Companions Animal Hospital

Companions Animal Hospital is dedicated to enriching and prolonging the bond you share with your animal companions.  We believe excellent veterinary care, in conjunction with thorough communication and education, allows our companions to live longer, healthier and happier lives. Our medical, diagnostic, treatment and preventative plans will be specifically tailored to the needs of you and your companion.

Companions Animal Hospital is women owned.

Our Doctors
Dr. Klemenger and Dr. Marghoob met during orientation at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. They quickly became friends and study partners, and learned that they shared the same philosophy on the importance of the human-animal bond, the role animals play in our lives, and the type of practice they planned to create one day. The dream of Companions Animal Hospital began then. The opening of Companions Animal Hospital was the culmination of years of gaining experience, learning, planning, and dreaming. It has taken a long time, but they are now proud that they have created the hospital where they would want their own beloved pets to be treated. Since the grand opening of Companions Animal Hospital in June 2006, the hospital has been honored to receive commendations and awards from the community. Companions Animal Hospital was recognized by Animal Haven shelter in 2008 with the “Florence Brenner Award for honoring the commitment to helping homeless animals.” Companions Animal Hospital also received the highest community honor of “Merrick Professional of the Year” in 2008.
  • 1798 Merrick Rd
  • Merrick,NY 11566
  • Phone: (516) 431-1133
  • Fax: (516) 223-3215
  • Se Habla Español
  • Email Us
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  • Mon - Fri: 9AM - 6PM
  • Sat & Sun: CLOSED
  • The hospital closes on weekdays from 1-2pm for lunch and hospital rounds
  • Cathy O. Klemenger, DVM

    Dr. Klemenger completed her undergraduate studies at Adelphi University, and started her career in the world of finance as an executive at Money Magazine. She left her successful 13 year career in this field to follow her lifelong dream of becoming a veterinarian. She was accepted to Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, and graduated in 1995. Dr. Klemenger had worked as an associate veterinarian at a small animal hospital in Queens for 11 years before co-founding Companions Animal Hospital.

    Dr. Klemenger enjoys all aspects of small animal medicine and surgery, and has a special interest in geriatric medicine. She is the proud owner of a happy mixture of geriatric and younger canine and feline companions, all of them having special medical needs. Several of them were adopted as hospice patients, but pets that enter Dr. Klemenger’s home have a history of doing well and living longer than expected! On her free time, Dr. Klemenger enjoys gardening, cooking, and going to the beach.

    Cornell University, College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Azra B. Marghoob, DVM,CVA

    Dr. Marghoob completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Vermont and was then accepted to Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. She graduated in 1995 with honors and went on to complete a competitive internship in small animal medicine and surgery at the Oradell Animal Hospital, a large referral and emergency hospital in New Jersey. She stayed on at Oradell Animal Hospital as a staff doctor before moving to Long Island. She joined the staff at North Shore Animal League as a shelter veterinarian, and became supervisor of technician continuing education during her tenure there. Missing small animal practice, in 2000 she joined Dr. Klemenger as an associate at a small animal hospital in Queens. After years of dreaming and planning, Dr. Marghoob and Dr. Klemenger finally completed a true work from the heart, the creation of Companions Animal Hospital.

    Dr. Marghoob was an active board member and past president of the New York City Veterinary Medical Association. She was honored to be named 'Veterinarian of the Year' by the New York City Veterinary Medical Association in 2007.Dr. Marghoob's special interests include internal medicine, soft tissue surgery and dermatology. Her absolute passion is acupuncture and traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Marghoob is a certified veterinary acupuncturist. The infinite and unrecognized (by Western Medicine) ways in which the living body can heal is what drives her passion in acupuncture and herbal medicine.

    Dr. Marghoob's photo companion is a 1 year old pit bull named Panda. The doctors and staff at Companions Animal Hospital do not believe in discriminating against dogs based on breed. As you can see, Panda is a happy-go-lucky girl who loves people, dogs, and love!

    Cornell University, College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Russell Barnable, DVM

    Dr. Barnable joined the Companions Animal Hospital team in June 2018 after achieving his lifelong aspiration of becoming a veterinarian. He attended the University of Maryland for his BA in Animal Science and Ross Veterinary School where he graduated with his DVM degree. He went on to complete his clinical training at Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine, where he earned the exclusive honor of Excellence in Outstanding Patient Care, Knowledge, Teamwork and Clinical Proficiency. 

    Dr. B, as he is known at Companions, is passionate about staying on top of what's new in animal medicine. He actively seeks out CTE classes so he knows he's practicing the highest possible standard of veterinary care. Working at Companions Animal Hospital provided Dr. Barnable with the insight that developing personal relationships with patients and clients is integral to continued success. 

    Dr. Barnable's photo companion is his hound mix, Bonnie, who frequents Companions as an unofficial mascot. He also shares his home with his wife, Gina, their two cats, Bucket the ginger boy, and Eevee, the one-eyed princess.

    Ross University, College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Irene Jimenez

    Hospital Manager

    Irene left a successful career as the head of training for individuals with disabilities at a large not-for-profit organization called Abilities and has been with Companions Animal Hospital since before it opened in 2006. She was an instrumental part of the establishment and construction of the hospital, which started in 2005. Today, she is a critical part of the day-to-day business operations of the practice.

    Her life-long dream was always to work with animals, and working at Companions has allowed her to do just that. In between her long hours working in front of the computer and on the phone, you can often find Irene visiting and comforting sick or recovering patients in the hospital. Irene lives with her 19 year-old dog, Mini, who uses a wheelchair to get around, and her 8 year-old Wire Fox terrier, Duffy.

  • Carolyn Heckelmann

    Licensed Veterinary Technician

    With over 30 years of experience as a licensed veterinary technician (LVT), Carolyn has been a staple of the Companions staff since its inception in 2006. Ever since she was 12 years old and walked around Poppy’s Pet Town with a baby ball python around her neck, Carolyn knew she was destined to work with animals. She’s worked at multiple animal hospitals during and after completing the SUNY Farmingdale’s Vet Tech Program in 1989 - including A&A Animal Hospital, Village Animal Hospital and West Hills Animal Hospital. Her AAS degree in Veterinary Science and LVT experience eventually landed her a job at Bellerose Animal Hospital in 1993. During her ten years of employment at Bellerose, she would cross paths with Dr. Marghoob and Dr. Klemenger, who would remember her kindness, work ethic, and expertise when they later opened Companions Animal Hospital. After working at Companions for a few years, Carolyn paused her career in animal medicine to focus on mothering her three kids, but when she was ready to return to work in 2011, Companions welcomed her with open arms and she’s remained a permanent figurehead ever since. 

    Carolyn’s favorite parts of her job include complicated surgeries, dentals, new puppy visits, and giving animals a better quality of life. When she’s not donning her Companions scrubs, you might find Carolyn practicing yoga, working out in the gym, skiing with her family, or relaxing with her cats, Luke and Leia, a dual sibling rescue, and her Toller Retriever, Rusty.

    SUNY Farmingdale
  • Michele Filorimo

    Licensed Veterinary Technician

    Michele, like all of her Companions colleagues, has always been an animal lover. However, she was deterred by a high school science teacher from pursuing veterinary medicine, so she decided to major in Art History and English Literature at Fordham University. Even with that degree, she was drawn to helping others, and she got a job working in healthcare assistance. She enjoyed the nursing aspect of the job, but knew deep down it still wasn’t the right path for her. 

    One day, she discovered an injured pigeon. She took the pigeon home and attempted to nurture it back to health, but was unable to do so. Despite what could be viewed as a failure, Michele felt good that she was able to do something, and it was in that moment she reevaluated her life path with science. She thought of her old science teacher who told her “you can’t”, to which she finally countered, “actually, I can.” 

    Shortly afterwards, she attended Mercy College to become an LVT. She then worked as a technician at Bellerose Hospital where she met Dr. Marghoob & Dr. Klemenger. Years later when she found out her old colleagues were opening Companions, she brought her pets there as patients, where they offered her a position. The rest, as they say, is history.

    Michele enjoys reading and taking trips into the city to see Broadway shows with her family. She has a dog, Sparky, and three cats, Dalton, Sushi, and Olive (the one-eyed wonder in the photo!).

    Fordham University; Mercy College
  • Carey Polcino

    Licensed Veterinary Technician

    Carey joined the staff of Companions in 2007 as a veterinary assistant, and has been a crucial member of the team ever since. She recently became our newest LVT through Suffolk Community College and is excited to continue working in new ways as a Licensed technician.She has been a big help to new assistants as they begin at the hospital, and is always willing to go the extra mile when it comes to our clients and their needs.

    When Carey isn't involved in creative DIY projects, she can be found horseback riding and fostering litters of kittens. She shares her home with her two loving dogs Lucy Bones and Miley, as well as many cats she has rescued and adores!

    Carey shares her home with her canine companion Lucy Bones, and her cats Lily, Riley and Butters.

    Suffolk County Community College
  • Kristen Joseph

    Veterinary Technician in Training

    Before Kristen started working as a veterinary assistant at Companions Animal Hospital in 2013, she was on a different career track. She always wanted to be in a career where she could help others, so she studied criminology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice to become a police officer. But when her dog became incredibly sick and had to be put to sleep, she had an epiphany. Kristen saw the care that went into helping her pet find painless peace, and realized that veterinary medicine was what she was meant to do. 

    She started her animal medicine journey at Penn Foster to become a veterinary tech in 2013, but took a break after getting a full-time job to work at Companions and starting a family. Kristen plans to continue her education to become a licensed veterinary technician and specialize in rehabilitation, which she has already learned so much about while employed at Companions. As an added bonus, she gets to spend time with her sister, Lisa, who works as one of the Companions receptionists!

    Kristen spends the majority of her time going on walks with her daughter, Harper, frequenting garage sales with her husband, Mike, and giving the rest of her love to her pets, her two dogs, Lexi and Chelsea, and her two cats, Forest, and Callie. Kristen’s photo companion is Beauty, a sweetheart black kitty rescue.

    Penn Foster
  • Alara Dalkir

    Veterinary Technician-in-Training

    Alara has been part of the Companions family since 2020. Although she is a veterinary technician in training, she’s no stranger to medical emergencies or how hospitals operate. At the age of 15, Alara was riding in the back of ambulances as a junior emergency medical technician, eventually getting her official EMT license at 17. She volunteered at an ambulance agency until she interned at Companions in her senior year of high school, where she realized that she wanted to pursue animal medicine instead. Alara appreciates the close knit environment, welcoming atmosphere, and constant flow of opportunities she experiences daily at Companions as she works towards becoming an LVT, and eventually, a DVM.

    When Alara isn’t caring for animals or studying, she’s attending as many concerts as she can with her friends or giving her love to her dog, Pixie, and her canary, Lokum. Her kitty companion in her bio photo is Spice!

    LIU Post
  • Andrea McCarthy

    Social Media Coordinator; Former Receptionist

    Andrea joined the staff at Companions in 2007 as a Client Care Coordinator.  She had a 25 year career in the human medical field, where she was a clinical laboratory technologist.  During this time she also raised her family, 2 daughters named Jessica and Samantha, and a son Michael

    After retirement, she decided she wanted to work with animals.   She has a very caring way about her, and is very good at easing the worried pet owner, whether it is on the phone or in the waiting room.  Her medical knowledge is also very helpful. 

     Andrea  now runs our facebook page and website. She also assists our Doctors and Irene with other administrative duties. In her free time Andrea loves to travel with her husband when she isn't helping out with her grandchildren.

    C.W. Post
  • Valerie Shea

    Front Office Manager

    Valerie joined our family in the fall of 2013 and has proven to be one of our most valuable team members. She was originally introduced to Companions by her daughter, Gillian, a former CAH receptionist (who now has her doctorate and is practicing physical therapy in Boston). After a former career as a full-time 'Mary Poppins,' Valerie had moved to retail for 23 years - and is now very excited about her venture into the animal field. She thoroughly enjoys meeting and getting to know all the pets in the Companions Animal Hospital family.

    Valerie shares her home with her husband, Donald. In her free time she enjoys traveling and tandem biking, and is an outstanding cook. Although her and her husband don't have pets of their own, they frequently care for Dr. Marghoob's pets and Irene's dog, Duffy.

    Valerie's photo companion is Elsie, Dr. Marghoob's rescued Cavalier King Charles spaniel. When Dr. Marghoob originally rescued Elsie, she had been plagued with crippling socialization issues that the staff at Companions helped her work through and overcome.

    N.N.E.B. East Croydon, England
  • Lynn Broder

    Veterinary Receptionist 

    Lynn joined Companions Animal Hospital in 2014 after leaving an extremely corporate lifestyle. She spent the majority of her career commuting to and from Manhattan at an impressive plethora of jobs: she worked in sales for the publishing company McGraw-Hill before joining the National Business & Disability Council (NBDC) as a Membership Specialist assisting Fortune 500 companies with their diversity/disability needs. 

    She then took the position of Director of Workplace Wellness at Mount Sinai Hospital Queens which provided health services and wellness programs to the business community. Lynn eventually transitioned into social work therapy at Mount Sinai Hospital, and even thought of opening up her own practice. Eventually looking to transition to something different and closer to home, Irene Jimenez, a colleague from her old job at NBDC and also the Hospital Manager for Companions, mentioned there was an opening for a receptionist. Lynn accepted the position (which she likes to call her dream retirement job) and was excited to surround herself with animals and utilize her social work expertise to communicate with clients. Her constant empathy remains invaluable to the Companions team.  

    Lynn is an avid pickleball player outside of the hospital. In the summertime, she loves to garden, cook, write short stories, and likes to give fun advice as Zelda the Receptionist, her alter ego. She has three wonderful dogs that she shares a home with; Honey, Angelina Ballerina, and Charlie. She is pictured with her adorable photo companion, Madison, who she occasionally dog sits for.

    Adelphi University; NYU Psychoanalytic Institute
  • Lisa Wilson

    Veterinary Receptionist 

    Lisa excitedly joined the Companions receptionist team in early 2020 after a much desired career change. After graduating from Adelphi University in 2007, she worked in banking and retail management, searching for a career that would bring her fulfillment. It wasn’t until her sister, Kristen, a longtime Companions employee, told her there was a job opening. Lisa, who had always loved animals and has trusted Companions with her pets care since 2009, jumped in feet first. The closeness of the staff and the perpetual positive atmosphere has made her feel right at home.

    After work, you can find Lisa knitting and crocheting on the couch with her husband Ryan or hanging out with one of her four kids. Besides her human family, Lisa currently shares a home with three dogs, Duke, Charlotte (the sweetheart in the picture) and Madelyn, two rabbits, Honeybun and Domino, and a tabby cat, Bruiser.

    Adelphi University
  • Brianne O'Keeffe

    Veterinary Receptionist

    Brianne was hired in 2022 making her one of the newest additions to the Companions Animal Hospital family. An animal lover at heart but a makeup artist by trade, Brianne had originally pursued her passion for aesthetics. After realizing cosmetics was more of a personal path than a professional one, she decided to take her career in a different direction and began working at various animal hospitals as a veterinary receptionist. Once she found herself at Companions, she knew she found her perfect fit. 

    In her spare time, Brianne cosplays at conventions where she can put her makeup master to use, plays video games with her husband, Kevin, and flourishes in her pet-filled home with her three dogs, Kairi, Koda and Mila (who is posing in her bio photo!), five cats, Rani, Ollie, Luna, Meeko and Mina, and her two birds - Cookie, and Max.

    Long Island Nail and Skincare Institute
  • Sydney Miller

    Veterinary Assistant

    Sydney’s tenure at Companions as a veterinary assistant has been ongoing since 2018. Call it fate or family history, but it’s no surprise that Sydney has a career in medicine. It’s been her lifelong dream to become a veterinarian, so she began her journey balancing high school and the Veterinary Science program at BOCES. However, her family lineage of RNs influenced her undergraduate plans and she attended SUNY Delhi for two years to see if studying human medicine was in her blood. Luckily for Companions, it wasn’t. 

    She decided to refocus on her veterinary aspirations and continue her education at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical, where she graduated with a BA in Animal Science and Lab Animal Science in 2019. Shortly after, she joined the Companions Animal Hospital team as a veterinary assistant, where she is encouraged to follow her path to become a veterinarian. Her family full of nurses supports her too - especially because her mother is a Companions client and sees firsthand that they have a higher quality standard of care. 

    When Sydney isn’t working with animals, she’s still working with animals. On her off hours, she pet sits for friends and strangers alike and gives the rest of her love to her two dogs, Lola, and Milo and her tabby cats, Denver and Eggnog, who is pictured in Sydney's arms.

    North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University
  • Katherine Filipowski

    Veterinary Assistant 

    For over four years, Katherine has been a constant at Companions. Like so many who grow up with pets, her childhood dream was to become a veterinarian. While in high school, she got an internship working with farm animals where she learned the tools of the trade. Shortly thereafter, Katherine applied to Companions where she quickly worked her way up from intern to veterinary assistant after the doctors observed her competence and amazing bedside manner. Katherine plans to attend vet school once she graduates Molloy. 

    After work, you can find Katherine doing DIY crafts, attempting art projects with her friends or relaxing at home with her 11-year old rescue kitty, Moses. Pictured with Katherine is her little black kitty friend, Laguardia.

    Molloy University
  • Nicole Gurrieri

    Veterinary Assistant 

    Nicole is a recent addition having only been employed at Companions since 2021. From a young age, she knew she wanted to be in the medical field - but was unsure if helping humans or animals was more her calling. After attending Nassau Community for nursing, Nicole realized that the medicine was still her passion but preferred to treat pets instead. Her next move was working at North Shore Animal League as a kennel assistant, where she gained a lot of hands-on experience. But now, she’s aspiring to become a licensed veterinary technician like many of her fellow Companions colleagues. 

    Nicole considers herself “a huge book nerd” and plays video games in her spare time. When she wants to decompress, she takes long nature walks or relaxes at home with her animal tribe - her two pitbulls, Axel and Lucy, her two cats, Salem (pictured), and Snickers, her snake Viper and her leopard gecko, Morty.

    Nassau Community College
  • Sam Carter

    Veterinary Assistant

    Sam began working at Companions Animal Hospital in October of 2021 while still attending LIU Post for her undergraduate degree. Sam always wanted to work with animals but decided to get an education in human medicine, majoring in Health Science and working briefly as a medical assistant at a pediatrics practice in Long Beach. However, it didn’t take long for her to transition to a veterinary path and she started applying to various animal hospitals in the area. Companions was the first place she called, and she was hired for her impressive booksmarts, passion for science, and the 500+ hours of volunteer work at a Wildlife Rehabilitation center on her resume.

    Sam has all of the pre-requisites she needs for vet school and plans to attend Long Island University for Veterinary Medicine. When she’s not using her brain for memorizing scientific formulas and analyzing blood work, she’s using it to play Tetris competitively while her dog and photo companion, Theodore, hangs out nearby.

    LIU Post
  • Josiah Malone

    Kennel Assistant 

    When it comes to the upkeep of kennels, Josiah is the go-to guy. His keen attention to detail and organization has been a huge asset to Companions Animal Hospital since he was hired in 2018. Josiah originally wanted to be a zookeeper, but took various odd jobs as a hotel maintenance man and a substitute teacher’s assistant until he found work at Companions. He also completed the Veterinary Assistant program at BOCES to further his animal medicine education.

    Josiah doesn’t have any furry friends at home but he has found an animal companion in Dr. B’s dog, Bonnie, and takes her for daily walks. When he’s not disinfecting every surface of Companions, he’s looking for his next book to read, going for a run, or appreciating nature – especially insects!

    Nassau Community College
  • "Clover"-RIP

    Mascot, Incessant Bayer, and Heartworm Patient
    Clover was lovingly rescued by Dr. Klemenger in 2010. Clover had been diagnosed with heartworm disease, a deadly parasite that infects the heart of an animal host, spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Heartworm disease is very severe and typical results in serious disease or even death. We at Companions recommend using some form of heartworm protection year round, as there's never a time without any risk of infection.


    Clover had problems with incontinence and had to wear a diaper, which served as an inadvertent reminder of the dangers of the disease. Luckily for Clover, Dr. Klemenger was able to treat her for her many symptoms (including paralysis) and rehabilitate her with her own special care.


    Clover has since crossed the rainbow bridge but will always have a place in all of our hearts- We miss you Clover <3

    Treats, Walks