Who We Are

Meet Our Administration

headshot of Tanya Boris-Cass, bearded dragon on her lapel

Tanya Boris-Cass, RVT

Development Manager

I grew up in a small town on the Jersey Shore. After graduating from the University of South Carolina with a degree in Biology, I moved to the DC area and began working as a veterinary technician. I originally had set out to become a veterinarian, but I fell in love with the nursing care side of veterinary medicine and the connection with the patients and pet owners that it allowed me to have. I went on to obtain my license in veterinary technology in 2009.

I have been with Friendship since May of 2003. I started my career here as an Emergency/ICU technician and worked in multiple specialty departments before joining our management team. Friendship has given me the opportunity for a dynamic and rewarding career in veterinary medicine.

Outside of Friendship, I enjoy running, taking ballet class, and spending time with my husband and daughter. We love our bearded dragon, Tortie. We are new to owning reptiles, so it’s a fun adventure!

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Jose Cartagena

Lab Tech Supervisor

I was born in El Salvador but moved at a very early age so I have lived most of my life just outside of the District. Before coming to Maryland, I lived in Montreal, Canada for some time, where I truly developed my curiosity in nature, science, and animals. My interest in the veterinary field started when I began working at Friendship back in 2017; it has been a great experience and I have developed so many great skills in the CCT, Oncology, and Laboratory departments. I am the owner of a Rottie named Nova whom I have raised, loved, and lived with for the past 10 years. I am quite a gearhead, and also a bit of a nerd when it comes to new technology and anything related to computers, science, and space. In my spare time I like to go on adventures to see new places and eat good food, ride my motorcycle whenever I can, and spend time with my family. I am a lover of all creatures, the outdoors, all kinds of good music, and I love to learn and try new things. I am excited to work with such a great team at FHA and hope to contribute in every way possible to help achieve our common goal which is excellent patient care. I live my life by one of my favorite quotes from the great leader Mahatma Gandhi: “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever”.

Deb Coverley

Deb Coverley

Practice Manager, Specialty & Emergency Services

I was born in Rockville, Maryland, but spent a number of years living in Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos, a small island in the West Indies, where my parents are originally from. Growing up in the Caribbean is where my love of animals first began. Although it wasn’t common for people to have cats and dogs as domestic animals, I remember having a desire to take care of them and to always feed and nurture them. This has always been a passion of mine.

I joined the Friendship team in 2011 and since then my love and animals has only blossomed. I have held several roles in time here at Friendship, from Client Care Technician, Veterinary Assistant, Internal Medicine Coordinator, Specialty Services Supervisor, Specialty Manager and now Practice Manager.  In my free time, I like to spend time with my family and with my fur babies, Zapphara, my 12 year old cat, and Suki, my 10 year old Shih Tzu.

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brandon holding jack russell terrier outside by lake

Brandon Clement

Specialty Supervisor

I grew up in Northern Baltimore County in Maryland. I always knew from a young age I wanted to work with animals in some capacity. Since I was 16, I have been working in animal hospitals as various roles from kennel assistant, to veterinary assistant, to veterinary technician, to my current role as a supervisor. I just recently received my associates in Veterinary Technology and am in the process of obtaining my veterinary technician license to become a Registered Veterinary Technician (RVT).

I joined the Friendship team in May 2021 as a surgery technician. I love specialty medicine and working as a technician is so rewarding. Prior to Friendship, I have worked in a variety of settings including general practice, emergency medicine, shelter medicine, zoo medicine, neurology specialty, orthopedic specialty, and rehabilitation and pain management. Specialty medicine is where my true passion is due to the wide variety of treatment options we can offer our patients. Joining the Friendship team has been unlike any other hospital where I’ve worked. The culture and quality of medicine are unmatched.

When I’m not working, I enjoy exploring DC and all it has to offer and spending time with my Jack Russell Terrier, Leo.

Patti Garra

Patti Garra, LVT

Patient Care Supervisor

I was born in Germany (military family) and lived in Kansas and Florida before settling in Northern Virginia when I was 7 years old.  I grew up loving animals and was probably 4 years old when I decided I wanted to work with animals when I grew up.  I spent several summers working at my uncles Veterinary Practice in Tennessee.  I attended George Mason University and earned my bachelor’s degree in Biology.

Upon graduation, I immediately started working for a small Primary Care Clinic in Northern Virginia.  I worked there until I joined the Friendship Family in May of 2011.  I started as an emergency technician and became a Patient Care Supervisor in December of 2013.  Emergency medicine is one of my greatest passions within Vet med.  Helping patients and their people when they need it most is incredibly rewarding and I love that it is constantly evolving and I am therefore, constantly learning.

When I am not working, I like to spend time with my husband, Chris and our 3 kids, Hattie, Maddie and Kyle.  I love everything Disney, and one day would love to work with the animals there.  I am an avid reader, and if I am not at Disney, you can find me at the beach.  My husband and I also enjoy spending time with our two pups, Holly and Dodger.

Amy Dahlstedt

Amy Killion

Compliance Manager

Since joining FHA in 2007, I have held many positions within the hospital, ranging from ER/CC Technician, Oncology Technician, Technical Supervisor, ER/CC Veterinary Assistant, Patient Care Manager and Training & Development Manager. I recently transitioned into the role of Compliance Manager and I look forward to continue providing support to management, doctors, technicians, client care technicians and our clients in order to maintain Friendship values.

I currently live in Mechanicsville, MD with my giant puppy, Bowser and queen of the house, my orange lady cat, Hank! In my downtime, I enjoy cooking, watching food network, drinking coffee and taking a million pictures of my pets being cute.

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Kathy Leef

Veterinary Relations Manager, Community Outreach

I came to Friendship as the Veterinary Relations Manager after a long career in the pharmaceutical industry.  My history with Friendship has allowed me to watch the hospital evolve over the years and it has been very fulfilling to be a part of such an incredible team.  As the relations manager I work closely with all of our  specialists to strengthen our partnership with referring practices as well as focusing on educational outreach in the veterinary community.  My pets are of the four legged kind but a bit large for our facility.  I have had horses and ridden since childhood which is a huge part of why I am and always will be an animal lover.

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Jenna Luzier, MSW

Jenna Luzier, LGSW

Veterinary Social Worker

I am originally from Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, a small town near Lancaster. I then attended Temple University in Philadelphia, where I earned both my Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Social Work. Before joining the Friendship team, I had worked with a variety of populations including the homeless, individuals with severe mental illnesses and drug addiction, the blind, grieving children, and folks with intellectual disabilities. In my free time, I enjoy making art, watching movies, and playing video games. I live with my wonderful boyfriend Drew and our pets. We currently have two cats, Eve and Beaker, a Gargoyle Gecko named Fozzie Bear, an African-clawed Frog named Albie, and a fish named Bing. I am extremely fortunate to have a job that combines my two passions: social work and animal welfare.

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Lee Manson, LVT

Specialty Supervisor

I have worked in in the veterinary field for 20 years. I started working at Friendship in 2010. During my time here, I acquired my LVT and have moved through various departments, gaining valuable knowledge. I accepted the role of Specialty Supervisor in an effort to continue to grow within Friendship and maintain the excellent level of care that this hospital has build its excellent reputation on.

I live in Maryland with my wife and our dog, Simba. In my spare time, I enjoy watching and playing basketball as well as traveling.

Kristin McWhirter

Kristin McWhirter, LVT

Patient Care Supervisor

I grew up in Northern Virginia. After graduating high school in 2006, I worked at the Vola Lawson animal shelter as an animal care technician for 5 years before leaving to pursue a career in veterinary medicine. I briefly worked at a primary care clinic in Fairfax Virginia before joining the amazing team at Friendship in July of 2012. I began in the urgent care department before transitioning to the ICU after Friendships expansion in 2015.

In December of 2019, I accepted a position at the Animal Behavior Wellness Center working for a board-certified veterinary behaviorist before returning to Friendship as a patient care Supervisor in December of 2020. Emergency medicine is one of my greatest passions. I am excited to bring what I learned from behavior into emergency medicine to benefit our patients, owners, and staff.

In my free time, I like to relax with my husband Brandon and our dog “Pig”. We love spending as much time outside as the weather will allow. We also enjoy vacationing in the outer banks as much as possible.

Cami Phelps, CVPM

Practice Manager, General Practice

I grew up in Northern Virginia and was fortunate to be able to visit downtown and the museums growing up. I have also lived in Annapolis, MD, San Diego, CA as well as Charlotte, NC. I am back home here at Friendship and love being in the DC area again.

I have been in veterinary practice management since 2007 which is when I fell in love with the veterinary field. My favorite part of my job is getting to know our patients and clients and interacting with as many pets as I can. I love being around animals and am very fortunate to have a small part in veterinary medicine. Every day is an opportunity to improve the life of our patients and to help support our clients. To that end, I became a certified veterinary practice manager (CVPM) in 2014, in order to continue growing my knowledge and skills as a leader.

One of my favorite things to do is hike and go for walks with my Miniature Schnauzer, Fritzi. I love trying new restaurants and going to the theater and just being out and about.

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Derek Shaak

Client Care Supervisor

I grew up in Vienna, VA before heading down to Newport News for my college years at Christopher Newport University, where I studied Communications. Before coming to Friendship at the end of 2020, I was on the management team of small dog daycare, boarding, and training company in Northern Virginia. It was a position that really deepened my appreciation for pet care and inspired me to pivot into the veterinary world. Reliable client service has always been a priority for me throughout my career, and I’m truly privileged to have a passionate and energetic team around me that shares the same client service values and goals.
I currently reside in Alexandria, VA with my partner and our 12-year-old Pit Bull. When I’m not spending my time with them outside of work, I try to find room for as many tabletop games and scary movies as I can justify.

Mickey Sigsbee

Facilities Manager

I grew up in Lake George, NY but moved to Maryland for high school and college, graduating from Rockville High and Garrett College where I studied Forestry.

I ran a printing press for a couple decades and then moved into building maintenance.

I live in Kensington, MD with my wife and our 20 year old son.  I enjoy cooking, ping pong, darts, reading, boating, fishing, and fixing things. At this point in time we have just one cat, Mo, who is hopelessly devoted to me.

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Kyle Trainer

Operations Manager

I started at Friendship on November 19, 2004.  I have worked here as an Animal Care Specialist, an Inventory Assistant, Inventory Manager and my current position of Operations Manager.

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Dorie Tyson

Dorie Tyson

Client Care Supervisor

I am originally from Christiansted, St.Croix, but moved to the DVM area as a kid and have been here since. In 2016 I joining the Friendship team as a Client Care Technician and moved into my current role, Client Care Supervisor in 2017. I am a freelancer photographer and in my spare time I enjoy spending time with family and my dog, Sir Kenji, a miniature Schnauzer.
Kathy Waite

Kathy Waite, LVT

Patient Care Manager

After graduating from the University of Maryland-College Park with a degree in Wildlife Conservation and Resource Management, I spent nine years working with small animals and exotics. Eventually I returned to school to further my education as a veterinary technician, graduating and earning my license in 2008. I joined Friendship in 2012 to expand my horizons and dive into the world of emergency and critical care, which is both challenging and deeply rewarding. When not working, I enjoy hiking, amusement parks, and embarking on adventures around the DC area and hanging out with my dog Gretchen. While I love working with all the wonderful veterinarians, technicians and support staff at Friendship, my dream is to rescue and care for sloths in Costa Rica.

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Stacie Ward

Accounting Manager

A D.C. native, I joined FHA in 2004 after spending several years working in accounting and restaurant management. I currently live in Ellicott City, MD with my son Robby and daughter Grace. I have a Beagle mix named Rocky, a Whoodle named Lucy, and I love football season (Go Skins!!).

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Chris Wheat

Chris Wheat

System Administrator

I am originally from Southern Illinois and moved to the DMV area in 2011.  Joining Friendship in 2014, I started as the IT Coordinator and have since moved into the System Admin role.  I have worked in the Information Technology field since 2008; studying and learning since 1997.

My wife and I currently live in Falls Church, VA with our elderly jack russell/beagle named Lucky.  We spend most of our time trying to make him happy with hikes and swimming in some local streams.  I read a lot of sci-fi, catch some St. Louis Cardinals and Blues games when I can, play a few video games, and tinker around with my own personal servers and labs at home.

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Meg Yagatich

Meg Yagatich, LVT

Talent Development Manager

Being part of a military family, I moved a lot as kid. The one constant, no matter where we lived, was our pets. My parents always made every effort to show me how we can care for animals of all sorts, which I credit for my commitment to veterinary care today. I took my passion for animals to North Carolina State University where I earned a Bachelor’s degree in Zoology with a minor in Environmental Science. Shortly after graduation, I moved to Maryland and began my vet med journey.

I spent a few years at Banfield and joined  the FHA family in 2013. When I started as a veterinary technician and immediately felt at home. I took every opportunity to learn more and develop my skills for patient care and became a licensed tech in 2015. Trusted with more responsibility as a supervisor, I pushed myself and everyone around me to live up to Friendship’s mission of providing the best patient care possible. I am grateful to continue that work in my current position as Talent Development Manager, where I strive to provide the support each department and employee needs to do their best work while fostering Friendship’s core values.

I currently live in New Market, MD with my husband, William, and two kids, Brody and Griffin. We share our home, beds and hearts with our fur family, two dogs, Tiny and Tonks, and two cats, Sena and Splotch. In my downtime, I enjoy crafting, running and outdoor adventuring with family and friends.

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Friendship provides state of the art, comprehensive services for our clients and patients. But, more than that, we provide a caring team who understands the unique human-animal bond. View Our Services

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COVID-19 Update: Friendship is currently open. Due to ongoing concern revolving around COVID-19, we have implemented additional guidelines and protocols to ensure we can continue caring for your pets. Visit friendshiphospital.com/covid19 for the latest update.