Meet Our Staff


 
 
Dr. Robert Hooker
 

Dr. Robert Hooker

After graduating from NC State, Dr. Hooker opened the Animal Emergency Hospital of the Strand in 1998. He is now the co-owner, along with Dr. Edward Verville. In keeping with his small town roots (he grew up in Hamer, SC), Dr. Hooker has opened 3 general practice veterinary hospitals, in Bennettsville, Dillon and Mullins. He is a big fan of bluegrass music and is quite talented at playing the banjo. One of his best pals is a handsome Great Dane named Kobalt.
 
 
 
Dr. Edward Verville
 

Dr. Edward Verville

Dr. Verville was raised in Charlotte, North Carolina and went to school at NC State University earning his veterinary degree in 1989. He practiced in both Charlotte and in Orlando, Florida after graduating. He relocated to Myrtle Beach in 1994 and opened Pawley's Veterinary Hospital. In 2005 he opened Carolina Forest Veterinary Hospital. Dr. Verville joined the Animal Emergency Hospital of the Strand as Business Manager in 2013. In addition to working with animals, he enjoys many activities including boating and fishing. He also really enjoys participating in mission work and has been to Haiti many times over the last 15 years to work on cows, goats, pigs and donkeys. He has three children, Savannah, Mary Payton and Benjamin. He also has a mixed breed dog named Shelby and a cat named CiCi (Crab Claw).
 
 
 
Dr. Brian Rakauskas
 

Dr. Brian Rakauskas - Medical Director

Dr. Rakauskas was born in Cleveland, Ohio but raised in Atlanta, Georgia. He received his undergraduate degree at Clemson University and veterinary degree at Mississippi State University. After graduation in 2012, he started his internship in Knoxville, Tennessee at a very busy emergency and specialty center. After his internship he worked at the same clinic on the emergency service for another year and a half. In summer of 2014 he moved to Myrtle Beach to work at our Emergency Hospital. In his free time he enjoys kayaking, paddle boarding, fishing, biking, and relaxing at the beach. He has a 6 year old black labrador named Sailor and a very rambunctious 2 year old yellow labrador named Summer.
 
 
 
Dr. Ferguson
 

Dr. Ferguson

Dr. Ferguson hails from the Front Range of Colorado and grew up surrounded by horses, cattle, dogs, goats and barn cats. She completed her undergraduate work at The Colorado College and is a graduate of The University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine. She has traveled and studied in various countries around southern Africa (where she is certified in the Chemical and Physical capture of African wildlife) and is passionate about the fantastic wildlife this continent has to offer. She is excited to continue her adventure with the opportunity to practice emergency veterinary medicine in beautiful South Carolina. She currently has two German Shepherds (Tonks and Morocco) and two horses (Aspen and Primrose). In her free time she enjoys exploring the world around her with her four legged companions, reading, studying new languages, and expanding her horizons on the Atlantic coast.
 
 
Dr. Kara Koczen
 

Dr. Thada Davis

Dr. Davis is originally from Georgetown, SC. After attending the University of South Carolina, she relocated to the Virgin Islands where she owned a title insurance company. While in the Caribbean, she decided to pursue her lifelong dream in veterinary medicine. She graduated from Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine in 2011 and completed her clinical year at NC State. After graduation, she returned to coastal South Carolina. Dr. Davis enjoys boating, scuba diving and spending time with family, friends, and her two cats, Vevvy and Jumbee.

 
 
Dr. Jade Guilbeau
 

Dr. Jade Guilbeau

Dr. Jade Guilbeau is a local to Myrtle Beach, and is excited to be practicing in her home town. She completed her undergraduate work at Coastal Carolina University, and her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Mississippi State University. GO DAWGS! During this time Jade had the opportunity to study abroad in Costa Rica and Africa and volunteer with medical mission trips to Guatemala and Honduras.
In her free time Dr. Guilbeau enjoys the outdoor activities the low country and beautiful Carolina coast lands afford. Crusty, her rescued Chihuahua, also enjoys the outdoors, and if hikes are too long he takes in the scenery from a shoulder bag that's just his size. Her other hobbies include painting, clothes making, and cooking.
 
 
 
Megan Cunningham
 

Megan Hooker - Practice Manager

Megan has a great passion for caring for animals, whether they are small, large, wild or domestic. She grew up in Maryland, where she enjoyed volunteering at a wildlife rescue and worked as an assistant at a small/large animal hospital for 4 years. She moved to Myrtle Beach with her dog Hope and 2 cats, Paris and Axyl 9 years ago. Over the past 9 years, she has fostered numerous kittens, dogs, baby birds and squirrels. She has adopted 3 abandoned Chihuahuas: Beans, Rice, and Pinto. In her spare time, Megan is a student working towards an Associate of Science Degree as a Veterinary Technician at Penn Foster College. Some of her other hobbies include music, painting, tennis, and Call of Duty.
 
 
 
Jenni Hatfield
 

Jenni Hatfield - Hospital Administrator

Jenni was raised in the country with various critters. Her family had skunks, raccoons, snakes, cats, dogs, birds, turtles and more. Her parents both were animal and nature lovers who instilled in their children the same morals towards animals that they had. When Jenni got the opportunity to work in a veterinarians office 20 years ago, she was thrilled...her dream job had come through! Jenni has performed many jobs in the field but is happiest here as the Hospital Administrator at the Animal Emergency Hospital of the Strand.
 
 
 
Emerald Rabon
 

Emerald Rabon - Lead Technician

Emerald is a native of Conway, SC. Growing up her family always had a variety of animals, so it's only natural that she ended up in this field. She loves taking care of the animals here and is grateful for the experience. Emerald is very close with her family and friends. She is very lively and always tries to make things interesting around her. She spends her time off with her furry baby Codie and lounging at the beach.
 
 
 
Dr. Jade Guilbeau
 

Katie Bush

Katie was born in Texas and has lived in many states. She and her family moved to North Myrtle Beach in 2011. Katie worked for 2 years at a day practice, working her way from a kennel assistant to a veterinary assistant. She enjoys photography, reading and going on adventures with her two dogs, Sasha and Ripken.
 
 
Dr. Jade Guilbeau
 

Kristin Como

Kristin grew up in New Jersey, and had ridden horses since she was 4. When she moved to SC, she was able to get her own animals and has lived on a farm here with her 3 horses, and her mini horse. One is an Off Track Thoroughbred named Justin Moon whom she rescued back in New Jersey. After taking a class at HGTC, she realized her passion for taking care of animals and wanted to make a career out of it!
 
 
Kaitlin Evaston
 

Kaitlin Evaston

Kaitlin has been an animal lover all of her life. After volunteering at an animal shelter in PA, she received a job, working there for a year and a half while attending college to receive her degree in Corporate Communications. She then took a job working as a veterinary assistant in a small animal practice where she stayed 2 years before deciding to move to Myrtle Beach, SC in December of 2016. Kaitlin has a rescue Jack Russell Terrier named Jake who she loves to take to the beach because he loves to swim! In her spare time Kaitlin helps out at a local animal shelter and is studying to become a professional dog trainer. She is very excited for the opportunity to be a part of the Animal Emergency Hospital of the Strand.
 
 
Ashley Fuller
 

Ashley Fuller

Ashley was born and raised in southern Maryland. When she was 16 years old she moved to sunny Myrtle Beach with her family. Before coming to work with us, she worked at a day practice for 10 years, beginning when she was a senior in high school. Ashley has always had an immense love for animals and finds it fulfilling to help them through veterinary medicine. She has a Pit Bull mix, Rubble, a cat, Moo and a hedgehog named Kevin. She enjoys spending her free time with her son, Peyton and talking walks in the park with Rubble.
 
 
Krishus Bean
 

Patricia Kelliher

Originally from Philadelphia, Patricia moved to the Myrtle Beach area in 2004. After raising three children, she followed her passion for animals and attended HGTC veterinary assistant course. She currently lives with her husband Phil, their daughter Carly and two furbabies, Charger and Dash.
 
 
 
Rachel McFann
 

Rachel McFann

Rachel was born in Ohio but has lived in Myrtle Beach for the past 20 years. Her passion in life has always been animals. She has two dogs Luke who is a Staffordshire Bull Terrier and Lucy who is an American Red Nose Pitbull. She also has two children Kingston and Brock. She enjoys going to the beach, reading and spending time with her children.
 
 
Nicole McGrogan
 

Nicole McGrogan

After spending time as a stay at home mom, Nicole was ready to find a job where she could be engaged in some adult conversation and do something that made her happy. She stumbled on a job as a veterinary receptionist in the town where she was living. Even though she had lots of customer service experience, the veterinary field was a whole new world for her. She fell in love with animal medicine. The receptionist position led to office manager and technician in training with dreams of attending school and becoming a licensed technician. Her dreams were put on hold with the coming of her second son. Two years later they moved from New York to South Carolina where she landed a position in a day practice as a Reception Supervisor. Thankful to be back in veterinary medicine, her dreams of being a veterinary technician started surfacing again. She applied for a position here, at The Animal Emergency Hospital of the Strand and is fulfilling her dream!
 
 
 
Monica Montalvo
 

Monica Montalvo

Monica was born and raised in Connecticut and has lived in Myrtle Beach for the past three years. Her passion has always been to help animals. In Connecticut, she had worked with several animal rescues. She has a dog, Vader, three cats, Noah, Fuzzy and Logan, and a snake, Halo. In her spare time, Monica enjoys spending time with her husband, Victor and her children, Mateo and Myranda.
 
 
 
Amanda Nyquist
 

Amanda Nyquist

Amanda always had a passion for animals as far back as she can remember, Soon she was volunteering at various animal shelters. She started her career here at the Animal Emergency Hospital of the Strand working as a veterinarian assistant helping clean and care for patients, Now as a veterinarian technician she enjoys working with not only the patients but the loving parents that come with them. She owns two cats, Meowzer and Creature.
 
 
 
 
Yvette Salum
 

Yvette Salum

Yvette has been surrounded by animals all her life, from dogs to ferrets and everything in between. She first began working with animals in a grooming salon and by volunteering at a local shelter. She developed her love of animal nursing after countless orphan rescues, leading her into the veterinary field. Now, she is pursuing her veterinary technician degree in order to become licensed. She has three pit bulls: Diesel, Scarlett, and Rufus who help comfort the animals that she fosters at home.
 
 
Jess Schultzaberger
 

Jess Schultzaberger

Jess is a native to Conway, SC. Her passion for animals began at an early age and has always stayed with her. Growing up she volunteered at the animal hospital her mom managed and this fueled her passion to work in veterinary medicine. She has fostered puppies, kittens, squirrels, deer, and a racoon. Her home currently consist of three mutts Hayley, Gunner, Stryker and two cats MAC and Briggs.
 
 
 
Matt Smith
 

Matt Smith

Matt was born in Marion SC where he enjoyed his childhood playing music, rescuing injured wildlife, and performing in theater arts. Matt started working in the vet field in 2012 where he quickly learned that helping animals was his passion. Matt enjoys working with small animals and exotics. Matt currently has a Dachshund - Winston, and a Ball Python — Ferdinand. In his free time, Matt enjoys playing video games, watching movies, and swimming.
 
 
 
 

Elaine Tirmenstein

Elaine has spent over 30 years as a Registered Nurse and has most recently started applying knowledge to caring for animals. Working at the AEHS is a dream come true! She loves taking care of her non profit animal rescue and 100+ year old farm house. Growing up in Indianapolis provided her with Midwest values, living in Los Angeles for 13 years gave her street smarts and living in Loris allows her to have her animal rescue! She loves animals and is active in animal rescue, education and promoting spay and neuter to end our homeless animal epidemic. Elaine volunteers at a local low cost spay and neuter clinic weekly and fosters and transports for area shelters and rescues. She currently has 9 dogs, 6 cats and 4 horses at her farm. The number is ever changing!
 
 
 
Catherine Tucker
 

Catherine Tucker

Catherine was born and raised in Long Island, New York. She attended Suffolk County Community College where she earned an Associate's Degree in Applied Sciences in Veterinary Medicine in 2001. During her 20 year career working with animals she has worked with small exotics, dogs and cats. She has experience working in laboratory animal medicine, specialty practice, emergency medicine, and small animal medicine. Catherine relocated to Myrtle Beach In 2005 with her husband. Catherine holds a veterinary technician license in New York and South Carolina and is currently working on getting a veterinary technician specialty degree in clinical practice. In the future she would like to work with the World Vets Organization to provide veterinary services around the world. She enjoys biking and boating. She has two children Makaila and Stephen. She also has 2 dogs, a tortoise and a leopard gecko.
 
 
Jeanne Waite
 

Jeanne Waite

Jeanne comes to us by way of central New York with over 35 years in the animal health and welfare field. She attended the State University of New York at Canton, receiving an Associate in Applied Sciences degree in Veterinary Science. She worked in veterinary hospitals for 14 years before becoming the head of the animal control department in Rome, New York. After 22 years in animal control, she retired to Conway SC and decided to return to the veterinary side of her carrier. She is currently a Licensed Veterinary Technician in New York State and is in the process of transferring her license to South Carolina. She has a chinchilla, ChiChi Bean, and a ferret, Pinky, which were both strays she acquired while working animal control.