Our Team

Dr. J.J. King

Veterinarian, Co-Owner

Dr. King started at Falker Veterinary Care Center in 2002 with Dr. Falker back in 2002. By 2012, he purchased the clinic and renamed it to Sunrise Side Veterinary Hospital. Dr. King is originally from Oscoda and shadowed Dr. Falker in high school and college. He went to Michigan State University for undergrad and veterinary school. After vet school, he moved back to Tawas and started working with Dr. Falker. Dr. King was only 10 years old when he knew he wanted to become a veterinarian and continued down that career path.

He and his wife, Angie, own the practice together. They have twin boys, Aven and Thatcher, and a daughter named Atley. They have 2 Pudelpointers, Bennet and Randy. They love to spend time outdoors boating in the summer as well as hiking and camping. Dr. King also enjoys woodworking, hunting, and fishing.

Dr. Katherine Lesko

Veterinarian, cVMA

Dr. Katherine Lesko joined Sunrise Side Veterinary Hospital in October 2022. She graduated from Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine in the Spring of 2021 and from Colorado’s CuraCore course for her certification in Veterinary Medical Acupuncture. She grew up near Torch Lake, Michigan, and has always wanted to return “north” after school. She and her husband fell in love with Tawas because of the beautiful waterfront, wooded property, and quiet lifestyle that reminded them of home. Dr. Lesko started working in the veterinary field at the age of 16 when she had her first job at Charlevoix Veterinary Hospital, where she worked for 4 years. She loved connecting with clients and treating their pets as if they were her own.

Dr. Lesko’s family includes her husband, Anthony, their three dogs (Reagan, Woodford, and Julep), their cat (Frank, and their 7 ducks (Pinky, Dorothy, Delilah, Dahlia, Pickles, Twig, and Gimpy). Her personal interests in veterinary medicine include pain management, integrative and rehabilitative medicine, nutrition, feline wellness, and honeybee medicine. She also loves tending to pocket pets!

Nichelle (Nessie) McDougall

Licensed Veterinary Technician

Nichelle has been a LVT at Sunrise Side since April 2019. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Veterinary Medicine and Biology from MSU. She also has an Associates in Chemistry and Business Management. Nichelle was originally born in Wyandotte and relocated to Tawas with her mother when she was 5 years old.

She grew up in the veterinary world and have always had a deep passion for animal health. As a young child, Nichelle had spent many afternoons and nights hanging with dogs in their boarding kennels reading them stories. She knew from that moment that was where her heart belonged.

Nichelle’s family consists of her fiancé and her 3 children. They also have a Pitbull mix, James Thomas, and a cat name Mylee.

Sami Leslie

Veterinary Assistant

Sami has been employed as a Veterinary Assistant with us since 2011. She was born and raised in Alpena, MI until her family relocated to Elon, NC when she was 12. They relocated back to Michigan to the Tawas area when she was 18 since this is where her mother grew up and most of their extended family is here.

She has had the best education one can receive, which is on the job training from some of the best in the profession. Sami continuously broadens her knowledge and skills with the team at Sunrise Side with extensive continued education learning opportunities.

She was destined to have a career working in the veterinary field and to work with others that share the same passion and genuine love for all animals. Sami is a feline enthusiast and has a deep love for horses; her dream was once to become a jockey! Sami genuinely feels that the day she walked into Sunrise Side seeking employment was the day she found her employment home.

Sami is married to her husband, Alex, and they have 2 sons, Jack and Rhody. They also have a Collie, Lincoln, and 5 cats. She and her husband love road trip adventures and enjoy hiking. They have the goal of traveling all the US States and National Parks. They also enjoy fitness, bike riding, rollerblading, and truly love attending their small-town events. Sami loves the summer in Tawas and spending time with her family at the beach.

Samantha Miller

Veterinary Assistant

Samantha joined Sunrise Side in April 2019. She was born in East Tawas, MI and was raised in Oscoda, MI where she graduated from the Oscoda Area High School. She got her Associates in Science from Kirtland Community College.

She couldn’t imagine doing anything else other than working with animals and enjoys coming in to work and learning more within the profession. She is currently attending SVSU completing the pre-requisites for vet school where she learned that she has a love for chemistry. Samantha hopes to attend vet school at MSU.

Elizabeth Knill

Veterinary Assistant

Elizabeth started with Sunrise Side in 2013. She graduated from Baker College in 2013 as a vet tech and moved to Tawas for work. She has had a passion for animals since she was a kid and decided to pursue this as a career.

Her family consists of her husband, Jason, and daughter, Eva. They enjoy spending time outdoors, swimming, kayaking, hiking, and spending time together as a family.

Judy Rightetti

Veterinary Assistant

Judy joined Sunrise Side back in August, 2004. She grew up on an island in the Detroit River called Grosse Ile. She received her BA in Environmental Biology and Botany at the University of Montana. She returned to Michigan and worked as a customer correspondence for 4 years before moving to Wilber in 2003 when her husband retired.

She knew being a vet tech was her dream job when she did an independent study following a mixed practice veterinarian while at the University of Montana. She started working as a vet tech in Dec. 1979.

Judy has been married to her husband, Ricco, since 1979 and they have been blessed with 3 children who graduated from Tawas. Out of work, she loves being outdoors walking her two dogs, gardening, and quilting. Judy enjoys making quilts for her veterans and those in need.

Janice Davidson

Kennel Attendant

Janice started at Sunrise Side in January, 2019. She was originally born in Lancaster County, PA and was homeschooled. She and her family moved to Michigan in 2008. Janice loved animals her entire life and knew she wanted to work with them in some way.

She loves photography and some day would love to have her own photography studio. She also loves listening to music, probably a little too loudly!

Amber Hall

Kennel Attendant

Amber was born and raised in Hale. She knew she was in the right profession because it had always been her personal goal to work with animals. She has several fur babies of her own and wanted to contribute to helping animals and ensuring pet owners that their animals are receiving love and care.

Outside of work, she likes to relax. However, she lives a decently active lifestyle with home improvement projects, and spending time doing small arts and crafts.

Jayme Her

Groomer

Jayme has been with Sunrise Side since August 2017. She grew up in the grooming world with her mother and aunt. When she went to grooming school, they told her there was no reason for her to be there due to her experience. Jayme moved up north to move away from the city and be closer to her father. She also wanted them to slow down a bit and enjoy life more.

When she was a teenager, there was no animal she couldn’t win over with her gentle nature and seeing their transformations not only with their hair/fur but also their personalities. She loves animals and being able to make them happy.

Jayme’s family consists of her husband, daughter, 3 dogs, and 4 cats. She loves to draw, color, and create!

Angie King

Practice Manager/Co-Owner

Angie started working at the hospital in early 2015. She left her full-time job in December 2016 to work full-time at the hospital instead as the Practice Manager.

Prior to working at their veterinary hospital, she worked at the human hospital in Tawas for 19 years as a radiology and MRI technologist. She has lived in Iosco County her whole life.

Sandy Nelkie

Front Desk Manager

Sandy has been at Sunrise Side since April 2000. She was born and raised in Tawas and eventually married a dairy farmer. Sandy loves the pets and taking care of their needs and helping clients with their questions.

Her family includes her husband, Joe, their 4 children, daughter-in-laws, and a granddaughter. She loves camping and spending time with her family.

Lori Snyder

Receptionist

Lori has been with us at Sunrise Side since July 2012. She is originally from Lincoln Park, MI, and has lived in Glennie since 2010 when her husband retired. Her family is originally from the Glennie area since the late 1800s. Lori has been in the veterinary field since 1995.

Lori’s family includes her husband, Jim, two daughters, two sons, two granddaughters, and 4 cats. She enjoys reading, gardening, and spending time with her family.