Meet the Pekin Veterinary Clinic Staff

Pekin Veterinary Clinic staff


Dr. Joel Jess

Joel Jess

I am a 1986 graduate of Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine. I acquired my love of animals growing up on a cow-calf farm in western Iowa. I knew I wanted to be a veterinarian since I was ten or eleven years old. I guess I was lucky to know what I wanted to do with my life at an early age. Combining my love for animals and medicine has allowed me to live a fulfilling, wonderful life.  

Although I enjoy all aspects of veterinary medicine, my areas of special interest include gastroenterology, soft tissue and orthopedic surgery, and canine rehabilitation. I became certified in canine rehabilitation through the University of Tennessee in 2005. Practicing medicine gives me a great deal of pleasure when I can help not only our four legged friends but the owners as well. I strive to offer an array of options according to the owners’ desires. Flexibility is the key when consulting clients, and I try to provide the most current options and treatments available. I continue to update my professional skills to meet those demands. My passion is to help patients and their moms and dads with the most compassionate and complete care I can provide.

My pets include an independent tabby cat named Tuesday and a very soft-hearted, smart English Shepard named Lance. When not practicing medicine I enjoy spending time with my family, playing "over the hill" baseball, fishing, working at our Virginia, IL, land, and umpiring girls' senior and junior high softball. I've been practicing veterinary medicine for 30 years and love doing so more now than when I started.

Dr. Allisun Bennett

Allisun Bennett

I am originally a Missourian and received both my undergraduate in Animal Science and DVM from the University of Missouri in Columbia. I practiced both large and small animal medicine in Wyoming, IL. It was a great time of growth and learning and even though it can be incredibly hard work, I do miss pulling baby calves!

During the fall of 2016, I married my husband Paul, became a step-mom to a wonderful little girl named Anna, and started working at Pekin Veterinary Clinic. Our family is rounded out by a very social feline named Kirby, and we expect a new (human) addition this fall!

As a Veterinarian, I like to emphasize preventative veterinary care through good dental practices, proper nutrition, and appropriate vaccination. 

One of the many reasons I love working at Pekin Veterinary Clinic includes the ability to work with skilled, compassionate, and well-trained staff and doctors. We're all a team and I couldn't function a day here without them!

Dr. Brittany Propst

Brittany Propst

I was actually born in Decatur, Illinois, but grew up my whole life in Oklahoma, where I was raised a Sooner fan attending every home football game! It was not until this awesome job, where I get the opportunity to care for your kiddos, that I moved back to my roots- boyfriend and fur babies in tow. I always knew I wanted to be a veterinarian. I only ever waivered twice: once when I tore my ACL and I thought PT would be fun, and once when "Legally Blonde" came out and going to Harvard sounded easy.

After several years of caring for stuffed animals, I fulfilled a life-long dream of being a true Sooner and went to the University of Oklahoma. After four years, however, I had to go up state to "the other school". It was at Oklahoma State University that I received my doctorate in Veterinary Medicine. 

Now I am happy to say that I live here in Pekin. My boyfriend and I have a 7-year-old lab/shepherd mix named Abby and a 15-year-old Schipperke named Chauncey. In my spare time, I love being with family, catching up on movies and Disney, and just being outside. I am a kid at heart, and if you get me started on Disney or Harry Potter I could talk to you all day! I look forward to getting to know you and your fur kids and helping you all in the best way I can! See you soon!

Dr. Brittany Hasselberg

Brittany Hasselberg

Hello, I am Dr. Britt Hasselberg.  I grew up surrounded by animals, mainly Shih Tzus, in Peoria, Illinois but now have 6 lizards and 2 cats named Taco and Mr. Nipper.  I worked as a small animal, exotic, and zoo veterinarian for 6 years before working as a relief veterinarian.  I am very passionate about my work; I am devoted to working with exotic animals and particularly enjoy canine and feline soft tissue surgery and dentistry.  I have compassion for all animals, great and small….Come see me! 

Office Administrators

Tammy Jess
Hospital Administrator

Tammy Jess

I am one of the farmer's daughters of this team. Growing up on a dairy farm in western Iowa I was surrounded by animals and could often be found tagging around under the feet of the veterinarian. How funny that I ended up married to one!

A 1982 graduate of Iowa State University, I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Interior Design. I enjoyed my design career for several years until Dr. Jess and I purchased the Pekin Veterinary Clinic in 1990. At that time, I began my second enjoyable career in veterinary management. Many classes and seminars later I have grown into this career as the clinic has grown. I now work as the Hospital Administrator managing our team of professionals, overseeing hiring and training, keeping tabs on the financials, assisting in the purchase of equipment and keeping our team up with the latest in continuing education and training.

Dr. Jess and I have three amazing children that have grown up to be wonderful adults. We are enjoying watching them make their way in the world. To fill the quiet in the house we brought home Lance. Lance is a high energy English Shepard who always has a big smile on his face. He is a total "momma's boy" and loves to go anywhere I go, including my office. His favorite past time is running and I with I had something for him to herd as he would totally love that. His brother Finn is owned by our daughter and her husband and is Lance's best friend. They are all boy when together and play, rough house, and tease one another constantly.

Our veterinary practice has been one of the biggest joys and challenges for me personally over the years. I have enjoyed the opportunity to get to know many of our wonderful clients and their pets. I have also enjoyed the challenge of designing and overseeing the building of Aboard the Ark in 1998, and the designing and renovation of the veterinary hospital in 2007. These projects provide me with the necessary "right brain" creative thinking I need to survive, combining my interior design expertise with my knowledge of veterinary medicine. The result is our beautiful facility designed to make us more efficient and able to practice better medicine for you and your pets.

I am enjoy serving you and my team at Pekin Veterinary Clinic. My office is not near the front of the building, so I am a bit more isolated than I used to be, but don't let that stop you from asking for me and saying "hello" when you are here. I will be ahappy to give you a "behind the scenes" tour or just catch up a bit with one another.

Diane Chamberlin
Human Resources Specialist

Diane Chamberlin

I have been involved in the veterinary industry my entire life. I started working at Aboard the Ark when I was 14 and continued working regularly until I went to college. Even then, I came back home and worked at the Ark over the summer and during holiday breaks. I stepped away from PVC for a few years while pursuing my graduate degree and working as a therapist; however, I just couldn’t stay away. I am now working as a receptionist and exam room assistant, and I truly enjoy what I do!

My husband Tommy and I  have three furry children. Martin, our oldest kitty, is a sweet cuddle bug. Pepper is our youngest kitty. She is a spunky, tiny tabby who loves to play. Our newest family member is Finn, an English Shepherd who is very smart and loves attention. They keep us busy when we’re not working, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. 

Shelly Laux
Practice Manager

Shelly Laux

I’ve lived in Pekin all my life. I have two great kids of my own, and married Michael in 2009, and now we have five great kids combined. As for my animal family, we have four dogs, Toby, my wonderful lab, my collection of poodles, Jackson, Tucker and Buckley, and then there is Giles, who doesn't know he is a cat.  He can sit, shake paws and even roll over. I enjoy crocheting and taking care of flowers in my yard, but I spend most of my spare time taking care of my animals. There is always someone wanting to go for a walk if not all of them.

I have been with Dr. Jess and Tammy here at Pekin Veterinary Clinic since 1996. I have had many duties through the years: technician, inventory, ordering, scheduling and managing. From our great staff to our wonderful clients and our adorable patients I am very lucky to have a career that I can truly say I enjoy coming to work every day.


Amanda Fogal
Lead Technician/ CVT

Amanda Fogal

I am a certified veterinary technician. I graduated from Parkland College in May 2010 with an Associate's in Veterinary Technology. I started working at Pekin Veterinary Clinic in August 2012. I chose to become a veterinary technician because growing up I have always had a love for helping and working with animals. I love seeing how helping someone's pet can not only change the pet's life but also the owner's. My pets include two American Quarter Horses named Scotty and Cash, a pony named Dorothy, and a cat named Vinny.

In May 2014 I married my husband and we have one son. In my spare time I enjoy spending time with my family, barrel racing, canoeing, and many other outdoor activities.

Jennifer Dill

Jennifer Dill

I am a Certified Veterinary Technician. I graduated from Parkland College in 2007 with an Associate's degree in Veterinary Technology. Some of my veterinary interests include anesthesia, radiography and phlebotomy. I chose to become a technician because I have always had animals and felt compelled to help them.

I got married in August of 2010 to my high school sweetheart and we have a son named Brayden who keeps us on our toes. Our house is overrun by our three dogs, Rex, Rosco and Reese and our cats Dusty and Maverick. We also have our three horses, Copper, Derby and Faith as well as two goats. In my free time I am a volunteer firefighter/EMT and enjoy spending time with my family, horseback riding, and anything else outdoors.

Tracy Wehmeier

Tracy Wehmeier

I am a Certified Veterinary Technician and a 2007 Parkland graduate. I have been working in small animal medicine since 1999. My love and compassion for animals only intensified after getting my very own dog named Lucy at the age of 13. Some of my special interests within the field are anesthesia, surgery, and imaging. I find the advancements in Veterinary Medicine truly amazing and dedicate myself to educating and implementing changes that will help aid in the aging process of your loved one.

Some things I enjoy doing with my free time include traveling, watching my nephews Jayden and Wesley and my neice Maddie grow, as well as pet sitting for loved ones.

Two causes that are very dear to my heart include Lyme Disease Awareness and Lung Cancer Research; including an annual Pool Tournament held locally in January.

 My family includes a spunky couch potato named Ruby Red who is 8 years of age and an energetic diva named Olive Bean who is 2 years old.


Kelly Pennell
Veterinary Assistant/Exam Room Assistant

Kelly Pennell

I've been in the veterinary field since 1982. I enjoy making a difference in my patients' lives, and helping an ill animal become a healthy pet again. Watching pet owners (especially their kids) take their special pet back home is all the thanks I ever need.

You name it, I have had it as a pet: horses, dogs, cats, chinchillas, guinea pigs, and fish. My favorite ‘pets’ are my two sons, Ben and Sam, and my first grandkids, Trent and Olivia. I am active in my church, Richwoods Christian Church—Parkway Campus. I'm also a brown belt in karate and trained as a Military Police Specialist. Hoo-raa! Go, Army! If you cause trouble at my clinic, you'll run into me sooner or later...

My most current hobbies are Egyptology, archeology, backyard birding, and anything on Syfy or History Channel. Yes, I am a geek and a nerd.

Hannah Finnegan
Veterinary Assistant/Exam Room Assistant

Hannah Finnegan

I started working as a kennel assistant with Aboard the Ark in April 2016. Working as a kennel assistant has been a great experience and it has been a lot of fun to get to know everyone's pets. In April 2018 I began working with Pekin Veterinary Clinic as an exam room assitant which has given me the opportunity to meet so many loving and dedicated owners and see the bond they have with their pets. I am grateful to have a job working with animals and to be able to work with such great people everyday.

My boyfriend and I currently have 3 kittens- Leo, Bandit and Aura who keep life interesting! In my spare time I enoy spending time with family and friends, hiking, going to antique stores, and just being outside.

Larissa Lopez
Veterinary Assistant/Exam Room Assistant

Larissa Lopez

I started working for Pekin Veterinary Clinic in March of 2015. I have grown up in the Pekin area all my life. I graduated from Pekin High School in 2006. I now live in Manito.

In my free time, I like to play games with friends and family, go to concerts, & make people laugh. I am a very outdoorsy person. I love going on hikes, discing, or just being outside in general. I grew up playing all kinds of sports, my favorites being basketball and softball. In fact, I attended Georgetown Middle School where I was the only girl on the guy’s basketball team. I have always been a competitive person. My one true passion is shooting pool. I have been to Vegas on multiple occasions, most recently taking 3rd place. I became an Illinois State Champion in March of 2016. I became an Iowa State Champion in October of 2016. I am always looking to improve my game.

At home I have two dogs & three cats. Penny Lane is my 7 year old Pitbull. Olive is my 3 year old Greyhound mix. My cats are Jerry, 13 years old, Jack, 10 years old, and Jimmy, who is 9 years old.

I love my coworkers, our clients, and our patients. There is not a better feeling than seeing the love people have for their 4 legged furry babies.

Val Zuercher
Veterinary Assistant

Val Zuercher

I started work as kennel attendant in 1972 here at Pekin Veterinary Clinic. Throughout the years I have worked at different local area vet clinics and landed back at PVC to work again as veterinary assistant.

My hobbies include bicycling and walking in Pekin’s parks. I enjoy fishing and the outdoors.

My personal pets right now are a 14-year-old budgie named Pete and his younger brother, 5-year-old Jimmy. I also dogsit for my sister Candice from time to time. She owns an older, tiny pug named Juanita. I do enjoy her company. I have always enjoyed veterinary medicine and love being back to work at PVC, where it all began for me.


Stacia Heine
Lead Receptionist

Stacia Heine

I’ve been with Pekin Veterinary Clinic since 2013, and still love working with all the clients and their furry kids every day. Ever since I was young, I’ve been fascinated with all types of animals. I’m so glad I can continue this passion and spend my working days doing what I love. At home, my husband and I have a Rat Terrier mix named Boyd, and an orange tabby cat named Max. With a husband and new home to care for, much of our free time is spent on home improvements and weekend trips to spend time with family, friends, and the occasional concert. I’m so glad and grateful for the opportunity that has been given to me here at Pekin Veterinary Clinic. Seeing team members and customers that love and care about their animals as much as I do is a wonderful feeling that I look forward to every day!

Sarajane Hawkins

Sarajane Hawkins

I grew up in Delavan, Illinois, along with my husband John, and we currently reside in Green Valley with our daughter Annabelle in our 1920s farmhouse that we are restoring in our free time. We spent the past 9 years in Lafayette, Louisiana, for my husband's work in the oilfield. Our favorite past time there was Mardi Gras and all the Cajun festivals. They threw a party for everything in Lafayette, and I'm so glad we got to experience the Cajun culture.

Our family is well-rounded. I have two grown step-sons J.D. and Jake; 5 dogs: Bandit, Mayzee, Penelope, Chloe, and Poppy; a chinchilla named Tallulah Rose; a stray kitty that adopted us named Kitty; and two guinea pigs that I am currently trying to convince my daughter to name Negan and Rick.

In my free time, I enjoy being at home with my family, watching movies, and playing video games! We will try ANY game once, especially a good zombie-based video game. I love horror movies and books. They complete me. If I'm out of the house, you can find me in the antique stores and used furniture stores finding treasures to restore. I also enjoy playing volleyball with my daughter who has inherited my insatiable love for the game as well. I am so thankful I found my way to Pekin Veterinary Clinic and look forward to growing as a receptionist and beyond for many years to come. 

Kylie Fryman

Kylie Fryman

I started working at PVC in July of 2018. I grew up in Pekin and graduated from PCHS in 2014. I currently attend ICC where I am working on my associates in general studies while I decide what I want to be when I grow up. At home I have 3 young children. If that doesn’t make life crazy enough, I also have a Golden Retriever named Gunner and a Golden Retriever mix named Vera. In my free time I enjoy going to the movies and traveling. I love learning new and exciting things everyday while working at PVC. Also, seeing the cute and fuzzy animals always puts a smile on my face.

Melody Bradley

Melody Bradley

I grew up in Chattanooga Tennessee and lived there my whole life up until September 2018. I have always loved animals since childhood and wanted to grow up and work at a animal hospital one day. In 2014, I started working as a receptionist at an animal hospital and also owned a pet sitting business on the side. I made friendships with many clients and their fur babys over the years that I'll always cherish. I decided to move to Pekin, Illinois, after many years of friendship and a long distance relationship with my boyfriend so we could be together, but the only thing missing was the right job. I started at Pekin Veterinary Clinic immediately upon moving to Illinois, and I couldn't be happier.

We have a cozy little home that we share with my three fur babies. Levi, my 6 year old boston terrier/chihuahua mix, is a big mama's boy and would spend all day watching me sleep if he could. Prince, my 6 year old chihuahua, is my "nap and lap" dog and enjoys being cuddled up in a cozy blanket with me and binge watching my favorite show NCIS. Then there is my 4 month old cat named Jethro who is a character of his own. He enjoys making a mess while I'm cleaning up the one he made just before that. He also loves when I take him for walks at the park and when I put him on the dog lead in the back yard and let him practice his tree climbing skills. I love and enjoy each and every one of my animals very much and look forward to meeting yours and assisting you with any of your fur babies' needs.

  • They got my dog in right away when I called. Everyone is courteous and seem to genuinely love animals. Took good care of my dog and kept me informed.

    —Bruce Green

  • Doctors and staff are always kind and extremely efficient. Our pet loves going there which says a lot for their care.

    —Lori Bennett

  • Very professional, wonderful treatment!! I would recommend this facility to anyone who loves their pets

    —Lora King

  • Everytime I come here for any treatment they ALWAYS treat us like family. They show a deep concern for the pet and the owner. I tell everybody I know to bring their pets here!!! Thanks!!

    —Dawn Wade

  • "Best place I've ever been to! Everyone was extremely nice and helpful, I couldn't have asked for better!"

    —Tiffany Larson

  • "I'm always very happy with my interactions with the staff and doctors at Pekin Veterinay Clinic. I feel as though my concerns are addressed, and that the staff really cares about me and about my furbabies."

    —Sylvia Shults

  • "You can tell the Vet loves the animals. She got on the floor and played with the puppy and put her at ease. I thought that was very sweet!!"

    —Sheri Jones

  • "Great service. My dog was in need of care due to her condition and I was able to take her over right away and they worker her in. This is the kind of care and reaction I need for my dogs, and I received it."

    —Jacque Hess

  • "I have referred them to all my friends and family. They are great. There willing to work with you and are also fantastic with my dogs."

    —Diane Canizzo

  • "Wonderful as always! The people are always so nice and friendly. I feel our pet gets quality health care here."

    —Maribeth Kilbride

  • "You’re all the kind of people that make the world a better place for critters of all kinds."

    —Pekin family members Jody, Ed, Alyssia, Jake, Sweet Pea, Pippy, Simba, Cuddles, and Kera.