Meet Our Team

Dr. Jewel Reese, Owner

Dr. Reese is a native Southern Californian who took an indirect route to veterinary medicine. She graduated from UC Riverside in business and started her career in accounting. After obtaining an MBA and working her way up the corporate ladder of an international manufacturing company in Orange County (including a managing stint in Hong Kong), she decided to change careers to her childhood love of veterinary medicine. She returned to school while working as both a part time Controller and a part time veterinary technician before attending veterinary school at UC Davis. After veterinary school she initially returned to LA County before moving to La Mesa, and eventually Eastridge Animal Hospital.

Dr. Reese’s previous experience has given her a unique appreciation for what it is like to be on “the other side of the table.” That is, she remembers how worrisome a sick pet can be, and how confusing the doctors can sometimes seem. After all, how do you really pill a 10 pound, angry cat with teeth and nails!

This is why she is known for taking the time with each patient and client. She wants each animal to feel at ease and relaxed, while she wants their owners to fully understand what is going on. It is not unusual for her to do her exams while lying on the floor, or sitting on the bench.

On a personal level, Dr. Reese is somewhat of a Renaissance woman who enjoys participating in everything life has to offer. She has piloted an airplane, studied at the Sorbonne, and gone scuba diving off The Great Barrier Reef. She loves to travel and has been to every continent including Antarctica. She loves going to the theater, working on crafts, and hiking. She is a big-time football and soccer fan and is always happy to talk about sports, however, she can just as easily strike up a conversation about world history or Impressionist art. Her favorite quote is from the film Auntie Mame, and she clearly lives by it:

“Life is a banquet, and most poor souls are starving to death.”

Dr. April Rodriguez

Dr. Rodriguez is a home-grown veterinarian from La Mesa. She grew up in Fletcher Hills and graduated at the top of her class from Grossmont High School. As a child she was inspired to become a veterinarian after seeing the family’s beloved Labrador saved from snail bait poisoning. After high school, Dr. Rodriguez received both her Bachelors of Science in Genetics & her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from UC Davis. She is married, has two beautiful children, and continues to enjoy the local neighborhoods.

Dr. Rodriguez strongly believes in the bond between people and animals, and feels that it is the doctor’s job, as veterinary professionals, to foster and enhance that bond through education and compassionate care.

Dr. Laurel Nishida

Dr. Laurel Nishida was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii. She received her Bachelors of Science in Biology at the University of Hawaii and her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine at Colorado State University. Despite the drastic change in climate, she enjoyed her time in sunny Colorado. She escaped during winter breaks, though, to thaw out in Hawaii. After a taste of the mainland, Hawaii was a bit claustrophobic, so after graduating, she moved to San Diego where she began and continues her career as a veterinarian. After all these years, she still loves veterinary medicine with all of its challenges and rewards. The most gratifying aspect is developing a rapport with clients and patients.

During her free time, Dr. Nishida enjoys spending time with her husband and step Chihuahua, exploring the many cultural events that San Diego has to offer, gardening, and trying to stay in shape. She is an active member of the La Mesa Sunrise Rotary Club. Once in a blue moon, she has been known to put on a pair of dancing shoes to indulge in her past passion of swing dancing.

Lauren Keith Ph.D

Lauren is the Office Manager at Eastridge. She has a PhD in Organizational Psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology and an extensive background in Human Resources and Human Performance Improvement. She is also an extremely active volunteer with The Rescue House, our primary rescue partner. She loves working with animals and bottle feeding baby orphan kittens, although her specialty is fostering “special needs” cats that need added support as Rescue House works on finding them ‘their forever homes.’ She has lived in San Diego for most of her adult life but grew up on the East Coast.

Lauren enjoys expressing her creativity in a variety of ways including jewelry design and painting. She is working on a book of rescue stories. So while you may not see her as much as she is usually in the office, she is here and happy to help or show off her latest bottle babies.

Lauren's other passion is as a DreamBuilder Coach, which allows her to help others realize their dreams and live happier, healthier lives

Cheyenne Weekley, RVT

Cheyenne was born and raised in sunny San Diego. She always wanted to help animals, even when she was in diapers! Unbeknownst to her parents, she would come home with a new pet every week.

As you can tell by her tattoos, she is an extremely artistic person. She loves painting, drawing, and pretty much anything hands on. Cheyenne has that perfect mixture for a technician – she has the knowledge and skills of medical science with the gentle touch of a loving nurse. Pets can sense that she is truly a ‘down to earth’ person, and will relax in her arms.

Cheyenne is currently the proud parent of two dogs, a cat, a bird, and one snake. “Marilyn” is a jack russell terrier, “J Dean” a corgi terrier mix, “Niko” an orange long haired cat, “Waldo” a Cockatoo, and “Velvet” a ball python.

She is a graduate from Mesa College with an Associate degree in Animal Health Technology Science. She is also a Registered Veterinary Technician with over 10 years of experience in this medical field. Cheyenne recently celebrated her 4th anniversary at Eastridge Animal Hospital, and is excited about the opportunities that still arise. She once commented, “I am constantly learning and growing with every day. The skies the limit!”

Christa Oakes, RVT

Christa Oakes is a Registered Veterinary Technician (RVT). She graduated from the PIMA Institute in Chula Vista. Before joining the Eastridge family she worked at a grooming facility for 4 years. As a technician, she is known to have strong skills with a soft touch. She is exceptionally adept at using Fear Free techniques like treats and toys to soften even the toughest pet.

Christa has 4 furry kids at home (3 cats and 1 chinchilla): “Bart” the grouch, “Dasher” the talker, “Mowgli” the costume fashionista, and “Oscar” the Chinchilla. All of them are rescues, although Christa notes that they more likely rescued her. Christa enjoys spending time with her furry kids, the outdoors, and secretly dancing when no one is looking.

Janine Charkins, RVT

Janine has been in the veterinary field since 2005. She has always had a passion and love for animals. Kittens are her favorite. She graduated from Mesa College in 2010 and received her Associate degree in Animal Health Technology. She obtained her RVT license shortly after. Don’t let her small stature and neutral disposition fool you. She will stay strong and focused (as needed) in the face of an emergency, but her heart melts for all animals and she is able to manage even the largest dogs.

In Janine’s spare time she enjoys reading, shopping, spending time with friends and enjoying the warm weather. She has a cat named “Tinkerbell” and a 3-legged dog named “Princess.”

Chelsea Brown

Chelsea, is one of our Customer Service Representatives and works in Reception. She was born and raised in California. She has a “large family” consisting of her husband, 3 kids, 2 dogs “Ladybug & Griffin”, 4 cats “Lips, White, Gremlin, and Billy” and a Parrot named “Mr. Bird”.

Chelsea’s love for animals started from a very young age. When she turned 12, she started volunteering at various local rescue groups. After that she was able to acquire a job at a small practice for 4 years before coming to Eastridge Animal Hospital. At Eastridge, she made an immediate impact with her calm, polite disposition and her ability to contribute ideas and solutions quickly. Her understanding and application of Fear Free techniques helps you and your pet in all aspects of the visit.

Meanwhile, we are happy to announce that while continuing in reception, Chelsea is returning to school to obtain an RVT license and is starting to work more directly with your pets. One of our goals at Eastridge Animal Hospital is to help our team grow and develop personally. So, we are excited for Chelsea and happy to help her in this endeavor.

New Patients Receive 15% off their First Exam*

Complete the form below or contact us at 619-465-4600 to take advantage of this offer!*
*Can not be combined with other offers. Limit to first visit only. Valid of health examination. No dollar value

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