Meet the Team

The Dandenong Veterinary Hospital provides team based care, and truly believe in our moto of ‘The Caring Professional Team.’ Many of our staff have been with us many years, and over that time we have enjoyed getting to know our clients and their pets, caring for them like part of our own family. To learn more about our lovely team and get to know us a little better, then please read on:


Dr. Darren Shortt BVSc

Dr. Darren has had a passion for learning and understanding over his entire life. An inquisitive mind with a focus on the natural world, for science in general, and especially a love of animals, it is little wonder that veterinary science was a calling from his earliest of memories.

Having grown up locally, Dr. Darren was actively involved in the school curriculum, local community and local council. As a result, he was recognised for his contributions with a Community Service Award in 1993 and was nominated as Casey ‘Young Citizen of the Year’ 1995.

Dr Darren believes that being a veterinarian is such an amazing, privileged role to play in the life of, not just our pets, but also the many wonderful pet-parents that he interacts with on a daily basis. He is still enraptured by the impacts veterinarians can have on the lives of clients, whose lives are so enriched by their animals. It is his goal to help pet parents come to understand the significant influence their choices have over their pet’s lives, and in turn, their own.

As a veterinarian, Dr Darren appreciates the amazing array of skills and knowledge that allow him and his colleagues to thoroughly understand the many interesting facets of veterinary medicine. Dr. Shortt finds it so rewarding teaching clients about (sometimes complex) topics and seeing them become really involved in their pet’s care. More formally, Dr. Shortt is a Senior Fellow of the Faculty of Veterinary Science, Melbourne University, in his capacity as an Academic Associate. This is a teaching role within the Veterinary Science training course for students in order to complement their clinical training.

Dr. Shortt is pictured here with his former cheeky tabby, Leroy.

Dr. Jessica Morse BVSc (hons)

Dr Jessica joined the team at Dandenong Veterinary Hospital after her graduation from Melbourne University in December 2004, and joined the partnership with Dr Darren Shortt in July 2009. She is the first female owner that Dandenong Veterinary Hospital has had in over 80 years of servicing the pet owners of Dandenong and surrounds.

Dr Jessica grew up on a Hereford stud in country Victoria near the small town of Corryong. Growing up with many pets and animals prompted her as a child to wish for a job as a Veterinarian, which she worked towards making a reality. She left the farm and made the move to Melbourne to study and hasn’t left this wonderful city since.

Dr Jessica works part time within our Veterinary Team, and is otherwise kept busy at home with her three young sons. She currently has two cats, a cheeky tabby called Cheeto and a DSH called Missy, and helps care for the kids pets - a bearded dragon and goldfish. The kids have certainly inherited their mother’s love for animals.

Dr Jessica is pictured here with her former cat – a lovely Birman called ‘Safi’.

Being one of the owners of Dandenong Veterinary Hospital has been a very rewarding experience for Dr Jessica. She is very passionate about the high level of care offered to the ‘fur babies’ that visit us, and being a leader of such a wonderful team of vets and nurses.

Dr Tristan Lee BVSc

Tristan graduated from the University of Melbourne in 2014 and then completed a rotating internship in Seattle. On completing this he returned to Melbourne and worked in Emergency and critical care for several years. Since then he has gained broad general practice experience working at the lost dogs home and general practice in Melbourne.

Tristan is currently working as an intern at a specialist facility to further his knowledge and qualifications and still fits in some occasional locums shifts for us.

He enjoys all aspect of small animal medicine including cardiology, emergency medicine and wildlife. Tristan has two senior pekingese and 2 beloved chickens at home.



Cassandra Goldsmith

Cassandra joined the DVH team in November 2011, she has always had a very big love of and passion for animals! This passion comes from her mum, whose own love of animals was something the two shared together as Cassandra grew up. Her mum especially loves horses, even taking Cassandra for her very first ride in the backyard on their pet horse Sam at the tender age of 6 months old! Growing up Cassandra always had a household full of pets including horses, dogs, cats, rabbits, turtles, lizards, guinea pigs, rats, mice and even a pet galah and that’s not to mention the habit she has of bringing home stray and injured animals!

Cassandra has carried the love and respect for animals from her childhood into adulthood and has always known she has wanted to work in the Animal Welfare Industry. This has led her into completing Certificate 1 in Animal Studies and she is currently continuing her education to become a fully qualified Veterinary Nurse. Eventually she would like to specialize is Equine Nursing with the dream of one day opening her own Equine and Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre.

Cassandra currently shares her home with many much loved pets including her cats Xavier, Xander, Sasquach, Zoey and Aries, her 2 Siberian Huskies, Arizona and Indiana and her goldfish! This doesn’t include all the cats and kittens she fosters.

Connor Van Doorn

Connor joined the DVH team in September 2018 and in 2019 started studying to get his Certificate IV in veterinary nursing. Connor is changing pace with us to focus on domestic animals and the furry creatures within our homes rather than the larger critters in the jungle that he has worked with in the past.

Since completing high school Connor has travelled and worked around the world, with all of his trips centred around wildlife rescue projects and rehabilitation centres in third world countries, spending large periods of time in China, Costa Rica, Bolivia and Thailand. Developing skills in behaviour modification specialising in enrichment and reducing stereotypic behaviour Connor has run research projects on bears and managed departments of howler and capuchin monkeys. In his second photo here, Connor is in Bolivia, spending time with his two favourite monkeys – Mema and Mamout.


Apart from the “big cuddlies” as he would call them, Connor also spends much of his free time in Australia contributing to research projects looking at everything from migratory shore birds, to insects and has even caught and microchipped Tassie Devils. On his way to getting his A-Class banding license he has had the privilege to catch and handle some of  Australia’s most elusive birds.

For fun Connor practices fire-based performance art around Melbourne and has taught at a circus school for backpackers in Northern Thailand.

Connor has dreams to one day start his own wildlife rescue project working with communities in third world countries to raise awareness for injured and trafficked wildlife and believes we need to be the change we want to see in the world.

Ivana Pecoraro

Ivana joined the team in February 2019, having previously worked as an ophthalmic nurse at an eye specialist clinic for animals. It was Ivana's interest and motivation to furthering her skills in the general practice field which has now brought her to the DVH team.

Growing up her entire life around dogs, cats, chickens, turtles and rabbits, just to name a few, is where a strong passion and love for animals started. This passion motivated Ivana to gain experience first volunteering at the RSPCA, to then completing a Cert IV in Veterinary Nursing in 2016.

Her own clan of pets include tabby Lucifer (the apple of her eye), Bella and Milly two Domestic Short Hair sisters, Rocky a Schnauzer X Maltese,and Charlie a Scottish Terrier X Maltese. Outside of work Ivana enjoys hiking and finding new places to travel. She also has a keen interest in Marine Biology, spending as much time near the water as possible.

Natalie Molina

Natalie has grown up around pets her entire life and loves to be around animals, especially dogs and cats.

In her spare time Natalie loves to spend time with her daughter and fur babies. She has a domestic short hair cat Onyx, pictured, Toby the toy poodle, and a new addition to the family - another DSH cat called Meow.

Natalie is excited to be changing fields from (human) medical administration to being part of the administration team at our hospital, caring for our furry friends and their lovely owners.



Josie Jong

Josie completed her Cert IV in Veterinary Nursing at Box Hill TAFE and joined our team in September 2019. She has years of experience working across small animal practices in the South Eastern suburbs.

She is passionate about all aspects of veterinary nursing from surgical nursing to consulting and is especially passionate about building and maintaining relationships with pet owners.

Outside of work, Josie is busy raising a 9-month-old baby boy and chasing after her naughty Border Collie x Poodle dog Hugo – check him out on instagram at @horrible.hugo.


Lesley Oakley

Lesley joined the administration team in September 2020, previously working in finance, having moved here from the UK in 2003.

Lesley has always lived with cats and dogs and has owned several of both in addition to fish, guinea pigs and horses.

She is the current doting owner of 2 Labradors, Peter and Anna, 2 cats called Steve and Violet and lives with her long suffering husband and their 2 teenage children who are also animal mad. In her spare time, Lesley is a netball coach and enjoys spending time with her family and friends.

Lesley is delighted to be joining the Dandenong Veterinary team and helping care for our lovely furry friends and their owners.

Emma Weir

Emma has grown up around animals, including spending time on her grandparents farm when she was young and fostering kittens for the SPCA in New Zealand before moving across the ditch to Australia in 2017.

Emma and her partner are outnumbered at home by two Golden Retrievers (Zoey, pictured and Bear) and two cats (Luna and Olive... Ollivander for the Harry Potter fans out there).

After 10 years working in hotels, Emma is excited to be changing fields and working with animals every day. She works in reception and administration for us, and is looking forward to getting to know our lovely clients as COVID restrictions ease.