Meet Our Team in Alpena, MI
Our team is a dedicated and talented bunch. Each of our members excel at various skills, so your pet is always in expert hands. We thrive on giving you and your pet the best experience we can—including exceptional veterinary medicine and compassionate customer services. Meet our fantastic team below or feel free to stop in and meet us in person!
Jill Preston Fournier, Veterinarian/Owner
Dr. Fournier is originally from Troy, MI. She always knew as a young girl that she wanted to be a vet, a mixed (large and small) animal vet to be exact. Her journey toward becoming a veterinarian started at MSU, where she graduated in 2001 with a BS in Animal Science. Immediately after, she was accepted into vet school at her alma mater and received her DVM in 2005.
While in vet school, she decided against becoming a farm vet. She practiced her first year out in Cadillac, MI and then transferred back to her "home" clinic in South Lansing for a few years. In February 2008, she moved up to Sunrise Vet in Alpena and has been here since! In December of 2013, she became the practice owner.
Dr. Fournier has a passion for anything dogs. She enjoys perfecting surgeries, understanding dog behavior, and being involved in reproduction/breeding. In fact, she breeds and owns English and French Bulldogs and has six house dogs herself, ranging in size and breed. Her free time is spent on her funny farm with her two children, Autumn, Ethan, and her husband Andre. They have chickens, peacocks, and hunting Blue Tick Coon Hounds. When she is not playing with dogs, Dr. Fournier enjoys gardening, working on her succulent collection, reading a good book, or enjoying time with family and friends.
Heidi LaCross, Veterinarian
Dr. Heidi was born and raised right here in Alpena, MI. She earned her B.S. in Zoology from Michigan State University and her DVM from the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine. She lived and practiced in Madison, WI until moving back to Alpena in 2015. Dr. Heidi has four children: two girls and two boys as well as several pets, which include two dogs (a Labrador and a golden retriever), two rescue cats who are sisters, a chinchilla, and a tortoise named Concave Dave.
Brandi Stone, Veterinarian
Dr. Brandi Stone is excited to be back at Sunrise Veterinary Services! Some of you may recognize her from when she worked with us as a veterinary assistant during her undergrad. She did a year of emergency medicine at a 24-hour clinic in Pennsylvania after graduation from MSU's College of Veterinary Medicine in 2019. She enjoys emergency work, ultrasounds, and surgeries. She has a dog, Gunner, who loves to go camping, hiking, and fishing with her. She's so happy to return to Northeastern Michigan and can't wait to meet all of your furry family members!
Larissa Digue, Veterinarian
Dr. Larissa was born and raised in a small town in Brazil. She started Veterinary School in 2011. In 2014 she began attending Michigan State University through a study abroad program, where she took veterinary medicine and animal science classes. She went back to Brazil and finished vet school in 2017. She is fully licensed in the United States through the Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates (ECFVG) program. She has two dogs, Nina, who is back in Brazil and Buck, a standard poodle who lives here with her and her husband. In her free time, she enjoys working out, reading, traveling, hiking and teaching Buck new tricks.
Ruth Krawczak, Customer Service Representative
Ruth was born and raised in Rogers City and moved to Alpena over 30 years ago. In September 2002, she started working at Sunrise Veterinary Services and has been happy to be here helping people care for their beloved pets. She is a versatile team member as she is cross-trained to help wherever needed! Yet, her main position is as a receptionist---and she loves it!
Ruth has four amazing adult children and is blessed to be "granny" to five little people. When she is not at work she enjoys daily walks, riding her bike, kayaking, reading, baking, volunteering, traveling and spending time with family and friends.
Brandi Urbach, Veterinary Assistant
Brandi has worked 6 years as a veterinary assistant and has been with Sunrise since July 2018. She has a lot of experience, and we're grateful to have her on our team! At home, she has 2 dogs and 1 cat. Outside of work, she enjoys boating and kayaking.
Shelly Olsen, Veterinary Assistant
Shelly has worked at Sunrise Vet since 2002. Prior to that, she was on active duty in the Navy and a Navy wife for 19 years. In 1998, she returned to Alpena along with her three children. She also has two senior cats at home, and in her spare time, she enjoys all forms of needlework and goes kayaking! Her fondest memories are those of family camping trips.
Tabitha McDonald, Pharmacy/Inventory Manager
Tabitha has worked for the clinic since February 2011. Her duties include the ordering of our pet food, retail items, and clinic medications. At home, she has 4 dogs and 2 cats and enjoys gardening, scrapbooking, raising livestock, camping, and spending time with family and friends.
Dana Barnhardt, Veterinary Assistant
While she was raised in Alpena, Dana moved away for some time, and then moved her family (husband and son) back nine years ago when she was offered a job at Sunrise Vet! At home, they have three dogs named Greta, T Chala, and Frankie. Dana works as a vet assistant helping wherever she is needed. She counts herself very lucky to be doing what she loves!
Tammi Cernat, Office Manager
Tammi is an Office Manager who has been in the field for 20 years. She grew up in Hubbard Lake and was a Coast Guard wife for 20 years. Prior to moving back to Alpena, Tammi lived all over the country, but her favorite place was Hawaii. She has two adult children and is “gammy” to two beautiful grandchildren. She and her husband share their home with their Golden Retrievers Oakley and Olivia and their yard is home to many chickens and ducks! In her spare time she enjoys going for walks, traveling and biking with her family and friends.
Danielle Lafeldt, Veterinary Assistant
Danielle was born and raised in Spruce, MI and lived in Montana for 9 years before coming to Alpena in 2016. Her two kids keep her very busy at home! When she's not devoting her extra time to Sunrise, she loves to hunt and spend time with her family. She is a 2021 graduate from the Penn Foster Veterinary Technician Program.
Megan Rea-Riopelle, Veterinary Assistant
Megan was born and raised in Alpena and has worked in the vet industry for 2 years. She loves both cats and dogs but describes herself as a cat person. She also loves plants! She has a kitty named Theodor who is diagnosed with Cerebellar Hypoplasia or "wobbly cat syndrome." She also has a gecko named Gunner, and bearded dragon named Neji. When it's nice out, Megan loves to be outdoors, but she also doesn't mind a rainy day that she can spend watching Netflix!
Tyler, Veterinary Assistant
Tyler was born and raised in Ohio. He has 6 brothers and 3 sisters. He moved to Alpena 4 years ago to work in the veterinary field. He has a 1-year-old Pug named Buddy and a Chinchilla named Juniper. In his spare time, he loves to hunt, fish and play baseball.
Taylor, Veterinary Assistant
Taylor was born and raised in Alpena. She left the area to attend Baker College where she graduated in 2021 from their Veterinary Technician Program. She knew at a young age that she wanted to work with animals. She grew up on a farm with cattle, horses, a cat and dog. She loves the outdoors.
Jennie, Licensed Veterinary Technician
Jennie was born and raised in Alpena. From a young age she knew she wanted to work with animals. While working as a Veterinary Assistant at Sunrise back in 2000, She learned of MSU’s Veterinary Technology program. She applied immediately and was accepted. After graduating from the Veterinary Technician Bachelor’s Program. She remained in Lansing where she worked at Waverly Animal Hospital, Boarding and Grooming (a busy 5 doctor AAHA clinic) for 14 years as an LVT. Growing tired of city life and missing living near a lake, her family relocated to Marquette. She resided in the UP for 4 years before being called home to Alpena. Her and her husband share 4 children. Two adult daughters along with another daughter who is 10 years old and a son who is 6. Her fur kids consist of a senior Lab/Coonhound mix, a young energetic Golden Retriever and a sassy kitty. She has a slight houseplant obsession and also loves gardening, camping, kayaking, reading and loving on her “Golden” child. She is so excited to be returning to Sunrise Veterinary Services where it all started for her!
Emma Fitch, Veterinary Assistant
Emma was born and raised in Alpena. She loves all animals but describes herself as more of a dog person. In her spare time, she enjoys playing with her energetic dog Titos and also riding and competing in barrel races with her horse Padre. She is so excited to meet all your furry family members.
Heather Rice, Veterinary Assistant
Heather moved to the area, from Mason MI, in 2019 where she began her career in veterinary medicine. She is raising 3 children with her husband. She has 1 cat and 4 dogs: 2 Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, 1 Beagle and 1 German Short-haired pointer. She enjoys caring for her goats and chickens and loves spending time with her family and friends. In her spare time, Heather likes to go kayaking, boating, fishing, or just relaxing with a good book.
Ashley, Veterinary Assistant
Ashley was born and raised in Alpena. Ashley grew up barrel racing and participating in the Alpena County 4H and FFA programs. She has raised sheep, chickens, rabbits and beef steers on her family farm. She has 2 dogs, Mia and Tessa and three horses, Comet, Karijet and Belle. She has been in the veterinary field for 10 years enjoying everything from large animals to exotics. When she’s not at work she enjoys fishing, hunting, riding her horses and playing with her dogs.
Amy, Customer Service Representative
Amy is originally from Rogers City. After graduating from Ferris State University and living in many different parts of the state, she is happy to be back in Northeastern Michigan. She grew up with many different kinds of animals and loves all species! Amy has one fur baby named Lilo Purrito. She enjoys hiking, camping, traveling, concerts and Detroit sports. On a rainy day, you might find her reading, watching tv or baking. She enjoys spending time with family and friends. Amy also creates content for our Facebook page. She is so excited to be a part of the Sunrise Family!
Aubrey, Customer Service Representative
Aubrey was born and raised in Alpena but lived in Clearwater Florida for 10 years where she mainly worked customer service jobs. She would eventually like to pursue schooling to become a Veterinary Technician. She has a dog named Jax who is a mix of Basenji, Pitbull and Rhodesian Ridgeback. He gets a bit crazy at times but that’s why I love him. When she is not working, she loves to read, listen to music, sing and watch tv shows and movies.
Tori, Veterinary Technician
Tori was born in Grosse Pointe but recently moved to Alpena. She earned her Bachelor of Science from U of M and recently graduated from MSU’s Veterinary Technician Program. She loves cats. She has 3 at home as well as exotic animals. In her spare time she loves to go kayaking, hiking and rock collecting but can easily spend the day inside reading or watching tv.
Taddy the Maine Coon, Greeter/Model
When you visit Sunrise Veterinary Services, you can expect to be greeted by our professional greeter and part-time model, Taddy, the Maine Coon. Taddy loves to show off for anyone and everyone that walks through the doors. Attention is the name of the game, and with Taddy strutting around the room, he's hard to ignore!
Cubby the Tail-less Cat, Empathetic Cat Comforter
Cubby is our resident cat comforter who puts all of our cat patients at ease while they wait to see the vet! He has a calming presence and makes friends with every cat who comes into Sunrise Veterinary Services.
Stella the Bearded Dragon
Stella, our Bearded Dragon, is also known as “The Window Surfer”. Stella likes to spend her late morning hours sitting on the veranda in the sunshine with our greeter, the Maine Coon, Taddy! Stella loves to eat dandelions, green beans and raspberries. Also, a big fan of Fish Flies when in season.
We brought our cat Maizey in for a wellness check and immunizations this morning. The office staff were so nice! Dr. LaCross and Ruth were so gentle with Maizey and were so sweet to her. The services were very affordable. You need to stop by just to say hello to their "Greeter Cats"
Professional and friendly. They treat my fur babies like their own. Very thorough and willing to speak to you about everything.
I came here with my cat and am so happy that I did! They all care so much and are very affordable.
I always get 5 star service. I wouldn't go anywhere else.
The staff is the absolute best!!!
I would rate five stars in all aspects of the visit very pleased with the great service and prices! Thank you
We love Dr. Heidi! Her enthusiasm is infectious; her love of all living things very apparent. She is gentle and kind with my kitty boys, encouraging and respectful to me. It is very much appreciated!
Staff is always friendly, compassionate and helpful. The doctors are gentle, thorough and knowledgeable. We always leave knowing our pets have been well cared for and we are so grateful for the manner in which they not only care for our fur babies but also the manner in which they care for us.
The staff was AMAZING. They went above and beyond. I would highly recommend this veterinarian practice to anybody looking for a good place to take your pet.
It's the feeling of being with family (the ones you like), safe & trusting. I wouldn't consider taking our two boys anywhere else! Thank you to the doctors and professional staff at Sunrise Vet.
I have never met more compassionate or caring staff in a veterinary office until I went to Sunrise. They really care about the animals they treat as well as their owners! Kudos to you all!