Meet Our Doctors
Palos Animal Hospital is staffed with a team of professional, compassionate doctors to care for your pet. If you have any questions about our doctors, don’t hesitate to ask.
Dr. Thomas R. Kleven
Dr. Kleven has been a veterinarian at Palos Animal Hospital since June 1978, the only position he’s held since earning his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Illinois. He has a special interest in weight management cases in dogs and cats. His decision to pursue veterinary medicine stemmed from his enjoyment as a kennel assistant at Striegel Animal Hospital in Carbondale, IL, in 1972. Throughout his career, he continues to enjoy the various aspects of a veterinary practice, including forming relationships with his clients, their families, and their pets while nurturing the human-animal bond. He also enjoys working with such a large staff and being involved in a wide variety of pet care cases.
To stay current on the latest changes in veterinary medicine, he has completed continued education courses on a variety of medical topics. He is also a member of several veterinary organizations, including the American Veterinary Medical Association, American Animal Hospital Association, Chicago Veterinary Medical Association, and Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association.
Dr. Kleven and his wife have two sons. He also has a golden retriever named Tally. When he’s not at work, he loves to read, work outside, watch sports and listen to classical music.
Dr. Jeff Sankey
Dr. Sankey is a graduate of Ontario Veterinary College and has been working at Palos Animal Hospital since August 2008. He has a special interest in ultrasound and surgery. Before veterinary school, he worked at the hospital for many years as an assistant. Dr. Sankey has completed several continuing education courses in veterinary medicine, including a small animal ultrasound course at the Ontario Veterinary College, presented by Life Learn. Throughout his career, he has enjoyed working with several different animal species, including large and exotic animals. He loves being able to help his patients and clients while creating an enjoyable work environment for his colleagues.
Dr. Sankey shares his home with his beautiful wife, Allison, daughter Gianna, and their pets: a Yorkshire terrier named Tino, a shih tzu mix, Frank, and fish in a coral reef tank. When he’s not at work, he likes to do wood working, handyman projects, and work on his classic 1967 Dodge Coronet. He also enjoys playing drums—which he’s done since 5th grade—and spending time with his wife, daughter, and four-legged kids.
Dr. Joel Mills
Dr. Mills joined Palos Animal Hospital in June 1997, after graduating from University of Illinois-Champaign. His veterinary career began while he was in high school, when he started working for a veterinarian. He needed a job, and the clinic was within walking distance, but he had no aspirations about being a veterinarian himself. In college, Dr. Mills originally studied to go into biomedical research, but it wasn’t interesting to him, so he decided to enter U of I’s veterinary program instead.
Dr. Mills enjoys working with the great people here at Palos, and he is a firm advocate for pet socialization and always consulting your vet before giving your pet human medication. He has a 16-year-old Pit Bull mix named Payton and enjoys record collecting in his free time (he’s partial to 45s from Chicago and the surrounding areas).
Dr. Susie Wall
Dr. Wall loved animals since she was a child and wanted to be a veterinarian for as long as she could remember. Taking on veterinary jobs and internships throughout high school and college confirmed that veterinary medicine was the right career path for her. Dr. Wall earned her Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Illinois Wesleyan University and received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Ohio State University. She continues to build upon her experience with countless hours of continuing education, and also helps grieving pet owners by volunteering for the CVMA Pet Loss Support Helpline.
Dr. Wall’s favorite aspect of working at Palos Animal Hospital getting to now families and their pets over the years and working with pet owners to manage complicated medical cases and improve their pets’ quality of life.
Dr. Wall is married with 3 children, and she also has 3 pets: a Golden Retriever named Milo (best dog ever), a mini goldendoodle (and troublemaker) named Cassie, and Cinder, a domestic shorthair cat (with an attitude). Outside of work, Dr. Wall enjoys reading, biking, hiking, traveling, cooking, and spending time with her family and friends.
Dr. Deirdre Sheperd
Dr. Shepard has been serving patients and clients at our practice for over 20 years. She received her DVM from Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine in 1993, and has also completed courses in acupuncture, food therapy, and palliative/end-of-life care at The Chi Institute in Florida. She has a special interest in photobiomodulation (low laser therapy), essential oil therapy, and Chinese herbs and supplements. Both of Dr. Shepard’s parents were in the medical field, so she naturally grew up wanting to be a doctor in some capacity. She was always drawn to animals and wanting to care for them.
The most rewarding part of Dr. Shepard’s career so far is having the opportunity to educate pet owners, so their pets have a better quality of life. She also enjoys continually learning and growing. One thing she wants all pet owners to know is that every pet is special and can teach us many wonderful things about life.
Dr. Shepard has twin daughters with whom she loves spending her time. She also has 2 dogs; Bernard, a small mixed breed dog with a huge personality, and Champion, a three-legged German Shepherd she rescued from a shelter. Some of Dr. Shepard’s favorite things to do outside of work include traveling, cooking, reading, gardening, hiking, biking, and being with her family and friends.
Dr. Sarah Turek
Dr. Turek joined our team in August 2007 after earning her DVM from Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine. The legendary James Herriot inspired Dr. Turek to pursue a career in the veterinary field, and she has always found medicine and animal behavior interesting. Plus, working with animals is both fun and challenging! One of the most rewarding things about being a veterinarian is having patients recognize her as soon as they walk in and being happy to see her. Dr. Turek also has a furry family member at home who is always happy to see her; a Pembroke Welsh Corgi named Khepri. In her spare time, Dr. Turek enjoys a variety of hobbies, including reading, hiking with her dog, running, and playing video games.
Dr. Rachel Thomas
Dr. Thomas began working with us in 2015 as a veterinary assistant before graduating from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine and returning to us in June 2021 as a veterinarian. She wanted to be a veterinarian since she was a child; her love for her childhood pets and growing up riding horses solidified her passion for animals and her decision to pursue a career in caring for them. For Dr. Thomas, one of the most rewarding things about being a vet is getting to help owners care for their pets and forming relationships with her clients and patients!
In her free time, Dr. Thomas enjoys horseback riding, reading, and musical theater.