Please note: We will be closed on Monday, December 26th in observance of Christmas!

Meet the Saunders Veterinary Services Team

Our team provides the very highest quality, up-to-date veterinary medical care possible while building personalized relationships with clients and their pets.

Get to know our team!

We are solely dedicated to your pet’s care! We look forward to getting to know you, and we hope you’ll take the time to scroll down and get to know us.

Dr. Jeff Saunders

Dr. Saunders' Bio
Dr. Saunders has been practicing veterinary medicine in the community since he graduated from the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine in 1982 and has been at his current location since 1997.

Dr. Lorena Kessler


Dr. Kessler's Bio

Dr. Kessler recently graduated from Virginia Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. She joined our team in June of 2021, bringing new ideas and extensive knowledge in Veterinary Medicine. She has been married to her best friend for 10 years and has two wonderful fur-kids, Mel and Daisy. She is an amazing addition to our team.


Practice Manager
Crystal's Bio

Crystal, Practice Manager, joined our team in 2018, where she continues to learn and grow as an individual alongside her colleagues. She was born and raised in Ft. Ogden, Florida, and relocated to Highlands County in 2017. She is a loving and devoted mother to four beautiful children and enjoys spending time with them and her Fiancé. On her downtime, you can find her on the water enjoying our Florida sunshine while boating and fishing or snuggled up on the couch with her fur babies. She has three dachshunds named Digger, Dottie, and Libby and one cat named Jack. She has always had a love for all animals, and if she were to win the lottery, she would own an animal rescue for all animals in need. An animal rescue has been a dream of hers since she was a little girl. Her favorite quote is, “every day only happens once, so make it amazing.” She is kind, honest, and gentle and believes in helping those in need. Anyone wanting to join our team, be prepared to learn, work hard, and laugh with a fantastic team.


Certified Veterinary Technician
Jennifer's Bio

When Jennifer was young, she wanted to be a veterinarian. Jennifer was raised with Golden Retrievers most of her young life in Pennsylvania, which fueled her passion for veterinary medicine. In high school, she found a love of cooking and the culinary arts and began to pursue a career in the food industry. When she moved to Florida in 1999, she continued her career in the food industry. In November 2004, Jennifer left the food industry and began working at Saunders Veterinary Services. After a few years, she pursued a degree in Veterinary Technology, graduating from St. Petersburg College with an Associates Degree in 2011 and is a member of the Florida Veterinary Technician Association. Jennifer has a wonderful husband and three children, two boys and a girl, as well as one cat. Jennifer is currently enrolled in the Bachelor’s Degree program in Veterinary Technology at St. Petersburg College with plans to graduate in 2022. Once graduating from the Bachelor’s program, she may pursue a specialty in Clinical Studies in Veterinary Medicine. Besides the love of animals, Jennifer’s favorite part of her career is teaching pet owners to allow them to make educated decisions in their pets’ care. When Jennifer is not working, she is either spending time with her family, baking or reading.


Tech Assistant
Amanda's Bio

Amanda, Tech Assistant, has been a valuable asset to our team since2014. She has adored animals all her life. Amanda worked as an Executive Director and was one of the Spay and Neuter program founders at the animal shelterin Highlands County. She is the Co-Founder of Saunders Second Chances and one of the driving forces that continue to make the program successful. She has also volunteered at several nonprofit animal rescue organizations. She continues to bring awareness to the community about the importance of spaying and neutering in many ways. She is also a valued team member at Just Like Home Pet Hotel. She is hard-working, driven, and compassionate. When she is not working or volunteering her time to help the animals within our community, she enjoys spending time at home with her family and fur babies. One of her favorite past times is snuggling up on the couch with her dogs, cats, and a good book.


Tech Assistant
Meghann's Bio
Meghann joined our team in 2019 in Client Relations and transitioned to tech assistant in 2020. She enjoys spending time outdoors and traveling with her family. She is the proud mother of a 9-year-old handsome little boy who keeps her busy. She has an Australian Shepherd named Harley, a Pitbull named Tater, two cats named Ronnie and Rona, and a horse named Reggie. She was born and raised in Highlands County and enjoys living in a small rural town. Her lifelong love of animals is what brought her into the veterinary field, but she has 13 years’ prior experience in the service industry. Meghann has a very outspoken, fun, and honest personality and genuinely enjoys helping others. One of her favorite quotes is “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So, throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover” -Mark Twain


Tech Assistant

Emily's Bio

Emily joined our team in May of 2021. She has always had a passion for animals ever since she was a little girl. Her dream has always been to become a Veterinarian. She started her career working with animals by volunteering at an animal rescue for six years, and in those six years, she learned a lot about the amount of love, loyalty, and compassion that animals have. She has been working in the veterinary field for over five years. She attended Florida Atlantic University and received her Bachelor’s in Science and plans to go to Graduate School for Veterinary Medicine. She has two dogs named Jackson Brown and Frankie Valli and two cats named Raven and Mia, two guinea pigs, and a turtle. She loves to go out for a good run with her dogs or explore nature parks in her free time.

Her favorite quote is, “Just don’t give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there is love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong.” -Ella Fitzgerald.


Client Relations
Laura's Bio

Laura, Client Relations, has been a part of our team since 2000. She has lived in Highlands County her entire life and loves the small town she calls home. She attended South Florida State College, where she earned her AA degree. She is a loving and devoted wife and mother to two beautiful children who enjoy spending her time with. She also enjoys being outdoors, taking walks, hiking, traveling, cooking, and baking. She loves animals and has a fun, energetic boxer named Gilly. Her favorite quote is, “In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks”. If she won the lottery, she would travel the world. Laura is soft-spoken, kind-natured, and hard working. Laura has a charming and caring personality that her coworkers admire about her. Her best advice would be to be nice to everyone; you never know what they are going through.


Client Relations
Nelida's Bio

Nelly joined our team in July of 2021. She has worked in the animal care industry since she was a junior in high school, with her first job being at a veterinary clinic. Nelly is the mother of twin girls, Natalia and Serena, who are 3 years old and are animal lovers just like their mom. She also owns two dogs, Eevee, a Pekingese/Chihuahua Mix, and a Pembroke Welsh Corgi puppy named Scarlet. On her days off, Nelly works on her small business orders and spends time with her kids. Nelly is currently enrolled at Ashworth College to become a Certified Veterinary Technician and plans to obtain certification in 2022.


Kennel Assistant

Robbie's Bio

Robbie has an immense love for animals and working with them has always been a dream of his. He volunteered his time at an animal shelter for over 2 years in Kentucky before joining our team in June of 2021. He has two dogs, Gracie and Patches. Robbie has high functioning Autism and would like others to know that nothing can prevent you from achieving your goals and dreams. He is a great asset to our team and does a wonderful job of keeping our patients clean and comfortable during their stay with us.



Client Relations

Desiree's Bio
Desiree joined our team in January 2022. She is originally from Orlando, Fl, but has called Highlands County her home with her husband and 2 boys since 2007. In her free time, she enjoys running, baking, crafting, and spending time with her family. She has a huge heart for animals and has a sweet, energetic lab named Kane.


Kaycee's Bio
Kaycee started with our team in February 2022. Kaycee has pridefully helped pets for almost 8 years. Her compassion for caring and taking care of animals stems from her childhood. She holds a certificate for Pet Loss and Grief Companioning. After venturing to live in Orlando for a few years, she decided to come back to where her roots are in Avon Park. In Kaycee’s spare time she loves to enjoy life with her daughter Scarlett, girlfriend Brittany, and family. Kaycee also enjoys capturing life’s moments through photography and creating one-of-a-kind pebble art pieces. Kaycee shares her heart with two Dalmatians, a Chihuahua, and one kitten.

Favorite quote: “Hakuna Matata”