Our Team


Stephanie Messick, CPEP Academy Director

Stephanie Messick has been with CAETA since 2020, as Admin Assistant and then to the role of Academy Director. Her passion to elevate end-of-life pet care began in 2012. Stephanie worked in animal welfare in Florida, then transitioned to pet aftercare service in 2015 when she joined The Pet Loss Center. She partnered with veterinary teams across the states of Florida and Colorado to elevate their practice’s end-of-life care by providing world class cremation and pet loss services with the utmost dignity, honor and respect. In 2016 Stephanie completed the Two Hearts Pet Loss Center certificate program in Pet Loss & Grief Companioning. In 2018, Stephanie received her Bachelor degree in Psychology from the University of Central Florida. With her unique combination of perspectives, Stephanie is a dedicated advocate for best practices in end-of-life pet support. She believes in commitment to continued euthanasia education, building relationships with and supporting veterinary teams, and a focus on enhancing client and patient experience with bereavement support, and exceptional aftercare programs.

Kathleen has been practicing advanced end-of-life care since 2006.  She is well-known for her work in companion animal euthanasia and has authored two books on the subject. Dr. Cooney has collaborated in euthanasia training for the AVMA, AAHA, IAAHPC, HABRI, the Fear Free program, and more. The CAETA program is Dr. Cooney's design and is based around the The 14 Essential Components of Companion Animal Euthanasia. She is a strong advocate for best practices in all aspects of end-of-life care and speaks nationally and internationally on such topics.  Dr. Cooney is working towards board certification in animal welfare through the American College of Animal Welfare (ACAW) and engages in research to improve veterinary medicine and patient care. Learn more about her academic and professional experience.


Lianna Titcombe DVM, CHPV, CPEV CAETA Instructor

Dr. Lianna dedicated her professional career to animal hospice beginning in 2012 when she opened one of the first veterinary practices in Canada devoted to end-of-life home care for companion animals. On the subject of animal hospice and palliative care she is an author, speaker, educator, and mentor. She is past president of the International Association for Animal Hospice and Palliative Care and is still active with their international committee. In an effort to improve animal welfare more universally, Dr. Lianna participates in volunteer missions to provide veterinary care to underserved communities both locally and in developing countries. A large focus of her education has been the care of all the people involved in the end-of-life stage for companion animals. Dr. Lianna has been the director of the Pet Loss Support Group of Ottawa for over 20 years and, as a certified yoga instructor, is now offering grief retreats to people living with loss. Recognizing that her true passion is the art of gentle euthanasia, Dr. Lianna joined the CAETA team in 2021 as the first international Instructor.

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Shannon Skevakis DVM, CPEV CAETA Instructor

Shannon Skevakis has been practicing veterinary medicine since 2011. A graduate of the University of Florida, Dr. Skevakis began specializing in end-of-life work as part of Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice in 2013. Finding her calling, she focused all energy on making the end-of-life experience meaningful for both patient and client. In 2016 Dr. Skevakis launched her own mobile hospice service, Eternal Pawprints Veterinary Hospice, serving Maryland families. She joined the CAETA team in 2023, spreading best practices in all aspects of euthanasia and is credentialed as a Certified Peaceful Euthanasia Veterinarian. Dr. Skevakis is passionate about the good death revolution.

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Chris Hickman DVM, CHPV, CPEV CAETA Instructor

Dr. Chris Hickman graduated from the Ontario Veterinary College in 1988. She has worked steadily as a veterinary locum in various practice settings including several emergency clinics, small animal clinics (both rural and urban settings) and feline specialty practices. Dr. Hickman has interests in emergency medicine and surgery, feline medicine, and end-of-life care.  She has earned the designation of Certified Hospice and Palliative Care Veterinarian, being one of the first to earn the distinction. Dr. Hickman runs a mobile veterinary hospice service in Ontario, where she focuses on palliative care and end-of-life issues in the pet's home environment.  She has been part of the CAETA team since 2023.

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Elke Rudloff DVM, CPEV, CVMA, DACVECC CAETA Instructor

Dr. Elke Rudloff has been practicing veterinary medicine for over 30 years. A graduate of Purdue University, she is board certified in emergency and critical care and now dedicates her time to protecting the end of life experience for companion animals through her work with BluePearl Pet Hospice. Dr. Rudloff is certified in veterinary medical acupuncture and has a strong passion for pain management, quality of life enhancement, and a gentle end of life experience. She is a published author, a regular speaker at events around the world, and active member of the VECCS. Dr. Rudloff is a Certified Peaceful Euthanasia Veterinarian and CAETA Instructor, promoting best euthanasia practices to veterinary teams everywhere.

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Emilea Burton DVM, CHPV, CPEV, CCFP CAETA Instructor

Dr. Emilea Burton attended North Carolina State University for 8 years, earning a bachelor’s degree in zoology, and then her veterinary degree in 2015. She pursued a small animal internship at the VCA Veterinary Specialists of Northern Colorado and received additional training in neurology, surgery, internal medicine, emergency/critical care, and general practice. After spending several years in general practice, Dr. Emilea learned about in-home end-of-life care and quickly realized what an invaluable resource it was for the community. She believes providing a peaceful end-of-life transition is perhaps the most meaningful gift we can give to our pets and has dedicated her career to euthanasia and animal hospice since 2020. Dr. Burton has completed over 100 hours of end-of-life care continuing education and earned her certification in hospice and palliative care (CHPV). She also has a strong interest in improving mental health in the veterinary profession and is a certified compassion fatigue professional (CCFP). Dr. Burton joined the CAETA team in 2024.

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Jackie Campbell BVSc hons, CHPV, CPEV, Dip CMT CAETA Instructor

Dr Jackie Campbell graduated from The University of Queensland veterinary science programme in 2006, and in 2014 founded Sunset Home Veterinary Care - one of Australia’s first mobile palliative care services, delivering individualized home based veterinary care to families with pets approaching end of life. She has worked in clinical roles throughout Queensland and has dedicated her career to quality euthanasia experiences and palliative medicine.  Dr. Campbell is one of the first to be designated at a Certified Hospice and Palliative Care Veterinarian, and is a founding member of the Australian Veterinary Palliative Care Advisory Counsel.  She began supporting the CAETA team in 2023.

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Rebecca Rose RVT, CPEP CAETA Instructor

Rebecca Rose is a passionate Registered Veterinary Technician who's been helping her profession grow for over 20 years. Rebecca has a diverse background in the veterinary community as a credentialed team member and leader. She has managed veterinary clinics and advocates for the advancement of veterinary technicians and team member careers. Now, her career path has led her to end-of-life care, where she focuses on educating, training, and coaching. Rebecca is passionate about gentle euthanasia experiences and is sought after to present on the topic at veterinary events and technician colleges. She joined the CAETA team in 2023.



Lacey Lancaster, CPEP Administrative Assistant

Lacey Lancaster first became passionate about companion animal euthanasia best practices in 2006 when she worked for the animal control serving her hometown and surrounding rural areas. Her tenure there ignited a passion for animal sheltering and she was able to take that experience, along with her training as a veterinary assistant, to a humane society serving a larger area. After deciding to return to school to complete her Bachelor's degree in 2015, she took a part-time job with PetSmart, which served to further enhance her respect for the human-animal bond and think more critically about the ways in which we can best honor it. After graduation, she took a job with the University of Georgia's Veterinary Teaching Hospital as an Administrative Associate. In this role, she took a special interest in providing resources and comfort to clients facing end-of-life care decisions. Her enthusiasm for this type of work led to forming a close relationship with the school's clinical counselor which ultimately led her to discover the work of CAETA. Lacey's passion for improving end-of-life care for companion animals and the people who love them, as well as her penchant for going above and beyond to serve in her role as support staff, make her a welcome addition to the CAETA team.