Meet Our Doctors
Dr. Chitra Natarajan
Dr. Chitra Natarajan, better known as Dr. C to her clients, opened Pets First Veterinary Clinic in 2012. She has been in practice since 1996 after graduating with her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. Dr. C is certified in small animal acupuncture by the Chi Institute and has taken extensive courses in different alternative medicine modalities, including Chinese herbs, western herbs, and homotoxicology. She tries not to play favorites, and don't let the other dogs and cats know, but she is particularly fond of Dachshunds and orange tabbies. She also tries to kiss every animal on the head, even if they're not totally into the idea. When Dr. C isn't at Pets First, she enjoys playing tennis, improving her proficiency in Italian, and spending time with her family and friends. If Dr. C could have any superpower, she would choose to have at least six extra arms.
Dr. Patrick Mitchell
Dr. Patrick Mitchell moved to Chicago in 2006 with his wife and daughter. Before joining Pets First in July of 2013, he practiced in Lincoln Square for 5 years, and before that, in Florida, Hawaii, and South Carolina. Dr. Mitchell graduated from Mississippi State University's College of Veterinary Medicine in 2000. His special interests in veterinary medicine include soft tissue surgery and internal medicine. His non-veterinary interests include Diet Coke, cult films, and 90's grunge, which can be heard drifting out of his office at any given time. When he isn't at the clinic, Dr. Mitchell enjoys spending time with his family, including his four cats and rambunctious Husky, playing guitar, and exploring the sights and sounds of Chicago. He used to surf all the time in Hawaii, but unfortunately Lake Michigan isn't very conducive to that hobby. If Dr. Mitchell could have any superpower, he would choose the ability to teleport.
Dr. Erin Van Dokkenburg
Dr. Erin Van Dokkenburg has been practicing veterinary medicine in Chicago since graduating from Michigan State University in 2011. She grew up on a small dairy farm in the mountains of northern New Jersey, where all the family cows and barn cats were pets. She is currently in the process of becoming certified in small animal acupuncture from the Chi Institute and is excited to integrate alternative medicine with western medicine. Her interests in western medicine include soft tissue surgery, dental health, and animal behavior. Dr. Erin is owned by two hyperactive dogs and two demanding cats. When she is not at work, she enjoys practicing the mandolin, watching funny cat videos, and spending time with her husband and two children. If Dr. Erin could have any superpower, she would choose the ability to fly.
Meet Our Support Staff
Alex - Veterinary Technician Manager
Alex studied video production in his home state of Michigan, but when he moved to Chicago in 2012, his lifelong love of animals lead him to a career as a veterinary technician. Alex enjoys making new dog and cat friends and loves forming relationships with owners and seeing their pets grow from little babies into happy, healthy members of the family. He especially likes assisting in surgery, dental cleanings, nutrition, and behavior training, and he aspires to become a certified technician. Outside of work, Alex enjoys cooking, reading, podcasts, and checking out new restaurants throughout the city with his wife, Mindy, and their friends. If Alex could have any superpower, it would be to freeze time so he could nap more.
Yesenia - Lead Veterinary Technician
Yesenia joined the Pets First crew in 2018. She has always wanted to work in veterinary medicine, so she spent her time volunteering at PAWS in college while working on her Bachelor's degree in Biology. After college, Yesenia got a job as a veterinary assistant and is currently in school to become a certified veterinary technician. At work, she enjoys snuggling our feline patients, as seen in her photo, and cleaning dirty ears. In her spare time, Yesenia likes to nap, shop, and play with her own pets - she has a dog and three cats. If she could have any superpower, she would want to be able to read minds - specifically dog and cat minds, to be able to better help her patients.
Jessica - Veterinary Technician
Jessica's journey in the veterinary medical field actually began at Pets First when she joined the team in early 2015 as a kennel assistant. She worked her way up the ladder until she was promoted to a veterinary assistant and has since then become an integral part of the technical staff. Jessica continues to learn and aspires to go to school to become a certified technician. Her favorite part of being a veterinary assistant is helping out in puppy appointments because she loves puppies, but also because she likes building a rapport with new pet owners and helping them feel more comfortable. In her spare time, Jessica enjoys creating digital art, playing guitar, and thrifting - she hopes to get more involved in antique resale. She also enjoys spending time with her 11-year-old cat, Mojo, whom she's had since Mojo was a kitten. If Jessica could have any superpower, she would want the power of invisibility.
Amy - Veterinary Care Coordinator & Veterinary Assistant
Amy started working in dog rescue fifteen years ago and then never really left the animal field despite her Bachelor’s Degree in French. Her interest in the medical aspect of animal rescue led her to work at an animal hospital, which is where she met Dr. Mitchell, and in 2013 she followed him over to Pets First. With a Master’s degree in Zoology, Amy has been working at Lincoln Park Zoo for over six years, both in volunteer management and education. Amy has no furry critters of her own, but she does have three leopard geckos, an anole, and over forty houseplants. When Amy isn’t at work, she loves traveling, reading, and scuba diving - she volunteers at a local nonprofit dive shop where she helps teach new students, plans international group diving trips, and manages new volunteers. Amy is also working toward her NAUI Divemaster certification. If she could have any superpower, she would want to manipulate time.
Sarah - Lead Veterinary Care Coordinator
Sarah graduated from DePaul University with her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology of Health and Creative Writing in 2018. Starting her senior year, she got an after school job as a kennel assistant at Pets First and decided to take on a full time reception role after graduation. She never predicted this to be her future career, but can't imagine doing anything else now! She loves Dr. C and all her coworkers like family. She has a dog brother, Charlie, who lives with her parents and two cat children of her own, Mouse and May (pictured). She has a soft spot for scruffy dogs with underbites and kittens. In her free time, she loves to read books and take cat naps. If Sarah could have any superpower, it would be to turn into a coyote at night.
Adismary - Veterinary Care Coordinator
Adismary joined the Pets First team in 2018. Adismary has been working with animals since 2012, where she first started working in pet daycare and animal shelters. At her first daycare job, she found a true passion for animal behavior when she worked to integrate the shelter dogs into the daycare playgroups. Seeing how some of the rescue dogs responded inspired her to continue her work with animals and animal behavior. As one of our Veterinary Care Coordinators, Adismary finds it to be the perfect opportunity to continue interacting and helping pets and their pet parents. When not at work, Adismary loves watching dogs play and interact with each other and spends most of her free time - during the summer - taking her pup, Drama, to swim by the lakefront. If Adismary could have one superpower it would be telekinesis, so she could move improperly parked cars in the Lakeview area to make room for hers.