Helping Animals
Since 1986

Board-Certified Surgeons & a Compassionate Support Team

Why Choose Us?

Since 1986, Animal Surgical and Orthopedic Center has earned the trust, respect, and loyalty of both veterinarians and pet owners throughout greater Seattle.

Founded by veterinary surgeon Dr. Kenneth Sinibaldi, ASOC was one of the first exclusively surgical practices in the region. It has grown over the years and can now be found at its current location in Shoreline — a modern, well-equipped facility with seven exam rooms and five state-of-the-art surgical suites. It has since become co-owned by four of the five board-certified surgeons, who boast over 75 years of combined experience. They’re accompanied by a professional support staff of licensed veterinary technicians, assistants, and administrators.

ASOC is privately owned and operated and is the only surgical center in the Pacific Northwest with an associated veterinary rehabilitation facility — SOUND Veterinary Rehabilitation Center.

Our Mission

  • To value each life we touch
  • To strive for excellence in animal surgery
  • To preserve the strength of the human-animal bond
  • To serve our colleagues and patients with compassion and respect
  • To support an atmosphere of teamwork and dedication within our staff

Animal Surgical and Orthopedic Center has successfully treated thousands of animals thanks to our team’s depth of knowledge and commitment to their patients. Each day we vow to stay loyal to our mission statement.

Our Team

ASOC is made up of a team of individuals who are effortlessly friendly, service-oriented, and highly trained. We’re a proud collective of five board-certified surgeons supported by devoted support staff.

Doctors

Dr. Alexander Z. Aguila, DVM

DACVS, Owner

Dr. Alexander Z. Aguila, DVM

Surgeon & Owner

DACVS, Owner

Dr. Alex Aguila completed his veterinary degree at the New York State College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University in 2000. Following veterinary school, he completed a year-long internship in small animal medicine and surgery in Springfield, Massachusetts, at Rowley Memorial Animal Hospital, and a year-long surgical internship in Pattersonville, New York, at the Capital District Veterinary Surgical Associates. Dr. Aguila then returned to Cornell, where he completed a three-year residency in small animal surgery. He earned board certification in small animal surgery in 2006.

Prior to joining Animal Surgical in 2008, Dr. Aguila gained substantial experience in a variety of surgical procedures while in private practice at Bay Area Veterinary Specialists in Houston. He has lectured extensively to the veterinary community, both in academic and private practice settings, and his published works include studies exploring the biomechanics of locking compression plates. His professional interest includes cranial cruciate ligament deficiency and minimally invasive surgery including fracture repair and locking plate technology. In his free time, Dr. Aguila likes to spend time with his family, getting outside as often as possible to go hiking, camping, skiing, running and expanding his newfound interest in cycling.

Dr. Allen L. Johnson, DVM

DACVS, Owner

Dr. Allen L. Johnson, DVM

Diplomate ACVS

DACVS, Owner

Dr. Allen Johnson received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Colorado State University in 1996, then completed a one-year rotating internship at Angell Memorial Animal Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. He went on to complete a three-year surgical residency at Michigan State University, earning board certification in 2001.

Following his residency, Dr. Johnson remained at Michigan State University for two years as an assistant professor in small animal orthopedic surgery. While there, he was integral in helping develop MSU’s Canine Arthroscopy program. He moved to Seattle to join Animal Surgical in 2002.

Dr. Johnson’s research has been published in several veterinary journals and texts, and he has lectured at national and international veterinary surgical meetings. His professional interests include canine arthroscopy, patellar luxation, correction of angular limb deformities, and distraction osteogenesis.

Outside of work, he enjoys golfing, hiking, and exploring the Northwest with his wife and three sons. They share their home with their Golden Retriever, Annie, and a pointer mix named Frankie.

Dr. Jeff Mitchell, DVM

DACVS, Owner

Dr. Jeff Mitchell, DVM

Diplomate ACVS

DACVS, Owner

Dr. Jeff Mitchell completed his doctorate degree in Veterinary Medicine from Washington State University. Shortly after this, he finished a small animal internship at the College of Veterinary Medicine Texas A&M, before completing a residency program at UC Davis where he gained his board certification. Dr. Mitchell’s professional interests include fracture management, joint disease and arthroscopy. He is also adept at a wide array of minimally invasive surgical techniques. 

While not at work you can find him spending time with his wife Mariah, and their dog, Arya. They enjoy camping, bike rides, cooking and going on road trips which is why life in the Pacific Northwest suites them both to a tee!

Dr. Mike Thoesen, DVM

DACVS, Owner

Dr. Mike Thoesen, DVM

Diplomate ACVS

DACVS, Owner

Dr. Mike Thoesen completed his Veterinary Medicine degree from Kansas State University in 2002. Following this, he completed a year-long internship at Purdue College of Veterinary Medicine. He then finished a residency program at Cornell University of Veterinary Medicine, gaining his board certification in 2007. Prior to joining Animal Surgical, Dr. Thoesen worked for 11 years in Omaha, Nebraska, at Midwest Veterinary Referral and Emergency Center. In addition to clinical practice, he taught fourth-year veterinary students, lectured extensively to the surrounding veterinary community, and published multiple cases and research papers. 

His professional interests include regenerative bone healing and complex fracture management. 

It seems that animal health is a family affair as his wife, Keli Anne, is also a veterinarian. Dr. Thoesen and his family started a new adventure in July of 2017 by moving to Seattle — his wife’s hometown. They have two daughters, a black Labrador named Emma, and two cats, Kenny and Chief.

In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his family, mountain biking, fishing, and camping.

Dr. Russell Bennett, DVM

DACVS

Dr. Russell Bennett, DVM

Diplomate ACVS

DACVS

Dr. Russ Bennett graduated from Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1991 and completed his internship in small animal medicine and surgery at Texas A&M University. He returned to Michigan State University to complete his three-year residency in small animal surgery in 1995.

Following a two-year position as a staff surgeon at Metropolitan Veterinary Hospital in Akron, OH, he earned board certification in 1997, joining Animal Surgical shortly thereafter.

Dr. Bennett performs a wide variety of orthopedic surgeries and has a soft spot for our smaller furry friends, as well as a special interest in orthopedic disease. He researched, published and lectured on many surgical topics while attending Michigan State University.

Outside of work, Dr. Bennett enjoys traveling with his wife and whipping up gourmet meals.

Licensed Veterinary Technicians

Hethir Pharr

LVT

Hethir Pharr

LVT

Hethir grew up in the Central Valley of California and attended Humbolt State University, majoring in literature and philosophy. She had a few stints at various jobs, including a barista and a projectionist at a small movie theatre, but it was working at a spay and neuter clinic during a gap year that set the course of her life. She knew that veterinary medicine was where her heart was, so she moved up to Seattle for the rain and the trees in 1998 and started working at The Animal Eye Clinic where she remained until April of 2017. Although she enjoyed her long, rewarding career at AEC, she was looking to challenge herself and since she always had an interest in surgery, she jumped at the chance to work for Animal Surgical when a position became available. And we’re very glad she did! She also enjoys cooking tasty vegan dishes, camping, traveling, hiking and taking long walks with her doggie.

Emily Steuk

Soon to be LVT!

Emily Steuk

Soon to be LVT!

Emily has a long relationship with Animal Surgical. She started her career with us in September 2016 after completing the PIMA Veterinary Assistant certification. She has since enrolled in the Penn Foster Veterinary Technician program and is close to graduating! She has a special interest in pathology and is excited to apply her newly found knowledge and grow her skills at Animal Surgical. Emily lives with her husband Dan (who used to work for ASOC as an assistant!), they tied the knot earlier this year in Vegas. They are owned by Fiona, a 5-year-old pit mix & the new kid on the block Jacques Catsteau!

Ann Devin

Soon to be LVT!

Ann Devin

Soon to be LVT!

Ann joined ASOC in 2019 after working extensively in the IT industry for 20 years, she then volunteered at Homeward Pet in Woodinville where she found her passion for animals and decided to make a career change. She has now started volunteering at Pasado's Safe Haven as well as working for ASOC full time. She shares her home with Pinky, Angel and partner Curtis. She has graduated from PIMA's Veterinary Technician course and is now studying to take the Veterinary Technician National Exam to become licensed in Washington State.

Sari Liebermann

LVT

Sari Liebermann

LVT

Sari started her first career as a vocalist, traveling throughout the US, Canada and many of the Caribbean Islands in a variety of venues. But her love of animals drew her to pursue veterinary medicine. She joined Animal Surgical in 2000 after receiving her AA from Harcum College and interning at the University of Pennsylvania. She particularly enjoys her role as a resident gardener. She is also in charge of instructing the many interns and externs that rotate through our clinic.

Sari shares her home with Ramona, a terrier mix, and Winnie, a mix of all kinds! She enjoys gardening, bicycling, paddle boarding, yoga, singing in the shower and impersonating her coworkers!

Sarah Johnson

LVT

Sarah Johnson

LVT

After working for five years in general and emergency practice, Sarah came to Animal Surgical as a relief assistant and moved to full-time in 2002. Shortly thereafter, she sat for and passed her boards to become a Licensed Veterinary Technician. As our surgery/nursing coordinator, Sarah makes sure that the day’s surgical schedule runs smoothly. Her particular interests are anesthetic pharmacology, surgical nursing, client education and instruction. She also conducts CE courses on veterinary anesthetic protocols. She shares her home with her Great Danes, Edith and Doug, and two cats, Dieter and Fat Hamster.

In her spare time, Sarah competes in carriage-driving events with her Friesian horses. She also volunteers as a board member for Equestrian Institution NW, an equestrian 501C3, and as a steward for one of Seattle’s off-leash dog parks.  She also enjoys skiing and traveling the world.

Leah Harrer

LVT

Leah Harrer

LVT

Leah was born in Spokane, WA, endowed with an innate love of animals. Her mother explained that ever since she could talk, she told everyone she met that she was going to be a vegetarian — meaning, veterinarian, of course, although she dabbled with the former as well.

A month after graduating high school she started the veterinary technician program at PIMA and became licensed in 2011. She worked in general practice for four years and volunteered at the Humane Society. During that time, she discovered her passion for surgery and anesthesia and felt her place was in the O.R. So when a position became available at our clinic, she jumped at the chance to become part of our team.

She says she loves what she does and has no doubt that she’s found her calling. Her love of specialty medicine is inspiring her to consider taking it a step further and become certified as a Veterinary Technician Anesthetist. 

She shares her home with a 2-year-old rescued cattle dog mix named Jazz (a.k.a. Mr. Jazzy Fizzle), quite the diva of a Netherland Dwarf bunny rabbit named Ninja, and newlywed husband, Justin. She enjoys camping, spending time with family, lazy days, food and traveling. Ever the animal lover, she spent time volunteering for an animal rescue while in the Dominican Republic on her honeymoon!

Jenny Dunn

LVT

Jenny Dunn

LVT

Jenny joined Animal Surgical in 2000 after receiving her AA from Bel-Rea Institute of Animal Technology in Denver and interning at Alameda East Veterinary Hospital. Her particular interests are radiology and critical care of the surgical patient. She is our in-house Pitbull expert (the dog breed, not the singer) and advocate, and she shares her home with Salvador, her handsome pitty rescue.

Amber Kerwin

LVT

Amber Kerwin

LVT

Amber became a licensed veterinary technician in 2010. She spent 10 years in general practice where she was able to fulfill each role the clinic had to offer, though her main role was as an anesthesia technician for 8 years prior to starting with Animal Surgical. 

When not working, you can find Amber hanging out with her husband, Corey, and their children, Carter and Addysen. They love the outdoors, especially camping in the summer months and you can often find them in the garden or crafting alongside their snuggle cats, Thor and Scarlett.

Hayley Taylor

LVT

Hayley Taylor

LVT

Hayley graduated with a degree in Veterinary Technology from Baker College in Flint, MI. She relocated to the Pacific Northwest in 2016 with her two cats, Peanut and Isabelle, and recently welcomed Seymour the Great Dane to her family. When she isn’t providing the very best patient care at work, she is camping, fishing, running and loves to travel as well as spending time with her growing family and fur babies.

Eliza Wolfe

LVT

Eliza Wolfe

LVT

Eliza became a part of the ASOC team in 2021 after having worked in several specialties, including cardiology, neurology, emergency and exotic animal medicine. She graduated from the Veterinary Technology program of Northern Virginia Community College in 2015 after having worked in the veterinary field since 2006. She moved from the DC-metro area to Seattle in 2017 with her husband and is slowly working to make the Pacific Northwest feel like home. Finding her place as the overnight technician with ASOC has allowed her to find her zen while focusing heavily on patient care.

Eliza has a particular soft spot for senior pets and works hard to ensure that the patients in her care feel safe and comfortable. Outside of the work arena, she enjoys gardening, cooking, collecting more books than she could ever hope to read and starting (rarely finishing) various art projects. She lives with her husband and their three cranky Elder Things: Benny, a chihuahua-terrier mix of unknown origin, Mabel, a chihuahua-chaos demon mix, and Timmy, a red-eared slider with a powerful bite.

Vanessa Bui

LVT

Vanessa Bui

LVT

Vanessa graduated from the University of California in 2011 and got her A.S Degree in Veterinary Technology in 2015. She has worked in GP, ER, and with exotics! After hiking the PCT she was led to love Washington State! She enjoys being out in nature and has a creative side and enjoys painting, pottery and playing the violin!

Support Staff

Riley Patterson

Veterinary Assistant

Riley Patterson

Veterinary Assistant

Riley joined ASOC after working in the tech industry. Her father Dr. Patterson used to own ASOC before retiring, and so returning to her roots felt like a natural decision! She shares her home with Quincy a terrier x corgi mix. She one day hopes to pursue a career as a veterinary technician!

Colin McCaul

Veterinary Assistant

Colin McCaul

Veterinary Assistant

Colin has been happily working at ASOC since the start of 2016, after graduating from the veterinary assistant program at Pima Medical Institute. He was born and raised in a city outside of Seattle and has remained in the area, other than living in California for two years after high school. He now lives with his boyfriend and their two cats, Gemma & Monty. When not at work, he enjoys playing video games, napping, music, anime, and camping when he can. 

Liz Ross

Veterinary Assistant

Liz Ross

Veterinary Assistant

Liz moved to Washington from Florida at 18 years old. She went through the PIMA Veterinary Assistant Program and also has experience in the body modification industry. Liz enjoys watching horror films and reading books with her three cats, Lil B, Mr. B and Raisin as well as her three dogs, Teeno, Morty and Igor, making for a rowdy but wonderful household!

Annalisa Sifferman

Veterinary Assistant

Annalisa Sifferman

Veterinary Assistant

Annalisa recently graduated from the Veterinary Assistant program at PIMA and is very excited to work with ASOC! She shares her home with family dog Cooper, a 15month labradoodle. She loves to read and enjoys photography as a hobby, primarily taking photos of Cooper... obviously!

Paige Acosta

Veterinary Assistant

Paige Acosta

Veterinary Assistant

Bio to come!

Manny Estrada

Veterinary Assistant

Manny Estrada

Veterinary Assistant

Before joining the veterinary field, Emmanuel. spent many years working in various chic Seattle hotels as a banquet server. Since joining Animal Surgical in 2019,  Emmanuel has quickly grown to love and find a passion in caring for animals and continually being challenged with learning new skills. As a Seattle native, he enjoys exploring the city by both tasting diverse plates and viewing stunning Northwest landscapes. When he is not working he spends his time relaxing or watching movies or whatever sports are on TV with his girlfriend, especially if it's the Mariners. He also has a sweet and rambunctious Rhodesian ridgeback mix named Gibbs who loves to be chased around, chew toys and lots of attention.    

Dakota

Veterinary Assistant

Dakota

Veterinary Assistant

Dakota grew up in Montana and decided to move to Washington with his girlfriend Amanda, two dogs, Lilly and Sully as well as his pet snake Oreo. He has a big interest in film and has a weekly movie night and is happy to share his most recent ratings! He loves to talk and is very excited to join the ASOC assistant team!

Bri Kamran

Veterinary Assistant

Bri Kamran

Veterinary Assistant

Bri was born and raised in Washington State. She has always enjoyed nature and animals so, naturally, she went on to study Biology at the University of Washington. She spends her free time hiking and doing yoga, and comes home to two adorable cats named Astro and Stormi.

Crystal Chagolla

Veterinary Assistant

Crystal Chagolla

Veterinary Assistant

Crystal always held an interest in science and animals since childhood. It was this that drove her to get a Bachelor of Science in Zoology from Washington State University in 2017. She went on to volunteer with raptors for three years and started working at various general practice clinics as a kennel assistant and then a veterinary assistant. Crystal started working for Animal Surgical in the Fall of 2020 as our overnight assistant and has never looked back. She loves caring for our post-op patients and ensuring their recovery is smooth and comfortable. 

Outside of working Crystal enjoys spending time with her family dogs, Apollo and Katy, and has special interests in the plant world, and birding in the Springtime.

Emily Frank

Veterinary Assistant

Emily Frank

Veterinary Assistant

Emily joined ASOC in 2022 and works with us while studying Biology at the University of Washington. She moved to Washington from New Hampshire to pursue her dream of becoming a veterinarian. To thank for this dream are her family dogs, Abby and Charly, both Cavachons (Bichon Cavalier mix). When she isn’t studying, she enjoys the outdoors and seeing live concerts.

Jerrica Wells

Veterinary Assistant

Jerrica Wells

Veterinary Assistant

Jerrica was born and raised here in Washington. Animals have always been a big part of her life. Prior to working with us, Jerrica worked at a local general practice clinic. Looking to expand her knowledge and experience she made the decision to move to a more specialized field, which is when she hopped on the opportunity to work for Animal Surgical. 

In her free time, she and her husband enjoy spending time with their four dogs, watching movies, camping, and traveling. Her favorite spot so far has been Disneyland!

Jessi Pico

Veterinary Assistant

Jessi Pico

Veterinary Assistant

Growing up on a ranch in Montana, helping animals has always been a huge part of Jessi’s life. As a youngster, Jessi was in 4-H and enjoyed showing horses, cows and pigs. After high school, she moved to South Carolina to study Biology and started working as a veterinary receptionist but longed for a more hands-on role in the veterinary space, which is why she jumped on the chance to work at ASOC! Outside of work she loves being out in nature, painting and the true crime genre. Joining Jessi and her fiancé in their home are Rusty, Dazy and Jake, their three dogs, Ozzy Pawsborne the kitty cat, a bearded dragon named Lucy as well as two axolotls, Swim Shady and Yelawolf.

Patricia Jordan

Veterinary Assistant

Patricia Jordan

Veterinary Assistant

After a life-long admiration of animals, Tricia attended Sno-Isle Skill Center to become a veterinary assistant during her senior year of high school in 2013. A year after graduating, she got a job at a general practice and worked there for seven years, excelling as a cross-trained receptionist/veterinary assistant. Looking for a change of pace, she started at ASOC in 2021 and looks at the transition as an incredible decision. In her free time, she helps make short films (mostly horror or comedy) with her boyfriend who is an aspiring director. She also enjoys defeating her boyfriend in Mario Kart. Her cat, Coco Marley, is practically her daughter and is spoiled as such. Nothing brings her more joy than taking care of animals and she found the perfect fit here at ASOC.

Paul Lomano

Pack Room Manager

Paul Lomano

Pack Room Manager

Paul joined Animal Surgical in 1999. As the pack room manager, he is responsible for sterilization, maintenance and inventory control for all surgical instruments and equipment and making sure the surgeons have the necessary paraphernalia for the many procedures they perform. Paul’s quick wit and sense of humor lend a bit of comic relief in our somewhat serious environment! Paul enjoys traversing the trails of Discovery Park with his wife, Lisa, traveling to the United Kingdom and chilling on the couch with his kitty, Mina. Paul is also an avid reader of a wide range of literature, from Lord of the Rings to historical novels.

Admin

Noelle Norrie

Practice Manager

Noelle Norrie

Practice Manager

Noelle has one of the longest tenures at Animal Surgical, joining the practice in 1997 as a referral coordinator. Her passion has always been creating lasting relationships with the clients and making sure that everything runs smoothly for the practice. Since becoming a Practice Manager in 2014, she became a Veterinary Management Institute Graduate, solidifying her position here at ASOC. She looks forward to continuing to help the practice to grow. Noelle and her husband spend their free time mountain biking and trying to keep up with their two Labradors, Wallice and Hitch.

Isabella (Issy) Barnes

Assistant Manager

Isabella (Issy) Barnes

Assistant Manager

Issy, short for Isabella, hails from Nottingham, England, where she inherited her love of animals, big and small. She has been working with animals since she was 17 years old. She became a certified Animal Care Assistant for the Royal Society for the Protection of Animals (RSPCA) and after completing her certification she moved to Thailand where she managed a small street animal clinic named PhaNgan Animal Care. It was there where she met her American-born husband, Chase, and the two of them took off to China where they both taught English to children in Beijing and Chongqing.

After a while, they both yearned to put down roots, so they moved to the Seattle area where her husband is originally from. She dove right back into the animal care field and worked at PAWS as Animal Care Lead before making her way to ASOC.

She may have settled down, but her adventurous spirit remains. She has climbed Mt. Rainier and is currently in training to become a marathon runner! She shares her love of corgis with The Queen and enjoys spending time with her spunky corgi, Arthur. She also enjoys cooking, trying exotic cuisines and traveling. She believes that if you dance for 10 minutes a day, you’ll increase your happiness by at least 50%. When you encounter Issy, be prepared to be charmed by her English accent and her infectious positivity!

Christie Gilliam

Referral Coordinator

Christie Gilliam

Referral Coordinator

Christie has worked in the veterinary field for the past 15 years. She originally hails from Nashville, Tennessee, and contrary to what most recent transplants claim, the reason for her recent relocation to our area had nothing to do with our economic boom and everything to do with our weather! She found that in her search for the best places to live with chronic asthma, Seattle came on top, so she and her husband and kitty Bizzy moved.

A self-proclaimed “cat addict,” (Yes, she’s the one with the stroller), she’s also an avid reader, Karaoke enthusiast, (she auditioned for The Voice and American Idol – that’s how good she is!), enjoys painting, arts and crafts and she studied music in college. She brings her experience, her care, and her exceptional communication skills to our practice. And who can resist that warm southern drawl!

Emily Annis

Referral Coordinator

Emily Annis

Referral Coordinator

Emily is not originally from the PNW, but she has grown to love the Seattle area for the balance of nature and the city. Before Washington, she was a world traveler living in Guam and Italy and took every opportunity to explore different cultures in other countries. She has been in animal welfare for several years, beginning as a dog and cat room attendant at a local animal shelter at the age of 13.

She had worked at several veterinary clinics until she found her perfect fit with us! When Emily is not at ASOC, she can be found hiking in the North Cascades with her rescue pup Sam, kayaking, bike riding, or just hanging out with her dogs and cats.

Holly Taylor

Referral Coordinator

Holly Taylor

Referral Coordinator

​​Holly is originally from the far corner of Eastern Oregon and she moved here 6 years ago to play softball at Shoreline Community College. After college she went into the human health care field, working as a home care aid, but recently made the switch to the veterinary field and she’s glad she did because she absolutely loves it!

When you meet Holly the first thing you might notice is her laugh. And maybe that’s because she is currently active in two comedy groups that perform in the area. One is called the Honey Roasted Hams, which, as you might guess, specializes in roasting — so watch out if you attend any of their shows! The other is a sketch comedy group called Lois, after a funny aunt. Check your local listings!

Holly lives with her boyfriend and when she’s not working or performing, she enjoys traveling, spending time with her loved ones, and making people laugh.

Jesika Jellison

Referral Coordinator

Jesika Jellison

Referral Coordinator

Jesika started her career with animals over 10 years ago as a Veterinary Assistant at a general practice. She has since worked her way through the industry from shelter medicine to dog walking. After taking a short break and working in human medicine she was excited to get back into the veterinary industry and start working for Animal Surgical as a Referral Coordinator. 

Outside of work, Jesika loves plants and can tell you most plant names in their Latin form! At heart she is a homebody who loves hanging out with her mini poodle mix, Walter, crafting and watching Netflix.

Kaitlyn Folletti

Referral Coordinator

Kaitlyn Folletti

Referral Coordinator

Kaitlyn was born and raised in Alabama before moving to Alaska as a teenager. This is where her love for the outdoors grew so, of course, Seattle was a top pick for her next destination. In her spare time, she enjoys photography, seeing new places and going on grand adventures. When she isn’t hitting the trails you can find her in the kitchen cooking up a storm or puzzling with her husband and two dogs, Vader and Kyder. 

Prior to moving to Seattle she has worked in multiple veterinary clinics and has shown dogs since a very young age. Kaitlyn’s favorite animal is tied between Shibas and Otters, although to some it’s more of an obsession than an interest.