Meet Our Team
Get to know the people that will be taking care of your pet.
Meet Our Veterinarians
Dr. Richard Linkenheimer - Owner
The idea of wanting to be a veterinarian started at a very young age for Dr. Linkenheimer. He attended Edinboro University and received a Bachelors in Biology degree and a secondary education teaching certification. He received his doctor of veterinary medicine (DVM) degree from Mississippi State University in 1995.
He worked emergency medicine for 5 years. His dream of opening his own practice was fulfilled in 2000, when River Valley Veterinary Hospital opened its doors.
Dr. Linkenheimer and his family are controlled by four dogs, Sam and Ella (Katrina rescues), Piper and Jewel, two sisters from West Virginia, along with two rescue cats, Peek-a-boo and Bob and multiple fish. He loves collecting eclectic music for his 1990’s Ipod, reading and cooking.
Dr. Michelle E. Honse - Associate Veterinarian
Dr. honse grew up in rural North Mississippi and attended veterinary school at Mississippi State University.
She has been with River Valley for more than 8 years, and truly enjoys her job, her patients & her clients. She has a special interest in soft tissue surgery and senior pets.
Dr. Honse lives on a hobby farm with her son, Ryan, 3 cats, 2 mules, 1 horse and 1 angry bird. She enjoys trail riding her mules, gardening, going to the beach and spending time with her family.
Dr. Miller - Associate Veterinarian
Dr. Miller is the most recent addition to the River Valley team. She always knew she wanted to work with animals in some respect from an early age. She attended the Pennsylvania State University where she received a bachelors in Veterinary & Biomedical Sciences. She then went on to receive her DVM from Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine where she rescued her two island dogs. Dr. Miller is very passionate about educating owners, helping animals and strengtheningthe human-animal bond. In her spare time she enjoys gardening, hiking, fishing, horseback riding and spending time with her fiancé, dogs and flock of chickens.
Meet Our Care Team
Cullen Linkenheimer - Operations & IT Manager
Where did you grow up? – Gibsonia PA, North of Pittsburgh.
Education? – University of Pittsburgh Graduated 2020 from their undergraduate business program.
What was your first job? – I worked at Wendy’s when I was 16 then worked as a personal trainer for first 2 years of college.
What made you choose this profession? – The passion I have for helping clients and their animals.
Why did you start with River Valley and greatest accomplishments there? -I started working at river valley because I saw that my parents needed help in brining them up to speed with the new technology. I helped them modernize our systems and now we are able to grow exponential and compete with the corporate businesses.
What is something unique about you that most people don’t know? – favorite hobbies are lifting and working on my truck.
What do you find most rewarding at River Valley? – Seeing smiling faces on clients when we help them get the care they deserve and receiving complements that this is the best experience and vet hospital they have ever been to.
Goals for the future. – Continue to grow in my position and hopefully open this place up to be a 24/7 emergency clinic.
Dawn - Veterinary Assistant
Dawn grew up in Mulkeytown, a rural area in Southern Illinois.
She attended Christopher Community High School and her first job was as a dishwasher at a local cafe.
As a child living in the country, Dawn always had a love of the surrounding wildlife and occasional stray animal that was dumped by people in the local towns. As a result, She was always interacting with wildlife and her family never went without a dog. Animals became a huge part of Dawn’s life and over the years developed the necessary skills to approach and handle them.
Dawn sought out employment at River Valley after moving to Pennsylvania. The location in Springdale is a nice area and upon entering the facility she knew this was the kind of place where she could feel comfortable and appreciated. Having not been here long, Dawn’s greatest accomplishment has been interacting with the clientele as a receptionist. Her previous background in this field had my focus on the animals themselves.
Dawn enjoys editing photography. Photo manipulation is a way to create art from something that we would normally take for granted.
The greatest reward working at River Valley is knowing that the sick or injured animal scheduled is on it’s way to recovery.
Dawn’s future goal is to be capable of navigating reception and technician to show my full potential at River Valley.
Jody - Veterinary Assistant
Jody grew up in New Kensington and graduated Valley High School in 2011. She has always had a passion for animals, of all species. In 2012, she began working at her local animal shelter. From that point on she has been working with animals. “I’ve seen and learned a lot from working at the animal shelter. Experiencing what I did helped me realize that this is what I was meant to do at this time in my life.”
Jody started her family in 2018 and then joined our team in 2020, She said, “It feels so good to be back where I belong!”
In her free time Jody loves spending time with her family. Everyday is a new adventure with two boys! She also enjoys cooking, being outdoors, fishing, and gardening most recently!
Becky - Receptionist
Becky decided to rejoin the workforce when her daughter started her senior year of high school. She joined the River Valley Veterinary Hospital family in 2013 as their receptionist and could not be happier with her decision. Her favorite part of the job is listening to clients’ wonderful pet stories! Becky resides on a small farm with her family and they share their lives with two dogs, three cats, a large host of farm animals.
When she isn’t tending to clients’ needs here at the clinic, Becky enjoys spending time with her family, talking with friends on the phone, watching her favorite TV shows, and traveling.
Bretta - Receptionist
What better way to satisfy her love of animals, than to work at a veterinary hospital? Bretta joined our team at River Valley Veterinary Hospital in August of 2007. Bretta serves as one of River Valley Veterinary Hospital’s veteran Customer Care Specialists.
Bretta strives to make sure all our patient’s needs have been met. She particularly likes gretting the clinic’s four legged visitors in the lobby with a treat.
In her time away from work, Bretta likes to camp and spend time in the great outdoors. She mostly enjoys chilling with family and friends around a good fire.
Bretta has three children and is G-Ma to two little cuties. Her home is made up of a trio of trouble-making Labradors.
Marla - Certified Veterinary Technician, CVT
Marla grew up in Wexford, where her love affair with animals began as a member of the 4-H organization. Her early experiences riding horses and working in the stables left a permanent impression—she’s always known that a career spent caring for pets would be the perfect fit! Marla attended the Vet Tech Institute to earn her degree in veterinary technology, graduating as a Certified Veterinary Technician. She joined the team here at River Valley Veterinary Hospital in September of 2017, and has been tending to the area’s pets and animal parents ever since. Her favorite part of her work is getting to witness the journey from diagnosis and treatment to a healthy, happy pet! Marla lives in Allison Park with her three cats: Noodle, Gandalf, and Thorin. In her free time, she loves to ride dirt bikes, and even competed in her first race in 2017. Marla is also an avid crafter, and her specialty involves refurbishing pallets into works of art for others.
Lauren - Front Office Manager
Lauren has always adored the company of animals, and she knew that she’d like to use her passion in a meaningful way to impact others. Here at River Valley Veterinary Hospital, she’s able to better the lives of pets and their owners daily as a Veterinary Technician and the Front Office Manager! Lauren joined the River Valley Veterinary family in the fall of 2007; she was thrilled to learn upon interviewing that she would be cross-trained as a Technician! Now, Lauren is able to use her skill set every day to make every patient as comfortable as possible. She makes it her personal mission to ensure that every visitor to the clinic — furry and otherwise — feels welcome.
Outside of work, Lauren enjoys spending time with her family, especially traveling to Ocean City with her husband, two daughters and stepsons. At home, the family is rounded out by Maddi, an English bulldog, and a tiny little terror named Boots.
Linda - General Manager
Linda has wanted to put her time and effort toward the betterment of animals for as long as she can remember—she prides herself on her listening skills, and loves being able to problem-solve and find solutions for the area’s pet owners! Linda serves as the General Manager of River Valley Veterinary Services. Linda first joined the hospital team in 2006, when she signed on as a Veterinary Technician, and was promoted to the General Manager position in the summer of 2014. When she’s not assisting a veterinarian, you can find Linda managing her talented staff, ordering supplies, and making sure the clinic is functioning smoothly in order to best serve the area’s animal parents. In her time away from work, Linda enjoys landscaping, gardening, vacationing, and spending time with her own pets. She lives with two dogs, Phantom and Oliver, as well as a pair of cats named Mr. Kitters and Biff.
Sakari - Veterinary Technician
Pets have made Sakari’s life better for as long as she can remember. For her, working hands-on with animals in the veterinary world is the perfect way to return the favor! Sakari helps pets as a Veterinary Technician with the River Valley Veterinary Hospital team. Sakari completed her externship at a local animal clinic, and graduated from the Vet Tech Institute of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in July of 2017. The next month, she was thrilled to accept a position here at River Valley Veterinary Hospital! Sakari brings with her special interests in laboratory procedures and radiology work. Her favorite part of every shift is getting to meet loveable patients and their proud owners.
Outside of work, Sakari can be found enjoying a good book, camping and fishing in the great outdoors, relaxing around a bonfire, or spending time with her family and pets. She lives with two dogs, three cats, and a pair of ferrets.
Tara - Veterinary Assistant
Tara has always loved working with animals since she was a little girl. Tara is currently going to Penn foster to become a certified vet tech.
Her favourite dog breed is a German Sheperd. Tara worked in a ER pet hospital for 3 years and enjoyed it. She also completed her intership at the ER hospital.
Tara joined the River Valley Veterinary Hospital team in 2022 and she loves how much compassion and dedication the team gives to pet owners. Tara is amazed how far veterinary medicine has come.
When it comes to client’s pets, Tara will treat them like her own.
Alexis - Veterinary Technician
Growing up, Alexis’ mother always told her that she was meant to work with animals. She could not see her taking any other career path. Alexis started out at community college soon realizing she had more to offer in life, she applied and was accepted into Vet Tech Institute of Pittsburgh and through hard work and compassion she graduated in February 2019. As the newest addition to River Valley, Alexis enjoys hearing clients tell her how special their pets are to them while assuring them they are just as special to us. She also enjoys knowing that she is assisting in the well being of your pet. Alexis grew up in Sarver and lives with her mom and brother. Their household is shared with a 1 ½ year old Siberian Husky named Aleu who is quite sassy and talkative. In her free time, Alexis enjoys playing volleyball, hiking, horseback riding and spending time with her grandparents.
Matt - Veterinary Assistant
Matt has always wanted to make a positive impact on the lives of animals and the community. You may have seen Matt around the office before as he has been job shadowing at River Valley Veterinary Hospital for over a year now. He has recently become our veterinary assistant. Matt attends Penn State where he is pursuing a degree in Biology. He plans on applying to veterinary school after graduation.
Matt grew up in West Deer and is a Deer Lakes graduate. He lives with his mother, father and brother and most importantly, his Golden Retriever named Buddy. In his time outside of school and work, Matt enjoys the outdoors. You can find him hunting, fishing, or camping but mostly just enjoying the company of his family and friends. He is also an avid soccer fan!
Nessa - Client Experience Specialist Manager
Nessa has had love for animals since she was a young child and that love has only grown with time and she knew she wanted to make a difference in the lives of animals. Nessa started with River Valley Veterinary Hospital in 2019 and became the Client Experience Specialist in May of 2022.
Nessa enjoys fostering with a few local rescues in late 2019 and has helped dozens of animals finid their fur-ever homes since! Nessa and her husband Tim are a blended family and share 5 boys, in addition to their boys, they have a small zoo of dogs and cats and you’ll often find a foster animal(or a few) mixed in!
Nessa enjoys travelling with her family and visiting the ocean any chance she gets in addition to being outdoords, swimming, hiking and spending time with family and friends.