Gifted. Driven. Compassionate. The medical professionals of Talega Animal Hospital are diverse in their skill-sets and united in their vision: the best care for your pet, every time.


Stephen Whipple

Dr. Whipple, a lifelong Texan, graduated from Texas A&M University in 1989. He began practicing in Las Vegas for 9 years seeing all types of patients including pythons, monkeys, lions, tigers, ostriches, and large spiders. After moving to California he has practiced primarily in South OC. As a member of the US Army Reserve Veterinary Corps, Dr. Whipple has deployed to Qatar to treat military dogs, and traveled to El Salvador and Honduras treating livestock, and northwestern Alaska treating sled dogs during humanitarian missions. He has a special interest in diagnostic ultrasound and surgery. His extracurricular interests are rock hounding and hunting gemstones, cooking, and reading. Dr. Whipple is the proud father of a teenage daughter, and coexists with 2 dogs and 1 cat.

Rachel Stanaland

Dr. Rachel Stanaland was born and raised in South Orange County and grew up in San Clemente. She is thrilled and elated to be practicing in her hometown continuing to pursue her passion helping people and pets.

Dr. Stanaland graduated with honors from St. George’s University in 2013 as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, and completed her clinical rotations at North Carolina State University. Her professional interests include small animal general surgery, dentistry and dermatology. Dr. Stanaland also volunteers her services weekly at the Pacific Marine Mammal Center rehabilitating seals and sea lions. She holds a degree in business administration from the University of Southern California, with an emphasis in real estate finance and a minor in law and public policy, and worked as a stock analyst for Investor’s Business Daily for several years before veterinary school.

In her spare time, Dr. Stanaland enjoys traveling, boating and is a licensed skydiver. She also holds a real estate license and assists her husband with his real estate business. Together they share their home with a large German Shepherd, a tiny Yorkie and a snake!

“The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails.”

–John Maxwell

Owners & Founders

Robert Stone

Dr. Robert Stone was born & raised in southern California. He grew up wanting to be a veterinarian ever since he could remember. He obtained Bachelor’s & Master’s degrees from UCLA in 1972 & 1975, respectively, & worked on staff at UCLA for a fair number of years. He graduated from the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in 1982. Immediately after graduation from vet school, he spent a number of years practicing emergency medicine at a hospital in northern California. He moved back down to southern California in 1986 & has practiced in Orange County ever since. In 1993 he & his partner, Dr. Tom Saunders, merged their two Dana Point practices together. The two partners have had a lot of fun together ever since! Their practice grew over the intervening years, adding another animal hospital in 2004 & have added extremely competent, caring & warm-hearted associate veterinarians to their practices. Their associate vets were hand-picked for their ability to give their clients & patients the same attention to detail & compassionate care the partners insisted on delivering when they were seeing clients themselves. The two partners retired from clinical practice April of 2017. Whereas they stepped back behind the curtains so to speak, they still own the practices & have no intention of selling them. They continue to enjoy working together & have concentrated their time on fine tuning patient care to insure their clientele receive a superior level of medical care for their beloved pets. Their associate veterinarians & caring, compassionate staff continue Dr. Stone & Saunders’ vision of dedication to being really proactive with the advice they give & continue to deliver the top quality care their patients received before they both retired.

Dr. Stone & his wife are now empty nesters, & focus their time creating adventures together, be it playing a very competitive game of miniature golf, playing gin rummy with a lot of trash talking in the restaurants they go to, attending as many Angels games as possible……GO Angels!…..Dr. Stone & his wife (both ardent fans!) wonder with all the talent the Angels have, why the heck haven’t we won a World Series since 2002? Dr. Stone was lucky enough to be in the stands just above 3rd base for the World Series winning Game 7 at Angels Stadium! They also enjoy riding their bicycles together & holding hands walking along the beaches at Doho & Strands. They have traveled the world extensively & have especially enjoyed doing cycling tours or scuba diving in various countries. He & his wife consider themselves blessed & delight in the successes their daughters achievements with their respective careers & marriages. Dr. Stone’s father, younger brother, his wife & their sons also live in Orange County, so they get to spend a lot of time with family. They also enjoy socializing with Dr. Saunders & his wife when time & everyone’s busy schedules permit. Dr. Stone plays his guitar daily & after many years of studiously trying to improve, still only manages to do a very mediocre job of making fumble-fingered music! Mrs. Stone grows heirloom tomatoes & other yummy veggies in their garden, which she uses to add to Dr. Stone’s ever-expanding waistline with her gourmet recipes!

Tom Saunders

Dr. Tom Saunders is one of the original founders of Talega Animal Hospital. He has been practicing veterinary medicine in South Orange County exclusively since graduating in 1985 from University of California, David. Focusing on the care of cats and dogs with a special interest in surgery, Dr. Saunders has enjoyed working with people and their pets for 33 years mostly in Dana Point and San Clemente areas. Recently he announced his retirement from clinical practice and does not see appointments but has remained very active administrating hospital duties as co-manager for Talega Animal Hospital and Golden Lantern Animal Hospital. “We have a wonderful, capable veterinary staff to provide excellent medical care for our valued pet patients and I hope to help deliver that superior service by supporting the staff through my management efforts.” Dr Saunders stated. Surrounded by an extended family in Southern California and keeping home with his beloved wife and six children, Dr. Saunders finds time to enjoy biking, skiing, motorsports, and the occasional rest puttering in the garden.

“Cats are angels with fur.”

– Sark



RVT, Practice Manager

Lauren started her career in veterinary medicine in 2006 after an adolescence of extreme adoration and fascination with all animals. She completed veterinary technician school and earned her Registered Veterinary Technician license in 2010. After working many years as a highly skilled patient nurse and client educator, she discovered a keen interest in veterinary practice management. Lauren has been managing Talega Animal Hospital since October 2019 and is elated to be part of such a wonderful team of patient healthcare experts!

“When I look into the eyes of an animal, I do not see an animal. I see a living being. I see a friend. I feel a soul.”

-AD Williams

Client Services


Lead Receptionist

Cindy has been a part of the Talega Animal Hospital family since 2008. Cindy, being very people oriented, is our Receptionist Manager. She enjoys greeting and treating every pet that walks in the door like her own. Her bright personality coupled with her passion towards animals (especially chihuahuas!) makes her a great asset to the team. In Cindy’s spare time she enjoys spending time with her 3 fur babies, driving down coast to enjoy the sunset and beach, and taking amazing animal photography.


Administrative Assistant

Maddie has been in the animal industry since 2010, where she was volunteering for an animal shelter/rescue and has had various opportunities within the field. Maddie has been a part of our Talega family since 2018 and started as a Receptionist; due to her hard work and determination she has made her way up to Administrator Assistant. She truly enjoys the fantastic range of diversities between people, fur babies, and tasks/jobs within this field. You will see her loving on all the brachycephalic breeds (short face breeds, bulldogs or pugs) in the lobby! And in Maddie’s spare time she enjoys spending time with her two cute pugs, Hercules and Echo, and taking them to the dog park or ‘OC pug Saturday meets’!

“The role of a leader is not to come up with all the great ideas. The role of a leader is to create an environment in which great ideas can happen.”

–Simon Sinek

Technicians and Assistants



Bio coming soon.


Technician Assistant

Bio Coming Soon.

“You think those dogs will not be in heaven! I tell you they will be there long before any of us.”

–Robert Louis Stevenson

Bathing and Grooming



Darci has been with Talega Animal Hospital since April 2005 and grooming for 12 of those years. She loves working with animals and has a true passion for her craft. On her off time she enjoys nature, art, and playing her ukulele.


Grooming Assistant

Bio coming soon!


Lead Bather

Bio coming soon!

“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”

–Anatole France

Kennel and Boarding


Lead Kennel Attendant

Jackie has been a part of our Talega team since 2019. She has been in the medical field for 6 years and realized animal care was the career path for her! In her spare time she enjoys spending quality time with her husband and three fur babies. We are thankful to have such a great asset to our Kennel team!


Kennel Manager

Sasha has been with the Talega team since the beginning of 2017. She has worked her way up from Kennel Attendant to now Assistant groomer/Lead Bather and Kennel Manager. Ever since Sasha was little she has had a huge passion for animals that grows larger every day. Sasha is originally from Seattle Washington and has been in sunny California for 6 years. Sasha has been working within the animal field since she graduated High School and does not see herself doing anything else. Sasha states, “I love being able to help animals since they do not have a voice; having the gift to read their body language and be their voice is rewarding everyday.” In Sasha’s spare time she enjoys to play with her 1 dog; Hercules the pug, taking Hercules to the beach or dog park, going out to explore new sights and restaurants, and hanging out with friends.

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