About Us

Meet the staff of Companion Animal Clinic, and learn more about how we serve Blacksburg, Virginia.

About Us

Companion Animal Clinic has served the Blacksburg community since 1974. Our founder, Dr. Jim Shuler, graduated from Virginia Tech with a degree in Animal Husbandry in 1966. Originally located on Landsdowne Street, and subsequently South Main, the practice has been at 201 South Hill Drive since 1997. With accreditation from the American Animal Hospital Association, our facilities and services meet a standard of quality matched by fewer than 15 percent of veterinary practices in the US or Canada.

Most of our clients are cats and dogs, but we also see birds, hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, chickens, a variety of reptiles, plus the occasional fish, goat, or marmoset. As a full-service clinic, we offer checkups, vaccines, surgery, and dental care. We also provide specialty medical care, such as laser therapy and acupuncture—holistic tools proven to help reduce pain and decrease recovery time for post-op pets. Our hospital is spacious, with four exam rooms, a complete in-house laboratory, and pharmacy. We have separate suites for surgery, dental exams, and radiology. Animals in need of longer-term observation, or boarding, stay in our expansive kennel—which includes three indoor runs so large animals get exercise.

Companion Animal Clinic is active in the Blacksburg community. We are the primary veterinarian for two local shelters: Montgomery County Animal Care and Adoption Center; and, Crazy Cat Lady Animal Rescue. We regularly host veterinary students as interns from Virginia Tech, and have even hired quite a few! You can also spot Companion Animal Clinic at community events such as Blacksburg’s annual Festival of the Dog, and its Winter Lights holiday festival.

Meet Our Team

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Our Veterinarians

Angie DeRosa, DVM

A Southwest Virginia native, Dr. Angie DeRosa has been practicing veterinary medicine since 2000. After graduating from the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine in Blacksburg, she stayed on an additional two years to earn her Master of Veterinary Science degree. Dr. DeRosa then married and moved to Baltimore, MD, where she worked full-time in a thriving small animal practice. She moved back to Southwest Virginia in 2009.
As the mother of a child with special needs, Dr. DeRosa has worked long-term, part-time relief positions since returning to the Blacksburg area. Her interests include preventative medicine, dermatology, and the human-animal bond. Dr. DeRosa loves seeing clients through the good and the hard times of pet ownership—from the “Hello” of adoption, to the “Goodbye” of a beloved family member.

Possessing a genuine compassion for people, Dr. DeRosa has completed short-term mission works in the Dominican Republic, Bolivia, and Mexico. In her spare time, she works with children in various capacities through her church, most recently starting an outreach program for children with special needs and their families. She also enjoys singing, writing songs, gardening, and hiking.

Along with her husband, Dr. DeRosa lives with her daughter and son and the best pet hamster ever, Niblet!

Kelly Lemkul, DVM

Dr. Kelly Lemkul is a Hokie all the way—with an undergraduate degree from Virginia Tech, and a DVM from the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. After leaving Blacksburg to practice in Maryland, she returned when her husband got hired as a professor at Virginia Tech and joined Companion Animal Clinic in February of 2018. She is thrilled to be back home with her family.

Dr. Lemkul particularly enjoys neurology, cardiology, surgery, and wound/pain management, but loves all aspects of veterinary medicine. She is also obsessed with Corgis and frozen yogurt (she is especially excited to be near Frosty Parrot again!). In her free time, she loves swimming, being crafty, doing nerdy stuff, cheering on the Hokies, and spending time with her dogs: Scout the Corgi, and Queso the Chihuahua!

Matt McCormick, DVM

Dr. Matt McCormick has been with Companion Animal Clinic since 1989—he joined just a year after receiving his DVM from Virginia Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. An accomplished local veterinarian, he was the past president of both the Southwest Virginia Veterinary Medical Association and Mid-Atlantic Association of Avian Veterinarians and a member of the Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians. He has also been a guest lecturer on exotic animal medicine at his alma mater, where he mentors veterinary students.

Dr. McCormick’s favorite animals to work with are bunnies, cats, and rats (yes, rats!). He especially loves to caring for kittens and other tiny creatures.

When not at work, he likes to make gourmet desserts (Dr. McCormick has a weakness for chocolate). He also enjoys running, woodcarving, and making wooden puzzles. He and his wife Liz have one daughter, who helps care for all the critters he brings home. Speaking of critters: The McCormick family cares for a dog, six cats, three fish, a hamster, and several hives of honey bees. Sadly, he has recently come to terms with the fact that his menagerie will never include a pet cheetah. Finally, if this veterinarian pursuits hadn’t worked out, he would have taken up a career a time-traveling paleontologist, so he could study dinosaurs in person.

Sarah Low, DVM

Originally from Southern California, Dr. Sarah Low first moved to Blacksburg to attend veterinary school with her husband, Ellis and daughter, Elizabeth. Upon arrival, the whole family fell in love with the town and the surrounding landscape. From that moment on, Blacksburg was home. After graduating from Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Low became a certified Veterinary Medical Acupuncturist and worked as a relief veterinarian before starting work at Companion. She has been with the practice since June 2016. Dr. Low’s interests are physical therapy and rehabilitation, behavior, animal welfare and integrative medicine.

Along with her husband and daughter, Dr. Low’s family includes two cats (Talby and Libby), a dog (Aris), a very small Shetland pony (Magic Sparkle Unicorn), and a chicken (Harna). Some of Dr. Low’s favorite activities include doing art projects with her daughter, going on trail rides in the Jefferson National Forest, watching science fiction/fantasy movies with her husband and enjoying the outdoors. Dr. Low loves learning new things and is always ready for an adventure.

Vanessa Mitchell, DVM

Dr. Vanessa Mitchell is a graduate of Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine. Originally from Boston, she received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Virginia Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine in 2011. She joined Companion Animal Clinic in 2015. She lives in Christiansburg with her husband James and her son Weston. They have 3 cats (Pippa, Ella, and Baxter), and 2 dogs (Riley and Tara). You can find her in surgery singing loudly to pop music from the 90s and early 2000s, but her absolute favorite is Adele.

Melanie Walters, DVM

Dr. Melanie Walters is originally from Wisconsin, but immediately fell in love with the New River Valley while attending Virginia Tech for her degree in Animal Science. So, she stayed in town and attended the Virginia Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, where she received her DVM. She joined Companion Animal Clinic in fall of 2018. Dr. Walters loves being a veterinarian, and believes every animal deserves compassion. She is passionate about surgery, pain management, and reproduction.

Dr. Walters and her husband, Jarred, recently had a baby girl, and are enjoying parenthood. The Walters family lives in Blacksburg on a 30-acre farm with their 2 dogs, kitty, horse, cows, and chickens. On the weekends Dr. Walters enjoys the outdoors tending to her animals, horseback riding, fishing, hiking, and gardening.

Our Licensed Veterinary Technicians

Anne Marie Hutchens, LVT

Anne Marie H. grew up in nearby Giles County, and attended Blue Ridge Community College. In 2004, she graduated as a Licensed Veterinary Technician. She joined Companion Animal Clinic in 2010. Anne Marie has experience working with small, large, and exotic animals, and she raises and shows purebred LaMancha dairy goats. Her interests include making soap and cheese from her goat milk, and spending time with family and friends. She also loves her miniature pinschers!

Rista White, LVT

Rista W. is a New Englander whose heart found a home in Southwestern Virginia. Originally from Augusta, Maine, she went to school at Becker College in Massachusetts. She received her degree in Veterinary Technology in 2013. She has been with Companion Animal Clinic since 2015. Her two dogs are Savannah and Tipsy, and her cat is named Rigby. She also has a hedgehog named Moxxi. In her free time she likes to learn more about positive reinforcement animal training and see what kinds of fun behaviors she can teach her animals next.

Our In-House Pet Groomer

Jodi Coleman, CFMG

Born in Detroit, Michigan, Jodi has worked in veterinary hospitals since she was a junior in high school, and has been practicing pet grooming for nearly 20 years. In 2015, she graduated from the National Cat Groomers Institute as a Certified Feline Master Groomer. She joined Companion Animal Clinic’s family in 2016. Jodi loves grooming cats and dogs, and not just because it makes them look great. Pets with brushed fur, clean coats, and trimmed nails are healthier! Recently, she has been preparing to compete in pet grooming competitions. 

When she’s not at work, she loves horseback riding, spending time with her friends and family, and traveling. She has a pet dog named Winston, a cat named Cher, two sugar gliders named Opal and Ellie, a bunny named Phelix, a horse named Hazel, and a mini-donkey named Zaccheaus.

Our Practice Manager

Sarah Purdue

Sarah grew up surrounded by cats, dogs, and horses in nearby Staffordsville, Va. In 2000, she began working at her hometown veterinary clinic, and went on to serve as their practice manager for 12 years. She joined the Companion Animal Clinic family in 2018. She has a special interest in veterinary pharmaceuticals, and learns as much as she can about medications prescribed to animal patients. She’s also passionate about pet nutrition, and has hosted several “Biggest Loser” competitions for four-legged patients.

Sarah loves her job, because she helps strengthen the bonds of unconditional love between owners and pets. When she’s not at work, she is usually hiking in the woods with her beloved beagle, Ryker, or riding her favorite horse, Rocky—who she has had since she was 12. (Rocky is 27, and still loves to run!) She has three other horses, named Amigo, Midnight, and Gunner, plus a mule named Molly. Rounding out Sarah’s menagerie is a cat named Boston.

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Our Facility

Proudly serving the Hokie community from our South Main Street location, just outside of downtown Blacksburg, Virginia.

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Our Facility

Reception Desk

Pet Care Area

Grooming Area

Exam Room Area

Exam Room

Frequently Asked Questions

We’ve answered some of the more common questions we receive about our veterinary practice below. Feel free to contact us if you would like more information or do not see your question answered here.

Q: Which payment options are available to customers?

A: For your convenience, we accept Cash, Checks, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and CareCredit. Payment is due at the time services are rendered.

A Payment Plan may be established with CareCredit to allow you to create the easiest payment option for your budget. Care Credit has an automatic 6-month NO INTEREST Plan available, as well as other plans. Care Credit can also be used with many (human) medical service providers. For financing approval, visit the Care Credit website.

We also accept pet insurance! For more information, contact us.

Q: Which types of pets do you see?

A: We see most types of small companion animals and exotic pets! Along with our dog and cat friends, we also see ferrets, rabbits, guinea pigs, potbelly pigs, chinchillas, hedgehogs, rats, mice, gerbils, hamsters, snakes (non-venomous only), sugar gliders, iguanas, monitors, turtles… and more!

For more information on the pets we care for, see our services.

Q: Which types of pets do you NOT see?

We do not see birds, spiders, large animal species (horses, cows, pigs, etc.), or primates (monkeys). For more information about the pets we care for, see our services.

Q: Does my pet need an appointment?

A: For non-emergency problems, a scheduled appointment will allow you and your pet the opportunity to share your concerns with the veterinarian and hospital medical team.

If your pet is suddenly sick, we accommodate walk-ins on a first come first serve basis during normal business hours on Monday through Saturday. Additional fees applied. Emergency cases are seen immediately during office hours.

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