Meet Our Team

  • Dr.
    Melanie Summers
    DVM & Owner

    Dr. Summers grew up on the west side of Wichita where she was raised with dogs, cats, goats, chickens, and even peacocks! She always knew that she had an interest and love for animals; however, it is her strong desire to help others through their pets that motivated her to become a veterinarian. 

    She started her journey at Newman University where she received a B.S. in Biology. From there, she moved to Manhattan and attended Kansas State University to participate in their veterinary program.

    Throughout her schooling, Dr. Summers and her husband, Clint, had four children. Her son and three daughters soon became a personal cheering team as she studied for test after test. Immediately following graduation in 2011, her and her family moved to the beautiful area of Northeast Kansas. She worked as a mixed animal practitioner in Atchison, Kansas for two years before the Summers family decided they wanted to come back “home”. Dr. Summers grew up around all of her relatives as a child and spent countless hours playing with her cousins. Moving back to Wichita gives her kids the same opportunity that she was given.

    Dr. Summers established Prairie Ridge Animal Hospital in March of 2014. Her special interests include soft tissue surgery and ophthalmology; however, her passion is internal medicine because she loves the challenge of trying to figure out intriguing cases.

    During her free time, Dr. Summers enjoys being outside. She is a devoted runner and has even finished two marathons! She also enjoys fishing, camping, rock climbing, and hiking with her family. Together, they go on walks and outdoor adventures. 

    The Summers family also includes an English Mastiff, “Darla', an Australian Shepard, 'Finn', and a Mi-Ki, 'Glammie'. All of their family dogs were in need of a home when Dr. Summers adopted them. Dr. Summers also has five cats: 2 yellow tabby cats named “Mozz” and 'Cheddar', a black cat named 'Munster', a white and tan cat named 'Swiss', and a tortoiseshell calico named 'Gouda' (yes...they are named after cheese). The Summers family also has a herd of Nigerian Dwarf goats. Her pets are usually found cuddling together or trailing behind their family on walks.

    Dr. Summers is a member of AAHA (American Animal Hospital Association), AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association), KVMA (Kansas Veterinary Medical Association), the Vice Chair on the board of directors for the Kansas Humane Society, and past Vice President of the WVMA (Wichita Veterinary Medical Association).

  • Dr.
    Brooke Paolucci

    Dr. Paolucci was born and raised in Salina, Kansas. She has always had a love for animals and knew from a very young age that she wanted to be a Veterinarian.

    She attended college at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas where she received a B.S. in Animal Science. From there, she went on to participate in the veterinary program at KSU. Her interests include internal medicine and exotic animal medicine. During veterinary school, she even took two trips to South Africa to work with a wildlife veterinary program studying Wildlife and Conservation Medicine. Following graduation from veterinary school in May 2017, Dr. Paolucci moved to Wichita to join her husband, Tony.

    Dr. Paolucci currently has two cats, a Russian Blue named Maya and a black domestic short hair named Axton. She rescued both of them while she was in college.

    During her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends, family and her fur babies, going to the zoo and, during the summer months, spending time outdoors at the lake.

    She is excited to start her new journey with Dr. Summers, Dr. Bruce and the rest of the Prairie Ridge Animal Hospital family.  

  • Aarika Wylie
    Office Manager

    Aarika Wylie was born and raised in Wichita, KS and has always known she wanted a career working with animals. She graduated from Brown Mackie College in 2012 with an associate’s degree in Veterinary Technology. Prior to getting her degree, she worked at a pet boarding facility for five years.

    She currently owns two Labrador mixes named Bailey and Kaylin and a cat named Dillon. Bailey was brought home from a very bad situation and was never given the chance to socialize with other dogs or people. Over the years Aarika has slowly given her a second chance at life. She also owns a Quarter horse named Cline, whom she has been caring for and training since he was a yearling. Throughout his training Aarika has taught him numerous techniques, including how to lay down on command. Her goal is to train him for barrel racing and attend the local rodeos with him.

    Her care and devotion to animals is easily seen in the time and dedication she puts into her own animals.

  • Kate Frahm
    Lead Veterinary Assistant

    Kate Frahm was born in Wichita and moved to Newton, Kansas when she was 2. She was raised around goats, chickens, horses, cows and dogs. Because of this, Kate always wanted to work with animals. She has two horses, Paco and Kiowa, and two dogs, Bruiser and Cleo. She always loves to learn new things, especially about animal behavior. After completing her Associates at Hutchinson Community College and earning a degree in Farm and Ranch Management, Kate became a technician here at Prairie Ridge. She hopes one day to own her own herd of bucking bulls, have a family and continue working as a veterinary technician. She believes women can do it all! In her free time you can find her practicing working cattle with Bruiser or watching PBR bull riding (Go J.B Mauney!) on a Sunday.

  • Bethany Tullis
    Veterinary Assistant

    Bethany Tullis was born and raised in Wichita. It was her family dog growing up, a Rat Terrier named Littleguy, that made her realize her passion for animals. She is new to the veterinary field but is always eager to learn, and she enjoys having a job where she gets to work with animals each day.

    Bethany graduated from Goddard High School in 2011 and went to Kansas State University before getting the chance to study abroad in London. She married her husband, Trevor, in 2014 and the two of them have a Miniature Schnauzer named Lombardi and a Border Collie/ Cattle Dog mix named River. They adopted River from the Humane Society in 2014 and she has been a wonderful addition to their family! River and Lombardi love to play together and are best friends!

    In her spare time Bethany loves watching sports (preferably football…Go San Francisco 49ers!), taking walks with the dogs, and spending time with family.

  • Mariah Engler
    Lead Veterinary Assistant

    Mariah Engler was born and raised in Wichita, Kansas. She grew up with a tortoiseshell calico named Kitty girl and a love for exotic animals. Mariah spent most of her summers and weekends at the Sedgwick County Zoo volunteering with the elephants and giraffes. After high school, she went to school at Emporia State University where she discovered a love for learning and research and received a B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Mariah came back to Wichita and married her high school sweet heart, Austin, in 2018. They adopted their dog Bella shortly after and hope to add another furry addition to their family soon. In her spare time Mariah enjoys rock climbing, volunteering with kids groups at church, and baking.

  • Gracen Reeves
    Registered Veterinary Technician (RVT)

    Gracen was born and raised in south central Kansas in the small town of Clearwater. Throughout her childhood, Gracen loved animals of all kinds and always had a passion for caring for them. Gracen's first dog, a lab mix named Casey, has had an enormous influence on her career choice; Casey is a one of a kind dog and has been the best and sweetest pet she could've ever asked for. 

    Gracen graduated from Clearwater High School in 2017, she then went on to Kansas State University to study Graphic Design. After realizing Graphic Design was not her true passion in life, she moved back to Wichita and is currently attending Wichita State University Technical College in pursuit of her Veterinary Technology degree and RVT license. 

    In her spare time, Gracen loves spending time with friends, family, and pets, attending church, and going hiking in the mountains of Colorado. 

  • McKenzee Drenker
    Veterinary Assistant

    McKenzee Drenker was born and raised in Burley, ID. Growing up she knew she wanted to work with animals. She grew up with dogs, cats, geckos, horses, cows, and hamsters. She wanted to be a veterinarian for as long as she could remember, but when she reached college her passion grew stronger for becoming a zoo keeper. 

    McKenzee graduated from Burley High School in 2012. From there she went on to study at Utah State University, where she received a B.S. in Wildlife Science in 2016. She worked at Yellowstone Bear World, working with bears, and Utah’s Hogle Zoo, working with an assortment of species, before moving to Kansas. She moved to Kansas for a full time zoo keeper position, but after 2 years working in a zoo her passion shifted back towards veterinary medicine.

    In her spare time McKenzee enjoys Irish Dancing, adventuring outside, hanging out with her bird, and spending time with friends and family. 

  • Sydney Boehm
    Veterinary Assistant

    Sydney grew up on a small horse farm in southern Illinois. Throughout her youth years, Sydney was extremely active in 4H and FFA, as well as training and showing horses in the American Quarter Horse Association. She has always had a strong passion for agriculture, focusing mainly on animal agriculture.

    She graduated from Lake Land College in 2017 with an Associate's Degree in Science, and a certification in beef and dairy cattle artificial insemination. She then graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 2019 with a Bachelor's degree in Animal Science with a concentration in livestock production and management. After graduation, she moved to Wichita, KS and began to work as a technician at Prairie Ridge Animal Hospital. Her interest in veterinary medicine stems from her grandmother's influence and involvement within the industry, which had a strong impact on Sydney's life growing up. Sydney is still a major advocate for agriculture, and stays involved within the agriculture and livestock industry. She has 3 horses, 2 dogs, and 2 cats; all of whom are spoiled immensely.

  • Mikayla Walton
    Registered Veterinary Technician (RVT)

    I was born and raised in Grand Island Nebraska. Growing up my family only had one dog (despite my many attempts to adopt every stray animal in the neighborhood). Even though we only had one dog, I always knew I loved animals and wanted to work with them someday.

    After high school, I went to Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture and graduated with an Associates of Applied Science in Veterinary Technology in 2013. I worked in Nebraska for a few years as a licensed vet tech before moving to Kansas and becoming a registered vet tech.

    In May of 2018 I married my high school sweet heart Weston. Initially we had two dogs Abby (a border collie) and Rusty (an Australian shepherd) but our family has grown since! We rescued a stray cat named Lenny about two years ago and the past year we got Motley (a mini Australian shepherd).

    In my spare time I enjoy running, spoiling all of our furry critters, spending time with family and friends, and cheering on the huskers. During the summer we enjoy spending the weekends at Wilson lake with the dogs and taking them paddle boarding and kayaking, we think the dogs enjoy those weekends too. 😊

  • Nikki Griffith
    Veterinary Assistant

    Nikki Griffith was born in Laconia, New Hampshire. Throughout her life she has been blessed to have shared many loving memories with many fur babies these include several dogs, cats, rats, birds, fish, a gecko, and ferrets. 

    She moved to California in 2002 where she adopted her best friend Bissell, a grumpy dachshund. She attended Mt. San Jacinto College majoring in marine biology. She also attended Westec College in California in 2015 studying for veterinary technician. 

    She currently lives in Wichita, Ks with her rescued pup Hannah and cat Colby Jack. 

    In her spare time she enjoys hiking, camping, bicycling, and spending time with her furry and not so furry friends. 

  • Chandra Hill
    Veterinary Assistant

    Chandra was born and raised in Wichita, Kansas, and grew up with a family that always had pets.  She has been working in the veterinary field for 10 years and started as a veterinary assistant where she discovered her love for helping animals.  

    She graduated in 2018 with an Associate of Science from the Penn Foster College Veterinary Technician Program.  

    She has one cat at home named Sheldon after her favorite tv show, The Big Bang Theory.  She got Sheldon as a two week old orphaned kitten that came into the clinic where she worked.

  • Brooke Peggs
    Veterinary Assistant and Groomer

    Brooke Peggs was born and raised in Wichita. She started off grooming because she wanted to give pets the spa day that they deserve. She went to school in Oklahoma at the Academy of Dog Grooming Arts and has been grooming for 3 years. 

    Brooke graduated from Northwest High School in 2017 and has a Shih Tzu named Jamocha. Jamocha has always had the patience to let Brooke practice grooming on him. He also loves being Brooke's camping and fishing buddy. In her spare time, she loves to go hunting, fishing and camping with her pop-up camper. She would love to one day go travel up different rivers and fly fish. 

  • Angie Becker
    Registered Veterinary Technician (RVT)

    Angie grew up in western Kansas and graduated from Kinsley High School. She went to Colby Community College, met her husband Chris, and earned her Associate degree in Veterinary Technology. She is a Registered Technician, working mostly in mixed animal medicine. 

    She loves her boys, Peyton and Covey, and recently gained a daughter-in-law, Sydney! In her free time, she enjoys cooking, baking, reading and spending time with her family, that also includes her schnauzer Mags Marie and English setter Brier Clay. She is very excited to be part of the PRAH team!

  • Teagan Miller
    Veterinary Assistant

    Teagan Miller was born in Mcpherson, Kansas. Her family’s many pets around the house allowed for her love for animals to flourish. From the moment she could walk, she promised she would tame every cat she came to face. No matter how many times she got scratched, she somehow always made friends with them (maybe it was only from her side, though). Teagan always knew she wanted to work with animals but never truly knew it would mean helping your sweet furry family members at Praire Ridge. 

    After Graduating high school, she continued her education at Friends University and graduated in May of 2020 with a Bachelor’s degree in Zoo Science. She plans to continue growing her love and knowledge of animals in the future. 

    She has two dogs and a cat. Kiloh, an energetic and noisy husky-malamute mix and Sawyer, full time German Shepherd part time Sgt. goofball. Although Teagan has two dogs, cats will always be her favorite. She has a Tabby cat named Ember who is most definitely her best friend. Ember is also the favorite child and loves to go on adventures in her bubble backpack and learning new tricks. There is no doubt Teagan’s a crazy cat lady but she can’t wait to meet your family’s cuties of all species.

  • Amy Heimerman
    Veterinary Assistant

    Amy was born and raised in the small town of Conway Springs. She grew up on a farm with lots of animals throughout her life, such as cows, goats, ducks, dogs, cats, and chickens, so her love for animals started at a very young age! While she was in high school, she got her own little goat herd! She went to Pratt Community College and completed a degree in Farm and Ranch Management.

    Now, Amy has 12 Boer goats, 2 cats, 2 ducks… all of which have names, of course! She also has a chocolate lab mix named Daisy. In her spare time, Amy helps around the farm, hangs out with her pets, family, and friends, and enjoys riding four-wheelers. 

  • Rob Gutierrez
    Veterinary Assistant

    Rob grew up on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, where he developed a lifelong passion for animals and nature. Hiking, kayaking, and exploring the Chesapeake Bay were some of his favorite pastimes, and in 2016, he graduated from Hofstra University in Long Island, New York with a degree in business and sustainability studies. His dog Micah has been a part of the family since he was in high school and he brought her across the country to Kansas soon after he moved in 2017.

    Rob and his wife Jesse moved to Wichita in the Summer of 2020 and Rob has been a member of the Prairie Ridge team since the Fall of 2020.

    In his free time, Rob enjoys keeping freshwater aquariums, rock climbing, watching nature documentaries, and taking family walks with Jesse and Micah.

  • Shannon Shields
    Client Services

    Shannon Shields grew up in Derby, Kansas, and has had a love of animals since a very young age. When she was in the 3rd grade she even dressed up as a dog groomer for career day! But since not very many people would trust a 9-year-old to groom their dog, she left that dream behind and began working as a server when she was 16. But after 6 years of waiting tables, Shannon decided she was more than ready for change and thought being a receptionist at an animal hospital seemed like the perfect chance to combine her love of animals with her background in customer service. So far it's been a fantastic opportunity and she feels very lucky to be a part of such an amazing clinic and team. 

    Shannon is now living in Wichita with her boyfriend and their three rescues Phoebe, Poe, and Baze. Phoebe, a Shar-Pei mix, is the Queen of the house and protector of her kingdom. Poe, who is a Lab mix, is a gentle giant and is not nearly as scary as he may look. And rounding them all out is Baze, an American Bull Terrier mix, who makes his own rules, and fits the pesky younger brother role to a tee. 

    In her downtime, Shannon loves spending time with her friends and family and going on adventures with her boyfriend and their fur-kids. In the future, Shannon hopes to be able to live on a big piece of land in the country and continue rescuing and/or fostering animals of all kinds. 

  • Morgan Jones
    Client Services

    Morgan Jones was born and raised in south central Kansas. She grew up loving and caring for a wide range of pets: horses, dogs, cats, lizards, and fish. It was only natural that her life would lead her to a job where working with animals was her passion. Working in the veterinarian field is a newer adventure to Morgan, but not a surprise to her family as she’s had a lot of life experience with animals including previously working at a veterinarian hospital, caring for the family pets, and pet sitting while friends go out of town. Her love of animals impacted her most when her beloved horse Boogie came into her life. He was a trusted confidant, amazing pet, and a one of a kind horse. He always knew just how to make her day bright.

    Morgan graduated from Udall High School in 2015 and attended Cowley County Community College. After college, while working at her previous veterinarian hospital, she rescued her first fur-friend. Ace is a 3-year-old Australian Shephard Mix, who just recently had a back leg amputation due to an injury he had as a puppy. He is the happiest tri-pod and only having 3 legs hasn’t slowed him down at all!

    In her spare time Morgan enjoys attending church with her family, taking Ace anywhere, and everywhere she goes and playing softball with family and friends!

  • Lindsay Johnson
    Client Services

    Lindsay Johnson was born and raised right here in west Wichita, although Colorado owns a piece of her heart. Her childhood was full of trips to Denver and the surrounding area, to visit her grandparents and go on adventures with her family. She grew up with a Scotty dog (Scottish Terrier) at home, which she attributes to her love of animals. 

    In 2009, Lindsay married her husband Adam (also an animal lover) and they have two beautiful children, Madison and Michael. Currently, the Johnson household is home to a Goldendoodle named Marley, a Beagle named Riley, a kitten named Lily, two Roborovski dwarf hamsters named Cookie and Cupcake, and a young bearded dragon named Izzy the Lizzy. 

    In her spare time, Lindsay enjoys family trips to the lake, hiking, camping, bike riding, and spending time with family and friends, watching football (especially the Denver Broncos). 

  • Sarah Ariens
    Animal Hospitality

    Sarah Ariens was born in Minot, North Dakota but was raised here in Wichita. She’s lived all over the country including a couple places in Kansas, a small town in Texas, a growing community in Washington, and even overseas in Germany for a couple years. No matter where she went though, she was always surrounded by animals! Her family, friends, and herself have a special love for any kind of critter, big or small, two legs or four. Growing up they had dogs, cats, mice, gerbils, rats, fish, and even a handful of birds (two of which lived to be over 25-years-old!). After high school she had a short pet-sitting gig before moving on to work at a pet store. For as long as she can remember she’s always loved meeting new species or breeds of animals, and learning about their unique qualities and traits. Her favorite pastimes are watching TV, playing video games, and going to the movies. She currently lives with a dachshund named Hailie, two adopted rat terrier mixes, Bella and Buddy, and an adopted orange tabby named Mufasa (often referred to as Moof!)

  • KaSaundra Tiedtke
    Animal Hospitality

    KaSaundra has always lived in Hutchinson, Kansas until she moved to Wichita in 2019. She moved because there were more opportunities to pursue her dream of working with animals. She always knew she wanted to work with animals from a very young age. Her current goal is to be a Vet Tech, but her all time dream job would be to work with exotic animals, especially wolves.

    KaSaundra graduated Buhler High School in 2016. She was involved in Track (specifically pole vaulting), FFA, and took Animal Science classes. She later graduated from Hutchinson Community College with a Science degree in 2018. While she attended HCC she took more animal science classes and also took an Artificial Insemination course.

    In her spare time, KaSaundra likes to play games on her Playstation, watch Netflix with her S/O, and read books. She currently has two dogs; A Chihuahua named Sakari and a Pomchi named Saturn.

  • Alexis Hambelton
    Veterinary Assistant

    Alexis Hambelton was born and raised in Wichita, KS. She has always had dogs and loved being around them, so she knew this was the perfect job for her. 

    She is a high school student at Northwest - Class of 2021! After high school, her plan is to start college to one day become a veterinarian tech. Alexis has three dogs at home: a lab named Cooper , a wired hair pointer mix named Jesse , and a German shorthair named Rowdy. She also has a roommate a leopard gecko named Vince. On Alexis’s free time when she’s not hanging with her pups she enjoys listening to music and socializing.

  • Kate Birkhofer
    Social Media Manager

    Kate came to Prairie Ridge in March 2020 from her hometown in Oskaloosa, Iowa, and joined the team to combine her passion of animals with her purpose of creating content to connect with people in a meaningful way. She studied marketing at the University of Northern Iowa and has lots of communication experience in a medley of industries -- from cupcake to sports lighting, and now with animals!

    Kate moved to Wichita early in 2020 with Benny, her 8-year-old brindle American Staffordshire Terrier, and just married her husband, Nick, in July of 2020. They adopted Rey, a pit-mix puppy, three days after Kate moved in, and have been spoiling them both ever since. In her free time, Kate enjoys binge-reading mystery novels, exploring new adventure trails with her dogs, FaceTiming her niece and family back in Iowa, cheering on the Chicago Cubs, spending time with her husband and family in Wichita, and laughing as much as possible.