Rising Sun Animal Care Denver Area Veterinarian

About Us

At Rising Sun Animal Care everyone is considered a leader, and an integral member of the health care delivery team. Every day at Rising Sun Animal Care, it is everyone’s “job” to help make your visit the best possible veterinary experience under the circumstances. The hospital at times is a fast paced environment that is exciting as well as challenging. Through our team approach, we strive to ensure each client has all the time necessary to get questions answered and appropriate care given.  In addition to the mandatory veterinary knowledge and training, our staff is selected for kindness, compassion, patience and professionalism, integrity, service-mindedness, and the ability to think on their feet.

Dr. Deanna Miller, DVM IVASDr. Deanna C. Miller, DVM

Owner and Lead Veterinarian

If you ask Deanna why she wanted to be a veterinarian, her answer is simple. She wants to prevent animal suffering, and she wants to spend time with animals who she sees as the embodiment of unconditional love. Her clinic and her life work are about helping pets and the people who love them. At her clinic, she promises that your pet will receive treatment and ongoing wellness care from a dedicated team of trained professionals. Dr. Miller has been a practicing Colorado veterinarian since 1998, when she received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine. She obtained her certification in veterinary acupuncture from the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society and has been treating animals with acupuncture for over ten years. She is especially interested in an integrated approach to veterinary medicine combining the best technology and pharmaceuticals the west has to offer with traditional eastern acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicines. A Stapleton mother of two young children and two dogs, she believes that the best medical decisions stem from a well-informed clientele and outstanding professional service. She further believes that these services need not be expensive in order to be effective. Dr. Miller’s affiliations include the AVMA, DAVMS, AAVA and IVAS.

Dr. Nicole BartleyDr. Nicole Bartley, DVM

Associate Veterinarian

“Dr. Nicole” brings over 20 years of veterinary experience to our team. She graduated from Colorado State University in 1993 and spent several years of her career in the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps. Dr. Nicole was able to return to Colorado in 2003, settling down with her husband and daughter on their farm east of Denver. She and her family care for a variety of animals including chickens, horses, cows, sheep and fish. She has several giant breed dogs and one lonely cat. Dr. Nicole has a strong interest in “small fuzzies,” infectious and contagious disease and surgery. Adding Dr. Nicole’s knowledge and experience to our team will allow us to see small mammals such as rabbits, ferrets, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, rats and mice in addition to dogs and cats.

EricaErica Gajdan, CVT

Veterinary Technician

Erica entered veterinary medicine in 2007 when she enrolled at Bel-Rea Institute of Veterinary Technology. After she started school, she quickly found herself working as a kennel technician at a small animal practice. "I was fortunate enough to learn hands on while going to school." Erica graduated in 2009 with an Associate's Degree in Applied Science in Veterinary Technology. She has two Chihuahuas, Chata and her son MachoNacho, a plot-hound, Buddha and a cat, Handsome Kitty. Erica enjoys traveling, camping, boating, reading, swimming, dancing, amusement parks and Karaoke. "I am always eager to learn and experience new adventures."

Heather PictureHeather Nelson

Veterinary Assistant

Heather has lived in Colorado since 2009 and has been working in the veterinary profession since 2010. She started as a receptionist and then cross-trained to become a veterinary assistant. She is currently pursuing Cedar Valley College’s Distance Education Veterinary Technology Program with the goal of becoming a CVT. “I love learning new things and meeting new people.” Heather shares her home with 3 dogs named Maximus, Baby and Harli-Quinn as well as a cat named Binx. She has always been drawn to animals of all kinds and has a passion for helping them. In her spare time she enjoys singing, dancing, arts and crafts, cooking, spending time with her pets and watching her husband race motor-cross. She also happens to sing in a band called Gingerslap. Heather joined our team in April of 2015.

Rachelle ChangRachelle Chang

Veterinary Assistant

Rachelle wanted to work with animals since Kindergarten. When she was old enough, she started pet sitting for friends and neighbors and later was hired as a kennel attendant. Rachelle was born and raised in Hawaii and studied Biology at the University of Hawaii before studying and working in veterinary technology. She worked as a Licensed Veterinary Technician in Hawaii for almost eight years and a Registered Veterinary Technician in California for two years before deciding to move to Colorado in June of 2016. Combined with her kennel attendant experience, she brings with her 11 years of experience in the field.

Rachelle shares her home with a terrier/Chihuahua mix named Hunni, two cats Oliver and Pippin, a ball python named Lucille and a Russian Tortoise named Boris. They were all adopted from previous vet hospitals she has worked in. In her free time Rachelle enjoys hiking, reading and exploring Colorado with her boyfriend, Charlie. She hopes to one day work with the World Vets Organization to provide international aid for animals. She joined our team in June 2016.

Genny Martinez

Veterinary Assistant
Genny has lived in Colorado for 15 years. She graduated from Bel-Rea in December 2012 with an Associate’s Degree in Veterinary Technology. Working in the veterinary field has been a dream of hers since childhood. Genny enjoys interacting with clients and their pets on a daily basis. “I love to make people laugh and be a positive influence.” In her free time she enjoys softball and camping. Genny joined our team in September 2016.

Dawn M. Payne


Dawn grew up in Florida, where she met and married her husband Foster. They moved to Colorado in 1998, and Dawn started her career as a veterinary receptionist at a clinic in Aurora. She had always loved animals, so it was an absolute joy to interact with them on a daily basis. She has been working in the veterinary field ever since.

Along with her son and two daughters she also has 2 dogs, 2 cats, 2 rats and 6 turtles. Having rescued most of them, she started her own unofficial rescue for 2 years and was able to find homes for over 30 animals through her previous veterinary clinic. She has also been involved with wildlife rehabilitation working with birds, raccoons, rabbits and squirrels. Dawn has a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of West Florida. Before she moved to Colorado she was a Martial Arts Instructor.

Keely SchmaleKeely Schmale


Keely has always loved animals and medical science, so pursuing a career in veterinary medicine seemed like the perfect combination. She attended Bel-Rea and attained her Associate of Applied Science in Veterinary Technology, graduating in September of 2012 and achieving her certification in December of 2012. While attending school, she began working in the field, eventually taking a position in a local cat shelter as a CVT. Keely worked at the shelter for 3 years before deciding to expand the client service skills she developed working in the shelter’s front office into a small practice setting. She found she enjoyed the administrative aspect a lot more than the technical aspect of veterinary medicine.

Keely has lived in Colorado for almost 20 years and shares her home with her husband, three cats named Gryffyn, Chirp and Joker and two dogs, Bane and Drogo. Since she worked in a cat shelter for so long, she admits she sometimes prefers cats to dogs, and has brought some interesting insights regarding the feline mindset to Rising Sun Animal Care. Her technical knowledge provides an invaluable resource to the front desk team. In her free time, Keely enjoys hanging out with friends, playing games, and watching horror movies. Her absolute favorite holiday is Halloween and she loves the cooler weather Colorado’s Fall and Winter seasons bring. She joined our team in March 2016.

Jacque Beebe

Jacque moved to Colorado in 2013 and is currently pursuing a degree in Forensic Science at the Community College of Denver. She spent four years working as a customer service specialist in the construction industry, most recently in insurance restoration, but always thought it would be fun to work with animals. Jacque has been surrounded by animals her whole life…”I cannot imagine not having them around.” She shares her home with a Rhodesian Ridgeback mix named Bella, a Cattle Dog mix named Cassie, two yellow-winged canaries, Hanjo and Miko and two bearded dragons, Hazel and Reptar. In her free time, she enjoys making costumes, hiking, playing video games and spending time with friends and family. Jacque joined our team in December 2016.

Advisory Board


Toffee is an eleven year old chow mix Dr. Miller rescued ten years ago, who is so sweet that she had to be named after a piece of candy. When not eating or napping, she enjoys working as a certified therapy dog bringing companionship and joy to nursing homes throughout the Denver area, or as a reading dog helping children who are learning to read. Toffee has crossed the rainbow bridge, but her spirit still guides our actions.


Charlie is a four year old rescued border collie. His favorite chew toy is apparently the entire house and its contents. He has settled into his role as sidekick very nicely, and has begun therapy dog training.

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