Meet Our Team

Our Veterinarians

Dr. Tony Alber

Veterinarian, Owner

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Some of Dr. Tony Alber’s first memories are of exploring the hallways of his father’s veterinary hospital in Roswell, New Mexico. His first official veterinary experience was sitting in front of a sink and washing syringes at the tender age of nine. He attended New Mexico State University for his undergraduate studies and then graduated from Colorado State University with a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine in May of 2000.

Dr. Alber has served clients and pets in the East Valley his entire career. He enjoys each and every facet of veterinary medicine, but his particular areas of interest are preventative care, internal medicine, dermatology, soft tissue surgery and orthopedic surgery. He strives to offer his patients a wide spectrum of high quality medicine and surgery, a model he learned from years of watching his father serve his own small community in New Mexico.

As the son of a veterinarian growing up, and now having practiced as a doctor himself, Dr. Alber has a unique perspective of the profession. He has viewed medicine from virtually every conceivable angle: through the eyes of fascinated young boy watching from a distance, through the eyes of a high school student finally able to contribute as a technician in training, and finally through the eyes of the primary caregiver and communicator. As the owner and founder of Higley Groves Animal Hospital, Dr. Alber can’t wait to share his experience with a new clientele and use it to improve the lives of his patients.

Dr. Alber, his wife Jen, and their two sons Nick and Nathan share their busy home with a feisty, yet loyal 12 year old terrier named Buck. When not working, rushing his sons to school, or cheering for them at a sporting event, Dr. Alber enjoys both the Rim Country of north/central Arizona and for a few weeks during the summer, the Northwoods of Wisconsin where Jen spent summers growing up. He enjoys hiking, swimming, boating, skiing, canoeing, fishing and watching his family enjoy nature.

Dr. Jennifer Freeman

Veterinarian

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Dr. Jennifer Freeman graduated from Colorado State University with her DVM degree summa cum laude in 2000. After completing an intensive one-year internship at Mesa Veterinary Hospital, she has been in general practice in the east valley for over 18 years. In 2018, she joined PetSmart as the Veterinarian for Services at PetSmart’s corporate home office in Phoenix.

She has been the co-owner of 2 veterinary practices with her husband, Dr. Tony Alber. Together, they currently own Higley Groves Animal Hospital in Mesa, AZ. They were the prior owners of Prestige Animal Clinic in Gilbert, AZ. They have 2 sons and 2 dogs. Both dogs were adopted – Buck is a now blind, almost deaf old terrier mix who survived lymphoma and has been cancer-free for over 3 years and Baby Girl is a 2-year old wild pit bull who loves to chew her toys and snuggle on pillows. Dr. Freeman enjoys traveling most notably to Wisconsin/Minnesota, Northern Arizona, New Mexico, and Hawaii. She is a member of the AVMA and AzVMA, sits on the Healthy Pet Advisory Council (HPAC) at PetSmart, and will serve on the Scientific Advisory Board for the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI).

Dr. Kim Collins

Veterinarian

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Dr. Kim Collins is a true native to Arizona. She grew up exploring Arizona’s wilderness, hiking, camping and fishing with her mom, dad, brother and two dogs. Her family dogs went on all of the family adventures. She grew to love nature and outdoors and developed an appreciation for all animals. She attended Northern Arizona University for her undergraduate degree and graduated from Washington State University with a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine in 2012.

After graduation, Dr. Collins moved back to Arizona and has been practicing in the East Valley. She has a passion for complete patient and client care, dentistry, senior dog care, and internal medicine. She enjoys getting to know her patients and their families and helping to foster the human animal bond.

Dr. Collins and her husband Ryan welcomed their first child, Ellie, in the summer of 2018. They enjoy camping, hiking, rock climbing, kayaking, paddleboarding, and traveling together as a family with their 3 dogs – Enzo and Mimi the basset hounds, and Tucker the mini-poodle mix.

Dr. Collins is excited to be joining Dr. Alber, Dr. Freeman, and the staff at Higley Groves. She is looking forward to providing high quality care and improving the lives of her patients and their families.

Dr. Melissa Smith

Veterinarian

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Dr. Melissa Smith is from the coastal town of Ocean Springs, Mississippi. She spent her childhood exploring the woods behind her house, kayaking in the bayou, biking around town and loving every animal she could find. From the age of 5, she knew she wanted to be a veterinarian. Dr. Smith graduated with honors from The University Of Mississippi, majoring in Biology and minoring in Chemistry and Psychology. She then went to the rival school, Mississippi State to pursue her dream of veterinary medicine.

After graduating in 2019, she practiced medicine in Houston, Texas for over a year before being swayed by family to explore the beautiful state of Arizona. Now here, she and her husband Ryan are enjoying the mountains, hiking, food scene and nearby getaways. They have two dogs, sweet Leila and mischievous Murphy, and a fluffy orange cat named Izzy. In her spare time, Dr. Smith enjoys traveling, cooking, reading, hiking, biking, and yoga.

Dr. Smith has strong interests in preventative medicine, behavior, dermatology, and enhancing the human animal bond. She focuses on individualizing plans for each unique situation and practicing the highest quality medicine possible within each case. She is excited to help grow the practice and form relationships with new clients and their fur babies!

Our Veterinary Staff

Natalia

Veterinary Technician

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Hi, my name is Natalia. I have been a Veterinary Technician for almost 12 years and have worked for Dr. Alber since the start of my career. I graduated from Apollo College in 2006 with a certificate in the Veterinary Technician Program. We are a very tight knit crew here and it truly feels like an extension of my family. I am a mother to 2 children and my 3 rescue dogs. I’m so proud and excited to be part of this new business adventure with Dr. Alber and can’t wait to take care of your beloved pets.

Jody

Veterinary Technician

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I’m Jody and I’ve been a tech for 20 years. I’m back in school to finish the degree I started 22 years ago. I’ve got a silly 5 ½ year old daughter and three dogs, 2 German Shorthairs and a Pitbull mix.

Jessica

Veterinary Technician

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Hi my name is Jessica. My first job in the veterinary field was working as a vet assistant for Dr. Alber in 2013. Since then, I have completed more schooling and training and am now a veterinary technician. I left the field in 2018 to pursue other opportunities but my heart led me back to veterinary medicine. It is my true passion. I have a 10 week old daughter named Evalynn, and 2 fur babies; a 10 year old husky named Mya and an 8 year old brindle mutt named Ruger. Oh! And 3 chickens. I’m very excited to rejoin this amazing group of people and care for animals and the people who love them.

Hanna

Veterinary Technician

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Bio coming soon.

Lauren

Veterinary Technician

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Hi, my name is Lauren! I graduated from East Valley Institute of Technology’s Veterinary Assistant program in 2017. I am currently enrolled in Penn Foster’s Veterinary Technician program, and I’m super excited to become the best vet tech to ever walk the earth.

Steff

Technician Assistant

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My name is Steff and I completed the Veterinary Assistant program at Pima Medical Institute 4 years ago and happy to be part of the Higley Groves team now. I am a mother to 3 children as well as 4 dogs, 3 cats, 2 Iguanas, 3 frogs, 8 chickens, 10 turtles and 4 tortoises. To say I love all types of animals is pretty clear.

Akshita

Technician Assistant

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Hi! My name is Akshita. I am currently an undergraduate at ASU! My goal is to attend veterinary school in the future and hopefully become a vet so I can take care of all your fur babies one day! I have a dog named Luna who is the sweetest girl ever. I’m very excited to work with such a great team and take care of all your loved ones!

Our Support Staff

Kay

Receptionist

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Hello, I’m Kay and I have worked with Dr. Alber for over 5 years. Currently I have two senior rescue dogs that keep me busy when I’m not working. I love my Higley Groves family and can’t wait to meet your pets.

Team member Gina

Gina

Receptionist

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Hi! I’m Gina and I have worked for Dr. Alber for over a year. I have five dogs and one cat who all became family through rescue work over the years. I look forward to meeting you and your fur family members here at Higley Groves!

Tiffany

Receptionist/Technician

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Hey there, I’m Tiffany! I’m excited to begin my Higley Groves Journey with you all. My love for animals has been a constant in my life and getting to now share that with your beloved pets brings me joy. I previously worked at an Emergency Animal hospital for 5 years where I was able to learn and build my career. Outside of work I have an awesome 11 year old son Ethan, you can catch us doing just about everything together. We love our rescue dog Walden and cat named Mouse! I’m looking forward to working alongside a truly great team!