Penelope A. Porter, DVM, Business Owner/Veterinarian
I grew up in Central Iowa and graduated from Iowa State University in 1969. I was one of the first six women to graduate in Veterinary Medicine from Iowa State. The world has changed a great deal since then.
I moved to Tucson, Arizona, to take a job at Valley Animal Hospital where I worked for two years then bought a small practice in Green Valley, Arizona. In 1973 I opened Ajo Veterinary Clinic at its current location. The Southwest side of Tucson has been very kind to my business and me over the past 38 years. I enjoy the challenges of the varied cultures and cases.
I have two dogs of my own, 2 shepherds. I have a passion for old houses and live in a historic home in downtown Tucson.
Peter Jezyk, VMD, PhD
I grew up in Massachusetts and got my BS and PhD from the University of Massachusetts. I started my professional career as a biochemist and taught at the Medical College of Virginia. I then had a change of heart and started veterinary school when I was 31. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, I joined their faculty in the section of Medical Genetics and became tenured. My academic career was productive and I authored over 60 original articles in the scientific and medical literature, and was an invited speaker at numerous veterinary conferences. In 1986, my wife, also a veterinarian, became ill, so I took a part-time position and left to run her practice. We “retired” and moved to Tucson in 2002. I have been a member of the Ajo Veterinary team since September of 2004.
I enjoy practice and the chance to interact with the clients and their animal companions. My wife and I have 5 dogs, 3 old cats, and 2 birds that constitute our family. My avocation until recently was power lifting and I set a number of world records for my age and weight class.
Audrey Christensen, DVM
I was raised in Roswell, NM and graduated from the University of New Mexico with a Bachelors degree in mechanical engineering. After working for 5 years in the oil industry (where I met my husband), I decided to pursue my life long dream of becoming a veterinarian. Right after graduating from Iowa State College of Veterinary Medicine in 2002 my husband and I moved to Tucson.
We live on 5 acres with our daughter and 2 cats, Tiny Tim, a pit bull turned over to Ajo and horses. When I get the chance, I love to relax reading romance novels.
Kate Clark, DVM, Relief Veterinarian
I was raised in Huber Heights, Ohio and graduated from The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1995. I started my career at Casa Grande Animal Hospital after graduation then moved to Oro Valley Pet Clinic in 1997. I have been helping Ajo Veterinary Clinic and other Tucson clinics as a relief veterinarian since 1999. I enjoy working with this staff, clients and special pets that we get the privilege to see at this clinic. I have spent some time as an adjunct professor at Pima Community College teaching in the Veterinary Technology Program. It was a wonderful experience working with the future technicians that will be helping our profession.
In the hours not spent at clinics practicing medicine, I enjoy quilting. I have made over 350 quilts. Some have been shown at the Arizona Quilters Guild show in Phoenix. No ribbons have been one yet, but I keep striving to improve my technique. I have donated some of my quilts for raffles as fundraisers for local charities. The joy on the face of someone receiving this kind of hug is worth all the time I put into the quilt. My husband and 3 cats patiently wait on dinner while I finish “just one more seam”!
CLIENT SERVICE TEAM:
Sandra Ward, Office Manager
I have had the daunting job of office manager at Ajo Veterinary Clinic since 1998. I help with everything from paying bills, implementing telephone and computer sets, or helping the reception staff and everything in between. I often find myself in the role of surrogate mom to orphaned puppies and kittens that have shown up at the clinic. The late night feedings pay off when I can watch ‘my babies’ grow up to be a loved member of a client’s family. My downtime is enjoyed helping friends and family, cooking and spending time with my husband and our pets – a mix of pugs and cats.
Sonia Casillas, Veterinary Receptionist
I have been greeting you and your pets here at Ajo for 10 years, with a brief absence to further my management skills. I have a 5-month old puppy “Niner” who sometimes joins me at the front desk and will happily great you! When not at work I love to follow NASCAR racing and the NFL. Camping and fishing are my favorite outdoor activities.
Simone Valencia, Veterinary Receptionist
Simone is a 2006 graduate of the PMI Veterinary Assistant program and has a lot of experience caring for clients and their pets. She is currently one of the smiling faces that will greet you and help take care of you and your pets needs. She loves spending her off work hours at home with her 3 kids (the two legged kind) and reading.
CLIENT EDUCATION TEAM:
Sara Martinez, Certified Veterinary Technician
I was born in San Diego, CA and moved to Tucson when I was 11 years old. I am a 2001 graduate of Pima Medical Institute and a 10 year veteran of Ajo’s Certified Technician staff. I enjoy the challenges and rewards of helping our clients keep the furry members of their family healthy. I have a weakness for older dogs and orange cats. When not reading or spending time with her family, which includes 4 pets, I enjoy Tucson’s diverse music scene.
Christina Villa, Veterinary Assistant
I am a Tucson native and have worked at Ajo Veterinary Clinic as an Assistant for about 6 years with a short break during which I started a family. I recently added a puppy to the family. When not at work, I like being with my family, cookouts and reading. I love spending time with my husband and boys.
Ashley Ariza, Veterinary Assistant
I was born and raised here in Tucson and I am still attending college for my associates degree in veterinary technology. I have been interested in this type of work because of my desire to learn and BIG heart for all animals since childhood. The experience here at the clinic I have received so far only cements my passion to continue my learning until I have obtained my goal to be a veterinarian. Not only do I get tested at school, but also by the doctors here at Ajo. I am always looking forward to Dr. Jezyk’s question of the day. It’s very interesting to learn new things everyday and I am proud to be part of the team at Ajo Veterinary Clinic! I enjoy coming to work and can’t wait for the adventures that lay ahead.
Josh Palmer, Veterinary Assistant
I was born in Tucson, but grew up in Nogales, AZ. I started to get experience in the veterinary field by working with a large animal vet. After graduating from Nogales High School in 2005, I studied Microbiology in Iowa for 2 years and transferred to the U of A with goals of receiving my degree in Animal Science. I just finished getting my Veterinary Assistant certificate and am enrolled at Pima Medical institute to advance to a Certified Veterinary Technician. My eventual goal is to apply to Veterinary School to be able to fulfill my childhood dream of becoming a Veterinarian. My hobbies include scuba diving, roping, hunting, fishing, golf, and working on the ranch. I have 2 horses and an Australian Cattle Dog named Thor. I look forward to meeting you and your pets in the near future.
Eric Flores, Veterinary Assistant
I have been assisting and learning about veterinary medicine for 6 years. I pride myself in my dedication to pets and their families; caring, educating and giving my best to all. I am a mother of a 3 year old daughter and concentrate my non working hours on her.
Martha Huez, Veterinary Assistant
I was born and raised here in the old pueblo and graduated from the PMI Veterinary Assistant program in 2012. I have always had a passion for animals and being able to work in this field is my dream. I plan to continue my education by returning to PMI to become a certified technician. I always look forward to coming into work to learn something new and to help our clients and their pets. When I am not working, I love spending time with my three kids and dog. Our favorite thing to do together is visit the Zoo and go to the park to play ball and pop bubbles (the dogs favorite activity too!)
Leilani Lopez, Veterinary Assistant
I was born and raised in Tucson and attended PMI’s Veterinary Assistant program and graduated in 2009. I have enjoyed being in the Veterinary field and hope to enroll in the Veterinary Technician program this fall to become a certified technician. I live with 2- Two legged daughters Emily and Alice and 2 – Four legged animals Tyson and Charlie and their Daddy, Jesse. I love anything to do with the great outdoors, animals and family.