Our Careteam

April Jenkins

Operations Manager

April grew up riding horses in northwestern Pennsylvania, and her earliest career aspiration was to become a jockey. She recalls bringing home all sorts of animals that she wanted to keep, much to her mother’s disdain! When the time came to consider a career path, April had a thought: why not combine her passion for animals with her interests in medicine and science by becoming a veterinary professional?

April’s animal-care career began when she started working for the veterinarian that she brought her own pets to for compassionate care. She mentored under the veterinarian for four years, becoming the Lead Veterinary Technician and Office Manager, before moving on to a large multi-doctor practice for another four years. Next, April relocated to Florida, where she joined the Highland Animal Hospital team as the clinic’s Office Manager. She’s been here ever since!

Medically, April is passionate about behavior modification and radiology work. Her favorite part of the job, though, is client care; she loves getting to know the area’s pet owners and forming lasting relationships over the years.

April has two sons and two stepdaughters, one of whom is currently studying at the University of South Florida. She shares her home with two cats—Baby Girl, who demands food and attention constantly, and a Siamese named Monkey—and a Siberian Husky named Loki. In her free time, April can be found enjoying a good book or documentary, relaxing at the beach, giving her time to environmental and human-rights causes, and spending quality time with family and friends.

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Jamie Keener

Veterinary Technician

After working in the restaurant industry for over a decade, Jamie Keener was ready for a change. She’d always loved biology, and after doing some digging online she realized a veterinary technician program was perfect for her—she would get to combine her interest in science with her love of animals!

Jamie grew up in Florida and has lived in Pinellas County her entire life. She spent a lot of time with her siblings, exercising and hiking. She can’t recall a point in her life that she didn’t have a dog or cat—she would even bring home strays or injured animals.

At first, Jamie volunteered at Highland Animal Hospital to secure her observation hours for veterinary technician school. After completing her observation hours she jumped right in and started working there as a Kennel Assistant while attending school. After graduating, Jamie was officially hired as a Veterinary Technician! Jamie says that if it wasn’t for the patience and understanding of her coworkers—putting up with her constant questions!—she wouldn’t be where she is today.

Jamie is especially interested in the laboratory aspects of her job—she loves examining things under the microscope. Dental work and the satisfaction of making an animal feel so much better is another high point for her.

Outside of work, Jamie enjoys spending time at the Dunedin Causeway, lying on the beach or enjoying a walk at sunset. She also loves to shop for bargains. Jamie’s guilty pleasure is television—she would be lost without her DVR.

Jamie lives with her husband James, her eight-month-old son Zane, and her cousin Kayla. They have three dogs, Sadie, Mojo, and Bolt, and two cats named Mishka and Mynx. Jamie says her household is quite the zoo and she wouldn’t have it any other way!

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Angel VanDerGracht

Veterinary Technician

Growing up near her grandparents’ farm in Atlanta, Georgia, Angel VanDerGracht was constantly around farm animals—caring for them with her grandfather and riding the horses sparked Angel’s love of veterinary medicine.

After four years in the United States Coast Guard, Angel moved back to Georgia and got a job at a pet clinic. After moving to the Tampa Bay area, she got a job right away at Highland Animal Hospital, where she serves pets and their owners every day as the Head Veterinary Technician and Head Receptionist! She’s now worked in the veterinary field for over 15 years.

Angel loves educating clients, especially about good quality food for pets and why diet is so important. She also loves doing dental procedures on pets–it’s extremely gratifying to see the before-and-after results of a teeth cleaning!

Angel lives with her husband and two dogs: Cato, a Boston terrier, and Churchill, an English Bulldog. They also have several cats and two aquatic turtles. Angel also feeds wild squirrels, ducks, and turtles daily in the pond near their home. In her spare time, Angel likes exercising by competing in triathlons and running with friends. She also likes working in the yard, watching college football, and spending time with her husband on their boat. 

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Emily Davis

Veterinary Technician

Emily was born in Kansas, then lived in Northern California with her family for several years before relocating again to Salt Lake City, Utah. Her constant throughout childhood was her love of animals and nature—she’s always known that she would love to care for pets professionally. Here at Highland Animal Hospital, Emily gets to do just that!

Emily was still in high school when she completed courses in veterinary technology. Next, she began working as a Kennel Technician and dog bather at her local veterinary hospital in Draper, Utah. A few months later, she moved into a role as a Veterinary Technician and has been caring for pets in that capacity ever since. Emily holds an Associate’s degree from Salt Lake Community College, and is currently studying environmental sciences and biology at the University of South Florida.

Around the hospital, Emily enjoys the challenge of emergency work and neonatal care, and she’s also fascinated by phlebotomy and loves to perform blood-draws. Most of all, she enjoys getting to meet the area’s pets and loving animal parents just like herself on a daily basis.

Emily has three pets of her own: a pair of Chihuahuas named Chulo and Pixie, as well as a Chihuahua/Dachshund mix who goes by Zeppelin. In addition to her interests in the world of pet care, she’s passionate about photography, permaculture, and hiking in the great outdoors.

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John Norwood Jr.

Veterinary Technician

John was raised in a small rural town in southern New Jersey, where his family kept potbellied pigs, pygmy goats, dogs, ducks, chickens, geese, and more. He would spend many summer days at the lake and nearby creeks, exploring nature and the creatures that inhabited the area—it wasn’t hard for John to develop a love for animal care early on in life. The older he got, the more one thing became clear: the veterinary field was the perfect path for him!

John was in his 20s when he began shadowing at a New Jersey animal hospital; it didn’t take long for him to be offered a position, which he gladly accepted. After many more years of hands-on experience working with pets, John decided to relocate to Florida and joined the team here at Highland Animal Hospital shortly afterward. He’s thrilled to now serve the pets and animal owners of the area as a Veterinary Technician!

John and his husband live with two pets of their own: Spencer, a rescued Labrador/Cocker Spaniel mix from New Jersey; and a hairless Chinese Crested/Yorkie mix named Abby who was adopted from Ohio. When he isn’t enjoying the company of his own pets at home or tending to animals’ needs here at the clinic, John loves repurposing old furniture, landscaping and gardening, writing, and painting. He’s even painted custom room murals for a tanning salon, a dentist’s office, various nurseries, and more!

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Sarah H.

Veterinary Technician

Sarah would often get herself into trouble in grade school—she would be more interested in the birds and insects flying around outdoors than what she was being taught in class. She’s been fascinated by animals, nature, and the earth’s ecosystems for as long as she can remember! For Sarah, a career in the world of veterinary medicine is simply the perfect choice.

Sarah is a native of the Clearwater and Dunedin area. She started her animal-care journey when she was only about 14 years old, volunteering with adoptive pets at the local Humane Society. It wasn’t long before she was hired on as an employee! Next, Sarah began working in a Clearwater animal practice before moving away and spending a few years working with pets in Hillsborough County. She moved back to Dunedin a few years ago and joined the team here at Highland Animal Hospital shortly afterward.

As a Veterinary Technician, Sarah particularly likes solving complicated medical and behavioral issues, and she’s also partial to thorough dental cleanings. Most of all, she enjoys educating the area’s pet owners in order to nurture and deepen the incredible bonds they share with their animal companions.

Outside of work, Sarah enjoys crafting and birdwatching—she’s active with the Clearwater Audubon Society and regularly travels all over the state to see rare birds. She even volunteers in the early summers to care for breeding shorebirds! At home, Sarah and her daughter share their lives with two pets: Persephone, a comical and gentle Standard Poodle, as well as an affectionate but messy Nanday Conure.

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