This is a team of animal lovers. And this is a team of people lovers, too. We don’t come in to work to punch a clock. To us, caring for your pet the way we would care for our own is a calling. Now it’s time to meat the people by your side.


Vicki Petsche, DVM (Owner)


The idea for Loyal Companions was born out of the combination of my dedication to learn and improve,and my desire to strengthen the bond people share with their pets. I have aligned myself with the recently developed Fear-Free concepts. I have paid special attention to the smallest details of my new hospital’s design. I want to ensure your pet’s experience at Loyal Companions is calming and pleasant. I am passionate about elevating the care your beloved pet receives to a new level.

I aspire to be continuously learning and improving. I attend conferences and seminars across the United States to learn from experts in diverse areas of veterinary medicine. Additionally, I personally understand the bond you share with your pet. Your pet is an important family member to you.

My love for animals began at a very young age. I started riding horses when I was five years old and would spend my time caring for our family’s pets – dogs, cats, hamsters, horses and a goat. It was here, as a little girl in rural Michigan, that I decided to become a veterinarian.

My passion for learning was ignited at the University of Michigan where I received a Bachelors of Science degree in Biology graduating with high honors in 1990. I graduated as class valedictorian in 1994 from Michigan State University with my Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree.

After school, I began my career working at veterinary hospitals in the Chicago suburbs and in Miami, Florida. I then settled in the Fox Valley area, and I have been practicing in this wonderful community for the last 21 years.

Outside of Loyal Companions, I spend my time with my husband Tim (an orthopedic surgeon) and our four beautiful children – Julia, Emmett, Kyra and Jack. We share our house with Bear (a large but gentle mix breed dog), Holly (a cuddly black cat) and Rocky (a sweet, permanent-puppy looking black dog) I also have a small barn with 2 ponies and 1 goat.

Sheila Newenham, DVM


I have wanted to be a veterinarian for as long as I can remember. I graduated from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine in 1995 and have been practicing in the Chicago suburbs ever since. In addition to private practice, I perform spay/neuter surgeries at a local shelter. Sharing in people’s relationships with their pets and helping to enrich those relationships is the most rewarding part of my job.

I share my home with my husband, two dogs, two cats and a yard full of wildlife. In my free time I enjoy wildlife and nature photography, travel and gardening.

Aly Oriold, DVM


My desire to become a veterinarian was born from a lifelong compassion for animals integrated with a fascination for medicine. Being a veterinarian is an incredible and never ending journey; the veterinarian I am today may not be the veterinarian I am tomorrow. The veterinary field is dynamic and we as a profession have the opportunity to learn new things every day. It is both important and exciting for me to stay up to date with the latest research to best address my patients needs. Prior to graduating from the University of Illinois, I spent my free time working in a diagnostic lab to gain a proficiency in clinical pathology. I graduated with numerous awards for my skills in diagnostic and emergency medicine. I completed a rigorous year long program at VCA Aurora to become experienced in contemporary emergency medicine and critical care. I am a RECOVER initiative certified in CPR with basic and advanced life support. I continue to seek out new educational opportunities to add “tools to my toolbelt” as a veterinarian.

Humans and animals share a deep bond. This bond contributes to a happy and healthy life for everyone involved. Educating families on how to nurture this bond and care for their pets is the most satisfying part of my job. Being able to do this in an environment centered around the mindset and well being of the patient is what makes Loyal Companions a wonderful place to practice.

I enjoy sharing my home with a sweet, but stubborn cattle dog mix named Delilah and sassy little cat named Mittens. When I am not being a doctor, you can find me at home making delicious ice cream. I make a great chocolate ice cream, but have also been known to experiment with flavors ranging from almond to zabaglione!

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

– Maya Angelou


Amanda Werley

Hospital Manager

My passion for the veterinary field started when I was very young, and only grew as I went through school. I graduated from Northern Illinois University with my Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology, with minors in Biology and Chemistry. My goal was to become a certified veterinary technician, but it seems like a daunting task to complete while needing to work full time at another veterinary hospital.

And then I found a job at Loyal Companions in August of 2017. The Fear Free atmosphere that Dr. Petsche has created spawned a whole new love for this field. It included both of my favorite things – behavioral psychology and veterinary medicine.

I then decided to pursue a career to become a certified veterinary technician online so I am able to continue to work while also expanding my knowledge of the field. I am currently enrolled in Purdue University’s veterinary technician program online.

My career goals have changed again since I would like to become a veterinary technologist specializing in behavior once I have completed Purdue’s online program and received my certification.

My goal is for you and your pet to feel as though you are treated like family when you’re here. Our staff is truly committed to Fear Free and incredible passion towards helping and caring for your furry family members.

Pet profile:

My husband Trevor and I have two cats – Taco and Luna. Taco is a rambunctious orange tabby who is addicted to catnip and loves everyone he meets. Luna is a petite princess who loves nothing more in this world than a heated blanket or a spot of sunshine. Both of our cats were rescued – Taco through Tails Humane Society and Luna from Anderson Animal Shelter. They live exuberant lives in what we call their ‘cat haven’.

We also have a bearded dragon named Blue. Blue is incredibly sassy and loves blueberries. She spends her time basking under her heat lamp and having staring contests with Taco.

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”

– Leo Buscaglia

Veterinary Technicians

Jaclyn Schmidt

Certified Veterinary Technician

I have been working in the veterinary field since 1998. I received my degree in Veterinary Technology from Cedar Valley College in Lancaster, TX. I became a Certified Technician after passing IL state boards in 2009. I currently reside in the Fox Valley area with my husband and two young children, a son and a daughter. I have had a love for reptiles and amphibians since the age of 11 and as a teenager I would foster kittens for rescue groups. Currently, I live with a siamese mix cat named Olive. I have been working with Dr. Petsche since 2001 and decided to start working at Loyal Companions upon opening in 2016. I enjoy the low stress and calm atmosphere of the hospital. In my spare time I love cooking and shopping at Target.

Leticia Toler

Certified Veterinary Technician

I earned my degree in veterinary technology from Parkland College in 2003. I love that within this field, I can do several tasks and take care of many different kinds of animals. I have been fortunate to work with not only cats and dogs, but also exotic pets including birds, reptiles and small mammals.

I am so grateful to be a part of Loyal Companions. When I first heard about the Fear Free approach, I knew this was the direction I wanted to take in helping pets. By keeping our patients as calm and happy as possible, we do the same for pet parents. It is an overall better experience for everyone. My favorite part of coming in to work is having people tell me how much his or her pet loves coming to our practice.

I live in St. Charles with my husband and 2 children. We have a pit bull named Phoenix who keeps us busy.

I enjoy spending time with family and friends. My hobbies include reading, watching movies and dancing.

Lindsey Rud

Certified Veterinary Technician

I graduated from Joliet Junior College in 2009 with an Associate’s in Animal Medicine. I grew up in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, but have been living in the Bartlett/South Elgin area for the last 20 years.

I began working as a C.V.T. in ER medicine and quickly loved using the skill sets that I learned to help very sick patients. Since then I’ve worked with exotic animals (reptiles, birds, rabbits, ferrets) and in day practices that take care of cats and dogs. I’ve currently been working here at Loyal Companions Fear Free practice since May 2017 which I feel is where the veterinary field should be moving towards to provide the best care for their patients. I am so proud to say that I’m a part of this movement everyday.

In my free time I love to spend it with my husband of 4 years auto racing or watching my 2 year old dance around in ballet class.

Pet Profiles – Axel is a M/N 7.5 year old brindle boxer mix who loves being a couch potato, eating, and chasing squirrels.

Brook is a F/S 5 year old blue pit bull terrier who loves walks, tanning in the sun, squeaky toys, and chasing/barking at lights.

Molly Zabler

Certified Veterinary Technician

Hi, I’m Molly. I have had a love of animals for as long as I can remember. I originally grew up with the plans of becoming a veterinarian but quickly shifted gears when I learned that Veterinary Technicians existed. I went to school at Madison Area Technical College in Madison, WI and became a CVT in 2008. I began my career in general practice then transitioned into emergency and specialty medicine. I am thrilled to be back in a general practice emphasizing animals’ emotional well-being just as much as their physical well-being.

In my free time I enjoy spending time with my husband and our two children – we share our home with a cat, Moose and a Labrador, George.

Maria Dekker

Veterinary Technician

I am originally from Barcelona, Spain, where I earned my degree of Licensed Veterinarian, a five year program, at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona in 1993. Then I completed a one year veterinary internship in Ohio in 1994.

I have been working as a Veterinary Technician in the Chicagoland area (Bloomingdale, Saint Charles and Plano) since 1995. I joined the Loyal Companions team in September of 2016 and obtained the Fear Free certification. After having worked all of this years in a system where the emotional well-being of the patient was not the first priority, I am very pleased to be part of a practice where Fear Free medicine is the principle. Loyal Companions combines the highest standards of veterinary medicine with an emphasis on the patient’s comfort, implementing a variety of tools and methods to decrease their fear, anxiety and stress at the hospital. This makes the visit or stay much less traumatic for the pet, owner and veterinary professionals.

My family consists of my husband, daughter and son, and also our four legged family members: two dogs that we adopted from shelters and two cats that were abandoned as kittens at different hospitals. Lily is a golden retriever and true to her breed, she carries things in her mouth from one place to another while happily grunting. Cookie is a shepherd mix and she is the household sentinel, loudly informing us of any possible threat including planes flying by. Laila is a domestic short hair: she is very shy and nimble but when she wants to be petted she is very assertive in the way she nudges us. And finally, Wilson is a Maine coon: he was less than a pound when he came to us but he has made up for lost time. He rams into closed doors to try to open them, which produces a frightening sound in the middle of the night.

“We are more often frightened than hurt; and we suffer more from imagination than from reality.”

– Seneca

Veterinary Assistants & Client Relations

Tash Balsamello

Veterinary Assistant & Client Relations

Animals have always been a part of my life. My very first memories involve my sweet cat Cameo. She was so patient with me as a little kid learning how to care for an animal. When I was in 5th grade after begging my parents they finally agreed that we could have a puppy! My Australian Shepard Smoke became our newest family member.

Around this time, I found my passion for horses. I had always been fascinated with these large docile creatures. I insisted every fair or festival that I could ride one of the ponies! I attended a summer camp and from then on I was hooked. My parents allowed me to take part in lessons at Dunham Woods. I was so excited and couldn’t wait to get the barn every week!

From Dunham Wood we were able to change barns and disciplines. I found the world of Dressage and fell in love. I rode and competed in Dressage for most of my adolescent life. It taught me strength and patience. I learned how to effectively communicate with an animal that was 3x times my size and strength. I owned 2 horses, Charmer and Merlin. Both taught me so much about life and the world of Dressage. I feel very thankful to have been able to have this opportunity to learn at such a young age what a great bond humans and animals can have.

During this time at the barn we rescued our Chesapeake Bay Retriever mix named Rodeo or “Toad” for short. He came to us from Kentucky with a broken leg. We learned a lot while caring for him. Smoke and Rodeo became the best of pals. They still play and act like puppies! Smoke is our cuddling couch potato and Toad is our energetic athlete!

Loyal Companions passion for animals mimics my own. I fell right at home when I first walked through the doors. The attention to detail and care each animal receives here is beyond anywhere else I have been. Each client and patient is treated like family. It does not ever feel like a job when you get to do something you love everyday.


Michelle Perez

Veterinary Assistant & Client Relations

Bio Coming Soon!

Alex D’Agostino

Veterinary Assistant

Growing up in a family where taking care of the land, trees, insects, and animals was a daily agenda, I always knew I would be working in one of the fields. I started my adventure volunteering for the New England Aquarium in my early 20s working with marine mammals. There I learned the connections and trusts we can have with these massive mammals and the respective relationship we can create. Once established at the aquarium I was intrigued to learn more about sea creatures, obtaining my certified scuba diving certificate in 2016 I was able to observe and research how wonderful the world is around us.

Moving to Illinois in 2017 I was concerned I was going to disconnect from animals, I was fortunate enough to be employed by an animal hospital and learned more of the medical side. Here, I fell in love with helping and caring for small animals. I started at Loyal Companions in September 2020, being in a fear free environment the possibilities of building a trusting relationship and the willingness of animals understanding is endless. I love the amount of respect we have towards small animals here and being mindful of what they’re comfortable with. I am very fortunate to have learned a new and more effective way of veterinary medicine.

Pet profile: I currently have two dogs, a pit bull and an unknown mix or as I refer to their breeds as good dogs. My old girl Lola was recused from a bad environment when she was 1. When I brought her home, she unfortunately became pregnant before we had a chance to spay her. She ended up having a litter of 12 puppies! As tiring and expensive as they were, they were the best experience! They all went to knowing and trusting homes, which I still keep in contact with a few. Our newer addition, Opie, we rescued from Anderson animal shelter, and he is just the goofiest/funniest brother for his big sister. The two combined is a match made in heaven and we couldn’t ask for a better pair!

“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do. ”

– Pele

Groomers & Pet Resort Attendants

Kate Leidi

Professional Grooming Stylist & Pet Resort Attendant

Hi, my name is Kate. I am the Grooming Stylist at Loyal Companions. I have over 20 years of Grooming experience. I am also a certified veterinary assistant. Working at Loyal Companions is great. Dr. Petsche and the entire staff appreciate that some of my clients need extra time and attention. Resulting in a relaxed environment. I have two dogs of my own a Chihuahua and a Rottweiler. Both dogs were given to me by owner’s who could no longer care for them. I live in St Charles with my husband and son. I look forward to giving your pet a great style and a pleasant Grooming experience.

Paige Stratman

Groomer & Pet Resort Attendant

Bio Coming Soon!

Robin Ralich

Pet Resort Attendant

I have been working with dogs and horses for over ten years. They truly are Loyal Companions. My love for these beautiful creatures has lead me to work in the Equine and Canine field. My experience began with my daughter falling in love with horses which brought us to the barn. I was blessed with owning 2 horses. Tending and caring to their every need. Our love of riding brought us to the show arena which my daughter competed for many years. In 2012 I began working as a Dog Grooming Assistant for a few years, then as a Dog Walker and Pet Sitter. I also had the privilege of working as a Horse Barn Manager tending to horses at that time. It has been very rewarding, especially joining the Loyal Companions Pet Resort Team in July of 2018.

I have two dogs, “The Boys” My Australian Shepherd Smoke and my Rescue Chocolate Lab Mix Rodeo. They fill my heart more than words can say.

“Dogs do speak, but to only those who know how to listen.”


Lauren Kaspar

Pet Resort Attendant

For my entire life, I have had but one unwavering certainty; my passion for animals. This deep connection has instilled a compassion that ensures I must do everything in my power to make sure that these tender souls who cannot speak for themselves, are heard. Not only heard, but understood and cared for in their own unique way.

Working in the fear free environment that has been so thoughtfully crafted here has really inspired this value of mine and brought it to life.

I aspire to be a Veterinary Technician and am eager to learn and master the skills that will guide me through the rest of my life in this wonderful field. As of now, supervising day care and being able to observe, care for and interact with so many different breeds and personalities is literally a dream and a classroom in itself. I can confidently say that I love what I do and have never felt so fulfilled in a career.

Pet profile: I have had several loyal companions of my own throughout the years, but currently it is just me and my sweet kitty, Stevie. She truly is my best friend and I don’t know what I would do without her unapologetic tenderness. I plan to rescue a dog very soon and have no doubts that my fur family will only continue to grow. Thank you for taking the time to get to know a little about me, I can’t wait to do the same for you and your own loyal companion.

Bella Coppola

Pet Resort Attendant

Bio Coming Soon!

Emma Foran

Pet Resort Attendant

Bio Coming Soon!

“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”

– Roger Caras


Ali Evanson

Dog Trainer

Ali is a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner and continues her education and professional growth by attending several seminars each year. She makes every effort to provide her clients the individual training solutions needed for their pet. Ali is the owner of I Got This SIT, LLC. which offers all positive reinforcement day training and board and train programs.

When not helping client animals, she enjoys time with her own, especially competing with two of her rescue pitties in dock diving competitions. Ali has also begun working with one of her dogs on scent detection. She grew up riding horses and working with the family dogs when her parents would let her. Growing up she also had cats, rabbits, bearded dragons, mice, hamsters, and a ferret — whatever her parents told her she couldn’t bring into the house, she did. Now her menagerie is a bit smaller with 3 dogs, 2 ferrets and a horse.

Emma Hanson

Dog Trainer

Hello, my name is Emma Hanson, I have been professionally training and working with animals for almost 10 years. I am a member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) and I have worked with a number of rescues and animal organizations over the years. Most notably, I completed a 6 month dog training internship at Tails Humane Society

In addition to my hands on experience, I am also a graduate of Northern Illinois University with a B.S. in psychology and a minor in sociology. This has helped me to gain a deeper understanding behind the science of animal behavior and how to best assist their owners.

Finally, my personal life has been filled with animals as well, from cats, to hamsters, to tadpoles, I’ve cared for them all. I even competed in hunter jumper horse shows for much of my childhood. Right now though, I only have 1 dog, the adorable Layla Rose.