydesdales and even studied animals at the Lincoln Park Zoo and Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. When my husband joined the army in 2010, we were relocated to Fayetteville, NC, where I concurrently worked at a small animal practice. After my husband completed his military contract, we moved back to my hometown of Chicagoland, where we plan to stay indefinitely.

I have always respected the bond between pets and their care givers, including the end of life care they receive. While I was still a young pre-veterinary student, I had to euthanize my beloved 11 year old ferret, and I realized how peaceful and comforting a process this can be when it’s done with the utmost respect and care . As a veterinarian, I hope to pass that reassurance on to all clients with whom I have the privilege of working.

Kristina Kalivoda, DVM

I grew up in the northwest suburbs of Chicago in a family that has always valued pets as members of the family. I wasn’t entirely certain I wanted to be a veterinarian, ironically because I wasn’t sure I could handle euthanasia. I received my degree in Psychology from the University of Illinois and then took a year off to work full time in a veterinary clinic as an assistant. We had only ever had dogs growing up, and I didn’t “understand” cats at all, but it was at that clinic that the hospital cat decided to attach himself to me and show me the way. 

I attended vet school at the University of Illinois the next year, graduating at the top of my class. While in vet school, I discovered a passion for working with exotic animals, and completed an internship in zoological medicine at Texas A&M University, followed by a residency in avian and exotic animal medicine at Cornell University. I did miss working with dogs and especially cats, and have spent the last few years in practice working with all species. 

Along the way, I collected several cats, including my long-haired orange guy Apollo. After moving back to the Chicagoland area, Apollo started to lose weight, vomit, and drink a large amount of water. He was already in severe kidney failure at the age of five. I kept him stable and happy for almost twelve months with intensive hospice care at home. He let me do everything I needed there, but he hated the hospital, so when it came time to say goodbye to him, I decided to let him pass at home. I was so surprised by how peaceful it was for him. I am so honored now to help other families say goodbye to their beloved pets peacefully and with dignity in the comfort of their own homes.

I currently live in the northwest suburbs. I most recently said goodbye to my best buddy Oscar, an amazing brown tabby who saw me through all my schooling. I have a three-legged leopard gecko named Achilles, a cockatiel named Percival (Percy), and my little black cat Imp.

Alecia Du Charme, DVM

I was born and raised in Racine, Wisconsin, but this is my first time living back in the Midwest in over 20 years.  While in my 20’s, I took a break from “real life” to travel, and wound up living in the mountains in British Columbia for several years.  Living in a remote area and working to help animals inspired me to become a veterinarian.  I earned a Biochemistry degree from UC Berkeley and graduated from UW Madison Veterinary School in 2011. I’ve worked in mixed-animal practice in Kansas, Wisconsin and most recently Canada.  While there, I performed many euthanasias in the comfort of the pet's home, and took great comfort in helping the pets and their families through this process.  I strongly believe in hospice work for people and animals, and I look forward to continuing to assist in this transition with gentleness and compassion. My dog, Leonard, is currently keeping me busy exploring the beaches and parks in the Chicagoland area. 

Karen Gadberry, DVM

I grew up in the Chicago suburbs in a pet loving family. Throughout my life, I have spent countless hours loving and caring for many creatures. I always knew I wanted to give back to animals, and decided to turn my love of animals and science into a veterinary career. I graduated from veterinary school at the University of Illinois, and have worked as a general practice veterinarian in the Chicago suburbs for over 15 years. I also have a Masters in Public Health, with a focus on the spread of animal disease. Recently, I volunteered for the Village of Skokie Animal Control to develop a euthanasia program that helped minimize stress on sick and injured wildlife.

During my time in general practice, I found that one of my most important responsibilities is helping owners at the end of their pet’s life. When it was time to euthanize my Sheltie, Gwen, who had been with me since early on in veterinary school, I helped her pass peacefully in our home. I realized how comforting it was for both her and I to allow her to drift away sleeping in her favorite spot. I hope to be able to give that same comfort to other pets and their families by helping provide comfortable end of life care and a peaceful passing in their home.