Meet Our Veterinarians in Virginia-Highland, GA

At The Village Vets Virginia-Highland, our veterinarians are one-of-a-kind They are talented, experienced, and dedicated to your pet’s health. Part of that dedication is ensuring you have a full understanding of your pet’s health and any illness so that you can make informed decisions for their health care. Find out more about our team below and be sure to make an appointment soon to meet us in person!


A team with over of combined experience:

Dr. Anneke Lothridge

Since 2011

Dr. Lothridge, originally from Athens, GA, did her undergraduate studies at the University of Georgia before graduating in 2009 from Colorado State University's veterinary school.

She now lives in Decatur's Oakhurst neighborhood with her husband, Britt, their children, Anna and Grady, and their rescue dog, Bishop, a Boston Terrier. In her spare time, Dr. Lothridge enjoys yoga, reading, sewing, spending time outdoors - especially at the beach, and running, which over the last several years, tops the list of her favorite things to do!

Dr. Françoise Tyler

Since 2000

Françoise "Dr. Fran" Tyler is an Atlanta native and a 1984 Woodward Academy graduate. She attended University of Georgia (UGA) for undergraduate studies, and then Tuskegee University in Alabama for her DVM (received in 1991). Before moving back to Atlanta, she completed a small animal internship at UGA. She loves dermatology, internal medicine, and exotic animal medicine. She married Dr. Will Draper in 1993, and together they founded The Village Vets in 2000 with the purchase of Cedar Village Animal Clinic.

Dr. Tyler has been ranked as a FIVE STAR Veterinarian in the Atlanta magazine– which only 7% of the veterinarians in the metro Atlanta area have received (one of which is her husband, Dr. Draper). She enjoys listening to jazz, reading, walking her dogs around her Inman Park neighborhood ( dubbed "Atlanta's first suburb" near downtown Atlanta), as well as spoiling her family members, friends, team members. She loves time at the beach, and traveling anywhere her passport allows her to.

She and her husband have four children, David, Tyler, Gabrielle, and Olivia; four dogs: Max, Louie, Frank, Bella and Beauford; and one cat, Charlemagne.

Dr. Blake Shessel

Since 2021

Dr. Shessel was born and raised in Atlanta.  As the 4th doctor in her family, she pursued her love for medicine for 8 years in Athens - graduating from the University of Georgia with a bachelor’s in biology in 2014 and her DVM in 2018.  With a special interest in small animal surgery, Dr. Shessel went on to complete her rotating internship at Bluepearl Veterinary Specialists in Atlanta, followed by a specialty surgery internship at Friendship Hospital for Animals in Washington DC. She returned to Athens for a research fellowship in 2020 before becoming part of The Village Vets family. While she clearly enjoys being in the OR, she also enjoys working-up in depth medicine cases.

When not at the hospital, Dr. Shessel can be found running, in a pure barre class, or cheering on the “Dawgs”. She is an avid Georgia Tennis fan and loves serving regularly as a door holder at Passion City Church.

Dr. Will Draper Practice Director

Since 2000

“Dr. Will” grew up in Inglewood, California. He graduated from Morningside High School in 1984, then attended Tuskegee University in Alabama (4th generation) for both undergraduate and veterinary medical studies. He received his DVM in 1991, followed by a 1-year internship at North Rockville Veterinary Hospital in Maryland. He moved to Atlanta in 1992, married veterinary school classmate Dr. Françoise Tyler in 1993, and together they founded The Village Vets in 2000. His special veterinary interests include dermatology, internal medicine, and practice management.

He has received a number of accolades including being ranked as a FIVE STAR veterinarian in the Atlanta magazine—an honor bestowed to only 7% of the veterinarians in the metro Atlanta area (which also includes his wife, Dr. Tyler). He has served on the board of the Georgia Veterinary Medical Association (GVMA), and presently serves as a director on the board of the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA)- the first African-American to do since the organization was founded in 1933.

Dr. Will lives with his family in historic Inman Park, "Atlanta's first suburb". He's a big fan of Atlanta Braves baseball, United soccer, and Hawks basketball. In his leisure time he enjoys playing golf (with as many strokes as he can so he gets his money's worth), acrylic painting ("No patience for oils"), and considers himself a better-than-average singer and interior decorator. He is a true lover of all music- his passion is following the Dave Matthews Band, having attended over 55 shows to date.

He and his wife have four children: David, Tyler, Gabrielle, and Olivia. Four-legged kids include dogs Louie, Frank, Bella and Beauford- as well as "the boss", feline Charlemagne (Charlie).

Dr. Alissa Stephens Operations Director

Since 2011

Dr. Alissa Stephens grew up in East Brunswick, New Jersey. In 2008, she graduated from Rutgers University and moved to Atlanta to complete an internship at Zoo Atlanta. She began vet school in 2011 at the University of Georgia and during the summer and winter breaks, worked as a vet assistant at TVV Buckhead. Dr. Stephens joined us as a vet in 2015. She is currently completing her certification in veterinary acupuncture at the Chi Institute in Florida. Her special interests include general surgery and acupuncture.

Dr. Stephens and her husband, Chris - practice manager at TVV - live in Canton with their four rescue dogs: Stitch, a Lab mix; Virginia, a Boxer/Anatolian Shepherd mix; Madison, a Pitbull mix; and Captain Jack, a German Shepherd mix.