Monica Kucher, D.V.M
Dr. Kucher, the founder and owner of Good Hands Veterinary Hospital, practiced veterinary medicine in the Athens area for over 23 years. During this time, she earned a reputation for a high-quality, straightforward approach to medicine, as well as a genuine concern for her patients and their human companions. Dr. Kucher graduated from Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1989. As a student, she received the Small Animal Clinical Proficiency Award. She and her husband, Dr. Eric Mueller–a veterinary surgeon at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine–moved to Athens in 1989. They have two sons, Kurt a medical student at Augusta University and Kyle, A senior at the University of Michigan. The family also includes A Jack Russel Terrier, Izzo, and a cat, Tang. Dr. Kucher’s practice philosophy was to simply provide the highest quality of veterinary care to all of her patients and to continually educate her clients through open, honest and compassionate communications.
On July 6th 2016 Dr. Monica Kucher Mueller was involved in a car accident that tragically took her life. We all miss her very much and strive to make her happy by providing the type of care she would want. She will always be our Chief.
Eric Mueller, D.V.M PHD
Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Surgeons
P.O. Eric Mueller designed, built, and co-founded Good Hands Veterinary Hospital with his wife, Monica Kucher. He was a professor of surgery, Director of Equine Programs, Chief Medical Officer-Large Animal Hospital, and surgeon in the Department of Large Animal Medicine and Surgery at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine in Athens, Georgia. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Vermont and D.V.M from Michigan State University. He completed a residency in Large Animal Surgery and P.H.D in gastrointestinal physiology at the University of Georgia.
Heather Falany D.V.M
Dr. Falany graduated from the University of Georgia with a B.S. in Animal Science in 2010, and from the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine in 2014. She spent a year working at a small animal hospital in Warner Robins before returning to Athens and joining our team at GHVH. Her areas of special interest include behavior and internal medicine. She is dedicated to working closely with clients so that they understand each aspect involved in the care of their beloved pet. In her spare time she enjoys reading, the outdoors, and spending time with her two dogs, three cats, and husband, David.
Email: [email protected]
Chief of Staff - David Lavernoich D.V.M
Dr. David Lavernoich graduated from the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine in 2016, and graduated from Marshall University with a B.S. in Biology, Secondary Education, and Middle School Education in 2009. He originally is from Connecticut, but has been living in the Athens area since 2009. Some of you may recognize him, he worked for Good Hands for several years prior to veterinary school. David is interested in excellent client education, surgery, and behavior. He is dedicated to assuring his clients have a healthy and loving relationship with their pets. In his spare time he enjoys fly fishing, hiking, kayaking, rock climbing, mountain biking, or just spending time with his two cats and dog.
Kim Lathrup D.V.M
Dr. Lathrup grew up in Decatur, GA and is a proud 1980 graduate of UGA College of Veterinary Medicine. She worked 14 years at an emergency hospital in the Atlanta area. She enjoys being a soccer grandmother to 10-year-old Marli, and spending time with her and two nieces who are proud UGA students too. Dr. Lathrup has had many pets throughout the years, but currently has two dogs and four cats.
Zack Nesbit D.V.M
Dr. Zack Nesbit is a 2019 graduate of the University of Georgia’s College of Veterinary Medicine. He loves cooking, fishing, and woodworking. He grew up in Savannah where he met his wife, Mary. In 2019 they celebrated the birth of their first son, Tommy. Dr. Nesbit is ecstatic to join the Good Hands family and looks forward to meeting you and your pets!
Born in Tampa, Florida, Dr. Houghton grew up enjoying year-round flip-flops and sunshine. After receiving her Bachelor of Science degree in Interior Design from Florida State University and working as a designer for a few years, she returned to school for a degree in veterinary medicine from St. Matthew’s University School of Veterinary Medicine on Grand Cayman Island. She then completed her clinical year of schooling with the University of Georgia’s College of Veterinary Medicine in 2012. Dr. Houghton has spent the last seven years working at an Atlanta area emergency and general practice. She is excited to return to Athens and join a new family at Good Hands Veterinary Hospital!
Dr. Houghton has a passion for developing client relationships and enjoys challenging internal medicine and surgery cases. She currently resides in Athens, Georgia, with her husband Rich and her crew of misfits: Ari, Olive, Rocko, Monkey, Cash, and Clementine. In her spare time, she enjoys pet photography and is an avid crafter, often knitting or sewing gifts for friends and family.
Mark is originally from Habersham County, GA and has been working in the veterinary field for over 15 years. He has worked in all facets of the veterinary field. Mark became Hospital Administrator of Good Hands in January of 2014 and has made it is personal mission to provide a quality service without compromising patient care.
Cindy has worked as a licensed veterinary technician for over 23 years. She has a special interest in perioperative pain management and critical care medicine. She lives in Athens with her two cats.
Michelle started working in the veterinary field in California. After moving to Georgia, she started working at Good Hands in June of 2013. She lives in Bethlehem with her two dogs, cat, and husband.
Missy Harkness, RVT
Missy is originally from Erie, PA and is much happier here in the South where it doesn't snow all of the time! She started her career as a Technician in 1997 in North Carolina, and obtained her license as a Registered Veterinary Technician in 2009 when she moved to Georgia and joined the Good Hands family. She lives in Madison County with her partner Tina, flying nun-dog Bean (pictured), two cats Frankie & Monkie, and chickens. She loves to go camping, hiking, and spending time in the woods. Missy provides our clients the highest quality holistic education, care, and compassion.
Laura was a long-time client and friend of Dr. Kucher. Laura graduated from the University of Georgia with a B.A. in political science and history. She enjoys spending her free time traveling, hiking, reading (especially history) and hanging out with her three cats, Blanco, Fox Mulder and Murphy, and her snakes.
Kasey started working at Good Hands in 2013. She is interested in wildlife, criminology, and music. When she's not working, she plays guitar and videogames. She has eight dogs, two cats, and two rabbits.
Megan has been working in the veterinary field since 2016. She is currently in veterinary technician school. Her interests include surgery and patient care. Megan has three dogs, Roscoe, Vega, and Kaja and a cat Dimitri. When she is not studying or working, she enjoys riding her horse Gambler.
Laura is a senior at UGA majoring in Avian Biology. She hopes to attend UGA's College of Veterinary Medicine. She has two pups Toby and Benzene.
Katie is a Georgia girl through and through, but born in Tennessee that much is true. She’ll cheer for her Dawgs wherever she’s at… no matter if she’s helping a dog or a cat.
Jillian is a junior at UGA majoring in Animal Science. She hopes to attend UGA’s College of Veterinary Medicine and pursue specialty medicine. When she is not studying, Jillian enjoys visiting her family in Kennesaw, attending UGA football games, and spending time with her friends and goofy yellow lab.
Holly is currently pursuing degrees in Spanish and English Education with a minor in Poetry at UGA. She is an avid traveler who enjoys reading, spontaneous road-trips, spicy food, and camping adventures. She has one dog, a 2 year old pit/terrier mix named Gretchen who is a frequent flyer in daycare. Holly also manages the Good Hands Instagram page.
Brittany has been working in veterinary field for three years. She started at Currahee Veterinary Clinic in her hometown of Toccoa, Georgia as a veterinary assistant. After moving to Athens, she worked at the Athens Area Humane Society for almost two years before coming to Good Hands in April 2018. When she is not working, she enjoys snuggling with her three cats: Annie, Dewey, and Phoebe.
Grooming has not just been a job for me over the last 10 years it has become my passion. Grooming is not only about beautifying, but it is part of a pet's health. I take pride in educating each pet parent because each pet is special in their own way! I have perfected my skills working with young pets, learning the ropes, and dealing with geriatric pets needing extra TLC and to those with behavioral issues. I myself have 2 Saint Bernards, 2 cats (who think they are dogs), and 2 horses. I share my love for animals with my wonderful husband and our 3 kids. A family is definitely not complete without a four-legged member!
Have you ever wondered who the lovely voice welcoming you into Good Hands is? It's our grooming receptionist Kim. She started her dream job May 8, 2008 after being referred to GHVH with her beloved Chihuahua, Oscar, who was diagnosed with cancer. She fell in love with the place and the caring doctors who took such great care of Oscar. After working at Arby's on Atlanta Highway for 35 years, she joined the Good Hands family. She resides in Watkinsville with her husband Keith and her collection of seven dogs and ten cats. She has two grown sons, Clint, owner of Creed Fitness, his lovely wife Leah and granddaughters Salem and Raema, and Tyler, who graduated from West Georgia College after a 4 year baseball scholarship. Tyler and his spouse Jacqueline recently had their daughter Rylee. Kim spends her spare time extreme couponing, taking care of her mini zoo, and spending as much time with her granddaughters as possible.
Elizabeth is a certified trainer and founder of Intrepid Dog Training. Her passion for dogs began with her first kennel job after high school and has grown ever since. She continues her education through attending seminars, webinars, and reading books. Elizabeth loves helping dogs and humans build strong relationships, as she believes this is truly the foundation for having a well-mannered companion. She does not believe there are bad dogs, only misunderstood ones.
Nick started working at Good Hands in August of 2015. He enjoys spending time with the dogs in daycare. When he is not working, he enjoys spending time with his 15 year old dachshund, Zoey.
Allison started at Good Hands in 2016 as a work-based learning student. She has two dogs and four cats. Allison manages Tang’s Instagram page [@tangytang].
Security Team: Tang, Dante, and Omar
Dante and Omar are frequently found protecting our daycare facility.
Tang joined the security team to watch over the hospital’s treatment area.
When Tang is not napping on the job, he enjoys spending time as a surgery recovery nurse snuggling surgery patients.