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"There are no ordinary cats." ~Colette

"Your talent is God's gift to you. What you do with it is your gift back to God". ~Leo Buscaglia

All of our staff are kind, talented individuals who not only love their work but are committed to providing the best of service and the best of care to both you and your pets. Our technical staff is comprised of licensed veterinary technicians who are educated in all the veterinary techniques including, but not limited to, proper animal restraint, animal husbandry, venipuncture, catheter placement, anesthetic monitoring, pain management, clinical laboratory techniques, animal dentistries, and intra-operative and post-operative care.



Head Veterinary Technician and

Hospital Manager



Paul Staar has been a licensed veterinary technician (LVT) for more than fifteen years. He graduated in 1998 from Mercy College with a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Veterinary Science. He has many years of experience as head technical manager, and has served as a mentor to technical students from Mercy College and Westchester Community College. Paul has expertise in feline and canine dentistries, is a skilled surgical assistant, and has a special interest in abdominal ultrasound. Paul also organizes the pain management protocols of the hospital. Paul has volunteered his technical services to spay and neuter programs of Bully Baby Rescue. In addition to his work in the animal health field, he also is a New York State licensed real estate agent. When he is not working, he loves fishing, golfing, and spending time with his wife, two children, dog, and two cats.



Licensed Veterinary Technician

Nicole Oliva started working in veterinary medicine 10 years ago and knew that this was the path she wanted to take for the rest of her life. Nicole is a NYS licensed veterinary technician and has a passion for anesthesia and dental procedures. She hopes to obtain her VTS in anesthesia in the coming years. She resides in CT with the love of her life and her two happy dogs, Jake and Spunky. In her spare time, she enjoys going to the gym, hitting the beach, and visiting flea markets. She has a true passion for animal rescue and understands the importance of adoption.

Animal Assistant

Sandro Spetrillo started working for Petchester in December of 2020, and is one of our veterinary assistants/receptionists. He has always been around animals despite never owning a pet and shows love to every animal that comes through our doors like they are his own. In his spare time he enjoys skateboarding, watching sports, reading comics, & following his passion for photography. In addition to working in the veterinarian field, Sandro also dabbles in the event industry & uses his photography & people skills to help work parties. 

Administrative Assistant

Christina was born and raised in New York City. She has had a love for animals her entire life and grew up with 2 dogs, 3 cats, guinea pigs, a tarantula, 3 rats, birds and leopard geckos. It was clear at a young age what career she would choose. Her love for animals only continued to grow and landed her a position at an exotic veterinary clinic in NYC where she worked for 7 years. While working there, she moved up to head receptionist and assisted technicians and doctors with their vital work, further expanding her interest in the medical field as well. Christina brings over 10 years of customer service experience to Petchester. Christina enjoys her days off with her husband, two children and their ferret, Daisy. Christina's family describes themselves as thrill junkies who enjoy traveling to different amusement parks, hiking trails, and always seeking new adventures. She loves painting in her free time and tapping into her artistic side.

Administrative Assistant

Jess Cronin, raised in Westchester, New York has recently welcomed a Belgian Malinois named Whiskey into her home. During her college years at the University of Oregon, she was a student athlete as a stunter on the cheerleading team. With a background in the medical field as a former EMT, she has redirected her focus to studying advertising and design in New York. Passionate about exploring the world, she has a particular fondness for African wildlife, having ventured through Kenya and South Africa. She also spent time living in Australia, where kangaroos were a common sight in her backyard. Passionate about fitness and nutrition, she frequently incorporates her canine companion into her outdoor activities, enjoying hikes and runs together.

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Licensed Veterinary Technician 

in Training

Since Gaby Vilchez was a little girl, all she could think of was one day becoming a veterinarian. In 2020 Gaby moved to the United States from Dominican Republic and started working at Petco as a floor leader for several months until she decided she wanted to pursue her dreams in the veterinary field. Started working at Petchester in 2021 and is now going to school to be a veterinary technician as well as taking prerequisites to apply to vet school. Gaby enjoys going out to restaurants and being around her friends and family. Gaby has 3 cats named Nala, Shushi and Loki.

Petchester Clinic Cat

Jimmy came to Petchester via Sarah Hart of Cat Assistance. He is a grey tabby and was happily working and lounging at Petchester when he started limping on his right front leg. Unfortunately, he was diagnosed with bone cancer and had his right front leg amputated. He has since been thriving, is pain free, and has shown no cancer recurrence. Of all the staff at Petchester, it seemed that Jimmy enjoyed having the animal hospital locked down from Covid, as he enjoyed napping and sunbathing under the skylights in the dog section of the waiting room.



Licensed Veterinary Technician



Cindy Cafagna developed a deep love for all animals at an early age. Growing up in a household with pets ranging from ferrets and rabbits to cats and dogs, it is no surprise she decided to pursue her passion by becoming a veterinary technician. Cindy worked at a veterinary  practice as a kennel attendant for six years before starting her career as a licensed veterinary technician. With over three years of technical experience, Cindy has extensive understanding of surgery protocol, monitoring and anesthesia, and dental cleanings. When she is not at the beach or traveling, you can find Cindy shopping, exercising and spending time with her family and friends. Currently, Cindy resides in Yonkers, NY with six adopted cats, a cockatiel, and two adopted pit bulls, one she rescued and nursed from 2 days old.



Licensed Veterinary Technician

Yessenia Barrera is a NYS Licensed Veterinary Technician from the Bronx. While receiving her Bachelor's in Health Science at Mercy College, she obtained her Associate's Degree in Veterinary Technology at Cedar Valley College. Yessenia has a passion for helping animals that went beyond her two dogs and one cat. A hard worker, Yessenia divided her time when in school between working and caring and fostering animals. From treating an epileptic pet rat named Leo, rehabilitating a guinea pig named Timmy, or finding a cockatoo under a car, her determination to ensure an animal’s health is of the utmost importance and her passion from the moment she was asked what she loved to do. Starting as an animal assistant and receptionist, the doctor's and technicians at Petchester Veterinary encouraged Yessenia to pursue her passion for animals and to continue with her education to become a Veterinary Technician. When not working, Yessenia enjoys hiking, playing flag football, playing guitar, fruit picking, and spending time with her family, including her pets.


Animal Assistant

Bessy Guich was born in El Salvador and immigrated to the United States at the age of sixteen. She graduated from Roosevelt High School in 2002. She loves working with animals and began her career as a kennel attendant in a Westchester veterinary hospital for four years. She then moved to working as a pet-sitter/dog walker for eight years. Along with pets, Bessy also has a special way with children and has worked in childcare for many years. She gives her all in everything that she does. Bessy lives in Yorktown Heights, New York with her husband, son, three dogs, and four cats. Her hobbies include cooking and reading.

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Administrative Assistant

Jordan‘s passion for animals started from early childhood. She grew up in a household with a Tabby cat and Dalmatian. Jordan also had a special interest in horses and rode equestrian for several years. After graduating high school she attended Make Up Designory in NYC where she learned how to do make up for print, television, and events. Jordan then went on to work with Bobbi Brown and NARS cosmetics where she focused on doing makeup for weddings and other special occasions. Jordan loves doing makeup but also felt a strong connection with animals and wanted to transition towards working with them. Jordan has great customer service and communication skills and enjoys building relationships with our clients here at Petchester. Jordan lives in Crestwood with two dogs of her own, a Belgian Malinois named Xena, and an American Bully named Dexter. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her dogs, family and friends, and relaxing on the beach.



Administrative Assistant

Holli Kim is a compassionate individual with a deep love for animals. Born upstate, she grew up surrounded by a variety of animals, fostering a strong connection with them from an early age. This bond led her to rescue many cats and welcome a golden retriever named Frankie into her family. In 2019, she embarked on a career path aligned with her passion by starting work as a veterinary receptionist/assistant. Holli likes to hike, drive upstate, work on her plants and hanging out with her husband and her animals.

Petchester Clinic Cat

Sal is our orange tabby who started working at Petchester when it first opened in December 2013. It was one of the coldest winters in recent memory, and he was rescued by a client, Pat Fallon. Pat was a true humanitarian, and tragically passed away a couple of years ago. Sal was severely matted and had multiple bite wounds, infections, and almost lost his right ear. He was treated and neutered at Petchester, where he has now slimmed down and patrols the entire hospital. He always finds the highest place to monitor the comings and goings. He can be met in the waiting area, and has been known to be protective of staff members when they encounter a fractious cat.

Petchester Clinic Cat

Tony began working at Petchester since 2016. He is a snow shoe Siamese. Tony is originally from a beautiful Park Avenue apartment in Manhattan Tragically, he was given up for adoption because his owners felt animals were like a commodity and they preferred to have a dog. Luckily for Tony, he was picked up at ACC shelter in Manhattan by Cat Assistance founder Sarah Hart. Tony was obese and had trouble urinating due to bladder stones, so after Petchester removed his bladder stones surgically, Petchester and Tony decided that they would forge a mutual relationship . He has since lost at least 5 pounds on his special diet, and he prefers to sit in the treatment area of Petchester, where he lives a very sedentary life and purrs all day long waiting to be petted.

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