Our Team

Dr. Paula Schuerer
Owner / Veterinarian

Paula was born and raised in Huntsville, AL. She attended Mississippi State University and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Agriculture/Animal Science (1992), a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (1995) and a Master’s in Business Administration (1995). While attending MSU, Dr. Schuerer participated on the track and field team throwing the discus. She actively supports her alma mater by sponsoring several scholarships, serving as a board member for the MSU Foundation, and currently is involved on the College of Veterinary Medicine’s Dean’s Council. In 2010, Dr. Schuerer received the Alumna of the Year award for the College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Schuerer successfully passed the exam for becoming a specialist in Canine/Feline Practice granted by the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners in 2009 and has maintained her credentials to keep her specialty status. In 2017, she received a Master’s of Science in Biomedical Science from the University of Missouri with her project focused on the fracture points of teeth relative to common chew toys for dogs. Dr. Schuerer enjoys all aspects of general practice with special emphasis on surgery/oral surgery, dermatology and exotic mammals. Animal Ark Animal Hospital was opened by Dr. Schuerer in 2002.

When not involved with veterinary medicine, Dr. Schuerer enjoys mountain biking, canoeing, sports and woodworking along with welding. Although not necessarily originally creative with the industrial arts, she does enjoy crafting decorative wooden boxes, picture frames, squirrel feeders and birdhouses. She is active in Brentwood Baptist Church where she “makes a joyful noise” in the choir and volunteers on the church’s mobile Medical Dental Unit serving the dental needs of those in the greater Nashville area. She enjoys the company of her Boston Terrier, Zippy, adopted from Alabama Boston Terrier Rescue. You may see her commonly walking Zippy or riding her bike with Zippy in a special “dog backpack”.

Dr. Juliana Santiago

Dr. Juliana Santiago grew up in Franklin, TN and initially worked as a veterinary assistant at Animal Ark throughout high school. She graduated from Mississippi State University with her BS in Animal Science in 2016 and again from the College of Veterinary Medicine in 2020 with her DVM. She enjoys all aspects of veterinary medicine with a special interest in surgery. Dr. Santiago and her husband, Ben, live in Nashville with their two dogs named Todd and Lucy. In her free time, Dr. Santiago enjoys riding and competing with her horse, Winston, watching baseball, and spending time adventuring with her friends around Nashville. She is very excited to develop long-lasting relationships with both clients and patients at Animal Ark.

Katie Patrick
Licensed Veterinary Technician

Katie was born and raised in Dickson, TN. She has always had a passion for animals. She graduated the Veterinary Technology program at Columbia State Community College and received her AAS in May of 2021. Katie is planning to get married this year with her goals for 2022 to be happy continuing to do what she does best, love the veterinary world. Katie has been with Animal Ark since 2020 when she was in her second year of school. Her favorite part of her job is being a surgical assistant, dental cleanings, and loving every animal that comes in!

Morgan Jackson
Veterinary Technician

Morgan is originally from Memphis, TN. She graduated from Austin Peay State University with her Bachelor’s degree in Pre-Veterinary Medicine and Associates degree in Veterinary Technology. She was also a member of the collegiate Women’s D1 Soccer team. She is currently undergoing the process to apply for Veterinary Medical School. Morgan joined our team at Animal Ark right after graduation in 2019 as a Vet Assistant. Morgan’s favorite part of her job is being able to grow a deep bond/ connection with the clients and their pets. In her free time, she enjoys weight lifting, reading, watching movies and spending time with her dog named Buddy.

Caitlin Estes
Veterinary Technician

Caitlin is a Tennessee native and lives in Lawrence County where she owns a farm with horses, cows, pigs, ducks and chickens. She graduated with an associate’s degree in Veterinary Technology from Columbia State Community College in 2021 and started her career with Animal Ark immediately afterwards. Having such a passion for animals and how they impact the lives of humans Catlin finds her favorite aspect of her job being the ability to help and care for the client’s pets. When not tending to her farm animals, Caitlin enjoys spending time with her 3 dogs and 1 cat and participating in outdoor activities such as kayaking, camping and recreational activities at the river.

Rae Hartsock
Inventory/Social Media Manager

Rae is a Franklin, TN native who graduated from MTSU in 2008 with a degree she doesn’t use. She has had many different jobs, but was thrilled when Dr. Paula asked if she would like to work at Animal Ark in 2019 after being a client for 9 years. She started in reception and now does a lot of the behind the scenes work with inventory management, social media and petting as many animals as she can. Her passion is senior pugs, and she has adopted 5 over the years. When not at work she likes to spend time with her husband Travis and daughter Ramona. They currently have Wilma the pug and Murray the tuxedo cat, and are in talks about a pair of Guinea Pigs.

Dana Farley

Dana is originally from Chattanooga where she attended the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga on a volleyball scholarship. She finished her degree and graduated from Columbus State University with a B.S. in Health Science. After serving as a counselor for troubled teens, Dana left counseling to start a family of 3 children, with her husband and settled in the middle Tennessee area. In 2019 Dana joined Animal Ark where she is passionate about the care of the clients and their pets and she enjoys being a part of a team that mirrors her beliefs. In her free time she loves riding around her farm on the side-by-side with her husband, knitting baby hats and blankets and enjoying a good book. Dana has 3 dogs and 3 cats that she adores.

Rachel Fast

Rachel was born and raised on a working farm in the middle Tennessee area. There she was exposed to all aspects of raising farm animals, including: horses, cattle, dogs and chickens. It was from this that her love of animals developed. Her family’s background was in horticulture and it was the family greenhouse business that introduced Rachel to the importance of customer service at an early age. Rachel has always enjoyed serving others and making relationships with people. She enjoys her job as a receptionist at Animal Ark for the fact she gets to help care for animals and their owners.