At the Animal Hospital of Northwood, we’re proud of our veterinarians and staff, who work day in and day out to provide the standard in veterinary pet care. Our animal clinic is the proud home of a veterinary team that exceeds expectations and maintains a steadfast dedication to excellence at all times!
Pet owners from our local Safety Harbor community and across the greater Sunshine State visit us when they want expert veterinarians with decades of proven experience in the field.
Don Woodman, DVM
Don knew he wanted to be a veterinarian even when he was in middle school. He had read all of the James Herriott books several times by the time he was just 12 years old. He got his first job at a cat clinic when he was 15, and this confirmed that this was the career he wanted to pursue. He did his undergraduate work at New College, Sarasota Florida. He was accepted to Virginia Tech’s School of Veterinary Medicine and graduated in 1995. After graduation, he relocated to the Clearwater area and began his career. On March 1, 2001, he became the owner of the Animal Hospital of Northwood. Dr. Woodman is married, has 2 boys and shares his home with 6 cats, 1 black lab, Shirley (she failed seeing eye dog school), Hermes (the Eurasian Eagle Owl), and a variety of other temporary house guests.
Dave Slaby, DVM
Dr. Slaby graduated from Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine in 1978, and took a position in a small animal medicine and surgery hospital in St. Petersburg, FL. Within 6 years there came an opportunity to start the Animal Hospital of Northwood in Safety Harbor in 1984. Along the way the Slabys were blessed to have a handsome son, Chris, who unfortunately chose to move to Texas for greener pastures. After seventeen years of practicing as a sole practitioner, Dr. Slaby decided to sell the practice to Don and Susan Woodman. “I must say the change was good for my family, the practice and my extended family; my clients. Not only has their enthusiasm and new ideas with Dr. Woodman stepping in as the new director and owner of the Animal Hospital of Northwood, but I found a new joy in just practicing veterinary medicine. Technology and medical care advancements have exploded exponentially and I find it stimulating to have the time to soak it all in. I thank Dr. Woodman for allowing me to continue practicing where those extended family members still come in after 25-30 years. We work well together and pet owners know their family pets will be treated with the same care and concerns as our own pets.” Since transferring ownership of The Animal Hospital of Northwood in 2001, Dr Slaby continues to provide relief services in the hospital.
Michelle Newkirk, DVM
Dr. Michelle Newkirk is a native of Ohio. She graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology at Ohio State in 1999. Later, after working in the Department of Veterinary Biosciences she decided to pursue a veterinary medicine degree at OSU and graduated again Magna Cum Laude in 2006. Dr. Newkirk has worked both as a small animal general practitioner as well as an emergency veterinarian throughout the years. She enjoys everything from internal medicine to skin disease, trauma and wounds. After working for several years in a cat only practice, she has especially developed a love for feline medicine. Dr. Newkirk shares her home with her husband, two dogs Newman and Petey, and two cats, George and Lainey. Dr. Newkirk’s interests include boating, letterboxing, the show “Seinfeld”, and taking her dogs to all of the pet friendly parks, beaches, and restaurants around the Tampa bay area. She also loves to watch Ohio State Buckeye football. O-H!!
Susan Woodman, CVT, Business Manager
Susan originally is from Long Island, New York. While her roots can sometimes be heard in her speech; she has lived in the Safety Harbor area since she was in middle school. She graduated as a Veterinary Technician in 1992 from St. Petersburg College. Her mother still likes to tell the story of when she was 5 years old she wanted an elephant as a pet and could not understand why this was not possible. Susan enjoys working with all animals, both domestic and exotic. She has raised several tiger cubs, a lion, leopard and cougar. Both she and her husband have a Raptor Education program they take to Pinellas County Public Schools to teach children about wildlife and conservation. In addition, she pursues her interest in Falconry, and is a certified Florida Wildlife Rehabilitator.
April Allen, Office Manager
April grew up in Ohio, but attended college in Gainesville, Florida. She is an alumnus of Santa Fe Community College and has an Associate Degree in Zoo Animal Technology. She worked as a zookeeper for several years with a variety of animals before finding her way into the veterinary field. April has worked at the Animal Hospital of Northwood for over 5 years, starting as a technician and then being promoted to office manager. In her spare time, she is an avid Buckeye football fan, enjoys visiting zoos and aquariums and spending time in the pool. She has 3 cats: Stevie, Bruno, and JJ Swat. She likes to play games with her family and take her little girl to Disney!
Kate Cooper, Head Receptionist
Kate recently moved here from Alaska with her husband and 2 dogs; Lady is a Shepherd/Husky Mix and Cesar is a Lab/Husky Mix. While living in Alaska, Kate enjoyed the outdoor activities and the colder climate. Since her husband’s job requires traveling, her family is spread throughout the states. In her spare time, she enjoys catching up with her family, relaxing at home and decorating/organizing their new house. Animals have always brought her joy, so she decided to pursue a career in the veterinary field. Even though she is new to the field, she is very eager to learn and develop new skills.
Susie Watson, Receptionist
Susie was born and raised in Clearwater, Florida. She graduated St. Petersburg College’s Veterinary Technology Program and passed state and national certifications in 1985. Following graduation, Dr. Slaby (who established the Animal Hospital of Northwood) hired Susie as a technician, a position she thoroughly enjoyed due to the variety of skills utilized, the level of responsibility placed on her, the friendship of her co-workers, and the wonderful interactions that take place with clients and their pets. Susie and her husband, Tom, have been married since 1985, have two children, and numerous pets. After the birth of her children she transitioned into the receptionist position so she could work part-time. Outside of work, Susie loves being with her family. She home schools her son, loves to read and research, is active in her church and looks forward to opportunities to travel.
Debora Zarr, Head Technician
Deb was born in Argentina and moved to the United States 19 years ago. She has been a veterinary technician for 16 years and recently celebrated 6 years with the Animal Hospital of Northwood. Deb is married, has a daughter and a son, a Chihuahua (Coco), 2 cats (Tiggy and Mac who is deaf), and a rabbit Simba. In her free time, she enjoys working out, cooking and exercising her artistic abilities with her daughter. She is extremely passionate about caring and providing for animals.
Wendy Sinclair, CVT, Technician
Wendy grew up in Louisville Kentucky. In 2004 she graduated with an associate’s degree in Veterinary Technology from Brevard Community College. Wendy has worked in small animal medicine since 2004. She recently moved to the Safety Harbor area with her husband and son. Wendy joined the Animal Hospital of Northwood team in the fall of 2014.
Erin Moore, Technician
Erin was born in New York, but grew up in the Sunshine State with her family by her side. She kindled her love of animals early on and received her Certified Veterinary Assistant, Level 1 certification from Tarpon Springs High School. Erin enjoys rescuing geriatric dogs and giving them a good home for their last few years. She currently has Molly the maltese, Minion the cat, two baby tortoises, and a cockatiel named Zazu. She is an avid sports fan; you can find her at all the home games for the Dunedin Blue Jays or watching the Indianapolis Colts on TV. She also loves to visit the Orlando theme parks.
Nicole Evers, CVT, Technician
Nicole was born in Illinois but spent most of her childhood here in Florida. She has always had a big heart for animals and knew she wanted to work in the veterinary field. Nicole graduated from Hillsborough Community College Veterinary Technology Program in the spring of 2017, a few months later she then passed her national exam to become a Certified Veterinary Technician. Her and her boyfriend currently have two dogs; a pitbull mix named Sosa and a beagle puppy Eich, and two cats Edward and Oliver. When she is not taking care of animals, Nicole enjoys going to concerts and music festivals and spending time on the water.
Ashley Viney, Kennel Technician
Ashley was born and raised in Zanesville, OH. Her family and she decided that they had had enough of the cold winters, so they packed up their belongings and made the move down to Florida. Ashley has two beautiful children and they were adopted by two amazing dogs, Momo and Marley. In her spare time, she likes to hang out with her family, head to the gym and do lots of outdoor activities like boating and fishing. Despite being new to the veterinary field, she has already grown to love it. Ashley is very passionate about animals and is excited to learn more about caring for animals.
Matthew Woodman, Kennel Technician
Matthew Woodman was born and raised in Clearwater Florida. Since the apple does not fall far from the tree, being Susan and Dr. Woodman’s oldest son, he loves working with the wide variety of wildlife that come through the door. Matt has a special interest in birds of prey, and works on a regular basis with Hermes, the Eurasian Eagle Owl, on a glove. He also enjoys fishing, working on cars and Netflix. He hasn’t decided for sure what path he wants to pursue after high school, but would be happy to keep the wildlife rehab as part of his life when he goes out on his own. He’s very passionate about animals and is always happy to continue adding to his experience.
Ellie Oravecz, Kennel Technician
Ellie was born in Budapest, Hungary and moved to Florida in 2002. She then lived abroad in Malaysia and China before returning to the United States in 2013. Ellie hopes to attend the University of Florida in the near future and pursue a career in veterinary medicine. From a young age, she has had a passion for animals and enjoys being part of the staff at the Animal Hospital of Northwood. She currently has a two year old Hungarian Viszla, named Zoltan. In her free time, Ellie enjoys spending time with friends, traveling and visiting the Walt Disney World theme parks.
Brittany Dehart, Kennel Technician
Brittany was born and raised in the Sunshine State. From a very young age she had a love for all types of animals. At the age of 10 she began working with horses. After a couple years she got the opportunity to travel with her horse and compete around the state in riding competitions. She hopes to pursue a career as a veterinary technician one day, so she joined our team to gain some dog and cat experience. Brittany’s horse’s name is Zara, she also has two dogs: Princess and Koda. In her free time she likes to ride Zara on her property and take the dogs to the dog beach.