Our Team Members

Meet our friendly team members at Friendship Animal Hospital!

  • Dr.
    Rich Panuska
    Owner and Head Veterinarian
    Dr Panuska has wanted to become a veterinarian since he was about 5 years old. At that time, he thought being a veterinarian was just giving vaccines and playing with puppies and kittens but as he got older he knew that he wanted to help animals in whatever way he could. His veterinary medicine experience started when he volunteered at small animal clinic in his hometown in Virginia. Dr. Panuska ended up working at that same clinic for 9 years during high school years and while he was completing his undergraduate degree at Virginia Tech. After graduating from Virginia Tech, Dr. Panuska volunteered at a local emergency clinic and fell in love with emergency medicine. Prior to attending veterinary school, Dr. Panuska became a licensed veterinary technician and continued to work in both day practice and emergency practice. Dr. Panuska graduated from Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine in 2000 and work for a year in Ohio at a small animal clinic. Dr. Panuska then returned home to Virginia to continue working at a local emergency clinic by night and filling in at several small animal clinics during the day. Throughout those years, Dr. Panuska took an interest in pain management, soft tissue surgery and animal dentistry along with his love for emergency medicine. He relocated to the Carolinas with his wife and their four cats where he continued to work in small animal practice and pulling occasional emergency shift. When Dr. Pansuka is not at work, he enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling (especially going to Walt Disney World), playing the guitar and make home-brew.
  • Emily Reyes
    Veterinary Technician Assistant
    Emily, originally from Virginia, has been in the industry for a little over 5 years. After attending some schooling in Asheville, NC, life changes took her out west where she worked in a small and large animal practice in Arizona. In her free time she volunteered with animal rescue organizations and took care of her own rescue dogs (Jillian and Jasmine) and cats (Juni, Juliette and Jarvis) while being a foster home for others. Now settled back in Charlotte, she continues to care for her own animals (which have grown to include 5 more cats, a bearded dragon, and a corn snake) and provide a foster home as needed. In her free time she enjoys crafting creative cosplays for Comic Con, video games, and spending time with friends and family.
  • Heather Williamson
    Receptionist
    Heather was born and raised in Charlotte, NC and attended the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Growing up, she had a variety of pets and has always had a great love for animals. In her own words, 'It is so rewarding to be able to work with animals and their owners on a daily basis!' At home, she has a spoiled Boxer named Triton. He loves going with her to the dog park, beach, mountains and Lake Norman. In her free time, she enjoys watersports, hiking, cooking, crafts, and watching the Carolina Panthers.

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