Elysse came to Orcas Island in 2012 from Vancouver Island, where she spent three years studying and practicing Western herbal medicine. When not working at OVS, she can often be found hiking or kayaking, practicing her plant and other wildlife identification, doing a crossword puzzle, or watching Star Trek. In the past she has taught outdoor education for middle-schoolers, sold soap, worked at an accounting firm, modeled for sculptures, and been a personal assistant. She likes solving rubik’s cubes and listening to motown, often at the same time.
Elysse also volunteers as an EMT with Orcas Island Fire and Rescue, wonders if she has too many houseplants, and lives with three cats named Butters, Kimchi, and Millie Phyllis.
Erika Murray, Receptionist
I come to OVS as the 'Canadian contingent’. My husband and I, moved here full-time from Olympia, though we had been here part- time for 6 years. Having lived in a number of locations in the U.S…..Georgia, California, and Alaska, we are now so pleased to be part of this community on Orcas. We have two grown children, one in Portland and one in Olympia.
I am passionate about animals, people, and the outdoors! I feel most alive when I am in nature and love to hike, camp, kayak, bike, snowshoe, cross-country ski, work outdoors gardening, landscaping. There have been many special pets in our family….most of them stray cats and dogs, but also a couple of baby squirrels that fell out of their nest. Presently, we have 2 dogs, and you probably see me with them in town or out in Moran.
Besides raising my family, I have a background in Outdoor Education and Recreation, where I have worked and volunteered with school outdoor programs, summer wilderness camps, and as a Docent/ Naturalist. I especially enjoy seeing children get excited about the natural world around them. I have volunteered for a Therapeutic Riding Program in Olympia, called ‘HorsePower’ and then for ‘Heartstrides’ at Healing Hearts Ranch, working with disabled and special needs children and young adults using the horse and riding as therapy. While there, I was also able to participate in other Equine Assisted Learning programs, natural horsemanship, leadership training, and Centered Riding. I cherish the experience and time I had with the children and horses. They have touched my heart profoundly. Watching the interactions between horse and rider, and seeing physical, mental and emotional growth in abilities for each child, was the greatest reward!
I have so much gratitude for the people, animals, and places I have been blessed to experience in my life, and am grateful for the new people and their pet friends who I am meeting as part of the OVS staff! I look forward to getting to know and serve you.
My family moved to Orcas Island when I was 11 years old from Lincoln, NE.. I enjoyed growing up here very much, and I enjoy knowing so many of the island’s people, I cherish the relationships I have built here. I love the simple country life, and close knit community that island life offers.
My background has been mainly in the dental field, both as a Dental Assistant and as a Dental Office Manager. I particularly enjoyed working with children as a dental assistant, I found that very rewarding, feeling like I make a difference is very important to me. I have also worked as a Customer Service Specialist, and in Restaurant Management, as a Labor Coach/Doula, and a Wedding Coordinater.
I have raised 2 sons here on Orcas Island, and now, have the pleasure of raising my Grandson. I am very close to my siblings, and family and enjoy spending time with them. I have 2 dogs and 1 cat, and look forward to adding a pygmy goat and a bunny to our family.
My love sports, and have helped coach high school Volleyball and Softball and Coached Junior Squad Cheerleading. I was involved with helping the 4-H club at our school and our local Girl Scouts.. I enjoyed being a teacher’s assistant and volunteer when I can in my Grandson’s classroom. I also enjoy traveling, art, crafts, music, sewing, cooking, horseback riding and water sports.
Elysse Lightpool, Veterinary Assistant
Lynn Cunningham, Hospital Manager
I am thrilled to be a part of the OVS team. I grew up with my twin sister in Huntington Beach, California, and I have lived on Orcas for several years and love being part of the community. I love to meet and greet our island pet community and visitors with love and compassion.
I enjoy traveling and have lived in Italy, where we adopted Rocky and he is now one of our very special dogs. Other pets include Tada, whom we adopted from the shelter, and our silly cat, Jinx. I also have two non-furry children (a boy and a girl) as well.
My favorite things to do include theatre, anything beach or sunset related and I collect all sorts of trinkets with a lighthouse theme to it.
Debbie Zammit, Receptionist
Melissa was born and raised in San Diego, CA, and has traveled the world as a dancer on board Holland America Line cruise ships, and flying with Skywest Airlines as a flight attendant. Melissa and her husband Michel eventually settled in the Pacific Northwest, where she began to pursue her love of animals by opening a dog walking/pet care business in Seattle. She is very passionate about helping a local bully breed rescue to assist numerous shelter dogs find their forever homes by fostering, training and rehabilitating them. In her spare time you can find Melissa playing in her veggie garden, hiking around the island, or (of course!) playing with her rescue pups Whiskey and Cha Cha!
Melissa is thrilled to be a part of the OVS team and is always looking forward to taking great care of Orcas Islands animals as your vet assistant!
July Malone, LVT has been a part of the Orcas Veterinary Service family for nine years. She began her veterinary career working as a technician in Friday harbor for seventeen years. While commuting from Orcas to San Juan for work, July met her husband, Joe who is an inter-island ferry captain. During her free time, July loves spending time with her horses, sailing the Salish Sea with her toy poodles, and just about anything pertaining to art.
Swaran Dhaliwal, DVM, CVA, CVFT
Dr. Dhaliwal (Dr. D) joined Orcas Veterinary Service in May of 2013.
She earned her DVM from the University of Florida in 2002. After completing an internship in food animal science, Dr. Dhaliwal joined a mixed-animal practice in Tillamook, Oregon, where she worked until Feb of 2013. She received her national certification in veterinary acupuncture, as well as Veterinary Food Therapy from The Chi Institute in Reddick, FL in 2013.
Born and raised in Singapore, a city known more for its financial centers then dog parks, she is quick to admit that the thought of studying veterinary medicine early in her academic career never crossed her mind. Companion pets in Singapore were not all that common though she did have a dog named Sandy that she loved and cared for and even volunteered at the local SPCA. It was not until years later, after re-evaluating her career as a medical microbiologist, that she made the switch to veterinary medicine, a field she found more academically challenging and personally rewarding.
Early in her veterinary carer, Dr. D began exploring alternative approaches to animal health and enjoys talking with clients about the benefits of veterinary acupuncture, traditional Chinese herbal medicine and food therapy for their pets. She believes that healthy living is all about striking a balance and that by encouraging our body to heal naturally, we can live a fuller and more rewarding life. It is this same philosophy that guides her approach to animal health and her determination to help our pets lead healthier and happier lives.
Her family thoroughly enjoys life here on Orcas. They have two cats that they adopted from the Orcas Animal Shelter, several fish, a reclusive peacock eel, and 2 parakeets. They enjoy the outdoors and spend as much time as possible exploring the San Juan Islands and the greater Pacific Northwest.
Meet Our Staff
Melissa Vis, Veterinary Technician
Meet Our Doctors
Heather July Malone, LVT