family pet hospital

Meet our team!

Meet the Veterinarians & Team of Family Pet Hospital! We’re pleased to provide exceptional vet care for your pets!

Litter of Kittens

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. Cook

Medical Director / Veterinarian

Joseph L. Cook, DVM graduated from Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine in May of 1986. He opened Family Pet Hospital, PA in June of 1995. Dr. Cook has served the community of Topeka in various ways. He has served as a board member of Helping Hands Humane Society. He is now serving on the board of Pet Assistance Network of Topeka (PANT) and has done so since 2008.

Dr. Cook helped raise 3 outstanding and very accomplished daughters. Through his second marriage to his wife, Cindy, he also enjoys a step daughter, step son and their families. Between Dr. and Mrs. Cook, they have and enjoy several granddaughters and grandsons.

Dr. Cook and his wife enjoy many hobbies together. They like to travel as much as time will allow. They like working on their house and yard, always fixing, changing, primping and being outside.
They have 2 dogs, Katnis and Peeta. Both are terrier crosses and are very active. Both were adopted from Helping Hands Humane Society.

Dr. Cook also is a musician and is part of 2 local bands. One called, Dr. Cook’s Medicine Show, plays classic country and western music. The other, Yesterday, plays oldies ‘50s and ‘60s rock and roll. The bands play at various clubs throughout Topeka and will keep you dancing all evening.

Dr. Cook enjoys many other hobbies. Trout fishing is his most loved outdoor activity and since there is minimal trout fishing in Kansas, he makes a trip to Arkansas, on the White River below Bull Shoals Reservoir at least 3 to 4 times a year.

Dr. Brown


Dr. Brown graduated from El Paso High School, El Paso, IL in 1974. She enlisted in the Army in December 1974 & served at Ft. Sam Houston, TX, Ft. Ord CA and The Presidio of San Francisco, CA where she served at the chauffer and aide to the installation commander. During her tour she received the Army Commendation Medal, Sharp Shooter Badge and was the first woman to shoot skeet for the Army at Ft. Brag, NC.

Dr. Brown received her post secondary education at Seward County Community College graduating Magna Cum Laude with an Associate of Science Degree. She continued her undergraduate and graduate work at Kansas State University where she received a Bachelor of Science Degree in 1986 and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Degree in 1988.

After graduation Dr. Brown obtained a variety of work experience including mixed animal, exclusive small animal, associate and lead veterinarian at Kansas Sale Barns, provided mobile services to her community and was employed by the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission as Junior and Senior Animal Health Officer, did part time relief work and is currently an associate veterinarian at Family Pet Hospital.

She has five daughters and a step son that range in age from 24 to 45 years. She has four granddaughters and a grandson. She has a passion for softball that she has passed along to her children. She has been knitting and crocheting since she was 14, and keeps her family warm and cozy wearing her designs. She loves to draw and uses a variety of mediums and has recently discovered, thanks to her children and friends, watercolors and oil paints.

Dr. Brown’s pet family is also varied with a 4 year old Chihuahua named Zeus and a 14 year old cat named Shrimpy.
Dr. Brown spends much of her free time outside enjoying the flowers in her gardens and tramping in the timber and pasture at her home.

Dr. Steele


Dr. Marcella Steele is a compassionate veterinarian with a strong background in veterinary medicine. She graduated from Kansas State University and has been practicing for six years, including a one-year rotating internship. Dr. Steele’s professional interests include preventative care, internal medicine, exotics, diagnostic imaging, and clinical pathology. She takes pride in her empathic approach and excellent bedside manner, prioritizing the well-being of her patients. In her free time, Dr. Steele enjoys arts and crafts, video games, traveling, and reading. She has a cat as her beloved pet.

Carla Nelson - Veterinary Technician

I have lived in Topeka all my life. I have been with Family Pet Hospital since 1997. I have always loved animals and have had pets that range from normal dogs and cats to a chicken, turtles, and even lizards. Currently in my household resides a dog, a cat, and two snakes.

I have five adult children, two sons-in-laws, nine grandchildren (six boys & three girls), and a young man I consider a son since my oldest son and he became friends in Jr. High School. I have a wonderful fiancé who I’ve known since high school, we have been together since 2010. Together we enjoy our grandchildren, riding our Harleys, and working on various DIY projects (never have enough time for these).

I love the family atmosphere at Family Pet Hospital.  I don’t think I have ever worked anywhere where the team members were so close, even with the husbands, wives, and children of the team.  I hope I can continue to be part of this family for many years to come.

Carlie Leal - Veterinary Technician

My name is Carlie Leal and all my life I’ve been around animals, from cats and dogs to chickens, guinea pigs, and hedgehogs. I love working with all kinds of animals, though I have a soft spot for cats and large dogs. I joined Family Pet Hospital as a Vet Tech in October 2021 after recently moving to the area with my husband. We are both avid enjoyers of video games, tabletop games, and anime. Our dog, Aerith, and cat, G’raha, are both named after video game characters.

I am currently working on a Vet Tech degree and have two degrees in art and animation that I am still using for personal projects. I am so excited to be a part of the team at Family Vet Hospital and look forward to meeting your pets!

Heather Hogan - Veterinary Technician

My name is Heather Hogan. I have been a veterinary assistant at Family Pet Hospital for the past 16 years and it has been a wonderful experience. Not only do I get to meet other animal lovers and their pets, but I have the best coworkers one could imagine. I very much value the human-animal bond and love that I am able to help others nurture that relationship. Our furry friends are family too.

I am happily married with two young children, three cats, and two dogs. I have had the pleasure of taking care of animals from mice and rats to steer and horses (and lots of things in between!) I can’t say I’m a dog person or a cat person, just an animal person through and through!

Mellisa Botello - Veterinary Technician

Hi I’m Mellisa Botello. I started working for Family Pet Hospital in 2019 as a Kennel Tech. With my love for animals, I became a Vet Tech. My husband, daughter and I moved to Topeka in 2018. We have 4 animals; a Chihuahua named Papi (after the Beverly Hills Chihuahua), a Conure named Rain, and 2 cats Pheona and Smokey. I have always loved animals.

Pamela Brown - Groomer

Pamela Brown was born in Pensacola, Florida & moved to Lincoln, Nebraska when she was 9 years old. She graduated from Lincoln Northeast High School. She moved to Topeka about 21 years ago.

Her love of animals influenced her to go to grooming school through PetSmart in St. Louis, Missouri. She received her grooming degree and then worked for PetSmart for a while & subsequently worked for two veterinarian clinics in Topeka.

Pamela has been grooming for 17 years. She loves the challenge of grooming each animal & making them her friends. Pamela has two children ages 12 & 14. She has three cats, a ferret, and a dog.

Carrie Aldrich Stephenson - Customer Service Representative

Carrie moved back to her hometown of Topeka in 2018 after living in the Denver metro area for many years, where she most recently owned & operated a successful professional pet sitting business, Ciao Meow In-Home Pet Sitting Services, LLC, for approximately thirteen years. She also did some TNR (trap/neuter/release) work with feral cat colonies, & was involved in rescue & fostering, re-homing, & adoptions as well. She had missed being in the animal care field, so she is thrilled to be working at the front desk at Family Pet Hospital, & appreciates the genuine care & concern that everyone on staff shows to the pets & their people, as well as the supportive work environment.

Carrie holds a Bachelor’s degree in English from Metropolitan State College of Denver, as well as a paralegal certificate from Denver Paralegal Institute. She also has more than sixteen years of experience working with children, both as a teacher & an administrator. She & her husband are owned by several cats & elderly Chihuahuas.

Katie Reynolds - Customer Service Representative

My name is Katie. I started at Family Pet Hospital in May of 2021. I was born and raised in Alabama and then moved to Mississippi where I worked at a local animal shelter. It was there that cemented my love and desire to help animals. The work was hard but was well worth the reward. While in Mississippi, I got my first dog and met an amazing man and his job would soon bring us here to Topeka. It’s been a wild ride to get here, but the journey has been exciting nonetheless.

I like to think that I am an artistic and crafty person. I love to draw in my spare time. I also love needlework like cross-stitch, quilt making, and knitting as well. I guess you can say that learning new hobbies is a hobby of mine. The only downside is that I have so many different projects going on at once. I’m not sure what to work on!

Meghan Foster - Social media Technician

Hello! My name is Meghan Foster. I am a girly girl but I don’t mind getting down and dirty for animals that we love dearly. I’m 22 years old and I’m starting my own little family as well, as the new addition is almost two! I have three cats; Monza, Gyser, and Bynx, and two dogs; Jordan (my oldest, 8 years) and Agrippa, or Grip for short our baby of the fur-fam. I love watching your fur babies grow from little babies to older babies (because no matter the age, they will always be our little babies).

I have been with Family Pet Hospital since June 2019, I love meeting the people and their fur babies that have been coming to our clinic for years! I’m excited to be on this journey with my “work” family. The compassion and loyalty I feel is so heartwarming!