Mandi Blackwelder, DVM, CCRP
Dr. Mandi is originally from Boulder, Colorado. She has a bachelor’s degree in Microbiology at Colorado State University. When she came up for air, she climbed many of Colorado’s 14,000-foot peaks and sang in the Rainbow Chorus.
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!”
Dr. Lyn Bedsaul (Coming in July!)
Dr. Lyn is from Johnson City, TN and attended the University of Tennessee for undergrad and vet school, completing her DVM in 2000, where she was honored the Gentle Doctor Award. During the school year, she showed her true TN spirit(GO VOLS!) by volunteering at the vet school caring for the research dogs in the kennels, and then moved up to ICU. In the summers, she worked her “first career” as a lifeguard and water safety instructor around east TN and Jackson, WY. In Jackson, she fell in love with mountain biking and her bike mechanic, Kris Bedsaul, whom she married after vet school.
Dr. Lyn’s first “real” job was a small animal practice in Redding, CA that included an orthopedic surgeon and an acupuncturist: it was here that she became interested in the healing powers of acupuncture and the benefits of physical rehabilitation. She encouraged her second boss in Asheville, NC to add on a rehabilitation suite to the practice, and she went back to UT one last time to complete her certificate in physical therapy and rehabilitation in 2013 (same year as Dr. Mandi!). Shortly after finishing her CCRP, the Bedsauls moved to Portland for Kris to continue his bike industry career at Chris King Precision Components.
Lyn and Kris enjoy adventures with their daughters, Paige and Claire, such as skiing, mounting biking, camping, and paddle-boarding. Lance the cat allows the family to share his home with Star dog, Fishstick fish, and the occasional foster cat(which Lance does not approve).
Whitney Gassaway, Veterinary Assistant, Certified Small Animal Massage Practitioner, Assistive Devices Manager
Whitney was born and raised here in Portland, Oregon! 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, Oregon 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. For 10 years she worked at Raleigh Hills Animal Hospital and 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 2019 she became a Certified Small Animal Massage Practitioner through the Northwest School of Animal Massage, and started Revive Animal Massage which she currently operates in tandem with massage for our patients too!
When she’s not being Dr. Mandi’s Left Arm, she 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 – Jasmine, Kevin and 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.
Amanda Long, Certified Veterinary Technician
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.
Tanya Bruno, Certified Veterinary Technician
Like Dr. Mandi, Tanya started her veterinary career with dairy cows. As a teenager, she lived and worked on farms in Tillamook, Oregon as a relief milker. After enjoying her first baby as a stay-at-home mom, she starting looking for her next adventure. She explored “hats” of different careers but no matter what direction she tried, veterinary technology kept calling her back. She graduated from Portland Community College as a Certified Veterinary technician in 2008. She spent four years as a general practice technician, but truly found her passion in surgery, anesthesia and post-op care. A surprise and joyous detour in 2018 was the birth of her son! Tanya works afternoons at Healing Arts so she can be at home during the day with her son and granddaughter who are the same age!
Tanya finds great pride and joy getting to know each of her patient’s unique personalities while forming a relationship of respect and trust to better care for each of their needs. She takes special note of what each animal likes and doesn’t like — types of touch. She has that calm collected demeanor that makes every patient swoon.
When Tanya isn’t working she revels in her time with her family and enjoys everything outdoors.
Jessi Wallace, Receptionist
Jessi grew up in the Midwest, in the opposite of Portlandia. But even then, watching Animal Cops with her mom, she was rooting for the good guys and wanting to help our furry friends. She joined the Army National Guard out of high school — an eye opener to the world around her and caught the eye of her now-partner Erik. After a gnarly long-boarding accident that shattered her elbow, she reluctantly left the service on a medical discharge and looked for the next chapter. They decided upon Portland because they wanted something new and different.
When in Portland, of course, you get a job in animals. She started as a dog walker, then as a veterinary receptionist. Because of her hard work and want to work with animals she was quickly trained to work as a veterinary assistant. Once working full-time as an assistant, Jessi really felt that she found her calling and felt validated that she was working in the right field for herself. Then she went looking for the right clinic with the right heart……Healing Arts was lucky enough to nab her.
When Jessi is not helping your furry friend you can find her playing football with her dog, going out on hikes with her family, cooking, long boarding or even playing video games!
Riley Magers, Veterinary Assistant
Riley’s love for animals started early, much to her parents frustration. She was always bringing (sneaking) home whatever critters she could find. In 2011, Riley adopted her first dog, Lucca, and in 2013 fulfilled her dream of owning a horse. Riley’s veterinary career began as a kennel technician when she was 19 and she never looked back. After 7 years of working as a veterinary assistant in GP, she left to pursue her interest in animal rehabilitation with Healing Arts Animal Care. When Riley isn’t working, you may see her cruising around in her camper van with her 3 dogs Lucca, Phoenix and Huckleberry riding shotgun. She will take any opportunity to get outside to give her dogs the very best day!
Maria Ruffino, Receptionist
Maria was born and raised in Upstate New York. She has always been crazy about cats, and though she grew up in a family restaurant, her folks encouraged her to follow her heart to a career in animals. She grew up with dogs, cats, a horse, bearded dragon, and chickens. Her childhood cat, Jasmine, whom Maria has had since the age of 10, is still with her today.
Maria volunteered at a vet clinic throughout junior and senior high. After years thinking she’d go to veterinary school, she decided she wanted to work towards wildlife rehab and conservation instead. Maria attended Oswego State University of New York, receiving a bachelor’s degree in Zoology and Anthropology.
Throughout college, Maria volunteered at a local shelter, spent her spring breaks volunteering at a big cat sanctuary in North Carolina, and worked multiple jobs to fund a trip to volunteer at a wild animal sanctuary in South Africa! She spent a whole month in Africa, working with big cats! She jokes that she almost didn’t return back to the states, and that part of her stayed there in Africa amongst the wildlife she grew so very fond of.
After college, Maria, now husband Brian, and kitty cat Jasmine, drove across the country to California, then Missouri, then Colorado, and moved here to Oregon in early 2021! Maria has worked in the world of veterinary medicine for the past 3 years as a vet assistant/technician. She loves creating bonds and building trust with the clients and pets alike!
She joined the Healing Arts team to grow with a clinic whose mission she truly embraces and plans to volunteer with wildlife on her time off once COVID restrictions are fully lifted. When she isn’t volunteering or working, Maria is out hiking and exploring nature with her husband, meditating, crafting, and of course, cuddling with her fur daughter Jasmine!
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.