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Meet Our Team

James Peterson

Dr. James Peterson
Founding Veterinarian

James R. Peterson, and general manager John McGhee opened The Palms Pet Resort & Spa in 2006 to provide dogs and cats in the community with exceptionally safe and secure, doctor directed care around-the-clock.

Dr. Peterson oversees the quality services provided to all guests at The Palms. A graduate of Texas A&M, he practiced both emergency and general veterinary medicine for eight years before establishing Hill Country Animal Hospital, which sits right next door to The Palms.

The Peterson family has four dogs, three cats, and Nigerian Dwarf goats. Dr. Peterson is actively involved in the Bexar County Veterinarian Medical Association, American Veterinary Medical Association, Texas Veterinary Medical Association, and the American Animal Hospital Association.

John McGhee

John McGhee
General Manager

The Palms general manager John McGhee trains and leads the entire team of dedicated personnel at The Palms. He has more than 35 years in management, sales, and business development, and was involved in the creation of The Palms from the very beginning.

It has always been our goal to provide your dogs and cats with an experience that nurtures both their emotional and physical needs. We left no stone unturned when it came to the design of our facility, from the eight separate air conditioning systems to the double-fenced yards, individual TVs and webcams, and absolutely every facet of The Palms was designed to provide optimum safety and care.

We truly look forward to providing your dogs and cats with an enjoyable, stress free experience when you can’t be with them. Welcome to The Palms.

Tara Tajbakhsh

Tara Tajbakhsh
PlayCare Manager

Tara moved here from Washington State and she started her career at The Palms Pet Resort and Spa in 2009. She has a Graduate degree in Gemology, an Associates Degree in jewelry repair, is a certified CGC Evaluator, as well as a certified dog trainer from the Animal Behavior College (ABC).

She has always wanted to work with animals, and is always trying to better herself in her career while enjoying the facility, people, and dogs.

In her spare time she keeps busy with her four horses and 12 dogs, the majority of which are German Shorthaired Pointers. She enjoys training her horses and taking them on trail rides. Her German Shorthaired Pointers compete in Hunt and Field Trials, and she is looking to pursue other sports with them.

Rachel Georges

Rachel Georges
Grooming Manager

Rachel began working in the pet grooming industry in 1994 and has been the grooming manager at The Palms Pet Resort and Spa since 2006.  She began with the assistance of her brother who is also in the pet grooming industry.

She strives to bring her vast knowledge and leadership to the grooming department to ensure customer satisfaction and loyalty to her clients. Rachel’s goal is to make every customer feel a part of the Palms family for life!

Rachel is happily married with 5 children and 11 grandchildren.  In her free time, she loves to travel and visit with family across the United States while spending it with as many grandchildren possible.  Rachel also serves as a Sunday school teacher at Cross of Christ Family Worship Center.

Dee Luke

Dee Luke
Senior Receptionist

Dee moved from Corpus Christi, TX and started her career at The Palms Pet Resort and Spa just two weeks after their opening in 2006. Dee has a BA in animal science from A&M Kingsville, and originally got started in the pet care industry with the desire to become a veterinarian.

She loves seeing all the different pets that come through and visit while working with our clients.

Away from work, Dee enjoys spending time with her family and three beautiful children, and is also the Co-leader of her daughter’s Girl Scout Troop. They have one cat named Checkers, two Jack Russell Terriers named Trixie and Trigger, and a German Shepherd mix named Lacey.

Irma Bice

Irma Bice
Training Director

Irma moved from the El Paso area and has been with The Palms since 2006. Her interest and love for animals evolved through breeding, obedience, and conformation. She has an astounding 27 years of experience in training and dog behavior, and is certified through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers – Knowledge Accessed (CPDT-KA). This distinction signifies that Irma has completed and passed an extensive exam and maintains her certification through continual education courses and seminars. She has been a staff member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers for many years, and is the founding member of the San Antonio Pet Trainers Alliance.

Irma’s objective is to improve communication with dogs and their owners through science based learning. She has the same level of care, compassion, and dedication for all of the animals she works with.

In her spare time she enjoys exercising, and spending time with friends, family, and of course her dogs. She proudly owns four Labrador Retrievers, which join her frequently to many Palms Academy classes.

Colleen Smith

Colleen Smith

Colleen moved to San Antonio to work for USAA until her retirement in 2007. Her background is in software development, database management and project management. Colleen has been teaching Rally since 2010 and enjoys being part of a supportive team with high standards. She welcomes all newcomers and experienced handlers to help compete at the highest level.

In 1994, Colleen began training and competing with English Springer Spaniels. She and her doggie partners have earned multiple titles in Obedience, Rally, Barn Hunt and Circus Tricks. She now has six Cavalier King Charles Spaniels: Rosie, Lulu, Evie, Sadie, Dibs, and Sophie. 

Colleen is an avid reader, dabbles in genealogy and enjoys spending time with her husband and 11 grandchildren. She has been a long time member of the San Antonio Dog Training Club; which hosts an annual Obedience and Rally trial every spring.