Gentle Doctor Animal Hospital
Dr Melissa Lafferty was born and raised in Akron, Ohio and moved to St Charles, MO when she was six years old. Her parents still live in St Charles and Dr Melissa now lives in Wentzville. When Dr Melissa was six years old, Santa gave her a calico kitten she named Tiffy. Her mom was terrified of animals; it took two years before her mom was brave enough to be in the same room with Tiffy. Before Dr Melissa attended veterinary school at the University of Missouri-Columbia, she worked at fast food places and was also a veterinary technician. Having a strong interest in science, animals, and medicine, Dr Melissa decided that becoming a veterinarian would enable her to pursue all of her interests. In addition to the dogs and cats, Dr Melissa loves interacting with all the interesting people she meets every day in her job. She also loves the challenge of never knowing what she may see on any given day. Dr Melissa, her husband, Brad, and their three children (Braxton, Abby, and Cora Rose) share their home with two dogs and a cat. Baci is a three year old Italian Mastiff whose name means “kisses” in Italian. When she was younger, her husband forgot to lock her kennel one day when he left the house. When they came back home, they found that their sweet little dog had redecorated the laundry room! Blake is a ten year old male Husky mix that rarely barks. Instead of barking, he howls every time Dr Melissa comes home; the kids say it sounds like he is saying, “I Love You!” Their cat, Tiger, was a rescued female tabby that she had to hand raise and bottle feed when she was four weeks old.
Dr. Bob McCool was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. As a young child, he used to spend hours playing with plastic zoo animals, and his favorite thing to do was visit the zoo. He had a habit of catching animals (from frogs/toads to even a gopher) and trying to make them pets. He drove his parents crazy with the approximately 15 fish tanks he kept in his room. It was clear early on that he had a fascination for animals.During career day in high school, he recalled how most of his classmates chose 3 or 4 different career choices to research as most of them were uncertain what direction they would go. For himself, it was different. He knew he wanted a career working with animals. He had already narrowed his choice down to veterinary medicine. Everything he did from that point forward was focused on getting into veterinary school. In 1985, he was accepted for admission into the University of Missouri-Columbia Veterinary School. He would eventually marry one of his classmates, Lori, in 1988. He knew early on that the area he wanted to pursue was small animal medicine and surgery. So when he graduated he and his wife took positions as Associate Veterinarians in practices in California. Having grown up in Missouri, they both thought it would be nice to live elsewhere for a change. After one year in California, they made the decision to move back to Missouri to raise a family.Currently Dr Bob and his wife have 2 children, both boys, attending elementary school. Both of his sons also love animals. He always said there must be “animal gene” that he and his wife passed on to them. They have several pets including a golden retriever who loves attention (Kilimanjaro), a cat who loves to eat (Jack), two sweet maltese (Ella & Eli), another cat who is constantly in to things (Holly), a pomeranian who is their most bull-headed child (Mikaela), 2 pigmy goats who love to climb (Sandy and Lily), 2 sweet nubian goats that love cheerios (Sponge Bob and Flower), and a chinchilla (Benji).
Dr. Julie grew up in the Pacific Northwest and moved to the O’Fallon area in 2005. She knew she wanted to be a veterinarian as long as she could remember. As a child, pets were always part of the household. She begged for her first dog, Sadie, at the age of 12 by hiding cut-out pictures of dogs all over the house until her parents finally gave in. For education, Dr. Julie attended Washington State University where she obtained a major in Zoology and minored in Animal Science and Business. She graduated in 2005 with a Degree in Veterinary Medicine and soon after traveled to the O’Fallon area and started working at Gentle Doctor Animal Hospital. Missouri was always a second home to her, as much of her extended family live in the area. Dr. Julie regularly attends yearly conferences and is always striving to stay as current as possible with the constantly evolving practice of veterinary medicine. She can’t imagine herself in any other profession and truly enjoys coming to work everyday. She loves the interactions with people and the rewarding feeling of helping animals in need. Dr. Julie is very happily married to her husband Steve since 2005. They have no children, and she enjoys traveling when time allows. She is grateful to have been a part of Gentle Doctor Animal Hospital family for over 10 years. Having a love of animals, means numerous dogs and cats have shared her home over the years. Currently she has two dogs and three cats. Sheila, an Australian Cattle Dog, came to our clinic in 2008 with a broken leg and pelvis after being hit by a car as a stray. She spent a month here recuperating before Dr. Julie decided she would be a perfect fit with her family. Her second dog, Kaiser, a German shepherd, was adopted as an exuberant puppy in 2009, and continues to be full of energy. Her cats are all older, ranging from 11-17 years of age. Willy, the youngest, lost his eye to a herpes infection when he was only 8-weeks old. Mango is the middle child, and Opal is a 17-year old street-smart cat with 9 lives. After moving several miles across town (and Highway 70!) a few years ago, she found her way back to her old home…..twice….before she finally decided her new place wasn’t so bad.
Dr. Taylor Breuer was born and raised in Chesterfield, MO. She developed a love for animals at an early age and always knew she wanted to be a veterinarian. She grew up with many animals including a Golden Retriever (Maddy) and a Himalayan cat (Winter) in addition to fish, hamsters, and hermit crabs. Dr. Taylor remembers dressing Maddy and Winter up in various outfits and having tea parties with them in her backyard as a child. Dr. Taylor also spent a lot of time horseback riding as a child and even competed in hunter/jumper horseback riding competitions, breaking her collar bone at one point when she fell off her horse over a jump. Following her love of animals and interest in science, Dr. Taylor attended University of Missouri- Columbia for her undergrad degree in Animal Sciences. She then went on to graduate with her doctorate of veterinary medicine in 2015. During vet school, Dr. Taylor adopted a 4 week old Dalmatian mix who had been abandoned at a vet clinic with his 8 littermates. Dr. Taylor currently lives in Lake St. Louis with her husband (Kyle), her Dalmatian mix (Milo), and her Golden Retriever (Mac). Milo and Mac love to swim and Dr. Taylor has a hard time keeping them out of the water (she thinks they would swim 24 hours a day if she would let them!). They even have their own “doggie dock ladder” to get out of the water. Dr. Taylor is very excited to be starting her veterinary career at Gentle Doctor Animal Hospital!
Dr. Judy Dennis was born and raised in the St. Louis area of Missouri. Her family always had pets, so from a young age she has had mice, hamsters, a rabbit, cats and dogs. From the time she was a young child she had a strong interest in biology, animals and helping others. Her first job was as a kennel employee and her interest in veterinary medicine grew from there. Unfortunately during her work as a kennel employee she developed a bad allergy to rabbits. She graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology from Webster University. Then she attended the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Veterinary Medicine and graduated with her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in May of 2006. Her first job as a veterinarian was in Peoria, Arizona at a small animal clinic. During her time in Arizona she adopted 2 rescue cats, Cleopatra and Isabella. Cleopatra and Isabella are now 8 years old and enjoy lounging in sun beams. While she enjoyed her job, she missed Missouri and decided to return in 2007. She joined the staff at Tender Care Animal Hospital in Weldon Springs for 6 years before coming to work at the sister hospital, Gentle Doctor Animal Hospital. She continues to enjoy practicing veterinary medicine and forming lasting relationships with her patients and clients.
Patient Care Team Members
Loretta McMenamy was born in Ferguson, Missouri. At 2 weeks of age, her family moved to St Peters, Missouri where she lived at home until she was 20 years old. Loretta had 2 cats growing up, Smokey (blue and cream) and Tuxedo (black and white). She also had a chow chow dog named Cinnamon who lived to be 16 years old. Smokey was a gift for her 7th birthday from her aunt. She used to dress Smokey in baby clothes and put her in the baby crib.Her career goal was to find employment where she felt like she could make a difference. Her love of animals made Gentle Doctor Animal Hospital a perfect fit! Loretta enjoys meeting new clients with their kittens and puppies. She loves seeing pets recover from serious illnesses. She likes to talk to the clients about their pets and loves it when they praise us for the great job we did helping their pet. Working at Gentle Doctor has been her favorite job. She hopes to have a long career working at Gentle Doctor Animal Hospital helping care for clients and their pets. Loretta and her husband, Nathan, have 3 cats: Salem, a 3 year old female black cat, Tre Jones, a 2 year old male chocolate point Siamese mix, and Gilbert, a 2 year old male tabby with white markings. Salem was her first cat and loves to give kisses, especially while Loretta is sleeping. Tre, who she calls Jonesy is the talker. He sits on the counter by the treat cabinet and cries until he gets a treat. He was a rescue kitten that had a broken leg that required surgery to pin his leg. He is a social butterfly and snuggle bunny that sleeps with her every night.
Tiffany Briggs was born in Roy, Utah but spent most of her childhood in Denver, Colorado. Her first pet was a dachshund, named DJ. DJ is now 15 years old and still going strong. In his younger years, DJ would have episodes of extreme excitement where he would very enthusiastically run around the house. She enjoyed watching these bursts of excitement… it gave her a great feeling to see him so happy! DJ loved the warmth of lying on laundry that just came out of the dryer or lying in the sun. And Tiffany has fond memories of how he would always hog the bed! Tiffany has always loved animals and has worked previously as a kennel attendant at an animal hospital. After watching the technicians taking such good care of the sick pets, she became passionate about working as an animal health technician. She loves the feeling she gets when she sees an animal recover from a serious illness or injury and then watching the elated owner reunite with her pet. In addition to her long time friend, DJ, Tiffany also has 2 cats (Molly and Birdie) and a double yellow-headed Amazon parrot (Lola). Molly is a very prudish kind of cat and Birdie is a major snuggle bunny. Birdie has the wonderful habit of waking Tiffany up in the morning by attacking her feet! And if she doesn’t wake up right away, she can always count on her parrot, Lola, to give her an early morning wake up call.
Cheryl Peppers was born in St. Louis, Missouri and was grew up in Dellwood and Jefferson County. She grew up surrounded by pets. Her favorite pet was a toy poodle named Mimi. Mimi was Cheryl’s best friend. She frequently dressed Mimi up in doll’s clothes and pushed her around in her doll stroller. Mimi followed Cheryl around wherever she would go. In addition to Mimi, Cheryl also had two cats (Golda and Morris), two turtles, a parakeet (Blue), and a baby wild rabbit (Hoppy) that she hand raised and later released into the wild. Cheryl has always had a desire to work with animals since her childhood. Both sets of grandparents had pets: one raised poodles and her other owned cats. She loves seeing sick and injured animals recover, watching puppies and kittens grow up, spending time getting to know our clients, and developing great friendships with the people she works with. She truly loves her job! She currently shares her home with her two cats: Gizmo and Cheddar. Both cats were rescued from shelters. Gizmo loves to lick the curtains before he puts his head through to look outside the window. She says Gizmo is her “OCD” cat. Cheddar follows Cheryl everywhere even into the bathroom. If she does not let Cheddar in, Cheddar knocks on the door until she finally gives in and opens it.