Meet Our Team in Grifton, NC

Dr. Ivy and her experienced, like-minded team of pet-lovers take pleasure in making a difference in the lives of people and their animal companions. We are gratified to fulfill the needs of pet families throughout the community and provide the higher standard of care they deserve.

Meet our veterinarian and amazing staff members below, and call (252) 524-3384 today!

Faithful Friends Team
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Dr. Ivy Heath

Dr. Ivy Oakley Heath was born and raised in New Bern, North Carolina. She made known her desire to be a veterinarian at the age of four, though she had no pets of her own and couldn’t even spell “veterinarian.” When she was old enough, Dr. Heath volunteered at a local veterinary clinic after school, on weekends, and over the summer. After graduating at the top of her high school class, Dr. Heath went to Meredith College to earn her Bachelor of Science degree in biology. She graduated in three years and then applied to NCSU-College of Veterinary Medicine. Much to her surprise, her application was rejected, but she took this setback in stride and shifted course to teach high school biology. This career gave Dr. Heath the opportunity to grow, and it also brought her into the path of her future husband. She applied once more to NCSU-CVM and got accepted, and during her time in vet school she got married and founded a program called the Human Animal Bond Project, which is still being used today.

In April 2008, Dr. Heath established Faithful Friends Veterinary Hospital in the small rural community of Grifton, NC. This town of just 2,672 people did not have a veterinarian, and when Dr. Heath got started, she had zero clients, and many of Grifton’s residents were not aware of the preventative needs of their pets. Fortunately, things began to look up and in 2013, with her father’s help, she was able to oversee the building of a brand new, almost 5,000-square foot hospital. That same year, Faithful Friends was chosen as one of the top four hospitals in the US (out of almost 40,000!) by IDEXX Laboratories.

Dr. Heath tries to educate her community and be an advocate for the veterinary profession. Her favorite areas of veterinary medicine include dermatology, internal medicine, endocrinology, and pain management. When she finds the time to spare, Dr. Heath enjoys painting, small DIY crafts, decorating, party planning, and loving on Munkee, her 3lb “Shorkie” who follows her everywhere. She also enjoys Southern cooking, North Carolina traditions, and both its local and statewide history. Dr. Heath also cherishes every moment she gets to spend with her three grown children and her husband, David. Without David’s incredible support, Faithful Friends Veterinary Hospital would not have been possible.

Dr. Heath is actively involved with her family in the many Christ-serving missions of Integrity Church. She knows how blessed she is to be living out her dreams every day, and she praises the Lord for all He has done for her and her family.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:16 ESV

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Jennifer

My story begins when I was 16 years old and my counselor at school introduced me to Veterinary Medicine...what would be my absolute passion in this life. My first job was at a small hospital in New Bern, North Carolina and it is also where I would meet Dr. Heath for the first time. She and I would cross paths many times over the next 20 years and finally end up working side-by-side at my final destination here at Faithful Friends Veterinary Hospital. Here I am able to apply and utilize the knowledge I have gained through work, college, and my United States Navy training throughout the last two decades. Surgery/dental procedures, lab techniques, microbiology, and pharmacology are some of my favorite things about vet medicine. When I am not at work, I enjoy spending time with my beautiful daughters, boyfriend, and fur-babies.

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Taegan

My name is Taegan and I am 21 years old. I was born in Virginia, but with my dad being in the military, I was primarily raised in New Bern, North Carolina. I started work at Faithful Friends Veterinary Hospital in July of 2021. I came with zero veterinary experience and very minimal knowledge. While working alongside Dr. Heath, I have learned so much and continue to do so daily. Being able to help keep your fur baby healthy makes my heart happy. During my free time, I love to watch crime documentaries.

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Mercedes

I am a native of Florida. I joined the United States Army at the age of 17, serving my country for eight years which included three duty stations and one deployment. I exited as a Sergeant. I hold a veterinary assistant certification from Southern Technical College in Florida. My training included an internship at a small animal hospital. I followed that experience by working with a pharmaceutical company in the swine sterilization process. I joined Faithful Friends Veterinary Hospital in 2021 as a veterinary assistant. I love working here. The surgeries always intrigue me. Every day I learn something new! My love for animals has grown daily since working at Faithful Friends Veterinary Hospital. I am so very blessed to have found this clinic. After work, I am usually at a kids' sporting event or outside enjoying this new life in North Carolina.

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Hannabelle

Hey y'all my name is Hannabelle and I am FFVH veterinarian patient care assistant/grief counselor. I have been here at Faithful Friends since I was four years-old. Most of you have seen me grow up inside these four walls. I have learned many great things from working here and I have loved every four legged animal that has come through the doors. I love meeting new fur babies that come to FFVH, but also helping pet parents say good-bye to their faithful friends in such a way that when the time comes, they understand that it truly was a “good death” that their furbaby experienced before crossing the rainbow bridge.Everything I do and see at Faithful Friends Veterinary Hospital reinforces my belief, taught to me by my mother, that the Human-Animal Bond is so beautiful and strong; it must be a gift of Grace from Our God.

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Jaiden

Hey guys, my name is Jaiden and I am the kennel technician. I have been working here for about 6 months now and I love it here. I am currently a senior in high school. I have never worked in a veterinary hospital until now. I love seeing all the interesting cases that come through the doors. I also enjoy seeing all the sweet animals. I play varsity baseball for my high school, so I know the meaning of hard work. What I did not know before starting at Faithful Friends Veterinary Hospital, was how physically and mentally challenging this profession is everyday. But everyone here has treated me like family since day one, especially my boss, Dr.Heath. I see everyday why no matter how exhausted the team and Dr. Heath are, they truly LOVE WHAT THEY DO; so they keep coming back the next day to do it all over again.

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Krista

Hey y’all! My name is Krista. I was born and raised right here in Eastern NC. While working at a ranch for Equestrian therapy in January of 2015 I was blessed with an opportunity to gain experience training dogs. I was both sole Certified Trainer and Business Owner for The Refined K9 from 2016 through 2020, serving all of Eastern NC with my home base located in Craven County. I have worked on hundreds of cases with over 10,000 hours spent training dogs and their humans to co-exist and live their best lives. My experience started with basic obedience and grew into advanced off-leash obedience, behavior modification, therapy and service dogs but I hope to continue to add to that list as time goes on. In February of 2022 I joined Faithful Friends Veterinary Hospital as a Client Service Representative and a co-trainer mainly responsible for puppy training. This is my first time working in a vet hospital; and as Dr. Heath puts it, “sometimes the learning curve can feel like trying to drink water from a fire hose at full throttle.” What I love about Dr. Heath and FFVH is that even though many concepts may be new to me; when it comes to areas that I do have training and expertise in, Dr.Heath will seek me out for input and advice. Training is not “one size fits all”, every dog is different and brings something new to the table. I’ve learned so much about myself through working with dogs and I can’t wait to teach you and your pup how to have fun and be confident while learning and experiencing the world together.

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Janice

My only connection to veterinary medicine is through my daughter, Dr. Ivy Heath. I have watched her from age 12 until now, blossom from an eager middle schooler to a competent veterinarian. The journey has been a complete delight through everything … high school, college, veterinary school, and finally establishing her own practice.

My career was in education, spending over 40 years with the Craven County School system as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, and K-12 math coordinator. Math has always been my passion and has come in handy in my volunteer role at Faithful Friends Veterinary Hospital as the Business Manager. It is my job to enter inventory, pay the bills, respond to emails and telemarketers, and talk with customers. My favorite thing to do is to talk with our clients and get to know them. We absolutely have the best clients in the world!

My husband, Richard, and I will be married 50 years in February 2023. It has been the best journey anyone could imagine. We have two adult children, Dr. Heath and Corey, who is the Deputy Chief of Inland Fisheries with the Wildlife Resources Commission. We have 4 grandchildren (the best in the world): Caleb, Hannabelle, Elijah, and Jonah.

When you visit Faithful Friends Veterinary Hospital, you will have no trouble finding me in the crowd. I will be the only one here with gray hair and lots of wrinkles! I look forward to meeting you soon!