Christina Howard

I always had a love for animals. Growing up in rural New Jersey, I spent every moment I could at a local stable mucking stalls, grooming horses, and riding. I started out taking lessons and soon ended up with two horses of my own. My desire to provide top-notch care to them inspired me to learn more about veterinary medicine, and, by age 12, I had quite a collection of veterinary textbooks and magazines. Whenever our veterinarian visited, I asked him all sorts of questions about what I read and he patiently answered every single one of them. His huge wealth of knowledge and ability to positively impact my horse’s well-being inspired me to pursue veterinary medicine as my lifelong career. 
 
Once I decided veterinary medicine was my desired profession, I sought out any animal experience I could find. In high school and college, I spent time at a mixed animal veterinary practice and worked at numerous horse farms. I even spent two months at a sea turtle rehabilitation center in Athens, Greece. After attending veterinary school at North Carolina State University and completing an internship at the University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Center, my husband and I relocated to the Pacific Northwest where I worked for several years as an equine ambulatory veterinarian. I also became certified in veterinary acupuncture and chiropractic care, expanding the level of care I can offer to my clients and patients. 
 
As a veterinarian, I have the privilege of walking into other people’s homes and lives and helping them make important decisions about their family member. I love being a veterinarian because, by sharing my knowledge with owners, I positively impact the bond between my clients and their four-legged family members. I particularly love geriatric medicine because there is nothing more satisfying than having a positive impact on helping these patients. And while I love so many aspects of veterinary medicine, I often find that the most meaningful appointments are those in which an owner has to say goodbye to their best friend and confidant. 
 
Now, as a member of Lap of Love, I help families enrich the lives of their older pet, and, when the time comes, help them pass peacefully at home surrounded by those who love them the most.  
 
When I am not helping pets and their families, I spend my free time traveling and hiking around the Pacific Northwest with my husband, Chris. I also spent time riding Sampson, a lovely warmblood gelding at a local eventing barn.

 

Ashleigh Rhoades

I was raised in Phoenix, Arizona with my dogs, cats, guinea pigs, snakes and even a rat here and there.  As long as I can remember, I have loved animals and needed them to be a part of my life. Even though Phoenix was a large city, we were very close to the desert environment which meant different types of wildlife animals.  Helping wildlife animals in need also became a big part of my childhood and helped drive me toward a career with animals.

However, that career didn’t start in veterinary medicine. I spent a lot of time working with zoo animals and wildlife before deciding that being a veterinarian was my calling.  I attended the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine in hopes of one day becoming a wildlife veterinarian.  However, during my internship working with cats and dogs, I was reminded of how important our household pets can be. Every animal in the world is special, but our pets are a huge part of our FAMILY.

The hardest part starting out in the veterinary profession was the thought of putting an animal to sleep.  I quickly learned that this task was not a burden, but a gift.  As an emergency veterinarian for many years, I have had the privilege of helping lots of animals and this includes helping end an animal’s suffering in the last moments of their life.  The struggle to make the tough decision in the final moments will always be the hardest part of the human animal bond.  It is not something that gets easier with time and it is my honor to be able to help families say goodbye when this time comes.

Hannah Moloney