Dr. Phyllis Strain (Previously Dr. Frost) – Owner, Veterinarian
Growing up on a dairy farm near Plainfield, Iowa, Dr. Strain was surrounded by animals from an early age. In addition to the cattle, horses, hogs, chickens, dogs, and cats that she regularly spent time with, she would also bring home plenty of wild animals to save! As she got older, Dr. Strain realized that a career in animal care was the only path for her. Dr. Strain first attended a Veterinary Technology program at Northeast Missouri State University, graduating in 1980. She worked as a Certified Veterinary Technician for eight years. Then, in 1988, she returned to school at Wartburg College. Dr. Strain graduated with honors and a Bachelor’s degree in Biology in 1990. Afterward, Dr. Strain was accepted into Iowa State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, earning her degree with top honors in 1994. Shortly thereafter, she opened Avenue of the Saints Animal Hospital! Her expertise includes both soft tissue and orthopedic surgery, canine reproduction, chiropractic work, and acupuncture.
Dr. Strain has three children. Her daughter, Dr. Jami Mallen, is also a veterinarian and works alongside her mother, right here at the clinic! Her son, Jacob, currently serves in the Air Force. Dr. Strain’s youngest daughter, Jordyn, is in high school, and interested in becoming a veterinarian as well. She and Jordyn share their home with two Shetland Sheepdogs, a Collie, a Yorkshire Terrier, three indoor Cornish Rexes, and two barn cats. Dr. Strain’s husband, Carter, lives in Clinton, Louisiana, where she travels every two weeks to spend time with him. They share their hobby of riding horses and trail ride all over the United States. They have several horses: Quarter horses, Paints, Appaloosas, Rocky Mountain horses, and one miniature horse that belongs to Jordyn.
When asked which dog breed she identifies most with, she chose a Shetland Sheepdog or a Collie. She is active and always on the go! As a doctor, she also likes to identify with both breeds’ intelligence.
Dr. Jami Mallen – Associate Veterinarian
It makes perfect sense that Dr. Mallen would become a veterinarian – after all, she quite literally grew up in the clinic! She developed a love for animals and the practice of veterinary medicine at a young age. Her mother, Dr. Phyllis Frost-Strain, opened the Avenue of the Saints Animal Hospital in 1995, and is still practicing here today. Jami grew up a few miles outside of Plainfield, Iowa. She started her veterinary career as a Technician here at Avenue of the Saints Animal Hospital in 2007, gaining valuable experience for veterinary school. She completed her undergraduate studies at Wartburg College, majoring in Biology, before getting her DVM degree from Iowa State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine in 2014. Upon graduation from veterinary school, Dr. Mallen easily transitioned into a position right alongside her mother.
Dr. Mallen has a special passion for internal medicine, and loves the problem-solving approach it requires. She especially enjoys doing abdominal ultrasounds. She also loves doing new patient exams, helping a pet owner transition their new furry friend into the home seamlessly. Since introducing dental radiographs, she has also developed a great appreciation for dentistry, and maintaining your pets oral health.
Outside of her veterinary interests, Dr. Mallen loves being active outdoors with her family by four wheeling, kayaking, hiking, and traveling across the United States in their RV. She also enjoys do-it-yourself projects around the home, especially when she’s able to turn an old, tattered item into something beautiful. Jami also likes to read and quilt when she gets the chance. Jami is married to her wonderful husband, John, who works as a Regional President for Woodruff Construction. They have three children, Harper, Addyson, and Caden. Together, they have a Bernese Mountain dog, Beau, and five cats, Carson, Dice, Honey, Minnie, and Felix.
When asked which dog breed she identifies most with, she chose a Labrador Retriever. Although she would not own one because she prefers a more mellow, lazy dog. Like a Lab, She is athletic, loyal, and friendly, as well as enthusiastic, happy, and intelligent.
Dr. Rachel Mack – Veterinarian
Dr. Mack has pretty much always known she wanted to be a veterinarian! She has had cats since the day she was born, then gradually added dogs, hamsters, gerbils, fish, and reptiles along the way. When she was five years old, she discovered what a veterinarian was, and at that moment she knew she could be nothing else! She went on to obtain her undergraduate degree at Truman State University in Kirksville, MO, and then attended veterinary school at Iowa State University. She is now licensed to practice medicine and write health certificates in the state of Iowa. Dermatology and behavior are her special areas of interest in veterinary medicine. She would love to learn more about dentistry and nutrition.
In her free time, Dr. Mack enjoys reading, baking, swimming somewhere warm, and walking. Dr. Mack has a husband named Josh, who doesn’t realize there are only 24 hours in a day, so he takes on many, many endeavors and projects! She has 4 children: Carter, Lucas, Madison, and Charlotte. Dr. Mack also has a black Labrador Retriever (who can sometimes be seen around the clinic) named Cosmo; and 4 domestic shorthair cats named Monkey, Charlie, Midnight, and Snickers.
When asked which dog breed she resonates with, Dr. Mack chose a Golden Retriever because they’re friendly with everyone, have a happy personality, and are easygoing.
Dr. Holly Neuberger – Veterinarian
As a third generation veterinarian, Dr. Neuberger realized she had a special bond with animals at an early age, and could connect and relate to them. She has always had a very tender heart for animals, becoming emotionally invested in the humane treatment of them. The earliest memory she has of this, around 8 years old, is getting up in the middle of the night at a family resort in Wisconsin, and releasing turtles back into the river. These turtles had been caught the week prior and kept in a small tank for the resort’s annual turtle race. She distinctly remembers the resort managers panicking the following morning, finding the turtle enclosure empty! Furthermore, growing up in Clear Lake, she would often have her mom drive her around the lake, so they could rescue turtles crossing the road; helping them along so they wouldn’t get hit by cars driving by. Her compassion and love for animals didn’t stop at turtles, however. Dr. Neuberger volunteered much of her time in high school and college at local animal shelters. Her goal was to never leave until every cat got attention, and every dog was walked.
Dr. Neuberger majored in Biology at the University of Northern Iowa, and found she excelled in science and math, and enjoyed advancing her knowledge for the future betterment of pets. In 2014, she graduated from UNI, and went on to attend Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine until 2018. At ISU, she was involved in many shelter medicine and animal welfare advocacy projects and activities. Dr. Neuberger also took many extra courses involving soft tissue surgery, ophthalmology, dermatology, and internal medicine. In 2020, Dr. Neuberger became a veterinarian at Avenue of the Saints Animal Hospital! Since becoming a veterinarian, she has found that her true passion is being the voice and advocate for her patients – figuring out the source of their pain and disease process despite having no voice to direct her. Dr. Neuberger also realizes the importance of the human-animal bond, and strives to make every visit as stress-free and straightforward as possible.
When not at work, she enjoys spending time outdoors with her husband, Spencer, and children, Violet and Sonny. They have two dogs: a rescue Hound named Huck, and a Goodendoodle named Finn. They also have a cat that they adopted from PAWS Humane Society in Charles City, named Willow.
After being asked which dog breed she resonates with, Dr. Neuberger chose a King Charles Cavalier Spaniel because they are loyal, fun-loving, and kind to everyone!
Dr. Neuberger is truly honored to be a part of the Avenue of the Saints Animal Hospital team, and looks forward to serving you and your beloved pet!
Kylie – Registered Veterinary Technician
Kylie has been around a menagerie of animals her whole life. She grew up on a farm in rural Rudd, Iowa, where her family had cattle, hogs, goats, a pony, dogs, hamsters, and farm kitties. She knew working with animals was something she wanted to pursue as a career path. In high school, she volunteered at the Humane Society of North Iowa, and shadowed veterinarians at Osage Veterinary Clinic. Upon graduation, she attended a rigorous, AAHA accredited veterinary technician program at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Here, Kylie worked with dogs, cats, chinchillas, birds, snakes, hamsters, mice, and even adopted 4 rats from one of her exotics classes! While attending Kirkwood, Kylie was assigned to rehabilitate a spunky, wire-haired poodle mix named Mickey. He won over her heart, and has lived with her since 2017. After her first year in college, in 2018, she had the opportunity to do an internship at Avenue of the Saints Animal Hospital. Then, in 2019, she graduated with her Associate’s of Applied Science degree, and came back full time! After passing her board and state exams, Kylie was licensed by the state of Iowa as a Registered Veterinary Technician. Her main passion is dental cleanings, surgery, prophylactics, and radiography – she would love to obtain a specialty in dentistry some day.
Outside of work, she loves reading. Kylie has a huge personal library that she takes pride in. Additionally, she enjoys playing video games, hammocking during the summer, and spending time with her family, friends, and pets. She lives with her longtime partner, Nik, in Nora Springs, Iowa. They have 6 cats: Alice, Riddim, Solembum, Orik, Navi, and Roran. Of course, Kylie also has Mickey, who comes to work with her every day, and can be found behind the desk at the clinic.
When asked which dog breed she identifies with, Kylie chose Boxers. They are her favorite breed; she resonates with them because they are goofy, intelligent dogs that prefer to be with their loved ones, rather than being alone. They may appear intimidating, but once you get to know them, they are extremely loveable and vocal creatures, much like Kylie. Although she is not as energetic as a Boxer, she likes to stay busy!
Phoebe – Veterinary Technician
Phoebe has known her entire life that she wanted to help animals. During her sophomore year in high school, she even got the opportunity to shadow her local veterinary clinic, which just confirmed even more that veterinary medicine was what she wanted to do. She has shown pigs, chickens, ducks, and rabbits at the fair, and had guinea pigs and hamsters as pets. Phoebe’s family has always had a cat in the house, along with her extended family members owning cats and dogs. From fall of 2018 to spring of 2020 she attended Iowa Lakes Community College. Phoebe is currently studying in order to take the Veterinary Technician National Exam and the Iowa State Board Exam to become a registered technician. She enjoys dentistry and laboratory work.
Phoebe currently lives with her cats, both of whom are Domestic Shorthairs with big personalities! Isla Mae is grey, and was Phoebe’s first big adult purchase. She is sassy to most people, and usually only enjoys Phoebe’s company. Indiana Violet is a torbie – who has three legs, due to a healed fracture! She is still as spunky as ever and is very vocal. Outside of work, Phoebe enjoys attending concerts with her friends and spending time with her family in her hometown. She also spends time playing video games and binge watching different things with her cats. One of her favorite things is sitting down with an adult coloring book and just zoning out for a few hours. Phoebe is currently learning how to crochet, and would like to get back into reading books.
When asked which dog breed she identifies most with, Phoebe chose a Dachshund. Her family has always adored them. They seem mean until you get to know them! Also, they have short little legs and a long torso!
Shaelie – Veterinary Assistant
Shaelie has been around animals her entire life, and has always been interested in learning everything she could about them. Right after high school, Shaelie attended Hawkeye Community College’s Veterinary Assistant Program. One year before finishing her program, she was hired at Avenue of the Saints Animal Hospital. She graduated from college in December, 2018. Her favorite part of her job by far is interacting with the clients and patients. Medical cases, laboratory work, challenging her skill set, and being able to learn every day are also parts of her job that she loves!
Shaelie was born and raised in Waverly, Iowa. She has two sisters: Danielle and Janessa. A couple of years ago, Shaelie and her significant other, Cameron, purchased a house in Plainfield, Iowa, where they currently reside. Together, they have 4 cats: Paisley, Clover, Peach, and Blossom. Additionally, they have 2 dogs: Zola and Remi. Outside of work, Shaelie loves spending time with her best friend, Cheyenne, and her two children – who Shaelie thinks of as her own! Behind the scenes, one of her favorite things to do at home is cooking. She also enjoys camping, fishing, organizing/remodeling her home, and spending time with her pets.
When asked which dog breed she identifies with, Shaelie said pitbulls/pitbull mixes, like her own pup. In general, this breed is extremely affectionate, loyal, intelligent, gentle, obedient, but can also be stubborn at the same time. A pitbull longs to be a companion to the right person! From Shaelie’s personal experience, she can absolutely count on her girl, Zola, to be her best friend until the end!
Alyssa – Veterinary Assistant
Alyssa has been working with dogs since she was only 7 years old. She fostered a passion for dog training after seeing how the canine mind can work through scenarios and problem solve. With her family, she bred Gordon Setters. Alyssa graduated from Iowa State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science. Canine behavior is Alyssa’s favorite aspect of the job, and she enjoys interacting with clients.
Outside of work, Alyssa works with the Floyd County 4-H Dog and Pet Show. She also volunteers for Retrieving Freedom Inc. by fostering and training service dogs. Alyssa has 2 dogs: River and Brook; and 2 cats: Frankie and Martha.
When asked which dog breed she identifies with, she chose a Labrador Retriever because they are driven, fun, and versatile. Labradors can be very social, yet know when work needs to be done!
Samantha – Veterinary Assistant
Samantha has known she wanted to work with animals all her life. Her family grew up with Labrador Retrievers, and the breed has always been something that is special to her. In middle school, she had the opportunity to do an internship at a veterinary clinic, and that was where she decided that being in the field of veterinary medicine was what she wanted to do for the rest of her life. Currently, Samantha is attending Iowa State University, to obtain a degree in Animal Science. The curriculum she is studying will allow her to apply for veterinary school once she graduates with her Bachelor’s Degree. She has been employed with Avenue of the Saints Animal Hospital since December 2020. She has enjoyed having hands-on experiences that are relatable to what she’s learning when away at school. Samantha is excited to continue to grow and learn about becoming the best veterinarian she can be! For now, you can find her in the back of the clinic assembling surgery packs, or ensuring things are running smoothly behind the scenes. If you have recently lost a pet, you may have received a custom paw print and nose print that she created. Samantha takes pride in making the perfect print, that tells the story of your family member.
Depending on the season, when not working, Samantha can be found either in the water, or on top of it! During the summer months, she enjoys going to the river and soaking up the sun. In the wintertime, she can be found in the northern wilderness, riding snowmobiles with her family and friends. There’s rarely a weekend that they don’t have something going on! Any time of year, she spends most of her time with family and friends, just hanging out or going on an adventure!
When asked which dog breed she resonates with most, Samantha chose Labrador Retrievers. There are times where she’s completely focused and diligently working to achieve her goals for the day. On the other hand, there are times where she enjoys just letting loose and letting her mind travel in a thousand different places at once. Just like a Labrador, she can easily move from one personality to the next!
Jessica – Receptionist
Jessica is new to the field, with Avenue of the Saints Animal Hospital being her first job in veterinary medicine. Typically, Jessica has always worked with children, whether in a daycare or in a school setting. She loves interacting with people and chatting! It’s a bonus that all the animals are so cute, and she gets to love on them.
At home, Jessica enjoys spending time with her family. During the summer, she camps a lot and plays Bingo. She travels whenever she has time to getaway. Jessica has been married to her husband, Kelly, since 2001, and has 3 children: Chassidy, Camden, and Caylee; plus two bonus children: Brantley, and Bayleah. Additionally, she has 2 cats: Gracie and Roxie; two Chihuahuas: Charlie and Honey, and a Chiweenie named Vinny.
The dog breed that Jessica resonates with the most is a Bullmastiff, because they can be gentle and laid-back, but are very protective of their families. They are loyal and strong-willed, like Jessica.
Anastasia – Receptionist
Anastasia has worked in several animal care facilities since high school, and has been surrounded by a variety of animals her whole life! While she was in college, she was also working with horses, and various other large animals in her free time. Since joining Avenue of the Saints Animal Hospital in January 2021, she has enjoyed being able to connect with various animals, and their owners. She enjoys that her job brings her unique experiences and new challenges each day that keep her engaged in her daily tasks.
On her days off, Anastasia enjoys spending time with her dog. They like going on walks and car rides together. She also enjoys riding and working with horses, and hanging out with her friends. Anastasia is an only child, and she was born and raised in Des Moines, Iowa. She moved to the area in 2017 to attend college, and to be closer to her grandparents and their farm. She has a 16 year old paint gelding named Scooter, a 15 year old Chihuahua mix named Jimmy Jiggles, a 12 year old Staffordshire Terrier mix named Rusty, and a 17 year old painted turtle named Daffodil. Anastasia has lived in Waverly for a few years with her boyfriend and pets.
Her favorite dog breed is an American Staffordshire Terrier because they’re the sweetest and funniest dog! They have a bad reputation, but she has still not met one that she didn’t love! And of course, her own dog is her favorite breed!
Sidney – Receptionist
Sidney has wanted to work with animals all her life. As a child, she always watched animal shows and movies, and read books about animals. Nature and animals are her biggest passion. Sidney has worked as a kennel attendant and a veterinary assistant before starting at Avenue of the Saints Animal Hospital. She attended Iowa State University. Sidney never thought she would like reception work since she’s very shy, but she’s finding out that she enjoys meeting, and getting to know clients and patients (especially the patients!).
Sidney lives with her longtime boyfriend and three cats (who they’re obsessed with!). Two of her cats are Domestic Mediumhairs, and the third is a Siamese. She has a large family and is very close with her mom. Outside of work, Sidney enjoys spending time outside when the weather is nice, hanging out with her cats, playing video games, and photographing nature (which has been a hobby of hers for many years). When asked which dog breed she resonates with, Sidney said any breed that is nice, loves cats, and enjoys activities outside. That’s her in a nutshell!
Kalee – Groomer
Kalee realized she wanted to work with animals after seeing Crocodile Hunter as a child – she idolized Steve Irwin! She always had cats growing up. In 2016, she officially became a groomer. Alternatively, she is known as the “dog whisperer” around the clinic because she dedicates her time to winning over the more difficult dogs she meets.
When not grooming, Kalee enjoys taking walks, reading, playing video games, and spending time with her husband and two children. At home, Kalee has two dogs, three cats, snakes, various invertebrates, and geckos.
Tiger Lily – Waverly Clinic Cat
Tiger Lily was found outside Avenue of the Saints Animal Hospital’s Waverly location in March 2019. Upon discovery, Dr. Mallen quickly diagnosed Tiger Lily with frostbite on her tail. A few weeks later, Dr. Strain spayed her and amputated part of her tail. Today, Tiger Lily is a healthy, spunky asset to the ASAH family! She loves attention (on her own terms!), especially from her favorite person, Anastasia. One of her favorite activities is eating – she will even go as far as biting open food bags to get what she wants! On a normal day, Tiger Lily can be found relaxing on her cat tree, in her condo, or in her special cubby behind the front desk, next to Anastasia. While Tiger Lily chose to live at Avenue of the Saints Animal Hospital, she is not a fan of other animals whatsoever!
When asked which dog breed Tiger Lily resonates with, she expressed disgust at the thought. She said she’s just like her own breed, a Domestic Shorthair because they can be independent and resilient. They are feisty animals, but Domestic Shorthairs love their families!
Chloe – Charles City Clinic Cat
Chloe joined the Avenue of the Saints Animal Hospital family in June 2021, after Dr. Neuberger took her in. She now spends her days getting brushed and “helping” the staff do paperwork. She was born in 2016, and has been fabulous ever since. Most days, she can either be found lounging on the front desk in her bed, perched on the window sill in the doctors’ office, or demanding attention from clients and staff. Chloe is very vocal and likes to talk with anyone who is willing to listen! She loves getting to know people, but does tend to do best without other cats around. Chloe’s favorite snack is French fries from McDonald’s, and Dr. Neuberger is her favorite person!
When asked which dog breed she most identifies with, Chloe scoffed and rolled her eyes. She says she most identifies with her own cat breed, the Nebelung. They are intelligent and good-natured cats. Nebelungs love attention and are normally easy-going, much like Chloe!