Our Team

Dr. Stephen Paxton
Veterinarian & Practice Owner
In 7th or 8th grade, Steve was walking down the road with a friend and his friend’s dog, Boots. Boots decided to chase a squirrel into the road just as a car was coming—the car’s bumper nicked Boots, but luckily the dog was okay aside from being a little sore. As that scary scene unfolded in front of him, Steve knew he wanted to help his friend’s dog. It was at this time Steve began to think about becoming a veterinarian. 

Steve grew up in Traverse City, Michigan, as the youngest of four kids. He worked on a horse farm throughout junior and senior high school, another key factor in his decision to work with animals. After high school, Steve earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife Biology and Management from Michigan State University. He realized he wanted to go back to his childhood calling of veterinary medicine and returned to MSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine, graduating in 1987. In 1991, after working as an associate veterinarian in a mixed animal practice, he moved his family to Ludington and opened the Animal Hospital of Ludington!

As a veterinary professional, Dr. Paxton especially enjoys the variety of everyday general practice, interacting with clients and patients, and performing soft tissue and orthopedic surgery. He also enjoys unraveling the mysteries of a sick animal and helping that animal become healthy again.  

Dr. Paxton lives with his wife Patty, who he’s been married to since 1979. Their oldest daughter Leslie, became a veterinarian herself and now works as an associate veterinarian at the Animal Hospital of Ludington! Their son Stephen, works as a 911 dispatcher as he attends college. Their youngest daughter, Claire, is in college studying nutrition and exercise physiology. The family opened their home to two foreign exchange students, Bele from Germany and Maren from Norway, who they also consider their adopted daughters.

The Paxton family would not be complete without their three dogs; Twig and Sage who are English Setters and crazy about bird hunting! And Meeah is their Goldendoodle who is Patty’s shadow around the house and enjoys naps on the cool tile floors. Dr. Paxton, Twig and Sage are an avid woodcock banding team. Dr. Paxton is one of 100 outdoorsmen licensed by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to band woodcock chicks using highly trained pointing dogs during the months of April and May. This program is designed to monitor the populations of this very interesting ground dwelling, migratory game bird.

Dr. Paxton also is an accomplished guitarist who plays in his church band and is a passionate John Denver fan. He even arranged for John Denver’s former guitarist, Pete Huttlinger to perform an awesome concert at the local community college. 
Dr. Leslie Deines
Associate Veterinarian
When Leslie was four or five years old she would go with her dad on farm calls where he would care for sick horses or cows. Even at that age she knew her dad had an amazing job-helping people and animals, and she wanted to become a veterinarian too.

Leslie was born during her father’s junior year of veterinary school, so in some ways she was born into the veterinary lifestyle. She grew up in Ludington with her younger brother, Stephen and younger sister, Claire. After attending a college as a Fine Arts major, Leslie decided to follow her childhood passion and became a pre-veterinary undergraduate student at Michigan State University while earning her Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science. During this time, she had the opportunity to live in Northern Ireland for three months where she lived above horse stalls in a castle courtyard and studied equine management. After another four rigorous years of study at MSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine, Leslie received her DVM degree and now works as an associate veterinarian at the Animal Hospital of Ludington!

Dr. Paxton especially enjoys the challenge of surgery and the art and science of anesthesia. Client relations is another important aspect of her job—she loves hearing clients stories about their pets—as it exemplifies the human-animal bond!

In her spare time, Dr. Paxton enjoys horseback riding, snow skiing, pottery, painting, and drawing. She hasn’t had much time for art since she started vet school but hopes to find the time for it again soon. She also likes running and has aspirations to run a marathon and compete in a triathlon someday.

Dr. Paxton owns a handsome bay Morgan gelding horse named Tazzie that has been her partner since she was 14. They spent many weekends together competing in local 4-H, dressage and open horse shows. Today, Tazzie is retired from his show career but still enjoys long grooming sessions, trail rides and apple picking with Dr. Paxton. Maddie is her white long-haired cat who spent hours helping her study during vet school (by mostly napping). Checkers—or Checkies, as Dr. Paxton calls him—is her cat who patrols the barn.