Mandi Blackwelder, DVM, CCRP
In her senior year, she spent a semester as the only American student at L’Universite de Sherbrooke, in Sherbrooke, Quebec. Back in Colorado, she interned at the Denver Zoo and then started veterinary school. After earning her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine in 1998, she moved to Wisconsin….to the classic nightmare first job. She still loves dairy medicine and lives vicariously through dairy-vet friends, but found her niche in small animal medicine in Grants Pass, Oregon for the next 14 years. In 2002 Dr. Mandi took the acupuncture certification course through Colorado State University. In 2013 she became certified in physical therapy and rehabilitation at the University of Tennessee and now runs the successful Healing Arts Animal Clinic in Beaverton, Oregon. A sweet elderly neighbor played match-maker and introduced her to a fellow rock climber, Don Alarie, who became her husband in 2002. They now have two sons, Porter and Jackson. Porter thrives in BMX and Jackson is a delight. Jackson has also brought out the advocate in his mom, as he has Fragile X syndrome, a genetic form of autism. Mandi can be found during much of her down-time (what little there is) researching, advocating, visiting our law makers and learning every tidbit of therapy that will help Jackson live a rich life.
Mandi’s life experiences and love for her work have given her a rich enjoyment of people and have bonded her to her clients and the veterinary community.
“The move to Portland and opening Healing Arts Animal Care has been a highlight of my life – to shape and mold a clinic that is ALL about comfort – for the pets, for the owners and for myself and my employees, fills me with total satisfaction. I joke that I get to spend my day in my p.j.’s (scrubs), barefoot (from the underwater treadmill), working with dogs and doing science. It doesn’t get much better than that!”
Debi Kent, Receptionist “Mandi’s Right Arm”
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”
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 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!!
Amanda Long, Certified Veterinary Technician, “Red”
Amanda hails from Michigan, and knew early that animals were “where it’s at” for her. She worked her way up the ranks from kennel assistant, to veterinary assistant while going to school. In 2006, she graduated with honors from Michigan State Eli Broad College of Business with a degree in finance and a certificate in Veterinary Technology. She worked in private practice and then at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Michigan State University in their oncology department.
When the opportunity to start an oncology department in Oregon arose, she and an oncologist colleague jumped at the chance – she had HAD it with cold Michigan winters! She and her husband Jeff, made the long trip with one dog, 2 cats and a beta fish, including a 4 day stop-over in LaGrande waiting for the pass to open! As if starting and running and oncology clinic was not enough to do, she also completed her Masters in Health Care Administration from Marylhurst University.
After leaving oncology, she worked as a practice manager before returning to her first love, patient care. In 2015, Amanda became a mom to son, Asher, and discovered the REAL love of her life. Never one to be bored, Amanda also is an avid crafter, seamstress, devourer of books, pet mom to dogs Kallie and Penny, 1 cat and 2 beta fish, and despite her pixie size, is a force to be reckoned with on the softball field.
About Healing Arts Animal Care
Healing Arts Animal Care in Beaverton, Oregon provides veterinary acupuncture, pet rehabilitation therapy, physical therapy and athletic conditioning and Animal Massage Therapy for the dogs and cats of the Portland, Oregon Metro Area including Hillsboro, Lake Oswego, and Tualatin. We strive to create a team among you, your pet, your veterinarian and ourselves to create a whole package of care for your pet including wheelchairs for dogs. Pets come through our door knowing that we’re going to have fun here and this isn’t “another trip to the vet.” Through manual therapies, acupuncture, laser, ultrasound, underwater treadmill and creating a tailored individual home exercises, we strive to bring your injured pet back to speed, keep your elderly pet as an active member of the family, return your obese pet back to a functional friend and keep your athletic pet at the peak of his performance.