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Meet Our Portage Team

We wouldn’t be the veterinary practice we are today without our phenomenal veterinarians and staff members. We’re proud to have so many talented individuals working hard every day to help pets and their families. Take a few minutes to read on and learn more about us!

Veterinarians

Dr. John Coyne

Dr. John Coyne

Veterinarian, Owner

Dr. John Coyne has been practicing veterinary medicine for over 40 years. He was raised on a farm in Central Illinois, which cultivated his love for animals and inspired him to pursue veterinary medicine. In 1974, he graduated from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine.

Since then, Dr. Coyne has blazed the proverbial trail, providing the quality of care he believed should be the norm and mentoring many skilled young veterinarians along the way. His dedication to hard work and persistence have led to him now owning and operating multiple animal hospitals throughout Northern Illinois and Northwest Indiana.

Dr. Coyne places special emphasis on wellness care and providing pets with the best quality of life through proactive treatment. Like many pet owners, he regards pets as friends and family members. With that in mind, he believes that pets deserve to have access to timely, quality care whenever they need it, and is willing to go above and beyond to meet their needs.

While the years have gone by, Dr. Coyne’s commitment to pets, pet owners, and his employees, whom he treats like family, has never changed. He continues to innovate and find new ways to help those around him—be it through providing medicine or offering scholarships to veterinary students.

Outside of veterinary medicine, Dr. Coyne is a big fan of University of Illinois athletics and enjoys all Chicago sports. He and his wife, Ruth, have two daughters and four grandchildren.

Dr. Joylnn Rudman

Dr. Joylnn Rudman

Veterinarian

Bio coming soon.

Dr. Stephanie Kozdron

Dr. Stephanie Kozdron

Veterinarian

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment at this point in your life?
Aside from becoming a veterinarian…earning my private pilot’s license.

If you could give one piece of advice to pet owners, what would it be?
Plan for when you are not there and keep them active.

Favorite comfort food:
Chimichangas and pierogis

3 things people might be surprised to know about you
I have my private pilot’s license, I am a 10-year State Champion accordion player, and I love to play tennis.

Dr. Kathryn Dittmer

Dr. Kathryn Dittmer

Veterinarian

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment at this point in your life?
Fulfilling my lifelong goal of becoming a veterinarian.

If you could give one piece of advice to pet owners, what would it be?
Please communicate with a veterinarian that you trust and work with them to provide the best care for your pet.

Favorite comfort food:
Mint chocolate chip ice cream

3 things people might be surprised to know about you.
I have lived on 3 different continents, I love kickboxing, and I worked at a zoo in Omaha, Nebraska.

Staff

Jennifer Stover

Jennifer Stover

Office Manager

What has been your most rewarding moment working with animals?
I enjoy seeing how much pets are a part of their families. It’s so rewarding to see the smile on peoples’ faces when they bring in a new puppy; to know that we can help give them a better understanding of how to care for their new family member is its own reward.

What is your favorite quote about animals?
“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” – Anatole France

Favorite comfort food:
French fries

Last book you read:
The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks

Jennifer Douglass, RVT

Jennifer Douglass, RVT

Practice Manager, Registered Technician

Favorite quote about animals:
“Animals are such agreeable friends—they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms.” – George Eliot

Favorite comfort food:
Ice cream

Last book(s) you read:
Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling

Bethany Goodwin, RVT

Bethany Goodwin, RVT

Registered Veterinary Technician

Favorite quote about animals:
“Dogs have owners, cats have staff.” – Anonymous

Favorite comfort food:
Ice cream

Last book you read:
Girl on a Train by Paula Hawkins

Ashley Dec

Ashley Dec

Veterinary Assistant

What has been your most rewarding moment working with animals?
When I worked for the SPCA in Pennsylvania, we raided a Pit Bull fighting operation. We rescued several dogs that had been chained up their entire life. Showing them life beyond that was very rewarding.

Favorite quote about animals:
“They show us what is missing in our lives, and how to love ourselves more completely and unconditionally. They connect us back to who we are and to the purpose of why we’re here.” – Trisha McCagh

Favorite comfort food:
Pizza

Last book you read:
Garcia: An American Life by Blair Jackson

Savannah Farris

Savannah Farris

Veterinary Assistant

What has been your most rewarding moment working with animals?
Establishing a relationship with not only the pets but also with their owners, as well.

Favorite comfort food:
Pasta

Last book you read:
The Last Ride by Nicholas Sparks

Grace Moore

Grace Moore

Client Service Representative

Favorite comfort food:
Pizza

Last book you read:
The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Most unusual pet you’ve owned?
A piglet

Laura Mackowiak

Laura Mackowiak

Client Service Representative

Favorite quote about animals:
“I had a wonderful teacher about animal behavior—my dog Rusty. He taught me that animals have personalities, minds, and feelings.” – Jane Goodall

Favorite comfort food:
Mashed potatoes, popcorn, and Cheetos (respectively)

Last book you read:
Lilly and the Octopus by Steven Rowley

Most unusual pet you’ve owned?
A tarantula named ‘Norman’

Carolina Gonzalez

Carolina Gonzalez

Client Service Representative

Favorite quote about animals:
“It takes nothing away from a human to be kind to an animal.” – Joaquin Phoenix

Favorite comfort food:
Mint chocolate chip ice cream

Most unusual pet you’ve owned?
I once rescued a ferret from a bad situation. He was an awesome pet!

Tonya Thorton

Tonya Thorton

Client Service Representative

What has been your most rewarding moment working with animals?
My most rewarding moment was helping a past client raise funds for a much-needed surgery for her pet.

Favorite quote about animals:
“We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals.” – Immanuel Kant

Favorite comfort food:
Pizza

Karen Peksenak

Karen Peksenak

Kennel Team

What has been your most rewarding moment working with animals?
Every day has a new rewarding moment. It makes me feel good that the animals I work with trust and love me, and that I understand them and will do my absolute best to make them comfortable and happy.

Favorite comfort food:
Ice cream

Last book you read:
Indian Country by Philip Caputo

Most unusual pet you’ve owned?
A 6ft Colombian boa constrictor—her name was Pantera, and she loved eating ice cream!

Think you have what it takes to join our team?

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