Debi Kent, Receptionist “Mandi’s Right Arm”
Debi AKA Dr. Mandi’s Right Hand, joined Healing Arts in August of 2016 with sixteen years in veterinary medicine under her belt. Emergency medicine, general medicine, horse medicine, farm medicine, reception, technician – you name it, she has done it all!
It all started in California when she got her first horse at 11 named Charcoal
She was hooked. She started showing horses at 13, which lead into 20 years as a judge at horse shows. At home she was raising three kids, all in 4-H. The farm was busy with kids, sheep, rabbits, guide dog puppies and breeding paint horses. In all her “spare time” she was a 4-H leader, taught home arts, and co-founded a non-profit rescue for sick, older, or hard to adopt shelter animals. In 5 years they adopted out over 500 animals.
As her kids grew, she joined the work force (as if she wasn’t “working” before….)
First she managed a small newspaper office, then started in veterinary medicine in 2000. Her kids are all grown and thriving. She now lives in Newburg with her long time partner Jay, and her dogs Cedar (the orthopedic disaster) and Jack (who is sure that garbage trucks are sent by the devil every Friday morning).
Whitney Gassaway, “Mandi’s Left Arm”
Whitney is a born and raised Portlandian! She has been an animal lover from the very start with a menagerie of animals in her house including any injured wildlife that she could nurse back to health. She started pursuing her animal career at the ripe old age of 11 when she started a dog walking business.
She graduated from Apollo (now Carrington) College here in Portland as a veterinary assistant in 2007 (with perfect attendance and a 4.0 to boot!) Once she graduated she poured herself into nursing animals as a full time profession. She met Debi when they both worked at Raleigh Hills Animal Hospital. When Healing Arts began and Dr. Mandi first moved to Portland, Healing Arts was housed inside that same clinic. Little did we know we were forming a family!
As part of her work at Raleigh Hills she was hand-selected to work in advanced dentistry. She carried those same skills to her next job as the only technician in a dentistry exclusive practice, as well as being the receptionist, chief client educator and all around “Whitney of all trades.” In addition she started Westside Pampered Pets, a business she continues on the side.
When she’s not being Dr. Mandi’s Left Arm, loves being outdoors (mountains, coast, camping, you name it!) and exercising with her son Eli, husband Eric and dogs Marley and Cicely. Holding down the fort at home are 3 kitties – littermates Jasmine and Alley, and Eli’s kitty Macy. She is a HUGE Trail Blazer’s fan but an even bigger screamer on the side lines at Eli’s soccer, basketball and football games.
Kelley McConnell, Certified Veterinary Technician, “Cool Cucumber of the Group”
Kelley is an Upstate New Yorker, not from the city but from where there are more cows than people!! She is a 1993 graduate of SUNY Delhi in NY with an Associate’s degree in Veterinary Science. She worked as a small animal technician in general practice for 10 years after which she became a large animal technician for 15 years. In October of 2018, she moved out to the other side of the country to start a life with her partner and thankfully joined Dr. Mandi and her crew at Healing Arts Animal Care.
Kelley has three 4-legged children – Owen the “Mini Pooberger,” according to his DNA test a Miniature Poodle, Boston Terrier, Boxer and Leonberger hence the new breed that they came up with, and 2 cats Brooklyn and Sassy.
In her spare time she loves to go hiking, camping, canoeing and traveling with family, friends and of course the Pooberger! Anything outdoors is the place she loves to be the most – a girl, her family and her Jeep!!
Sonali Thatte, Social Media Wizard and Underwater Treadmill Master
Sonali is currently a senior at Southridge High School and is a full IB diploma student. She’s the president of the Asian Pacific Islander Student Union, and the secretary for her school’s chapter of the Oregon Model United Nations.
She joined the team in December of 2017, after applying through her counselor, and after a couple weeks she started working as a social media editor throughout the week, and as a cleaner on the weekends.When she has free time she likes going to Southridge football or soccer games, or watching scary movies, all with her close group of friends.
Sonali is most looking forward to all that her senior year has to offer and can’t wait to experience more of what her community has to offer.
In 2016 she began teaching Wilderness Medicine for the National Outdoor Leadership School (which ironically on the same road and Dr. Mandi’s dad’s ranch in Wyoming). This year, with the support of Bend Parks and Rec., she is combining many of her passions and launching her K9-Wilderness First Aid curriculum!