Our Careteam

Nathalie Lares

Veterinary Assistant

Nathalie’s interest in animal care began with her family’s dog sitting experience.   Nathalie’s apartment community didn’t allow dogs, so she was thrilled at the chance to care for her father’s client’s dog at his home. Nathalie loved every minute of feeding and playing with this “borrowed” canine companion, and her experience sparked an interest in an animal care career. When Nathalie’s family finally moved into their own home, Nathalie was thrilled to adopt Nuirka, a black Labrador retriever the family found at an animal shelter. Now that Nathalie had experienced the joys of pet ownership, she was certain that working with animals was the right career for her!

Nathalie spent her childhood in San Diego, sharing her life with her parents and brother. During the years, many extended family members also visited Nathalie’s home. Nathalie’s father was a dedicated animal lover, often bringing home kittens and birds.

After Nathalie graduated from high school, she began her animal care education, enrolling at PIMA Medical Institute. While completing her first veterinary clinic externship, Nathalie learned to become a kennel/veterinary assistant. Nathalie worked part time while continuing to attend school, externing at a second veterinary hospital and gaining more valuable animal handling skills. Finally, Nathalie joined the Carmel Mountain Ranch Veterinary Hospital care team.

During any given day, Nathalie helps the veterinarian and veterinary technicians perform patient treatments. Nathalie enjoys obtaining blood samples, as the procedure takes a special touch gained after much practice. She appreciates the often-dramatic results from a patient’s dental cleaning, as removing tooth tartar and other debris can help to make the dog or cat healthier. Nathalie also likes to analyze microscopic blood or tissue samples, and challenges herself to make the correct diagnosis based on the results she observes.

In Nathalie’s spare time, she enjoys reading and exploring San Diego with her friends. Nathalie also loves to spend time with her three dogs. Solovina, her ultra-smart Rottweiler/German shepherd dog mix, often plays soccer with Nathalie’s brother and father. Charlie, a petite Shih Tzu who’s not bothered by Solovina’s size, considers her his favorite playmate. Chipsie is an older Chihuahua/poodle mix who would much rather lie on the couch while Nathalie watches television. Whenever possible, Nathalie piles all three dogs into her car, and lets them run through the waves at the dog beach.


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Andy Montoya

Animal Care Attendant

Andy Montoya’s childhood dog helped steer him toward the veterinary medicine field. During Andy’s years with his canine companion, Andy accompanied the dog to many veterinarian appointments; and he was always impressed by the veterinarians’ and technicians’ professionalism and care. These positive experiences helped Andy to choose a career focused on keeping animals healthy throughout their lives!


Andy spent his childhood in Chula Vista, California, growing up with a younger and older sister. Andy’s parents encouraged him to develop interests outside of school, leading him to his passions for soccer and music.

After Andy graduated from high school, he knew he wanted to work with animals, but he hadn’t decided on his career focus. Andy considered working at the city’s zoo, but changed his mind after an encounter with his dog groomer. After she told Andy about a school that offered Veterinary Assistant programs, Andy excitedly decided to evaluate the school for himself. He was happy to find a program in which he could develop valuable animal care skills.

Working at Carmel Mountain Ranch Veterinary Hospital, Andy thoroughly enjoys pathology work, as he likes examining tiny organisms under the microscope. Andy also finds surgery intriguing, marveling at the veterinarian’s surgical skills and knowledge of each pet’s anatomy.

Outside of the hospital, Andy still enjoys music, playing bass guitar professionally for six years. He often plays in Mexico, sometimes traveling as far as Mazatlan. Andy has also kept his soccer passion alive, playing the middle right position on his team.

When Andy’s at home, he enjoys spending time with Batman, his appealing Maltese/poodle mix with his own distinctive charm. Without much training, Batman has learned how to sit, a behavior that comes in handy when it’s time for meals and treats.

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Veterinary Assistant

Ever since she can remember, Allie has had an intense interest in animal care and wanted to work with pets in any way she could. Now, she’s a Veterinary Assistant here at Carmel Mountain Ranch Veterinary Hospital, where she gets to advance her skills in order to continue her veterinary journey!

Allie grew up in Louisiana before moving to San Diego with her family as a young girl. Her veterinary career began in high school, when she entered an occupational program in the animal care track. Upon graduating, she attended San Diego Mesa College to receive her Associate’s degree in animal health. Currently, Allie is enrolled in the school’s veterinary technology program and will become a Licensed Veterinary Technician upon completing her coursework and certification requirements.

After being recommended to Dr. Grey by a coworker and friend of hers, Allie was more than happy to accept a position here at Carmel Mountain Ranch Veterinary Hospital. She’s been with the clinic since October of 2014, and particularly enjoys dental procedures and laboratory testing. Most of all, she loves the sense of contributing to something larger than herself!

In her free time, Allie enjoys reading, hiking, sculpting ceramics, and spending time with her pets. She owns Winni, a young Great Dane; Shadow, a Russian blue cat; a Great Dane/Mastiff mix named Coco; and a Chihuahua named Lola.

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Denise Miller

Registered Veterinary Technician

As a child, Denise was inspired by her family veterinarian,who helped her cat pull through a feline distemper epidemic in La Mesa. The way the veterinarian interacted with the family and exhibited such compassion toward their little cat made quite an impression on Denise and steered her to the field of veterinary medicine.

Denise works as a Registered Veterinary Technician at Carmel Mountain Ranch. She’s been working in the veterinary field for almost thirty years—much of that was spent as a hospital manager or senior technician, but she’s also worked as a groomer, receptionist, and kennel attendant!

Client education and preventative care are Denise’s special passions within veterinary medicine. She says she’s always been fortunate to work in hospitals where preventative medicine was emphasized.

Denise and her husband have two cats, two dogs, two turtles, two catfish, and a dozen koi fish, and Denise is entertained daily by all of them. In her spare time, she likes cycling, hiking, backpacking and taking her dogs pulling with her husband. The couple also spends much of their free time renovating their two houses, one in San Diego and the other in the San Bernardino Mountains.

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Vanessa Ferby

Veterinary Assistant & Client Service

It was always in Vanessa’s nature to rescue and help animals. She would bring home anything she could find as a child—she says animals defined her childhood, and she always knew they would define her future!

Vanessa was raised in Lakenheath, England, and upstate New York. Her father was a Master Sergeant in the Air Force—growing up on military bases, Vanessa always admired the K-9 security dogs. At first, she considered a career in criminal justice, but then realized she wanted to work with animals so she entered an occupational training program to become a Veterinary Assistant!

At home, Vanessa lives with her husband of 18 years, Aaron, who is retired from the Navy and enjoys rebuilding and painting sport motorcycles. They have a beautiful 3-year-old daughter named Dominique who Vanessa says is her personal crowning achievement, interest, and favorite hobby. When she does have a spare moment, she likes rollerblading, walking and sightseeing, and catching a movie.

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Kayla Miller

Veterinary Assistant

After graduating high school, Kayla decided to further her education and work in human healthcare. After a short while—and some reminding from her husband—she realized her true passion was animal care, and she went back to school for veterinary medicine! Now she cares for pets daily as a Veterinary Assistant.

Kayla was born and raised in San Diego, where she participated in a lot of outdoor activities like horseback riding and hiking. After her switch to the veterinary medicine field, she began school at the PIMA Medical Institute, completing an externship at a neighboring animal care facility afterwards. At Carmel Mountain Ranch, she enjoys meeting new puppies and kittens, and loves seeing a pet that’s feeling better after being sick or injured.

In February of 2011, Kayla married her wonderful husband William. A year later, in January of 2012, she had their first child, a son named Ryder. June of 2013 saw the birth of their daughter Macenzi.

The family has two dogs, Beau and Doodles, who enjoy playing with the children. When she has time between work and her family, Kayla enjoys snowboarding, which she started when she was 11. She can’t wait until her kids are old enough to join her!

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