Madison Heilbronn, LVT
Madison has been working as a Licensed Veterinary Technician for over two years. She is a 2020 graduate of Michigan State University, earning her bachelor’s Degree in Veterinary Nursing. She has always had a passion for helping animals growing up as a kid. Working with animals gives her pride, purpose, and a rewarding feeling of being able to provide each owner and their pet with the individualized care they need. She really enjoys physical rehabilitation and hopes to pursue this course further in the future! Her hobbies include reading, running, and spending time with family at her cottage on Higgins lake.
Brad grew up in Ada, Michigan and is a graduate of Forest Hills Central and Aquinas College. He joined Thornwood as a kennel assistant in the Summer of 2022. Brad loves animals and has been around dogs for most of his life. For a span of nearly three decades, his family (consecutively) owned two German Shorthaired Pointers, Tara and Karli, who helped inspire him to pursue a career in working with and caring for animals. When he is away from work, Brad enjoys reading, writing, drawing, being outdoors, and spending time with friends and family.
Kyle Grusling, DVM
Dr. Kyle Grusling graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in Animal Science in 2007 and went on to the College of Veterinary Medicine, graduating in 2011. After graduation, Dr. Grusling pursued a rotating internship in small animal clinical medicine at Animal Specialty Group in Los Angeles, California. Upon completing her internship, she accepted a surgical internship at Veterinary Surgical Centers in Vienna, Virginia.
Dr. Grusling then moved home to Michigan and worked in emergency medicine for three years before deciding to pursue a career in general practice. Dr. Grusling has a special interest in surgery and preventative care. She enjoys building relationships with clients that last from puppy or kittenhood through a pet’s twilight years. When she’s not at work, Dr. Grusling enjoys spending time with her husband, Joe, two sons, Mason and Beckett, their two cats, Fiona and Isabel, and their Golden Retriever, Agnes.
Keith is the son of business founders Dr. Raymond R. and Marilyn K. Leali. After 18 years living outside of Michigan, he has been back at Thornwood since April 2007. Keith holds a BS Chemistry degree from Michigan State University in 1992 and an MBA from the University of Findlay in 2000. He grew up at Thornwood and worked in the kennels until High School graduation in 1987. After college, he spent 15 years in R&D and Production Management with Cooper Tire Company.
Keith and his wife Chris have five children. Their pets include several cats, a flock of backyard chickens, and a herd (fold) of Scottish Highland cattle.
Samantha Minnema, LVT
Samantha has been working in veterinary clinics for most of her life. She is a 2007 graduate of Baker College, earning her associate’s Degree in Applied Sciences. She has a special interest in exotic animal medicine (especially reptiles & big cats!), and after graduation, she completed a three-month internship at Potter Park Zoo in Lansing. In the same year, she passed her National and State Board examinations to become a Licensed Veterinary Technician. Roughly two years after receiving her license, Samantha joined the staff at Thornwood Veterinary Clinic to continue her career as our full-time Veterinary Technician. Most importantly, she shares her home with four furry friends who she loves so much: Pocket, Rupert, Alan, and Monroe!
Karyn graduated from Paragon School of Pet Grooming in 2004 and has been a professional groomer for 16 years. She shares her life with a husband and three fur kids. They have two Chinese Cresteds, Kreacher and Drogon, and a Devon Rex kitty named Morla. She enjoys family time, friendships, creating art, and making puppies feel beautiful.
Kaity Denny, DVM
Dr. Kaity Denney graduated from Grand Valley State University in 2017 with a bachelor’s in biology and earned her doctorate in veterinary medicine from Michigan State University in 2021. Following graduation, Dr. Denney completed additional training through a one-year small animal rotating internship at Blue Pearl Emergency and Speciality Hospital in Grand Rapids. Her interests in veterinary medicine include pain management, behavior medicine, preventative care, hospice care, and trauma and wound management. Dr. Denney also has a passion for teaching both future veterinarians and clients. In her time outside work, Dr. Denny enjoys reading, hiking, biking, traveling, and spending quality time with her family, friends, husband, and adopted greyhound, Ariel.
Heather has been working in the veterinary field for over 20 years. She joined Thornwood for the first time in 1995. After several years, Heather stepped away from the office to raise her children, Emma, Christian, and Alex, but returned in 2015 and has been our full-time Lead Client Service Representative ever since. Heather loves all aspects of client and patient care and spends time in and out of work helping as much as possible. Heather lives at home with her husband, Marty, their three children, their grandson, and a gaggle of cats and dogs.
Jana Bykerk, CVA
Lead Vet Assistant/CSR
Jana grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and has always loved animals. This influenced her desire to work in the veterinary field. In 2014, she enrolled in the Animal Behavior College Veterinary Assistant program. During the program, she completed an externship at a local animal hospital and graduated as a Certified Veterinary Assistant (CVA). Jana has worked in the field since 2015 and joined the Thornwood family summer of 2020. She enjoys the relationships between herself, the patients, and their owners. When not at work, Jana enjoys spending time with her husband, Mark, their two sons, Layne and Declan, Saint Bernard, Lenny, and three kitties, Bean, Wall-E, and Reggie.
Vet Assistant, Future DVM
Hannah began working at Thornwood in the spring of 2020. She graduated from Grand Valley State University, where she majored in Biology with an emphasis in pre-veterinary medicine. While we wish she would stay forever, Hannah has been accepted to the Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine, among others, and will be leaving to pursue her degree in the fall. Outside work, Hannah enjoys taking walks and spending time with her dog, Charlie, and her cat, Hummer.
Emma joined Thornwood in January 2022. Before becoming part of the Thornwood team, she worked as a sous chef and did pet sitting for a large company. Emma has spent her entire life around animals and is excited to continue building skills as a veterinary assistant. Outside of work, Emma loves spending time with her son, Evander. They enjoy being outdoors, at parks, going on walks, and spending time with their family.
Lexi graduated from Forest Hills Northern in 2021, with plans to pursue a career working with animals. Lexi has always had pets at home and she has always had a passion for taking care of animals. She joined the Thornwood team in 2021 as a kennel assistant and is now the lead kennel hand. When Lexi is not at work she likes to go on adventures with her Bernedoodle, Scooter, and spend time with her family.
Alex is the youngest son of Heather and the brother of Emma. He is currently a junior in high school and participates in the work-study program. Alex works as a kennel and farmhand at Thornwood during the week and on weekends. He plans to pursue a career in veterinary medicine after high school. Alex enjoys spending time with his family, being his nephew’s favorite uncle, and playing hockey in his free time.
Stephanie is a senior at Michigan State University, majoring in Animal Science. After graduation, she aspires to pursue a career in veterinary medicine and work with small animals. She enjoys baking, reading, and hanging out with her cat Bailey in her free time. She also has an American Eskimo named Aurora and a musk turtle named Squirt.