A Family-Owned Operation

Meet Our Team

At Elk Creek Animal Hospital, we treat you and your pets like our family! Get to know our exceptional team below.

Our Doctors

Dr. Aaron Bessmer

Dr. Aaron Bessmer

Practice Manager & Practice Owner

Dr. Aaron Bessmer has always had a passion for taking care of animals. Growing up in nearby Pender, Nebraska, he had a wide variety of animals. After graduating from high school in Pender, he earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Nebraska. He then went on to study veterinary medicine at Kansas State University, earning his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine in 2007. Dr. Bessmer moved to Hartley, Iowa, where he practiced for one year before moving back to Sioux City. He joined the team at Roach Animal Hospital, where he practiced for nearly four years. In 2012 Aaron and his wife Rachel purchased Elk Creek Animal Hospital. In 2020 Dr. Bessmer and Rachel purchased Vermillion Veterinary Clinic. They split their time between their clinics and enjoy working with all of their clients in the Tri-state area. Dr. Bessmer and his wife Rachel have three girls, two dogs, and four barn cats that keep them busy in their spare time. Dr. Bessmer also enjoys being outdoors, hunting, fishing, and watching the Huskers play football.

Dr. Kalene Gross

Dr. Kalene Gross


Dr. Kalene Gross grew up on a farm in Rosalie, Nebraska. She always loved caring for the farm animals, especially the farm cats. Being on a pig farm, Dr. Gross also took care of numerous dogs and a wide variety of farm animals. After attending Bancroft Rosalie High School, she went on to earn her Bachelor of Science degree at Morningside College and was a part of the women’s basketball program. Dr. Gross continued her education in the UNL/ISU veterinary program earning her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine degree from Iowa State University in May 2018. Dr. Gross and her husband live in Sioux City and enjoy all the things to see and do in the Siouxland area. She enjoys playing basketball, golfing, visiting family and friends, and spending time with her dog, Zeke, and cat, Jaylon, in her free time. She is looking forward to meeting you and all your four-legged friends!

Rachel Bessmer

Rachel Bessmer

Office Manager & Practice Owner

Rachel was born and raised in Nebraska. Her passion for animals began at an early age when she would accompany her Dad while calling on farmers. She graduated from Wayne State College with a degree in business management. After Dr. Bessmer and Rachel married, they purchased Elk Creek Animal Hospital with the goal of providing the best customer service and patient care to their clients and creating the best possible workplace environment for their employees. The duo works well together with their two degrees, and although Dr. Bessmer’s main focus is the animals and Rachel’s main focus is the business side, running a vet clinic is a family affair, and they both work in all parts of the clinic. You will often find their daughters helping as well.
Dr. Elizabeth Schmit

Dr. Elizabeth Schmit


Dr. Elizabeth Schmit is originally from Rapid City, SD where she grew up exploring the Black Hills, rescuing turtles that crossed the street, walking dogs, and developing a love of continuous learning. Dogs, cats, pocket pets, and reptiles were just a few of her favorite animals. Her parents fostered a love of animals, outdoors, and science, so she pursued and completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in (Go Huskers!).

Dr. Elizabeth earned her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Iowa State College of Veterinary Medicine in May of 2021. While she studied all species through her education, she focused on small animals like dogs and cats and hopes to expand her work with small mammals and exotics. Dr. Elizabeth lives in Elk Point with her husband Dr. Nick and their cat, Zazu. She enjoys being active outside, growing vegetables in the garden, and helping in their first house flipping experience. She is ready to turn her passion for animals into her career and serve the surrounding community of people and animals!

Dr. Nick Schmit

Dr. Nick Schmit


Dr. Nick Schmit was raised on his family farm in Randolph, NE where he helped care for cattle and pigs. His interest in animals continued to grow, and he frequently enjoyed raising chickens, sheep, rabbits, his own cattle, geese and had several pet dogs and cats. After graduating from Randolph High School, he attended Wayne State College where he majored in biology. He also ran Cross Country and Track for the Wildcats.

Dr. Nick continued his education in the UNL/ISU Professional Program in Veterinary Medicine, and graduated with his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Iowa State University in 2020. Dr. Nick practiced as a small animal veterinarian in central Iowa before joining the Vermillion and Elk Creek hospital team. Dr. Nick met his wife, Dr. Elizabeth, while in school, and they were married in December 2019. They recently moved to Elk Point, SD where they are remodeling their first home. Dr. Nick enjoys many hobbies including running, house renovation, and playing fetch with their cat, Zazu.

Our Staff


Office Manager
About Brooke
Brooke joined the Elk Creek family in April 2014. She was just a young senior in high school when she started her journey serving as a Kennel Assistant. Brooke immediately found her love for caring for animals and their families, and it wasn’t long before her skill and drive brought her to all the different areas within the hospital. Some of her previous titles include Kennel Assistant, Veterinary Assistant, Client Service Coordinator, Client Service Coordinator Manager, Assistant Manager, and her newest, Office Manager. Brooke’s favorite part about being in this industry is being able to talk and connect with the owners of our furry patients. She believes that the relationship between the provider and the owner is one that must be built on trust and communication and that keeping the best interest of patients in mind comes before all things.

Outside of work you will find Brooke with her husband, Devin, leading and teaching their children. Together you will find them exploring all things nature, going on family walks, and bike rides, and one of their favorite past times, going to local museums.

Fun Fact: Brooke rescued a three-legged feline from Elk Creek after he was hit by a car and we could not find his owners. Later her son renamed him Chester. Chester is very loved!


Client Service Coordinator Manager
About Nicole

Nicole has been with Elk Creek since August of 2020. She is a Sioux City native, born and raised, and has always had a love of animals. She grew up around dogs, cats, and birds, and can’t imagine her life without them. Her favorite part about working at Elk Creek is being around animals and getting to learn something new every day. In her free time, Nicole like to watch movies and hang out with her cat Boco.


Client Service Coordinator

About Jess
Jess has been an employee of Elk Creek Animal Hospital since June of 2022 but has been bringing her pets to us since 2016. She loved bringing her pets in so much that she decided to work here! Jess likes to spend her free time with her husband, son, and animals. She is very thankful to be part of the Elk Creek family.


Client Service Coordinator & Veterinary Assistant
About Madison

Bio coming soon!


Certified Veterinary Technician & Veterinary Technician Manager
About Abby

Abby McCormick has been a Veterinary Technician at Elk Creek since December of 2019. She was born and raised here in Sioux City. From a young age, Abby knew she wanted to work with animals. She graduated the Veterinary Technology Program at Northeast Community College in May of 2015. From there she moved to Lincoln, NE where she worked as a technician. She decided to move home at the end of 2019 to be closer to family.

When asked what she likes most about being a Tech, Abby said,

‘Animals help make us better people, so I love knowing that I am able to care for the animals that need help in return.’

In her free time, Abby loves hanging out with her Puggle, Goldendoodle, cat, and Leopard Gecko.


Veterinary Assistant Manager & Marketing Manager
About Ethan

Ethan Yoder has been a Veterinary Assistant at Elk Creek Animal Hospital since 2015. He is a native of Sioux City, where he graduated from East High School. Ethan has a Bachelor’s Degree in cinema from the University of Iowa. His favorite thing about working at Elk Creek is getting the chance to help heal sick animals. In his spare time, Ethan enjoys hanging out with his cats and watching cheesy horror movies.


Veterinary Assistant

About Emily

Emily McDanel joined the Elk Creek team in August 2018. She was born and raised in Sioux City and currently lives in Sergeant Bluff with her husband, Josh, and two children. She loves that every day at the clinic is different from the last, and she gets to see a fantastic variety of patients that come through the door. Emily was raised with lots of animals and couldn’t imagine her life without them!


Veterinary Surgical Manager
About Clay

Clay was born and raised in Homer, NE. After graduating high school, he went to college at Wayne State University, where he received a Bachelor’s Degree in exercise science. A dedicated athlete his whole life, Clay set three different track and field records during his time at Wayne State, a fitting achievement considering his fitness passion.

Since a young age, Clay has also had a passion for animals, which eventually led him to work for us here at Elk Creek Animal Hospital starting in 2019. Clay has been an indispensable part of the Elk Creek family since the day he started. He is always there to anchor the rest of us and keep us motivated. If there is a stressful situation or a difficult case, Clay can maintain a positive attitude, and that positive attitude is always infectious.

Clay and his girlfriend, Melissa, have a rambunctious Alaskan Malamute named Layla that keeps them busy and entertained. When he’s not playing fetch with Layla, Clay likes to play the guitar, exercise, and spend time with his friends and family.


Veterinary Assistant

About Lexie
Lexie Schuster has been a part of the Elk Creek family since April 2020. She grew up on a farm outside of Elk Creek, Nebraska. She has always had a passion for helping animals. She graduated with her bachelor’s in Animal Science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In her free time, Lexie loves spending time with her dog Oakley, farm kitties, and two pygmy goats.


Veterinary Assistant

About Ariel
Ariel is a native of Sioux City, IA. After graduating from East High School, Ariel received her Bachelor’s in animal science from Iowa State University. She hopes to attend vet school and become a veterinarian. Ariel likes working at Elk Creek Animal Hospital because she gets to see so many different animals and experience new and interesting things every day. She loves getting to work with her coworkers, who she thinks of like a second family. In her free time, Ariel likes to kick back and spend time with her awesome cat, Lou.


Veterinary Assistant

About Jamie

Bio coming soon!



Veterinary Assistant

About Jayden

Bio coming soon!



Veterinary Assistant

About Chloe

Chloe grew up on an acreage in Sioux City, Iowa. She started raising animals at a young age, which is where her love for all creatures, great and small, began. Some of Chloe’s favorite memories are of raising and showing rabbits for 4H. Chloe graduated from Sergeant Bluff-Luton High School and is currently attending the University of South Dakota, where she is pursuing a degree in biology. After graduating, she hopes to continue her education and career in veterinary medicine. When Chloe is not at work or studying, she enjoys gardening, hiking, drawing, and playing with her cat, Suki. She currently has horses, chickens, rabbits, goats, cats, and a dog that keeps her very busy. Chloe enjoys working with others who share the same passion she has for helping animals in need.


Kennel Assistant

About Rylee

Bio coming soon!