Meet Our Team

Mainstay Veterinary Practice, a private and woman-owned business, is actively shaping the way people in a home, family, and community ‘experience’ a mutually beneficial and health promoting bond-one person, one animal, and one visit at a time!

Mainstay Veterinary Practice is a full-service small animal veterinary practice that first opened its doors to the public in early 2013 as a product of Dr. Kristen Hitt’s vision and dedication to excellence in veterinary medicine.  Mainstay serves the following areas in Virginia: Fairfax, Vienna, Oakton, Falls Church, Mosaic District, Alexandria and more!

The practice received its name from the English noun ‘Mainstay’ meaning:

Mainstay [meyn-stey], noun

    1. a person or thing that acts as a chief support or part
    2. something that is depended on, or something that is necessary
    3. a pillar of support

Our name is indicative of our commitment to be a main support system for the “furry” members of your family. You can depend on us to give you the best veterinary care and advice to ensure the utmost health of your pets.

Team member Dr. Kristen Hitt holding the practice dog

Dr. Kristen Hitt, Owner

Dr. Kristen Hitt has been practicing Veterinary Medicine in the northern Virginia area for several years. Prior to attending vet school, Dr. Hitt was a registered nurse at a local hospital. Using her nursing skills while caring for a stray dog injured by a car, she realized that her dream job would be to combine her long love of animals with medicine. With the love and support of her family, Kris went to school at Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine and earned her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine and she became “Dr. Hitt”. As a student, Dr. Hitt was awarded the American Animal Hospital Association’s Student Achievement Award for outstanding achievement in Small Animal Medicine. After graduation, Dr. Hitt worked at a practice in Falls Church and did relief veterinary work for hospitals in Centreville, Chantilly, Clifton, Upper Marlboro and Germantown as she worked toward her goal of opening her own dream hospital, Mainstay Veterinary Practice.

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Dr. Hitt has a strong interest in surgery and has completed multiple continuing education courses in ultrasound. She also believes in ‘giving back’ and started a feral cat program in Falls Church. She has traveled to Kentucky, and most recently to North Carolina, to perform surgeries on rescued puppy mill dogs and animals from low socio-economic areas and she has donated her time to the Animal Welfare League of Arlington.

While not busy helping animals, Dr. Hitt enjoys spending time with her husband and their dogs, Dibs and Moxie, her ‘mutt’ herd of horses at their family farm. Of course, she also enjoys any time she has with her four children, but that time is dwindling as her nest is officially empty. In addition to vet medicine, Dr. Hitt loves traveling, scrapbooking, organizing, and diet coke. She resides in Fairfax with her husband and dogs.

Team member Dr. Caroline Chamarande holding a black cat

Dr. Caroline Chamarande

Dr. Chamarande (Dr. C) was born and raised in Fontainebleau, France. After she received her French baccalaureate, she earned her Bachelor of Science and her Masters degree in Chemistry from American University. She worked for the chemistry department at the Naval Research Laboratory in DC, but abandoned her career as a chemist to follow her lifelong dream of becoming a veterinarian. She graduated Cum Laude from the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine (VT). After 24 years of service at a practice in Falls Church, Dr. C. decided that it was time for a change. She joined MVP where the owner and staff share her values in providing quality veterinary care and believe in strengthening the bonds between pets and their families to assure a long and happy relationship. She enjoys the atmosphere at Mainstay for it allows time to get to know the pets and their owners, educate owners on veterinary care, discuss training, play with puppies and kitten, and just plain socializing pets!

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Dr. C has an active interest in Internal medicine and Animal Behavior and Training. She is a longtime member of AAHA, VVMA, NVVMA, and D.C. Academy of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Chamarande is federally accredited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which authorizes her to perform evaluations and issue International Health Certificates for pet travel.

In her free time, Dr. C enjoys time with her husband, three children, and her furry pets. She has a frequently-rotating “pet population” at her house as she often finds herself taking in animals that need new homes. Currently the pet population at Dr. C’s household consists of Lazarus (a rescued Yorkie), Chewy (a rescued Anatolian Shepherd) and Rosie (a re-homed chihuahua). That is about all the animals her poor allergic husband can tolerate at this time.

Dr. Julie Welebir

Dr. Welebir was born in Fairfax, VA and raised in Potomac, Maryland. She has always had a passion for animals and has wanted to be a veterinarian since she was 4 years old. Dr. Welebir graduated from Penn State with a degree in Biomedical Sciences and relocated to Virginia full-time after receiving her DVM from Virginia Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. She has worked in emergency medicine, general practice, and shelter medicine since starting her career and has always loved forming long-term bonds with her patients and helping them through a variety of ailments. She has a special interest in arthritis, pain management, dentistry, soft tissue surgery and helping families cope with behavior issues in their pets.

Dr. Welebir resides in Lorton with her boyfriend Erik and their two dogs, a dachshund named Gracie Lou and a pittie named Kevin. Outside of work she can be found at the Pure Barre studio, exploring hiking trails or visiting Virginia’s ever-growing number of local vineyards and breweries.

Brittany, Licensed Veterinary Technician

Brittany grew up in Lorton, Virginia and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and a minor in Communications from Christopher Newport University. She was originally in school to become a teacher, but after taking a volunteer position at The Virginia Living Museum, she realized her true passion was working with animals. She has three years of experience working at a dog and cat boarding facility. There she really developed her skills in animal care and furthered her love for the furry four-legged community, especially those of the English Bulldog variety. Brittany also has experience working with animal rescue organizations such as the Norfolk SPCA and SPCA NoVA. In her free time, Brittany enjoys playing Disney Princesses with her young nieces and spending time with her family and friends. You can often find her shopping for Vera Bradley bags, eating lots of Pho soup or relaxing at home with her husband and two dogs.

Zuleyda, Veterinary Assistant

Zuleyda is a Spanish native speaker originally from El Salvador. Her passion and love for animals started when she was a little girl, as she remembers enjoying taking care of farm animals, such as cattle, chickens, and horses. In addition, she has always been lucky to have cats and dogs as pets growing up. Zuleyda has extensive work experience in the animal field, having worked with a few hospitals in the DMV area over the past 15 years. Zuleyda has also volunteered at several events, including Paws for a Cause and Pet Fiesta, to raise funds for homeless animals and to help find them homes. She enjoys learning about veterinary medicine and hopes to further her studies to become a Licensed Veterinary Technician.

Zuleyda has been a long-time resident of Northern Virginia where she graduated from Mountain View High School and attended Northern Virginia Community College. She currently lives in Arlington with her family and two parakeets, Tweet and Diamond, who are her two son’s pride and joy. In her free time, Zuleyda enjoys spending time with her family, exploring the great outdoors and playing softball.

Kaylee, Veterinary Assistant

Kaylee was born in Woodbridge, Virginia and started her animal career as a summer teen volunteer at the Prince William County Animal Shelter when she was 15. A year later she was old enough to start working as a Kennel assistant at her local animal hospital and the rest is history. Kaylee enjoys every part of the veterinary feild and looks forward to taking classes to get her Veterinary Technician License! She is now living in Fairfax and enjoys coming to work with the MVP team. Outside of the clinic she shares her two dogs, Blueberry and Kisses, with her mom and loves superhero movies and tv shows.

Autumn, Veterinary Assistant

Autumn was born in Charlottesville, VA, but grew up in a small town in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. Autumn has loved animals her whole life. She started her career with animals in college at a no-kill shelter in Jefferson County, WV. She then realized she wanted to pursue a lifetime career with animals. She finished her Bachelor’s degree and moved with her husband to the Northern Virginia area where she started Veterinary Assisting. She loves coming to work every day to make a difference in as many pet’s lives as she can. When she’s not at work she loves hiking, binge-watching Netflix shows, trying different restaurants, and spending time with her friends, family, and Golden Retriever, Wesley.

Nikira, Veterinary Assistant

Nikira was born and raised in Washington DC and moved to Virginia in 2005. Her passion for animals sparked in high school when she started pet sitting for her neighbors and friends. Nikira enjoys taking care of dogs, cats, exotics and her two favorites, Neela, the spunky pitbull, and SugarPlum, the potbellied pig. Nikira has 7 years of experience in the veterinary field ranging from general practice to emergency. In those years, she has worked on developing her animal care skills and is currently in school working towards becoming a Licensed Veterinary Technician. In her free time, Nikira studies for school and pet sits for her community. She hopes to one day specialize in veterinary medicine in surgery and dental care.

Savannah, Veterinary Assistant

Bio Coming Soon.

Carina, Receptionist

Carina was born and raised in Salinas, California and moved to Virginia with her husband Robert 9 years ago. She has her associates in business administration and is currently working towards her bachelors. She’s been in the veterinary industry for the past 8 years, but has been an animal lover since birth. While Carina loves your pets and enjoys helping take care of them on a daily basis, she has two cats of her own, Hambone and Chedda, along with three dogs, Max, Gus, and Preci. In her spare time, Carina enjoys pet sitting, reading, baking, watching movies, and spending time with her husband exploring the DC area. Carina looks forward to going to work and making a difference in your pet’s lives every day.

Camille, Assistant

Camille has lived all of her life in Northern Virginia and is a senior in high school. She plans to attend college next fall to peruse wildlife conservation and rehabilitation. Besides Camille’s passion for animals, she is a competitive dancer and also does musical theatre. She has four cats and a sun conure parrot at home, so she is constantly surrounded by animals.

Grace, Assistant

Grace was born in the Philippines and raised in Northern Virginia. She has loved animals her whole life, especially dogs, but since joining MVP she has a new found love for cats that is growing drastically and catching up! Grace’s favorite things to do outside of the practice include trying new food, watching scary movies, and shopping!

Blaine, Practice Manager

Blaine was born and raised in Arlington, Virginia and continues to live there with her husband and their chocolate lab, Mato. She graduated from James Madison University with a Bachelor’s in Business Administration and later went on to obtain her Master’s in Busines Administration from Georgetown University. Blaine grew up around veterinary medicine since her mom is Doctor Hitt! Together, they built Mainstay Veterinary Practice from the ground up. Blaine enjoys hiking and traveling and is on a mission to visit all the National Parks in her lifetime. One of her favorite travel memories was hiking Half Dome in Yosemite National Park and Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park.

Emmy

Emmy is an 11 year-old French Bulldog that resides with Dr. Hitt. She enjoys nestling in her bed as well as sleeping on her heating pad. Emmy has a chocolate lab brother, Dibs, and a shepherd mix sister, Moxie. Emmy can frequently be found stealing the other dogs’ beds. While not sunbathing, she can easily be located by listening for her unique snorting noises. Frequently breaking the rules, Emmy becomes an angel at the sight of Twizzlers. She loves little kids that are “her size” although deep down Emmy thinks that she is a giant dog. She isn’t even afraid to greet horses! Her big personality makes up for her small size. Emmy wants everyone to know that she is not a pig and that she did not run into a wall and that the noise she makes is how she breathes. She thinks she is perfect in every way and so do we!

One of the office pets a small terrier named Laz

Laz

Laz, also known as jumping bean, was turned over to Dr. C when a couple opted to euthanize him at only a couple weeks old as he was comatose from Parvo. Asking if she could try to save him, Dr. C spent days nursing him around the clock until he finally pulled through! You would never know his rough start to life by his cheerful attitude, happy demeanor and wiggling body. Laz loves all dogs and people and is a little energizer bunny. He runs frantically around the practice with his own jumping-like gait and all you see is flowing hair darting by! We appreciate the extra “mopping” he does for us as he covers a lot of ground quickly!

A small tan dog named Reese dressed as a banana split

Reese

Reese is Brittany’s 5 year-old Pekingese/Basset Hound mix. She basically looks like a Pekingese head attached to a miniature Basset-shaped body. She has a silly personality to go with her silly shape. Reese loves running sprints up and down the practice hallway and wrestling with her best friend, Laz. Reese is a ham when it comes to wanting attention and will try to be as cute as possible so someone will come say “Hello”. Her go to position is usually on her back so she can get a belly rub. Reese puts a smile on everybody’s face and is a dog who can cheer you up when you’re having a bad day.

Roo

Roo is Brittany’s Husky mix. She has the voice and mannerisms of a husky and the hunting instinct of a hound. She is always on squirrel patrol, but we think she really just wants to be friends with them. Being part husky, she always has a lot to say. She is very talkative and can be demanding when she wants something. She loves to give handshakes and high fives. Roo is Reese’s younger sister and they are best friends. You can often find them playing tug of war, cuddling or grooming each other. She always keeps us laughing. She loves to run and play but is also happy to cuddle on the bed at night. There is never a dull moment when Roo is around. She keeps life entertaining.

Mato

Mato is Blaine’s 3 year-old chocolate lab. His name means little bear in Sioux. He can frequently be found around the practice, but especially on the scale staring down the receptionist asking for more treats. When not begging for food, Mato can be found on-hold with the ASPCA animal poison hotline as he likes to eat things out of spite when his parent’s aren’t giving him adequate attention (by Mato standards). The list of items ingested include glass bulb ornaments, pepper spray and 25 citronella tea candles. Mato enjoys his farm, swimming and hanging out at Grandma daycare with his best bud, Dibs, also a chocolate lab.