Meet Our Team
Union Hill Animal Hospital is committed to providing your pet high quality health care in a compassionate environment utilizing both western and eastern medicine.
Diane M. Castle, DVM, CVA, AVCA
Dr. Castle realized at 12 that she would soon be too large to pursue her dream of being a jockey and decided she could work with all animals as a veterinarian.
As soon as they would have her, she volunteered at the local humane society and upon turning 16, found a veterinarian who hired her for an after school position.
She worked throughout her high school and college years for small and large animal veterinarians and spent 3 summers as an assistant zoo keeper in Rochester,N.Y.
Dr. Castle grew up in upstate New York, graduated with a B.S in Animal Science from Cornell University and a D.V.M. from Iowa State University in 1987.
She practices holistic medicine which means that instead of viewing a sick animal as the liver case, she sees a pet with a liver problem who lives with people who care about and for him. Dr. Castle feels that the education she has in western and eastern medicine enables her to provide complete care to the ill pet and his family.
Dr. Castle was certified by the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association in 1998 and in acupuncture by the Chi Institute of Chinese medicine in 2001. She has a special interest in dogs that compete in dog sports as she has been active in dog competitions with her own since 1985.
She moved to the Atlanta area upon graduating from vet school and bought the Union Hill Animal Hospital in 1994. At that time the hospital was in the Cherokee Corners' strip shopping center on Sugar Pike Rd. In 2000, with the help of her long time partner, Paul Adams, she bought and renovated the current building on Lower Union Hill Rd. He completely gutted the building and put in the hospital as you see it today.
When not at the hospital, Dr. Castle is often training or competing with her dogs in agility, competitive obedience, tracking, dock diving and K9 nosework with her 2 border collies, Bach and Soul and Jack Russell terrier, Jazz. Paul holds down the fort at home with a Siberian Husky named Frank Sinatra , Jet the cat and several chickens round out the family.
Meghan McKee Smith, DVM
Dr. Meghan Smith decreed that she was going to be an animal doctor at the ripe old age of 3 when her mother wouldn’t allow her to take home the pony from the pony rides. Thankfully, that all worked out since she didn’t have a back-up plan. She started working at barns for riding lessons in middle school and this led to her interest in sports medicine. She accumulated enough credits in high school to participate in the work exit program her senior year at Sequoyah High School, which allowed her to attend school for half the day followed by working with her horse’s veterinarian, Dr. Laura DuVall Moloney. Dr. Smith knew she needed to have a well-rounded resume so Dr. Moloney introduced her to Dr. Diane Castle at Union Hill Animal Hospital. Volunteering during her senior year led to her a steady summer job during college.
After graduating from the University of Georgia with degrees in Animal Science and Dairy Science, Dr. Smith was put on the waiting list for veterinary school at UGA. This drove her to get a job that summer in the small animal ICU at the veterinary school. A few months later, she fell off her horse during a training session, causing her to fracture several vertebrae in her back and needing emergency surgery to keep her from becoming paralyzed. She truly believes that this is why God had her on the waiting list for veterinary school—she was given plenty of time to heal and realize this was a very valuable life lesson. Throughout her veterinary career, the long-term pain that she constantly battles has led her to have a special interest in pain management for her patients. She strives to explore all modalities of pain management and rehabilitation, including acupuncture, stem cell therapies, pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, Chinese herbs, and eventual chiropractic care. She applies these modalities to her dog, cat, and horse patients.
Her parents and younger sister and brother have always been extremely supportive of Dr. Smith’s dreams and goals. Her brother even followed in her footsteps in the horse world by becoming a local dressage trainer in the Alpharetta area. Her mother, Judy, also followed her to Union Hill Animal Hospital not only as a client but also as a receptionist. Dr. Smith and her husband were high school sweethearts and were married while she was in vet school. They enjoy watching movies and cheering on their Georgia Bulldog football team together, as well as traveling to restaurants featured on the Food Network. Her dachshunds, Farley and Ferrell, are in training to compete in obedience and agility trials; if nothing else, they will always get “cute points.” Dr. Smith’s cats, Charlie Chaplin and Hermione Granger, enjoy shedding all over the house and chasing the dogs around the living room. She competed her Quarter Horse, Dustin, in three-day eventing until he retired to pleasure dressage last year following an injury to his knee.
Front Office Manager
Jennifer has lived in the Union Hill area her whole life, growing up a few miles away from the clinic. She went to Hickory Flat elementary, Dean Rusk Middle School, and Sequoyah High School. She has been with us since October of 1993, so you can say she has grown up with us! We have watched her buy her first new car, have a clown ministry, get married, buy her first house and start her family.
Jennifer says that her job with Union Hill Animal Hospital was/is a GIFT FROM GOD. Her Mom had always told her not to get in the car with strangers……..well there was this one day in September of 1993 when she did just that. She showed up for a scheduled interview with the founder of Union Hill Animal Hospital, Dr. Stephen F. Lee, and discovered he had forgotten about the interview. So when he said just get in the truck and we will talk on our way to pick up some horse equipment, she did hear those words of her Mom but felt comfortable and safe from the beginning. The ride in that truck led to a great but short friendship. Dr. Lee was diagnosed with a second brain tumor early in 1994: he fought hard but he lost his battle on November 7th, 1994.
In July of 1994, Dr. Lee and his family decided to sell the practice. After numerous inquiries, the clinic was purchased by Dr. Diane Castle in October of 1994 and another great friendship started. Dr. Lee’s only request was that Dr. Castle keep the staff, so the joke is that Jennifer was sold with the practice.
Jennifer is very active in her Church; she headed up a clown ministry, puppet ministry, and led the youth group for several years, prior to falling in love and starting a family of her own.
Jennifer met her husband, Mark in September, 2000 through her brother, Lamar. Mark and Jennifer were married in April of 2002. Mark is a deputy sheriff in Pickens County and he is a good ole country boy. They had their first daughter Emmaline in November 2005 and their 2nd daughter Annslee in July of 2008: you can always find pictures of the girls on the front counter. Both girls attend Avery elementary. The girls also like to hang out at the clinic with their extended family (Grandma Di, Aunt Meghan, Aunt Tiffy, and Aunt Trish.) You never know when they will greet you at the door.
After 20+ years with Union Hill Animal Hospital Jennifer still feels that this job is a GIFT from GOD!
Ever since Tiffany was a young child, she has always loved animals. She grew up in the small town of Waleska, Georgia. When we say small town, we mean everyone else knows what you’re doing before you do. While growing up she enjoyed riding horses, coon hunting, deer hunting, fishing, dirt track racing, revival and spending time with family and friends. Animals have always played a big role in her life. You name a pet; she has more than likely had it. From pigs to deer, possums to coons. We never know what she is going to bring through that door.
Tiffany started working with us here at Union Hill Animal Hospital her junior year in high school. She had enough credits to be part of the “work exit” program. The first half of every day she would spend at school and the other half she came to work. When she first started working with us, a majority of her time was spent doing kennel work and cleaning. She later moved up to helping assist with charts, answering phones and scheduling appointments. She stayed with us for two years and upon graduation, took a job elsewhere with more hours.
Right out of high school Tiffany started Dental Hygiene classes at Georgia Highlands College of Cartersville Georgia. Not long after starting her classes she decided dentistry was not for her and withdrew. She decided she would stay in the animal field and one year later we asked her to please come back, offering her a full time position. This position was going to open many doors that would later allow her to become a veterinarian technician. Luckily for us, she jumped on board with both feet.
When Tiffany is not working, she loves to ride her horses, go to church and spend time with friends and family. She has two cutting bred registered quarter horses; Poco Linerider “Moses” and Smart Misty Glo “Sadie”. She has a little rat terrier named Gypsy Soule…this little lady loves running around and getting into anything and everything! She also has a miniature pony who belongs to her 2 year old nephew that lives with her.
Here at the animal hospital she plays many different roles on a daily basis. She pulls blood, gives vaccines, does lab work, gathers information on the pets and their owners, assists in surgery, takes X-rays, books appointments, writes up and files charts and takes payment.
At the moment Tiffany is taking banjo lessons and learning to rope. In addition to her position here at the hospital, she works five days a week at a barn and on the weekends she works at the Tate Meat Market.
As far back as Trish can remember she has had a love for animals. Around the age of 5 she can remember following a neighborhood cat whom she finally caught and made friends with even though she was scratched in the process. A parade of dogs and cats found their way into her house as she was growing up. Trish has been a veterinary tech with Union Hill Animal Hospital since 2006, and feels fortunate to be able to enjoy a lifelong love of animals as a career. Her job entails a variety of clinical tasks including performing medical tests, treating medical conditions,assisting in surgical procedures and most important of all, helping to comfort the patients (and their parents!). Trish was born and raised in Decatur, Georgia and has lived in the same house her entire life. Yes, she drives from Decatur every day to come to work. That is dedication!
Along with her 3 dogs(Ash, Otis and Cupcake), a cat(Pickle) and a bunny(Peep), she also lives with and cares for her 90 year old mother. She is the youngest of four children by seventeen years. She has a very large family with 12 nieces and nephews and 34 great nieces and great nephews and most of them also love animals.
When Trish is not working she enjoys and is active in dog agility, obedience and also rally obedience. Since Trish has 2 labs and they love to swim she also dabbles in dock diving.
Until one has loved an animal, a part of one soul remains unawakened - Anatole France
Whoever said “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” has never met Judy. Born and raised near the beach in Jacksonville, FL, she was often found in the water, riding her horse, Buck or “gigging" for frogs in the creek. The neighborhood critters always seemed to find their way to her house. Being the daughter of an English teacher, she and her brother Bruce always understood the importance of getting an education and she made her way to the University of Florida where she followed in her mother’s footsteps and received a BA in Developmental Psychology and Elementary Education. It was there, on her 19th birthday, that she was introduced to Bill. Judy and Bill began dating and got married right after graduation. They moved to Stone Mountain, GA, where she began her teaching career. They had three children that became their pride and joy. Judy decided to become a stay-at-home mom and instill the same values of education and respect in all of her children as her mother had in her. All three children went on to successfully complete college. Their youngest child, Tim, followed in both their footsteps into the business world as well as horse training. Their middle child, Colleen, followed in Judy’s footsteps with a passion for teaching. Judy’s eldest child, Meghan, became a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. Many of you may not know but Dr. Meghan McKee Smith is Judy’s daughter. She and Bill have now been married for 36 years and spend their free time gardening together. When Dr. Smith came back to the practice from vet school, Judy took the opportunity to get back into the working world with a position at the front desk. Despite her fear of computers, she enjoys talking with clients and helping ensure they and their pets have as comfortable an experience as possible. Judy truly is a case of “teaching an old dog new tricks.”