Dr Mike Lawton aims to build a trusting relationship with clients and patients. His availability and precision leave a lasting impact. He designs treatment plans that work for both the pet and their humans.
Clients appreciate his understanding and empathetic nature. Dr Lawton’s calm presence helps pets relax during check-ups. A former college basketball coach, Dr Lawton finds inspiration from leading a team. This allows him to nurture a positive and fun-filled culture.
Dr Lawton specializes in reptiles and amphibians. He has an affinity for canine neurology and rehabilitation.
Dr Lawton graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, a Masters in Conservation Biology at Acadia University, and then a Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery from the University of Glasgow. When not at Firehouse, Dr Lawton enjoys time with his wife, also a Firehouse veterinarian. They have a busy house with two daughters, twin sons, Blue (a blue heeler), and Strawberry Pizza (a Yorkie). When not leading his daughter’s Girl Scout troop or coaching t-ball, Dr Lawton can be found cheering for Arizona basketball.
Ali knows the importance of building trust with clients and within the veterinary team. She loves meeting and getting to know clients and their pets. Ali’s favorite thing about Firehouse is how the team learns about each pet so that they can make individualized recommendations for clients. She also loves how the doctors collaborate with clients to ensure that pets receive the best care.
Ali joined the Firehouse team in 2019 as a Client Service Coordinator. In her role as hospital manager, she is passionate about setting up her team for success. She has completed Communication Training and is currently working on her Fear Free Certification. Ali also attends continuing education courses about how to improve the client experience and help develop her team. She loves helping clients with any questions or concerns they may have. Her favorite thing about her role is coaching her team to provide the most successful client and patient experience.
She graduated from the University of Florida with a BA in Psychology (with minors in Latin American Studies and Brazilian Portuguese). Because of her lifetime love of animals, Ali found a home in the veterinary field. Her favorite pastime is eating, but she also enjoys all outdoor activities that Austin has to offer (hiking, swimming, biking, roller skating). Otherwise, she can be found at home, curled up with a good book or watching television with her two pets: Lito, a Lhasa Apso mix, who is Ali’s partner in crime, and Patty, a rescue kitten.
Barbara Boechat, DVM
Dr Barbara Boechat’s philosophy is that happy pets lead to happier clients. Her friendly disposition and “think outside the box” approach help her connect with clients. She is Fear Free certified and uses her knowledge to make nervous patients comfortable.
She emphasizes preventive care so pets can live long, happy, and healthy lives. Dr Boechat also values communication. As such, she ensures clients are aware of, and in agreement with, each step of the visit. Dr Boechat loves explaining diagnoses and always gives clients treatment options.
Dr Boechat has a special interest in soft tissue surgery, like spays, neuters, and mass removals.
Dr Boechat stays up-to-date with developments in veterinary medicine with continuing education. She reads industry journals, views videos, and attends conferences.
She attended the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Brazil. On weekends, she and her husband try new restaurants and breweries with friends. They recently welcomed their new baby, Lara. A lover of all dogs, Dr Boechat holds a special place in her heart for dogs, especially Panda, her mix-breed pup.
Client Service Coordinator
Clients love working with Maureen because she is compassionate, thorough, and always willing to help. Maureen wants to make veterinary visits as easy and stress-free as possible for clients and patients. She collaborates with clients to provide personalized care. Clients appreciate that Maureen takes time to get to know them and their pets. Maureen is passionate about helping people and their pets and building relationships with them.
Maureen uses Fear Free techniques to help scared and nervous pets. She reads pets’ body language to understand what they need. If they need space, she gives the pet time to get acclimated while helping the client. Otherwise, she gets on the pet’s level and greets them softly and calmly. Maureen is the resident cat snuggler; she loves checking up on feline patients at the hospital, giving them love, and making sure they are comfortable.
Maureen is constantly learning new skills and ways to improve in her role at Firehouse. After attending the University of Minnesota, Maureen learned that her passions lie in helping people and animals, and she joined the veterinary field. When not working, she loves to go to concerts, watch new TV shows and movies, read, and try new coffee places with her friends. Her heart belongs to Kitten, her tabby cat.
Client Service Coordinator
DeAndra is a passionate, thorough animal lover. Clients love her detailed communication, including how she asks questions to ensure she understands all their concerns. Her goal is to provide the best possible care for all clients and their pets. Clients also appreciate her sense of humor.
DeAndra is Fear Free certified and uses her skills to make each pet feel comfortable. She loves checking in on pets after their appointments to see how they are doing. For DeAndra, each pet who visits Firehouse is family, and their care extends to after their appointments.
She shares her heart with Capone, her Pit Bull. When not working, she loves to play games and try out new restaurants.
Client Service Coordinator
Gerri loves building lasting relationships with clients and pets. Her goal is to make each client and patient feel welcome and supported. She has been in the animal care field since she was thirteen, and has experience as a patient caretaker, practice manager, and working with local no-kill shelters.
To keep pets comfortable during their appointment, Gerri provides treats, love, and positive reinforcement. She helps maintain flow in the lobby so that pets have more time in the exam room to acclimate before their appointment. Gerri also loves giving clients tours of the hospital and introducing them to the Firehouse team. She has a special bond with cats.
In her spare time, Gerri enjoys spending time with her granddaughter and her granddaughter’s two cats, Covey and Rue Bear. She enjoys going to see new movies and concerts and exploring Austin’s restaurants and breweries.
Having worked with animals since she was a young girl, Katie has a gentle and empathetic nature. She knows that making veterinarian visits less stressful for the patient allows the visit to be less stressful for the client. Katie’s value of preparation assists the team in making quick and efficient decisions in our patient’s treatment plans.
Staying informed with the best, most accurate information to share with clients and even other coworkers is important to Katie as she continues her degree in Science.
During her free time, Katie is traveling and loving on her two Richmond SPCA rescue dogs, Tank, and Captain Morgan.
Amanda loves meeting the people and pets who come to Firehouse. She works with clients to answer all their questions and ensure they leave the hospital feeling confident about their pets’ care and treatment plan. She wants clients to know that they are not alone in their pets’ health journeys.
Amanda reviews pets’ records before veterinary visits and creates a plan to keep the pet comfortable. She also creates notes about how the pet did at their current visit and what Fear Free techniques helped the pet feel secure. She takes time greeting pets and adjusting her approach based on their body language. Amanda is Fear Free certified.
A self-proclaimed cat person, Amanda shares her home with her two rescue cats: Punchy and Pipa. Since she is new to Texas, she loves spending her free time exploring Austin and the surrounding area.
Michael builds lasting relationships with clients through his patient, detailed approach. He is able to help nervous and anxious pets feel comfortable at their appointment. He reads animals’ body language, including their subtle cues, to determine what they need and provide the best care. He strives to make each visit to the hospital stress-free and rewarding for both clients and pets. Michael has worked in non-profit animal welfare, helping serve under-served communities. His lifelong love of caring for animals and people makes him a valuable member of the Firehouse team.
Michael lived on the East Coast for several years, working in politics and business, before he followed his passion for pet welfare and moved home to Texas. A lifelong musician, Michael loves to play the drums. He relaxes by reading, going for bike rides, and spending time with his friends and family.
Alessandra Berg (she/her)
Allie works with clients to ensure they and their pet have a comfortable and beneficial experience while at Firehouse. She listens to their concerns, provides advice, and answers their questions. To Allie, clients are an equally important part of the animal care team.
Allie is a trained anesthetist, so she is a valuable member of the surgery team. She greets pets calmly, letting pets relax before starting the appointment. She wants pets to have the best possible experience, so she adjusts her care to meet their needs.
While studying to be a veterinary technician at a German vocational school, Allie worked in two different vet practices. She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the clients and patients at Firehouse. Since Allie and her husband are new to Austin, she loves exploring the area, spending time outside with her dog Clyde, or reading a good book. She is a kickboxer and also enjoys going swimming and hiking.
Jesus begins each appointment by getting to know the client and patient. He is able to connect with clients by bonding with their pets and getting to know their individual needs. He gives them the time and space to explain their concerns and ask questions. Jesus is there for clients when their pets are going through stressful or emotional times. He loves being able to make a difference in people and pets’ lives.
Jesus is able to create a calm, safe environment for anxious or stressed pets. He moves slowly, allowing pets to greet him, and uses a calm, soothing voice. He loves cats and is always happy to welcome feline patients. He plans to further his education in the veterinary field.
Jesus spends his free time with his daughter and their four pets: a dalmatian named Ember, and three cats (Lance, Prissy, and BK). He enjoys playing video games, swimming, and going to the gym.