Dr. Jerilynn Weisshaar

Veterinarian/Hospital Owner

Although an avid Jayhawk fan, Dr. Weisshaar graduated with her DVM from Kansas State University School of Veterinary Medicine in 2009 after obtaining her Biology degree from Bethany College in 2005. She joined the West Ridge team in December of 2009 and was excited to purchase the clinic in January of 2017!

Dr. Weisshaar is married to Jeron, a teacher, athletic director and coach, so much of their “free time” is spent at area high school sporting events. They have 4 children so you can imagine free time is actually really rare! The family has well-loved black lab named Moose and two young and frisky cats named Addison and Clark. Dr. Weisshaar loves all things HGTV and enjoys designing/renovating. She is active in her church and enjoys spending time with friends and her family. She also loves the Jayhawks, the Broncos and the Chicago Cubs!

Dr. Weisshaar is Fear Free Certified and is a member of the Topeka Veterinary Medicine Association, Kansas Veterinary Medicine Association, American Veterinary Medicine Association and the American Animal Hospital Association.

Dr. Leslie Blackwell


A Topeka native, Dr. Blackwell’s journey from Kansas State University to West Ridge began with a young fascination for animal care sparked by an injured rabbit encounter at age 4. Since joining the team in October 2023, Leslie, with her deep-seated passion for surgical veterinary practices, has committed to ensuring her patients lead healthier lives. When not in the clinic, Leslie cherishes time with her family of three sporty sons and enjoys nature walks with her dogs on trails crafted by her husband. Her recent dive into chicken-raising only further showcases her undying love for animals.

Kris Tajchman

Hospital Manager

After working here for 25 years Kris might know you even if you don’t know her. She can be found doing office work, kennels, helping the medical team, or even doing a bit of grooming. A Topeka native, she is a graduate of Kansas State and is passionate about pet health and the human animal bond. 20 years of her life have been spent married to Wade, the love of her life. They have 2 boys, Logan (in high school) and Dylan (in elementary school). With her free time Kris is active with Wanamaker Elementary PTO and Cub Scout Pack 175. The boys are active in sports so Kris spends her time on the sidelines for much of the year. She has one precious baby cat (and by baby she means 18 years old) named Gabrielle.

Hope Herrera

Client Service Specialist

Hope’s journey into the veterinary industry is a testament to her passion for animals and her desire to make a difference. Previously, she worked as an elementary school paraeducator, and her transition to West Ridge marked her first foray into veterinary medicine. She’s particularly enamored with the Fear Free philosophy, ensuring that animals have the best possible experiences during their vet visits. She and her husband, Robert, have been happily married since 2018 and are proud parents to two wonderful children. Their family also includes two furry friends, Lilo, a black lab, and Chansey, a black lab/pittie mix. Amid the chaos of family life, Hope is an ardent Taylor Swift enthusiast.

Abby Allen

Client Service Specialist

Abby’s deep-rooted passion for animals began with her 12-year tenure as an Adoption Counselor at Helping Hands Human Society in Topeka. This journey led her to WRAHC, where she’s been a dedicated Client Service Specialist for 4 years. Abby’s mission: ensuring every pet and their owner receive the best care during visits. Outside work, Abby is a proud mom cheering on her son’s sports games, a die-hard KU Jayhawks basketball fan, and the loving owner of two lively labs, Skye and Dega. She also roots for the Tennessee Volunteers and Pittsburgh Steelers. A true animal lover and sports enthusiast at heart!

Nick Lister

Client Service Representative

A dedicated member of the West Ridge Veterinary team since 2009, Nick Lister hails from Topeka, KS. Originally aspiring to be a veterinarian, Nick found his passion in ensuring pets and their owners have the best experience possible. Outside work, he’s a fervent Kansas City Chiefs and Jayhawks fan, an active softball player, and a proud father of three. The Lister household is completed by his Doberman, Crimson, and a cat named Paka. Whether it’s at the clinic or cheering from the stands, Nick embodies commitment and passion.

Sara Gowan

Registered Veterinary Technician

In the last 17 years you certainly have crossed paths with our Registered Veterinary Technician, Sara. She is passionate about keeping your family pets pain free. Anesthesia is another area she focuses her time on, she wants to do everything in her power to ensure safe anesthesia and smooth recovery for all of our clients. Sara was born and raised in Topeka and attended Maple Woods for her degree. She married the love of her life (her middle school boyfriend) and spends time with him and the 4 furry family members that fill her heart with love.

Dusty Miller


Dusty Rhodd, a Registered Veterinary Technician and Certified Canine Rehabilitation Assistant, commenced her journey in the veterinary industry with a deep-rooted passion for animals. Her educational background traces back to Denver, Colorado, where she resided from 2003 to 2017. Dusty attended the Bel-Rea Institute of Animal Technology, graduating in 2006. She honed her skills at OrthoPets, specializing in crafting custom orthotics and prosthetics for animals. Subsequently, Dusty pursued her rehabilitation certification at the Canine Rehabilitation Institute (CRI) in Broomfield, CO and Florida.

In 2017, Dusty returned to Kansas to be closer to her family and now calls Lawrence her home, alongside her husband, Bradley, and their two children, Liam and Alaina. Their household is further enriched by the presence of their beloved Golden Retriever, “Sadie,” and their feline companion, “EOS.”

Dusty’s unwavering connection to animals has always been her guiding force. Her work in the veterinary field aligns seamlessly with her lifelong passion. She derives immense satisfaction from keeping furry friends in the best of health and educating clients on ways to enhance their family pets’ lives. Dusty believes in the transformative power of human-animal relationships, emphasizing the joy, stress-free moments, and unconditional love that our pets bring into our lives.

For Dusty, the realization that she was in the right profession occurred when she simply couldn’t fathom pursuing any other path. Beyond her professional life, she finds joy in spending quality time with her family, particularly her husband and two children, exploring new places, embarking on outdoor adventures, and engaging in activities such as hiking. Dusty is an avid reader and a dedicated runner, contributing to her holistic and well-rounded life outside of work.

Alexandra Swaner

Registered Veterinary Technician

Born and raised in Topeka, Alexandra pursued her Bachelor’s in Wildlife Biology and Conservation from KSU in 2017, followed by her RVT from Colby Community College in 2023. With an innate love for animals that began in childhood, Alexandra always envisioned a career centered around animal care. This commitment deepened during a transformative wildlife rehab internship in Washington, especially memorable for her time nursing a sea lion pup back to health.

While her professional journey at West Ridge began in December 2018, her passion has since expanded to senior pet care and nutrition. Outside of work, Alexandra, wife to Nic and stepmother to Abby, enjoys Kansas’s nature trails, local wineries, documentaries, and the delightful chaos of her home zoo. However, the highlight remains the cherished Sunday family dinners.