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The Knollwood Team

Dr. Deborah Mitchell on Floor with grey Pitbull

Deborah Mitchell, D.V.M., M.S.
Our Medical Director and Practice Manager

Veterinary CPR-Certified (ACVECC)

Dr. Deborah Mitchell is still as passionate about pets as she was as a 6 year-old in a crumpled and dirty Sunday dress, being scolded by her Mom. Her Mom recalls telling her that she shouldn't have been getting all dirty by playing with strange dogs and cats, and hearing: "But Mama! They're NOT strangers - they're my friends!". 


Today, Dr. Mitchell feels as privileged to care for your pets as she did when she first earned her veterinary degree from the University of Illinois in 1983. And, she still speaks the same Dog, Cat, and Bunny that she learned from her animal friends on those long-ago Sundays. Dr. Mitchell's overall medical focus is wellness maintenance. In other words, she works with you to show you the tools you need to keep your pet vibrantly healthy and happy. She understands that for pet-lovers like herself, our pets are our family and our dear friends.

In addition to serving as our hospital's Medical Director and Practice Manager, Dr. Mitchell sees patients at our hospital Monday through Friday every week. She will maintain this schedule through all of 2022, and is available by appointment only. 


Dr. Mitchell practices integrative medicine - not holistic medicine. This means that as appropriate, she combines the best that her traditional Western medical training has to offer with the best of the alternative therapies in which she is trained. This gives your pet more tools for healing - and for wellness maintenance. For consultation patients referred by other area veterinarians, the integrative therapies she offers can greatly enhance the work that your primary care veterinarian is doing to keep your pet healthy and happy! 


Dr. Mitchell and her wife, Dr. Heather Hopkins, share life with 12 year old Walter, a rescued Terrier mix from Homeward Bound Animal rescue in Indiana, and Rosalita, a very senior Terrier- Chihuahua mix from Young at Heart dog and cat rescue in Woodstock. Walter and Rosalita take turns comes to work every day, and would love to meet you. In her spare time, Dr. Mitchell gardens, reads, kayaks, continues her studies in integrative veterinary medicine, and is active as a volunteer with the Greater Chicago Food Depository. As a recognized expert lecturer in veterinary acupuncture, veterinary chiropractic, traditional Chinese herbal medicine, Reiki, Bach flower therapy, homotoxicology, and integrative small animal medicine and practice management, Dr. Mitchell lectures to veterinary audiences nationwide.

Michelle Aleantar, RDH - Knollwood Hospital For Pets Hospital Administrator

Michelle Alcantar, RDH
Hospital Administrator, Head Nurse, Veterinary CPR-certified (ACVECC)

Michelle has been utilizing her Dental Hygienist, Veterinary Nurse, and management skills in Chicago-area veterinary hospitals for nearly 30 years. She worked for our hospital in the 1980's, then moved up the management ladder, culminating in assisting with opening a major specialty center in our area. In 2020, with her 2 children grown (the youngest just finished high school), she felt ready to come back to a more relaxed and integrative style of practice. She contacted Knollwood, and we were delighted to welcome her back.

Michelle possesses top-notch communication, team-building, and leadership abilities, and is an exceptionally skilled dental and surgical Nurse. We'reloving working with her again, and know that you will, too! At home, Michelle enjoys the companionship of a Doberman, a German Shepherd, and two rescued kitties.  


Kiley Smith
Receptionist, CNA, Certified in CPR and Basic Life Support

Kiley is a Carol Stream area native, and has worked with companion animals much of her life. Her career in veterinary medicine began at Animal Care Center of Plainfield in 2020, where she developed her skills as a Veterinary Receptionist. She's worked in the customer service field since 2016. Kiley also has Hospice and Lifeguard skills, and is certified in CPR and Basic Life Support

Kiley loves hiking and the outdoors, and is rapidly becoming an experienced photographer. Her pets at home include two Parakeets. Her calm and centered communication and organizational skills are an enormous asset to us, and we all love her dry sense of humor.  She's enjoying getting to know you and your pets.

Hannah Holata Knollwood Hospital For Pets Veterinary Nurse

Hannah Holota

Veterinary Nurse, Certified Laser Therapist, Veterinary CPR-Certified (ACVECC)

Hannah has served as a member of our Nursing Team since college graduation over 7 years ago. She's a Certified Therapeutic Laser Therapist in Class IV Cold Laser Therapy, (AIMLA), and is Certified in CPR. Hannah assists our Doctors with all exam room and treatment area procedures, and provides anesthetic support, post-surgical care and T.L.C. for our surgery patients. If your pet has ever taken a homotoxicologic med such as an isode or nosode, Hannah's the one who patiently, painstakingly prepared all 100 serial dilutions! 

Hannah is a skilled yoga practitioner. In her spare time, she enjoys yoga, golf, and spending time with  friends, family, and her dog, Bristol. Her future plans include training as a Clinical Nutritionist.

Sarah Hwang 
      Veterinary Nurse Assistant, Veterinary CPR-Certified (ACVECC)

Under the direction of our Nurses, Sarah assists with all in-patient visits from start to finish. She also attends to the comfort of all hospitalized patients by monitoring them after surgery and dental procedures, keeping them comfortable, walked, prepping them for their return home to you, and filling their prescriptions upon our Doctor's direction.. 

Sarah is a local college student, and hopes to gain admission to a college of veterinary medicine as part of her 5 year plan. Before working with us, Sarah worked at a local veterinary hospital and pet day care facility. She's excited about the opportunity to expand her Nursing skills and to be learning more about integrative medicine at Knollwood. Her pets include Mochi, a terrier mix, and Murphy, a rescued Pitbull.


Jerri-Ann Day

Hospital Assistant

Jerri-Ann has the very important job of making sure that our staff, clients, and patients stay healthy, by maintaining hospital cleanliness and sanitation at all times. She's very attentive and patient with all pets, making sure that they are as comfortable as possible and, if staying with us, by walking and feeding your fur babies to your specification. 


Jerri-Ann is a local college student who is studying music. When not working with us, she enjoys spending time with Bailey, her special-needs black German Shepherd.

Heather Hopkins, Ed. D.
Human Resources Consultant 

Heather's prior career as Executive Director of HR for the Glenview school district are as much of an asset to us as is her caring demeanor and calming, positive energy. We were delighted that she agreed to come out of retirement in 2021 to be a part of the Knollwood team, as an advisor on HR matters and as an occasional Receptionist substitute.

Heather is a true Chicago native who loves our city, 'burbs, and all they have to offer. Don't get her started talking about theater, Ravinia, books, jigsaw puzzles, crossword puzzles (always in pen), coffee (must be Dunkin'), or cats. As a child on the southside, her family always took in stray kitties, nursed them to health, and found them good homes - and she remains a cat-lover to this day!


Need help from us?

Our paperless medical system doesn't just help us stay "green" - it helps you, too, by allowing us to access your pet's medical file quickly and to reply in the way that suits you best.  Tell us whether phone or email works best for you. If e-mail is your preferred mode of communication, don't hesitate to let our receptionists know your e-mail address - we will respond to your inquiry (and can send you appointment reminders via: (please add us to your e-list).

General information: Any team member can help with any pertinent information about your pet.

Medical questions: A member of our staff may put you on hold briefly so that you can speak to a member of our Nursing Team.

I need to talk to a Doctor: Our Doctors see patients all day, from start to close, 9am-7pm. In these C-19 times with so many pet parents working from home, our Doctors also currently field 30-50 phone calls, emails, and videos each working day. If no one other than a Doctor can answer your questions, a Nurse will collect your information, and a Doctor will return your call during her end-of day call time, within 48 weekday hours.

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