Meet Our Team


Laura Hook

Veterinarian (BVSc (hons))

Laura became the owner of the Aspendale Gardens Vet Hospital in 2014 and loves being part of the local community.  It was always her dream to create a clinic dedicated to great patient care in partnership with owners to help maintain the strong bond between people and their pets. It is a privilege to be entrusted the care of looking after your pets.

Laura graduated from the University of Queensland in 2004 with a degree in Veterinary Science. After graduating, she spent the following year completing an internship in small animal medicine at the University of Queensland Veterinary Teaching Hospital before returning home to Melbourne. Laura previously worked for many years in two leading veterinary practices in Melbourne and has completed a year long course in oncology (cancer medicine). Laura has a special interest in internal medicine cases.  She is also passionate about palliative care and helping work with owners to keep their pets happy and comfortable. She enjoys the opportunity to see pets from their very first veterinary visit, getting to know them and their individual personalities, and then being able to provide care for them in older age.

Laura currently owns a rescue dog called Charlie (a border collie x kelpie), 2 rescue cats called Brooklyn and Indiana, and 4 guinea pigs.  Laura has 2 kids who keep her very busy and enjoys living in the local area and being involved in the community. In her limited spare time, she enjoys gardening and maintaining an ever-changing vegetable patch.

Why I became a vet? I have always had a love of animals and always saw myself becoming a vet, even in primary school. I grew up with a beautiful black labrador called Meg and had such a strong bond with her, and every animal I met. It always seemed like the right profession for me.  One day I asked my local vet if I could get a part time forward a couple of decades and now I'm the one helping the next generation of future vets to get their start in the veterinary industry.

Helen Vanderbom

Veterinarian (BVSc (hons))

Helen graduated from the University of Melbourne in 2003 and is a highly experienced small animal veterinarian. She enjoys both medical and surgical cases and has a strong interest in geriatric medicine and care. Helen enjoys keeping up to date with the latest advances in veterinary medicine, regularly attending seminars and conferences both in Australia and overseas.

Helen joined the team in 2015. She has such a wonderful thirst for knowledge that has seen her diagnose many rare and unusual conditions, including having a paper published on a feline leprosy case.  Helen enjoys mentoring and training veterinary students who regularly spent time at the clinic.

Outside of her veterinary commitments, Helen is a passionate mountain bike rider and is regularly involved in social and competitive events. She recently enjoyed her first opportunity to ride in a mountain biking event that started on snow! Her mountain bike riding has taken her across the world for various events.


Registered Veterinary Nurse (Certificate IV Veterinary Nursing)

Dimiti joined the team in 2017 after moving from Adelaide where she worked as a vet nurse in a busy practice. She is a registered veterinary nurse through the Australian Veterinary Nurse & Technician (AVNAT) Registration Scheme. She is also studying Certificate IV Animal Behaviour and Training.

Dimiti has a passion for helping animals with behavioural issues and a keen interest in nutrition.  She is a great source of advice for your pet's dietary needs, having done several courses in animal nutrition.  Dimiti loves running our puppy school program and enjoys sharing her knowledge with new pet owners.  She is a member of the Pet Professional Guild of Australia and is focused on force free and fear free handling in the clinic.  Dimiti offers veterinary nursing consultations to help teach owners how to minimise stress and anxiety in their pets.  This includes desensitising and counter conditioning animals for veterinary visits.


Veterinary Nurse (Certificate IV Veterinary Nursing)

Melanie is a highly experienced vet nurse who joined the team in 2015. She has been working as a vet nurse for many years and this is the only job for her. She knew from a very young age that caring and nursing for animals was her passion.

Melanie has 2 young boys who keep her busy and now 2 very cheeky rescue cats who give her 2 young children great emotional support.  Their names are Snowflake and Pendles (yes, the whole family are all Collingwood supporters). 

Melanie is also very passionate about recycling and helping the environment. She runs our community Terracycle recycling program here at work, which has successfully recycled vast amounts of waste products for our local community.  Mel has helped reduce the environmental footprint of the vet clinic dramatically and is constantly encouraging our suppliers to reduce their packaging and waste generation.  Melanie has been nominated for several awards for her recycling efforts and we are very proud of her achievements..


Registered Veterinary Nurse (Certificate IV Veterinary Nursing)

Gemma joined the team in 2021 and has completed her Certificate 4 in veterinary nursing. She is a registered veterinary nurse through the Australian Veterinary Nurse & Technician (AVNAT) Registration Scheme.  Gemma really enjoys the patient care aspects of veterinary nursing.  She enjoys cuddling patients as they recover from surgical procedures, and nurturing hospitalised animals.  Gemma has a keen interest in general anaesthesia and monitoring patients undergoing surgical procedures.  She always strives to remain up to date with the latest advances in anaesthesia management to ensure her patients have smooth anaesthetics with cuddles in recovery.

At home Gemma has several pet guinea pigs. Her family enjoy rescuing older dogs that have complex medical issues and struggle to find other homes.  They enjoy caring for them and giving them a wonderful quality of life in their senior years.



Jennie joined the team in 2022 as our first full time receptionist. She has a love of books and is a mother to 2 children and 3 cats named Bonnie, Smokey and Teddy. Teddy was the bonus cat that desperately needed a home who she adopted through the clinic. Jennie enjoys getting to know all our regular clients and their pets. She always has a way of putting a smile on all our faces.


Veterinary Nurse (Certificate IV Veterinary Nursing, Certificate IV of Training and Assessment)

Kate has worked as a veterinary nurse at Aspendale Gardens since 2014 and is a much loved member of the team. She has always helped to train new veterinary nurses and has recently accepted a position to do this on a regular basis.  To continue to maintain her clinical skills and knowledge to pass on to the next generation of vet nurses, Kate still continues to work with us part time. She is a registered veterinary nurse through the Australian Veterinary Nurse & Technician (AVNAT) Registration Scheme.

Kate brings with her a wealth of experience and a love of all creatures great and small. Kate and her husband Robbie have a variety of different pets at home including miniature ponies, pet goats, and an assortment of tropical fish. She has also recently adopted a rescue greyhound called Porthos. Porthos kindly volunteers as a blood donor for critically ill patients at the clinic when required.


Veterinary Nurse (Diploma in Applied Science (Veterinary Technology))

Vanessa joined the team in 2021 with her fabulous smile. She has her Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing and a Diploma in Applied Science (Veterinary Technology) Vanessa is a highly experienced nurse with a great sense of humour.  Vanessa has 2 beautiful kids and several guinea pigs.  She recently adopted a gorgeous little kitten called Bobby Binx who gets into all manner of mischief! 


Trainee Veterinary Nurse (Bachelor of Science)

Ben is a final year Veterinary student studying at the University of Melbourne. He particularly loves working with dogs and has a keen interest in pathology. He has the best of both worlds, working as a veterinary nurse getting exposure and hands-on experience working in the industry while studying to become a Vet.

He has 2 giant breed dogs Sarge and Angel who always keeps Ben on his toes.


Kennel Hand

Lauren is our gorgeous kennel hand who joined the team in 2021.  She works after school helping out and is looking forward to completing her certificates in vet nursing in the future.  Lauren has three beautiful cats, including 2 big Maine Coone boys.  She has the most wonderful attitude and is always positive. 


Kennel Hand

Charlotte joined the team in 2022 as our newest kennel hand.  She is currently at high school and is hoping to become a vet in the future. Charlotte is so enthusiastic about everything in the veterinary field and loves being involved and gaining experience that will help her achieve her dream of becoming a veterinarian.

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