Meet our Babcock Hills Family!
Babcock Hills Veterinary Hospital is made up of a team of qualified, experienced and compassionate professionals. We are here to answer your questions, offer up-to-date information about animal health and provide the best in veterinary medicine for your pet.
Dr. Sherry Knopp
Dr. Sherry Knopp is married to Dr. Jack Speir and is one of the practice owners. She obtained her Bachelor of Science in 1978 and her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree in 1980 from Texas A&M University. Dr. Knopp is a native Texan, but was raised in Venezuela until her family returned to the States in 1972.
After graduating from Texas A&M, she moved to Fort Worth where she practiced small animal medicine. In 1982 she moved to San Antonio where she met Dr. Speir. They married and subsequently opened Babcock Hills Veterinary Hospital in 1984. Dr. Knopp and Dr. Speir have two daughters. Jordan (Speir) is a graduate of Texas A&M and an associate veterinarian at Babcock Hills Veterinary Hospital, where she grew up working in the kennels and as a technician. Carly also graduated from Texas A&M and is a high school agricultural teacher in Kyle, Texas. Their extended family includes two dogs at home and Maverick, the clinic mascot. Dr. Knopp has recently retired from seeing patients, but still very involved in a medical administration role. Outside of work, she enjoys the beach, RVing with Dr. Speir, spending time with family (especially her new grandson and their 2 1/2 year old granddaughter Reagan) and trips to Las Vegas with her mother.
Dr. Jack Speir
Dr. Jack Speir is married to Dr. Sherry Knopp and they have owned the practice since its inception in 1984. Raised in Uvalde, Texas, Dr. Speir attended Texas A&M University, receiving his Bachelor of Science in Agronomy in 1965 and his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine in 1969. Dr. Speir is retired but is very involved with the day-to-day operations of our hospital.
Dr. Speir and Dr. Knopp have two daughters. Jordan is a graduate of Texas A&M and an associate veterinarian at Babcock Hills Veterinary Hospital, where she grew up working in the kennels and as a technician. Carly also graduated from Texas A&M and is an agricultural teacher in Kyle, Texas. Dr. Speir is an avid fly fisherman and enjoys working out of doors on his property in the hill country. He is also an active leader in the Kendall County Youth Ag and Equestrian Center.
Dr. Rhonda Lane
Dr. Rhonda Lane joined Babcock Hills Veterinary Hospital in September 2009. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Biology with Honors from the formerly Southwest Texas State University. She went on to receive her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine in 2002 and graduated Magna Cum Laude.
She practiced in Houston for the seven years following veterinary school and has relocated to the San Antonio area where she grew up to be closer to family. She and her husband have two children and share their home with two dogs and a fish.
Dr. Jordan Zapalac
Dr. Jordan Zapalac joined our hospital in July 2014. She was born and raised in the greater San Antonio area. As a kid, she spent much of her after-school time here at Babcock Hills, as Dr. Speir and Dr. Knopp are her parents.
Dr. Zapalac attended Texas A&M University for both undergraduate and professional programs, completing a Bachelor of Science degree in Biomedical Science in 2007 and graduating from veterinary school in 2011. She spent her first year in practice at a mixed animal clinic in Brenham, TX. Then, her family made the move to San Antonio. She practiced for a few years at a progressive small animal clinic here in town before coming home to Babcock Hills. Dr. Zapalac is actively involved with the Veterinary Medical Association of Bexar County (VMABC) and currently serving as immediate past president.
She and her husband, are proud parents of their young daughter and son. They also have 3 fur babies: Gunner and Clover, German Shorthaired Pointers, and Oliver the cat. Dr. Zapalac enjoys being outdoors in her free time, especially camping, hiking, snow skiing, woodworking, and gardening.
Dr. Laurel Gomes
Dr. Laurel Gomes joined Babcock Hills Veterinary Hospital in June 2016. She was born and raised in Clovis, California. Both of her parents instilled their love of science, especially biology, in her from an early age. Her father’s volunteer work with a local wildlife rehabilitation group sparked her interest in veterinary medicine. Dr. Gomes attended California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) in San Luis Obispo and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science in 2012. She decided to attend veterinary school in Texas after she visited Texas A&M’s College of Veterinary Medicine and experienced the school spirit and community of Aggieland. While in vet school, she worked as a student ambassador leading tours of the College of Veterinary Medicine and served on her class officer team. She graduated with her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 2016.
She and her husband Niko began dating in high school and have been married since 2014. They managed to make it through vet school with only adopting one pet, a cat named Frisco. Dr. Gomes enjoys traveling, horseback riding, reading, and crafting in her free time.
Dr. Gina Peña
Dr. Gina Peña is excited to join Babcock Hills. She is passionate about small animal medicine and treating pets as if they were her own. She is from Tulsa, Oklahoma and attended Oklahoma State University, graduating in 1995 with her DVM. She moved to the Dallas-Fort Worth area after graduation and practiced at a small animal hospital in Colleyville for 20 years. During this time she married her husband who is a pastor, and now has one son. They currently have one dog, Brittany, but are looking for another furry companion!
Recently, her family moved to the San Antonio area where they are working toward launching a new church. For a few months prior to coming to Babcock Hills, she worked at San Antonio Pets Alive! treating pets that are considered least likely to be adopted. It was an emotionally rewarding experience where she and her team facilitated hundreds of “unadoptable” pets in becoming beloved family members.
Dr. Hunter Schrank
Dr. Hunter Schrank received his Bachelor’s Degree in Zoology from The University of Florida, where he became a published researcher in marine biology. He went on to receive his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from the University of Florida, as well, where he served as his class president for all four years of his doctorate program. He may be a born and raised Floridian (and Gator), but the Schrank family lineage dates back over a hundred years in Texas. He and his wonderful wife, Brittany, moved to San Antonio after Dr. Schrank completed his doctorate degree to be closer to family and start a new adventure in their lives. Their beautiful new baby daughter, Hannah, followed shortly later. Ruby, a Florida Brown Dog, has been a part of the family for several years, and despite her history of being rescued from an abusive home, still loves everyone that she meets. Dr. Schrank loves the outdoors and his hobbies include surfing, snorkeling, free diving, boating, fishing, camping, hiking, and snow boarding.
Dr. Schrank’s passion for veterinary medicine goes well beyond his love for animals, and feels honored to be able to provide care to animals in need. He relishes a challenge and constantly looks to improve his abilities for the betterment of the care that he provides to his patients. He has a curious personality, and enjoys using modern diagnostic methods and therapies to ensure that his patients receive the best possible medicine to the best of his abilities. He treats each one of his patients as if they were his own pet, and understands that the relationship between people and animals, for many individuals, is just as much about family as it is about friendship.
“Always be kind, and never lose your sense of humor.”
Dr. Amy Lewis
Dr. Amy L Willeford-Lewis graduated from Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine in May 1996. She enjoys small animal, geriatric and internal medicine. Collaborating with owners and their pets give her immense happiness. Her heart and soul is her family. She is married with two amazing children. Two cats and a yellow lab complete the happy family. When she has a break, she enjoys reading and gardening.
Meet our specialty veterinarian that our doctors consult with as needed on a case by case basis. The doctor comes on site to our practice to work with our veterinarians to provide any necessary diagnostics and/or treatment.
Justin Harper, DVM, MS, Diplomate ACVS-LA
A graduate of Texas A&M University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Harper then completed an internship in Littleton, Colorado and surgical residency program at Auburn University in large animal surgery. After returning to the Texas Hill Country, Dr. Harper realized the need for specialty surgical services to be offered in-house to veterinarians and their clients. During this time, Dr. Harper began training in South Texas under the direction of Dr. Andy Baker (small animal surgeon of 40 years). In addition to being board certified in large animal surgery, Dr. Harper is seeking dual certification in small animal surgery.
Please meet the rest of our staff family:
Vicki Rieken joined Babcock Hills Veterinary Hospital in January 2008 as our hospital administrator. She is a native Texan raised in West Texas. Her previous experience includes banking where she served as a bank officer in customer relations. She also worked for several years in the Dallas and Austin areas in commercial real estate business focusing in property management, accounting and marketing. Vicki is responsible for our day-to-day operations, customer service, human resources, accounting and marketing. She is a member of the Veterinary Hospital Managers Association (VHMA). Vicki and her husband live in Comfort, Texas and they have three sons, three grandchildren and two grand-dogs.
Brooklin is our Veterinary Technician supervisor and earned her Certified Veterinary Assistant Level III (CVA III) from the Texas Veterinary Medical Association. She has been a staff member since 2001 and attended Sul Ross University. She especially likes the surgical aspect of veterinary medicine. She is married and has a son. Brooklin enjoys hunting and fishing with her family and also reading, gardening and cooking in her spare time. Her household is completed by 2 dogs and 4 hens (who supply our clinic eggs).
Ashley joined the staff in 2006, while in high school, as a kennel technician and is presently one of our veterinary technicians. She has obtained her Certified Veterinary Assistant (CVA)III certification and is in pursuit of her Licensed Veterinary Technician certification. Ashley was born and raised in Bandera, Texas. She enjoys painting and is a proud breast cancer advocate and blood donor.
Emily has been a member of our staff since 2008. She moved from Austin to San Antonio to pursue her Biology degree from UTSA. Her hobbies include fishing, cooking, saltwater aquariums, and spending time with her “fur canine kids” Oliver and Frank.
Amanda has been a member of our staff since 2009. She started in the kennel department and is currently one of our veterinary technicians. She recently obtained her Certified Veterinary Assistant (CVA) I certification. You may also see Amanda at our front receptionist area at times, as she is cross-trained in all departments. She and her husband are the proud parents of a little girl, two cats, and two dogs.
Melinda joined our team in 2015 and since then, has loved getting to know our clients and their furry babies. She attended the University of Texas at San Antonio to pursue a degree in biology. She has four fur-babies of her own, two dogs and two cats. Her hobbies include cooking and decorating. Melinda is currently cross-trained, so you may see her in the back as a tech helping with your pets or up front helping out clients with any questions or concerns.
Sean is one of our of newest cross-trained veterinary technicians. He started in our Kennel department and is learning the ropes as a veterinary technician.
Lacey whose name literally means cheerful crooked mouth, likes to approach life with just that – a cheerful smile and a helping hand. Although she started her medical career with people as a medical assistant at a family practice clinic in Fredericksburg, working as a phlebotomist and bus driver for the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center here in San Antonio, her love for animals brought her to Babcock Hills in July 2016. Lacey grew up with many animals – many loved and many lost, and she currently has 2 cats and a revolving door for foster dogs looking for forever homes. She enjoys spending time with family, hiking, spontaneous travel, and roadside photography.
Monica joined our team in 2016. She was born and raised in Dallas, Texas and recently moved to San Antonio to be closer to her nephews. She graduated from Texas A&M University with a bachelor’s degree in biology and is a certified veterinary assistant (CVA) I. Monica is currently finishing a veterinary technician program to become a licensed vet tech. She is a loving mother if three beautiful Australian Shepherds and loves every pet for its own uniqueness.
Sheryl is one of our newest technicians. She recently transferred her skills from the U.S. Army after serving as an animal care specialist, and hopes to grow those skills even more. She is owned by 3 cats and a leopard gecko.
Pam is one of our many long-time staff members, joining Babcock Hills in November of 2000 as a receptionist/client advocate. She is currently our telephone triage coordinator, so when making appointments or calling for information, you will more than likely be speaking with Pam. She has earned an AAHA certification as a certified veterinary receptionist. Her hobbies are reading, word puzzles, watching movies (favs are sci-fi) & adult coloring books. Pam also likes to relax and spend time with her furry family members. She has a love for all animals especially cats, dogs, and horses, but cats are her favorite.
Vanessa joined the hospital in 2007 as a kennel technician and transferred to our client advocate department. She also assists with administrative duties. Vanessa is known as the “hospital nerd” for her love of video games, movies and above all, Harry Potter. Vanessa and her husband are the new proud parents of a girl! In her free time, she creates her own pieces of art and performs in small concerts as a soprano singer. She has a love for all animals and has 3 cats, a dog and a Beta fish.
Carol came on board in 2011 but has worked in the animal field since 2008. When she isn’t being a client advocate up front she is assisting as our phone triage. Carol is a proud Mom of 3 young men, a daughter, and is soon to be a first time Grandma. She loves all animals but her favorite is dachshunds, and her Rusty Ru Ru is number one in her eyes.
Joe joined our team in March 2016 as a client advocate and comes to us with veterinary receptionist experience. He is a proud owner of many furry family members.
Alison joined our team in 2017. She is currently pursuing her Masters of Science in Clinical Mental Health at UTSA along with her Animal Assisted Therapy Certification. Her passion for helping people is shared with her love of all animals. She volunteers at the Animal Humane Society, where she adopted her furry son Jaxon.
Ercie is one of our long-time employees being with us since 1997. She is the kennel technician supervisor and ensures that your furry family is taken well care of during their stay with us. Her clan includes 4 dogs and 2 cats.
Nathan is one of our kennel technicians and also serves as our facilities manager. As you can see when visiting us, Nathan takes great pride in the appearance and cleanliness of the hospital. He is also responsible for assisting with maintenance and repairs.
Samantha, Stefan, Travis, Laura, and Alexa complete our kennel technician department. They have a tremendous love and caring nurture for your pets and take wonderful care of your furry family member while they are staying with us. They all take great pride in their department and welcome you to come by and take a tour of our boarding facility!