Dr. James Murray was born in Yorktown, VA and studied biochemistry and animal sciences at Virginia Tech. He was then accepted into the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine and graduated in 2015. During his years in veterinary school, he focused his studies in small animal medicine with a particular interest in dentistry and orthopedics. He also completed a two month study abroad program in India focusing on zoonotic diseases and parasitology, along with working with elephants. He is an active member with the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Association, and the American Academy of Veterinary Dermatology (AAVD). As an avid dog lover, he adopted a beagle mix named Minnie during his first year of veterinary school. They actively train in agility and enjoy long trail runs together. Besides spending time with his dog, he also enjoys golfing, tennis, ice hockey, and playing board games. Both of Dr. Murray’s parents are human physical therapists, his brother Scott is currently studying at Concordia University in Minnesota, and his wife Chelsea is also a veterinarian practicing with both farm and companion animals.
Associate since 2019
Dr. Chelsea Landa was introduced to the world of veterinary medicine as a young girl as she followed her father, an equine veterinarian, around. She deeply admired his skill in caring for ill animals and helping their owners. Along her path to becoming a veterinarian, she first completed a master’s degree in researching the effects of weaning strategies on cattle immune systems at Virginia Tech. Following her master’s, she attended Virginia Tech for veterinary school, where she focused her studies on both small and large animal medicine and surgery. She has enjoyed the variety that veterinary medicine has to offer, and the ability it brings to help people care for their beloved pets. In her job, she enjoys developing relationships with pet owners and helping them to provide their pets with an improved quality of life and longer lifespan through preventive medicine, surgical interventions, and detection and management of underlying diseases.
Dr. Landa met her husband, Dr. Murray, during veterinary school, and together they have a beautiful daughter named Meredith. Their fur family includes two cats named Rafiki and Freya, who have both been with Dr. Landa since before vet school, and hold a very special place in her heart. She also used to have horses in her life, and hopes to have more of them soon. In her spare time, she loves hiking with her family, eating delicious food, and going to the beach. She also hopes to get back into reining, a western style of horseback riding. Most of all, reading a good book on the beach surrounded by her family is her happiest place to be.
Associate since 2021
Dr. Sheppard earned her DVM from North Carolina State University in 2021. She is also Fear Free Certified and in the process of obtaining her acupuncture certification with Chi University. Growing up, she always loved animals, but never planned on being a veterinarian. After graduating college, she realized that working with animals was her passion. Dr. Sheppard started working at a small animal clinic and fell in love with general practice medicine, and the relationships she created with her patients and their owners. Becoming a veterinarian has been Dr. Sheppard’s greatest accomplishment so far, and she finds it very rewarding to work with fearful patients and help them feel more comfortable at the hospital.
Dr. Sheppard and her partner have 3 dogs; Charm (hound mix), Mouse (Boxer mix), and Nickel (Boxer mix), and an orange tabby named Sam. Some of Dr. Sheppard’s hobbies include doing anything outdoors, including hiking, gardening, and kayaking.
Miranda Nemitz, RVT
Team Member since 2013
Miranda attended Vance-Granville Community College as a high school student, and graduated with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Veterinary Technology from Cedar Valley College. In February 2019, Miranda passed the North Carolina State Board Exam and is a Registered Veterinary Technician. Miranda has been interested in the field of animal care since she went to her grandfather’s animal hospital as a child. She loves animals and enjoys providing care for them. Miranda is a Fear Free certified professional, she has fostered over 20 dogs and helped them find loving homes, and she has earned the Gold Status Presidential Community Service Award. Miranda is proud to be part of our team – which she considers to be her second family – and she loves getting to know our clients and their pets.
Jane has been with Heartwood Animal Hospital since June, 2014. She has lived in Wake Forest, NC for 20+ years. Jane is married with one child and two grandsons. She enjoys spending time with her family during her spare time.
Team Member since 2021
Amy has loved animals her whole life and has worked in the pet care industry for more than 15 years. The most rewarding thing Amy finds about her role is getting to know pets, their owners, and helping to enrich their lives. Amy is blessed with an amazing ‘bonus’ son, Jamie. His father Chris and Amy have been together for 23 years. Amy absolutely loves anything her mother cooks.
Pets: Gunner – Mastiff/Malinois Mix, Liberty – Lab Mix, 3 Kitty Cats – Lucy, Lil Bio, and Farley
Hobbies: Fishing, Hiking, Playing with her dogs and spending time with family
Heather has been a veterinary receptionist for 25 years. She enjoys connecting with people and helping animals. Heather is a California transplant, loving the NC life and wonderful people. She has an amazing husband named Erik and she absolutely loves action movies and any book by Debbie Macomber.
Pets: Addy – Chihuahua Mix, Maddy – Chihuahua Mix, Snuggie – Long hair mix cat
Hobbies: Reading, Cooking, Spending time with her husband and pets
Greatest life accomplishment: Waiting as long as she did to find the right guy! *grin*
Kimberly has an associates degree from Valencia College in Orlando, FL and she is working on her History Degree at the University of Central FL with plans to graduate this Spring.
Kimberly has always loved animals since she was a child and even spent over 2 years as a driver for the Kilimanjaro Safaris at Disney World! Kimberly is happy to be a part of the Heartwood team where she can combine both of her passions, animals and working with people!
Kimberly and her husband Patrick recently moved from Florida and have one son named Damien.
Pets: Dwarf Rabbit named Bucky.
Rewarding part of career: Being able to meet new people and their pets.
Hobbies: Crafting, Reading books, and Spending time with her family.
Greatest life accomplishment: Her son is her greatest life accomplishment.
One thing you absolutely love: Her husband(he puts up with her craziness).
Team Member since 2015
Brandy graduated from Wake Tech with her Medical Office Administration Degree. She has always loved animals and worked at a kennel for a few years, but wanted to get more into the medical aspect, with the animals.
Facts about Brandy: She played volleyball from middle school through college & loves doing anything outdoors such as four wheeling, fishing, camping.
What would Brandy do with $1,000,000: Buy a big house with a bunch of land, plenty of inside & outside kennels and start a Dog Sitting business! You can never have too many dogs around!
Team Member since 2017
Jessyca chose a career veterinary medicine because helping animals has always been a passion of hers. She enjoys working with people as well as taking care of their fur babies, and loves being part of such an amazing team.
Pets: Skylar (German Shepherd), Cassie (Border Collie), Oscar (Mixed breed), Charcoal (Cat) and Sky (Horse)
Facts About Jessyca: She trained Skylar for her BH Obedience title; likes trail riding with her horse, camping and being outdoors
Most Amazing Place She’s Ever Been: Kiev, Ukraine
Favorite Book: The Bible
Favorite Movie: Woodlawn
Team Member since 2019
Cathy has an associate degree in business management and human resources which helps her adapt to any situation! She relocated from Virginia to North Carolina for her husband’s job and stayed busy the first year at home with her daughter, stepson, and granddaughter… and lots of foster animals!
Cathy then decided to return to work in a field she was passionate about. She started part-time in a kennel and then was trained as a vet assistant before coming to Heartwood. In her current role, she finds it so rewarding getting to know the clients and their pets, and becoming a part of their family. She loves being able to provide pets and their people with the best possible care and information to keep their pets health for as long as possible. Her goal is to continue to grow as a vet assistant and obtain as much knowledge as she can while doing what she loves!
Since moving to North Carolina, Cathy and her family have adopted two of their fosters: Miley, a hairless Chinese Crest and Raider, a Boxer mix. They also have Harley, a 3-legged guinea pig, thanks to Heartwoods’ amazing doctors. In her spare time, Cathy enjoys being with her family, volunteering at shelters, and fostering for rescues. She also loves arts and crafts!
Team Member since 2019
Kelsey graduated from Oklahoma State University with a bachelor’s degree in animal science. Her family says she’s wanted to be a vet ever since she could talk, and she’s never wanted to be anything else. Getting into veterinary school right after college didn’t go as planned, but a new journey was set in motion that brought Kelsey to Heartwood to learn what she can until she applies again. The most rewarding thing Kelsey finds about her role is the people, including the coworkers and clients who have entered into her life, as well as seeing pets change for the better.
Pets: One fat cat named Tiger, also known as “Chunk”
Hobbies: Working on her Etsy shop, hiking, and traveling
Greatest life accomplishment: Not giving up on her dreams
One thing she absolutely loves: Any book by Ted Dekker
Registered Veterinary Technician
Bio Coming soon!
Team Member since 2021
Melanie received an AAS in Liberal Arts from Monroe Community College and her Science 1000 test indentured from Brighton, NY. She chose a position in the veterinary industry to provide home/hospice care to animals because they have no voice. The most rewarding thing Melanie finds about her role is winning a timid dogs love, learning different skills, meds, and illnesses.
Melanie has twin daughters who are 28 and a son who is 23 and considers her greatest accomplishment to be raising her children and watching them achieve their dreams.