Our Team

Deborah Hofler, VMD.

Deborah Hofler has been part of Valley Center and the owner of Countryside Veterinary Hospital since 1998. She first started working with animals at 13 years old by volunteering at a veterinary emergency hospital and from there she knew her gift to the world would be veterinary medicine. After receiving her degree in Animal Science from Cornell University, she attended the University of Pennsylvania, where she earned her Veterinary Medical Doctorate in 1995. With over thirty years’ experience in animal husbandry and nearly 20 years as a veterinarian, Dr. Hofler has become an important part of the Valley Center community, not only for her expertise, but also because of her kind and caring nature. Her favorite animals are Pit-bulls and three-toed sloths. Outside of the hospital, Dr. Hofler enjoys reading, hiking and skiing with her three children, all of whom are very active in different sports

 

Diane Stephens, DVM

Dr. Stephens is a Valley Center native and has been working for Countryside since October 2018. She has been surrounded by animals her whole childhood and has been practicing veterinary medicine professionally since 1995. On her spare time, Dr. Stephens enjoys playing the guitar and embracing the outdoors with her 4 Boxers and German Shepherd by hiking, camping, and dog training.

 

Felipe Hernandez, Head Veterinary Technician

Felipe has lived in Valley Center for twenty years. Having realized his love for animals at a very young age, Felipe was able to start a profession where he could put his passion for animals to good use. Felipe has been working with Dr. Hofler since 2001 and is an integral part of the hospital. He takes pride in providing exceptional care to the animals and Felipe’s patience compares to none. His ability to bring confidence and reassurance to scared or insecure pets is like watching an artist paint a masterpiece. Underneath his gruff exterior beats the heart of a compassionate man who has one concern: the comfort of the patients in his care.

 Jacob Crowl, Veterinary Technician

Jacob has been with Countryside Veterinary Hospital since 2006.  He is a native San Diegan and moved to Valley Center in 2004.  Jacob has a very calming and caring nature; he has been an animal caregiver for over fifteen years and he has a special touch when it comes to providing animals and clients with a sense of peace when they are here in the hospital. Jacob’s favorite animal is the Okapi, also known as the forest giraffe. He came to us after spending six years being the lead animal specialist at PetsMart. Outside of the veterinary hospital, Jacob enjoys geocaching, hiking, and martial arts.

 Windee Evans, Veterinary Technician

As a true Valley Center resident, Windee has a menagerie of animals at home: 2 goats, 3 horses, 5 dogs, and 6 cats. Her family has been fostering, rescuing, and rehabilitating ducks, cats, and dogs for twelve years. Windee has been involved with veterinary medicine for over twenty years and has experience working in emergency veterinary medicine, wildlife rescue, and for the Institute for Wildlife. She’s been at Countryside for 10 years and when it comes to expertise with injured, hurt and hesitant animals Windee brings that calming demeanor that we are so lucky to have on our team. When Windee is not working, she enjoys horseback riding and being with her family. 

 Erica Leal-D’Alterio, Practice Manager

Erica moved to Valley Center in 2007 seeking a place for her horses with enough room to ride and enjoy time outdoors. Before becoming part of the Countryside family, Erica worked in emergency veterinary medicine. Erica grew up being involved in 4-H and was offered a position on the collegiate competitive equestrian team. She has earned her AA in Social and Behavioral Science. She has a joyous personality and her love for animals can be seen in every pet she comes into contact with. She spends her spare time riding her horses, traveling to places like Italy, Germany, and France, and, of course, spending time with her fiancé and three sons.   

Letisha Maxfeldt, Office Manager

Letisha has been a resident of Valley Center for over forty years. At the age of nine, she joined 4-H and began a long career of raising pigs and cattle with her family. At eighteen, Letisha began working for her dad, Dr. Van Wyk. Letisha is always open to add new furry family members. She has raised hundreds of orphaned kittens, and even had a litter of coyote pups at one point in time. Currently, Letisha shares her home with six dogs and six cats, but it is only a matter of time before another litter of “cat-tens” (as her grandson calls them) is added into the mix. Letisha enjoys going to the desert with her family and has continued her involvement with the local 4-H programs.

 Rachael Ballard, Receptionist

Rachael loves animals of all shapes and sizes.  While she mainly sees dogs and cats during her time at Countryside, when she goes home, she has a menagerie of different creatures waiting her arrival.  Rachael has two dogs, one cat, two tortoises, and three snakes.  She has also owned pythons, monitor lizards, scorpions, tarantulas, and bearded dragons.  At one time, she had upwards of 30 reptiles!  Rachael feels that being in the veterinary hospital is the perfect place for her to be; interacting with pets and their owners is what she likes the most.   Rachael spends her spare time getting massages, fishing, hiking, and traveling.

 

 Danielle Aguire, Veterinary Assistant

Danielle started with us early in 2014 and we are so pleased to have her as part of our team.  She brings a positive attitude with her each day and gives each pet the extra TLC that they deserve.  Danielle spent many years managing boarding facilities and pet hotels.  She stopped working in order to raise a family with her husband.  They have two daughters and Danielle spends most of her free time with them.  They enjoy hiking, playing with their two dogs, Lord Bryant and Lady Georgia, and going to the beach.

 Leslie Wright, Veterinary Assistant

Leslie joined the Countryside family in 2016.  After volunteering with us for several months, she became a more permanent member of the team.  Leslie has been working with animals since she was ten years old.  She enjoys being able to work hands-on with the animals and being part of their journey back to good health.  Outside of work, Leslie cares for and rides her horses, hiking, and traveling.  Leslie has a huge heart, as indicated by the variety of critters that she shares her home with.  She currently has a lot of dogs, two cats, three birds, and a veiled chameleon.  She can’t just pick one type of animal as her favorite; she loves them all!

Breyanna Lukianczyk,  Veterinary Technician

Brey has been a valued member of our Countryside team for about 2 years. She had her first hands on experience with animals 6yrs ago as a stable hand. After graduating from high school she continued her education to become a Veterinary Assistant. Breyanna’s training, experience and technical skills has added  such value to our team. Her calming demeanor aids in helping high anxiety patients through their visit.  On Breyanna’s days off she enjoys spending time with her son, her 3 dogs, hiking, and a glass of wine at the end of the day. 

Rebecca Henley, Veterinary Technician

Becca (a.k.a Svetlana or Queen of the Unicorns), has been providing Countryside with her hard work ethic and playful nature for almost 2 years. She is a sincere sole that knows just how to make pet parents, as well as patients, feel comforted and loved in the most difficult times. She focuses her heart, soul, and energy on spending the most time she can with her husband and taking care of her 2 chickens, 2 horses, and 3 dogs. 

 Amy Ortiz, RVT

Amy is new to the Countryside Crew but has been such an asset with he 26 years of knowledge and experience. Amy started working with animal at the age of 10 years old where she participated in 4-H swine/steers. On her days off she enjoys reading, hiking, going to there movies and heading to the beach. 

 

Our Mission