Our Team

Meet our talented doctors and staff!

Our story is a great one.

Dr. Nicole Sheehan has been practicing in North Carolina since 2004, setting up an integrative practice in the Charlotte area in 2013. In the process of offering holistic medicine to the Lake Norman area, she reignited her passion for veterinary medicine, fueled her desire to develop safer and more effective treatment strategies, and provided a community of caring veterinary individuals who love their jobs and their lives again!

Her love of the beach brought her down to Wilmington more often, where she found a group of holistic-minded clients and Dr. Nicolle Rubendall, a local veterinarian practicing a similar type of medicine right here in Wilmington. Together they have paired up to provide the same quality and consistent care with an integrative touch to the pets in this area. They could not be any happier to provide a place for loving pet people to take the best care of their furry family members as well as an amazing work environment for veterinary professionals to call home.


Dr. Nicole Sheehan

Veterinarian, Hospital Director
Dr. Sheehan's Bio

Special Interests: General medicine and surgery, acupuncture, herbal and alternative medicine, orthopedics, cardiology

Education: The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine

Hometown: Strongsville, Ohio

Pets: Cooper and Skippy (dogs), Kaya and Simon (cats)

Dr. Nicole Sheehan has always had a love for and ability to communicate with animals since she was a young girl. After graduating from veterinary school and moving from Ohio to North Carolina, she felt at home in the area but not in her profession. She was blessed with mentors as a new graduate who pushed her to practice detailed and advanced medicine, but she wasn’t happy with her quality of life. As she started a family and also alternative treatments such as acupuncture, she sought different opportunities to improve her medicine and also her life. She found herself frustrated by inefficient systems and poor work cultures. Although her son was only one year old and she was pregnant with her daughter, she decided she had to do it differently. So she set up Whole Pet Veterinary Hospital in 2013 to create a place where she could pay her bills and still love going to work. Little did she know this would create so much more!

What resulted was a place where EVERYONE liked coming to work—where people are free to develop their skills and talents in an environment that is encouraging and supportive. Being free to learn and try new treatments, her clients were pushing her harder and harder to move beyond standard treatments that weren’t working to discover new medications that actually reversed the disease. As animals were healing permanently from chronic diseases, she joked that she was “the worse business owner in the world” because her patients were getting better and only needed to come back for yearly check-ups. She was wrong—her results brought her new clients from all over the state and eventually, phone consults all over the United States, as well as Europe, Australia, and Asia.

In seeing mostly second opinions (or what we lovingly call “sixth opinions”), with a careful history, thorough physical exam, and subtle changes in lab work, she has identified a handful of triggers for common diseases in animals. The mainstay of her practice is “Food First,” where high-level nutrition is used first to improve the health and balance of the body. Any signs of toxins or disease triggers are treated with herbal or pharmaceutical medication. While she identifies herself as a holistic Vvterinarian, she is willing to use whatever treatments give the best results, and so she still does surgery and chemotherapy when necessary. In the hospital, she will often use laser, ozone, PRP, and acupuncture to improve mobility and treatment outcomes.

After years of reversing chronic diseases that typically are considered irreversible, such as skin allergies, autoimmune disease, kidney failure, and paralysis, she has become convinced all diseases are treatable, including cancer. For example, she has successfully and fully treated her own dog’s heartworm disease with homeopathy, her cat’s kidney failure and hepatitis with herbal medicine, and her own autoimmune disease with herbs and meditation. This outlook on healing has greatly impacted the outlook of her clients and coworkers on their own health as well as the health of their animals. A common saying you will hear around here is, “Once you see it, you can never unsee it”.

Advanced Courses and Certifications:

  • Veterinary acupuncture
  • Chinese food therapy
  • Veterinary Chinese herbal medicine
  • Meridian autonomic testing (muscle testing)
  • Detoxification medicine
  • Tick- and vector-borne diseases
  • Abdominal and cardiac ultrasonography

Publications and Appearances:

  • Glycoflex National Commercial
  • VetriScience National Advisory Board
  • Veterinary Practice News
  • VetFolio Podcast
  • Fox News Rising
  • Charlotte Today

She recently has developed a way of sharing her treatment strategies outside of Whole Pet Veterinary Hospital through Nicole the Vet, where she highlights cases, offers classes to vet professionals, and speaks out about problems within the industry. Visit her on Facebook and Instagram at @nicolethevet and see videos on pet care and nutrition on YouTube at @nicolethevet. Be on the lookout in 2020 for her book on healing animals naturally, as well as new holistic veterinary hospitals in the area to serve more animals and people!

Dr. Nicolle Rubendall

Medicine, Surgery, Acupuncture, Herbs, Spinal Manipulation
Dr. Rubendall's Bio
Special Interests: Preventative Medicine, Spinal Manipulation, Chinese Herbal Medicine, Acupuncture and Nutrition

Education: BS from Iowa State University in 1998, DVM from Iowa State University in 2002

Hometown: Newell, Iowa and graduated from Sac City, Iowa

Pets: Hula ( Boston Terrier), Rudy (Pomapoo) and 2 ‘rocker’ cats: Angus (Young) and Joanie (Jett)

My dream was always to become a veterinarian. My family would say I really wanted to be a maid when I was a little girl as I liked to clean their houses. Ha! But, for as long as I can remember, I knew I wanted to be around animals. I am from small-town Iowa and always had coonhounds to play with. As I got older, we had a variety of small breed dogs and my college roommate brought home our first cat and I was addicted. I really can’t get through my day without a wet nose close by!

After veterinary school, my husband, Eric, and I moved to the Chicago suburbs. I became a partner at a clinic in Wheaton, IL, and lived in the area for about 10 years. I really enjoyed soft tissue surgery and discussing preventative medicine with my clients. I had suffered from a herniated disc in my neck and found wonderful care from a local chiropractor who also used nutritional supplements for general health. It was then that alternative medicine became an interest of mine. I initially started with Chinese Herbal Medicine through IVAS and it has snowballed since then. It was through these courses that I became educated about using food as medicine.

My other big dream in life was to live by the ocean. In 2012, we moved here to Wilmington, NC. I still am in awe of how many blue sky days we have here compared to the Midwest. I received my certification in Veterinary Spinal Manipulation from the Healing Oasis in Wisconsin just before our move and started a mobile business providing holistic care while also working part-time for a traditional clinic. It wasn’t too long before I studied Chinese Acupuncture at Chi University. These modalities have made me a better veterinarian. I LOVE learning new ways to help my patients live their best life. It has brought me to Whole Pet Veterinary Hospital where I am able to bring alternative knowledge to more clients/patients.

When I’m not working, I love SCUBA diving, taking photographs above and underwater, paddle boarding, kayaking, and playing with my pets. I miss my rock concerts in Chicago but the beach life makes up for it!

Dr. Sami Winter

Canine Rehabilitation, Wellness Care, Dermatology
Dr. Winter's Bio
Special Interests: Canine Rehabilitation, Wellness, and Preventative Medicine, Dermatology

Education: Morehead-Cain Scholar UNC-Chapel Hill; BS with Honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (yes, a true Blue Tarheel); DVM from North Carolina State University in 1993

Hometown: Wilmington, NC and graduated from John T. Hoggard High School

Pets: Moose (Wirehaired Pointing Griffon); Tommie (15 yr old Cairn Terrier); Danni and Holly (Terrier Mixes) and 2 adorable Chihuahuas, Daisy Mae and Fiona Sue

I love my town; I love all pups; I love people; I love endurance sports; I love glitter, and after 27 years, I still love veterinary medicine. I grew up with no pets but wanted to be a veterinarian since, well, the day I can remember. I enjoyed my time in Chapel Hill, and my Honors Thesis involved travel to Switzerland to study the Swiss Ibex. And that time, I fell in love with travel and all of the adventures it provides. After 8 years in the Triangle area, I returned to Wilmington and have been practicing here ever since.

After 27 years, I have found a niche with wellness and client education in many aspects of this field. I want to be able to care for your pet and you as you make decisions for their care. I am a self-professed Chihuahua and small dog lover, but bring on some happy Doodles too!

I have always been active and interested in proper body movement and how this translates to a healthier lifestyle. Why not pets? Most recently, I became a CCRT (Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapist), and there is nothing more rewarding than having a pup move properly and without pain. I am able to help your pet with numerous orthopedic issues, including soft tissue injuries, neurologic issues, post-op pain control, weight loss, and overall conditioning. If you have performance and agility goals, I am here to help your canine athlete. This is truly an integrative approach to the entire pet and fits in perfectly with Whole Pet’s philosophy of treatment.

My own philosophy is always to stop and speak to every dog on my runs, and yes, I do run quite often. My love of athletics and challenging the body took me from owning a dance studio to coaching endurance sports. I have a thriving coaching business, Fusion Endurance, that combines a passion for performance, integration of training into your lifestyle, and a vision for your future. I can be seen swimming in the channel, cycling on the roadways, and running frequently at the beach. I have completed 21 IRONMAN events and 107 triathlons. It is the challenge and camaraderie that keep me returning to the start line. Just like the challenges faced in veterinary medicine and the camaraderie that I love to establish with my team members.

I share my home with 6 awesome pups, who love to hang out in the fresh air with Charlie and me. Our love of triathlons allows us to travel and experience so many awesome adventures.

Looking forward to meeting you, playing with your pup (and cat too), feeding a few yummy snacks, and keeping them all happy, healthy, and moving!

Patient Care Team

Amber Steeley

Amber's Bio
Amber transplanted to Wilmington 5 years ago from Pennsylvania. She comes to us with a decade of experience in veterinary medicine. She absolutely loves performing dental cleaning & assisting in surgery. In her spare time, she loves the outdoors and hanging out at the beach. She also enjoys crafts, quilting & cooks. She shares her home with her husband Mike, their German shepherd Vallie & KatyCat.

Elizabeth Muller

Elizabeth's Bio
Bio coming soon.

Client Care Team

Kelly Ballard

Kelly's Bio
Kelly began working with Whole Pet at the Davidson location in 2014. When we expanded to the coast, Kelly was very excited at the chance to grow a new practice in a new area.

She moved to Wilmington with her 13-year-old tripod rat terrier mix “Darby,” and her 5-year-old rescue lab mix “Rosie.”

Kelly’s two passions are art and animals.

She looks forward to learning more about the area and meeting all of the new clients and patients at Whole Pet Veterinary Hospital Wilmington.

Georgianna Honeycutt

Georgianna's Bio
Georgianna, or George as everyone calls her, was born in the hollerin capital of the world, aka Spivey’s Corner, NC. She inherited her love for animals from her dad and they always had a variety running around the house as she grew up. She moved to Wilmington in 2009 to attend UNCW where she graduated with a degree in environmental studies. George worked at a doggie daycare after graduation and then moved on to veterinary medicine since she was always there with her animals anyway. She has five very special dogs: Tanner a beagle mix, Stitch a staffy/boxer mix, Paisley a lab/vizsla/german shorthaired pointer mix, Phoenix a pitbull, & the most special, Geeky a chihuahua/alien mix. She was also adopted by a stray cat, Scaredy Kat, even though she is allergic. She rounds out the crew with a mean yellow-bellied slider turtle named Judson. In her spare time, she enjoys checking out breweries, Netflix & as much Mexican food as possible. As her pets get older, George is very excited to branch out into holistic medicine and give them the best lives possible for as long as possible.