Born in ‘The Natural State’, Arkansas, Dr. Nicholas Vaughan was raised on being both aware and respectful of Mother Nature and how she orchestrates all of our surroundings in harmony. Nicholas has been formally trained in bio-med engineering, veterinary medicine and most recently an MBA (focusing on sustainable business)- at the University of Texas at Austin. The rest of his studies have led him from Baton Rouge to Beijing, Philadelphia, Knoxville and Berkeley. Dr. Vaughan earned his veterinary degree with honors at Louisiana State University.
Nicholas began his career in Cape Cod, MA and then music began to outweigh sailing as far as hobbies so he moved to Austin in 2004 and has been helping progressive pet owners in Austin ever since. Dr. Vaughan currently serves on multiple veterinary school advisory councils helping to formulate innovative ideas for education, pet-wellness and exam room interaction. For the last decade he has been a guest lecturer all over the world offering over 50 hours of continuing education a year on nutrition and preventative medicine. His passion for pet nutrition has earned him the reputation of the “Obesity Sheriff” in the vet community. He has also furthered his training at the University of Tennessee to be certified in Rehab medicine and small animal rehab therapy.
Outside of practicing the art of medicine, Dr. Vaughan focuses his energy on human well-being, nutrition, Yoga, fitness, creative writing, theatre, studying philosophy, motorcycles, music and of course- working tirelessly to get you to laugh and smile. Nicholas is involved in numerous community philanthropies including the development committee for Austin Pets Alive!, Big Hearts for Brave Hearts, Junior Achievement and a founding member of the philanthropic 512 Society. You can always spot him running around Lady Bird Lake or BMX riding with his son Fields while his wife Ashley watches with reserved approval. A self-described music snob and book critic… each visit with Dr. Vaughan will bring you and your pet happiness and most of all, wellness.
Dr. Vaughan is also an advisor at Bond Pet Foods where they ensure optimal pet health by developing natural, minimally processed dog and cat food.×
Dr. Tim Julien was raised in a rural town in the foothills of the Ozark mountains in south central Missouri. From a young age he was pretty sure he wanted to be an engineer/microbiologist working to discover a novel renewable energy source. He was wrong. Turns out he loved animals and helping people with their animals way more than math or laboratories.
In the summer after sophomore year in high school Tim met his future wife, Christine, at nerd camp (a.k.a. Missouri Scholar’s Academy). He followed her to Washington University in St. Louis. While there he was an All-American distance runner in track and cross-country and confirmed that dogs and cats are way cooler than calculus and petri dishes. After graduation the wedding (foreshadowed above) occurred. Tim went off to the University of Missouri to earn a veterinary degree while Christine worked on her doctorate in computer science.
Tim followed Christine to Austin when she accepted a faculty position at UT. He has practiced high quality medicine in Austin since 2004 with a conscious aim to educate his clients and to provide authentic and approachable choices to facilitate the best decisions possible with regard to the care of their pets.
In his free time, Tim enjoys pick-up basketball, the occasional run, cooking (and eating), traveling the globe with Christine (and eating), and hanging out with his two amazing daughters, Maya and Cora. He has an elderly Lab Border Collie mix named Casey who has just recently started to come out of her “puppy phase”. The Julien family recently returned to Austin after spending a year in northern Italy in support of Christine’s research opportunity. While he will miss Trentino-Alto Adige, he is happy to be home and excited to meet you and your pet.×
Cindy grew up in East Texas and now finds herself on the East side of Austin… coincidence or fact? Well, its a fact- she is from Whitehouse, TX but has had a love for the hill country that developed from her childhood.
And guess what Aggie fans- we finally got one! She is surrounded by Tigers and Longhorns but is strong with her “Gig ‘em!” pride as she attended A&M for undergrad and vet school. Cindy has a strong and practical sense of traditional medicine and has special interests in internal medicine, FELINE medicine and more than anything, forging long relationships with clientele. Because lets face it, you will see each other out in Austin!
Speaking of, Cindy loves llamas, chickens and goats and is saving money so she can have a small farm but in the meantime she spends time on Barton Creek Greenbelt, hanging at Zilker or shopping with Tippy her 8 yr old border collie mix. She is a member of the TVMA, AVMA, CAVMA and has completed a mission trip to Honduras assisting the locals with basic veterinary medicine.×
Dr. Jamie Senthirajah grew up in Oregon City, Oregon, which was the end of the Oregon Trail. In elementary school, he dominated that computer game and never once died of dysentery. For college, he spent eight years in beautiful Corvallis, Oregon where he earned both his Bachelor and Veterinary degrees. Go Beavers!
After veterinary school, he completed a small animal rotating internship at Seattle Veterinary Specialists. He then made the trek south to work to Austin, Texas to work on his tan and your pets at PAZ Veterinary. His professional veterinary interests include small animal internal medicine with an emphasis on hematology, oncology, and toxicology.
Dr. Senthirajah is also a candy and popsicle aficionado on and off-work. He tolerates but does not enjoy exercising. But he does enjoy trying all the culinary delights Austin has to offer.
He has a clingy German Shepherd, Shiloh, who still lives with his parents in Oregon. Yeah, he’s probably never getting Shiloh back. Dr. Senthirajah strives to offer the best medical options to you with the best care to your pet!×
Dr. Jena Webb was born and raised in Belton, Texas- just a hop, skip and a jump from the great city of Austin. Her love for animals started at an early age and by the first grade, she declared that she would become a veterinarian (But still and Artist at Heart). She attended Texas A&M for both her undergraduate and veterinary degrees. After graduation, she moved to the “Land of Enchantment” to complete an internship at VCA Veterinary Care Animal Hospital and Referral Center. Jena’s veterinary interests include internal medicine, ultrasonography, and preventative care. She enjoys educating her clients and taking a unique team approach to determining the best treatment for each individual pet.
Jena is owned by a sassy tabby named Piper. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors, getting a little crafty, traveling whenever possible, and all of the great food and music Austin has to offer.×
Dr. Nicholas Kiefer was born in Dallas, Texas way back in ’91. He grew up in a house which always contained more animals than humans, and so naturally, he’s dreamed of becoming a vet for quite a long time. He spent nearly the last 8 years at Texas A&M (undergraduate and veterinary school) packing his brain with all the things he’ll need to succeed as a veterinarian.
It wasn’t long before he realized, though, that so much of what it meant to be a great veterinarian wasn’t something that could be taught or read in a book. It’s being compassionate both to the animals and to the people that love them, and taking the extra steps to make people and pets feel welcome and at home. It’s not just about making an animal feel better (though that is oh so gratifying). It’s about fostering and supporting the powerful connection we all share with our four-legged family members, and treating every individual as the unique and special beings they are. It’s these things that he believes truly set PAZ apart.
In his free time, this hunk enjoys working out, playing basketball, binge watching Netflix (don’t we all), traveling, and doing anything and everything outdoors. He’s a particularly avid hiker and has been fortunate enough to explore Zion, Yosemite, and Big Bend National Parks, as well as some of the spectacular state parks and natural areas of the Texas Hill Country.×
Dr. Kate Thompson was born and raised in the coastal town of Waveland, Mississippi – a beautiful place
that’s barely a speck on the map. She was surrounded by the love of a small, tight-knit family and is the
proud daughter of an elementary school teacher and salesman. Her childhood was spent exploring the
beach which led to a more than healthy interest in animals and science.
Her formal education was completed in northern Mississippi. Over time, Kate’s eclectic personality and tendency to “fly by the seat of her pants” (as her mother would say) would lead to an avid interest in emergency medicine and critical care. She moved on to an internship in Chattanooga, TN where Kate developed a thick skin and a love for the mountains. However, the ultimate plan was to migrate to the vibrant Austin where she now calls home.
Kate was first employed at a busy, locally owned emergency hospital where she was lucky enough to
meet her incredible husband, Dr. John Pullen. She brought her sphinx cat, Baldy, to the relationship and
together formed a family with an independent outdoor cat named Karen and the sweetest old lady lab
Kate enjoys being outside and traveling to as many places as possible. On a sunny day, you
can find Kate reading a creepy novel at Zilker with Abby gnawing on a slobbery ball nearby.
Kate believes that this is the best occupation because of the potential to help both pets and the people
who love them. She hopes to meet each family with sincerity and the intention to exchange and
combine her medical training with your knowledge, beliefs, and lifestyle. Come meet Kate at PAZ
Veterinary where kindness is the highest priority and every voice is heard!
Dr. John Pullen was raised in southeast Houston. Both of his parents were in the computer
science industry and encouraged his childhood interests in science, music, and art. His interests in science grew but his skills in piano fell [b] flat and he never really figured out how to color in the lines. Early on, he started volunteering and got a job at a small veterinary hospital where he took his dog, Andy. His love for treating animals sparked there, and John went to the University of Houston to become a chemist. He tried… for several years, but learned chemistry was not his passion. He moved to Oklahoma State University where he pursued his passion in vet med and years later, John started practicing ER veterinary medicine in Austin.
During his time in ER, John learned plenty and made lasting relationships with his clients and coworkers, including his lovely wife, Kate. Kate recently joined the PAZ family and John HAD to follow (not true, they were hired together). He wants to continue to practice high-quality medicine and develop lasting relationships. John’s goal is to clearly explain what options are available and how we can accomplish wellbeing together.
He’s not just a vet! John also loves most things outdoors on the water: canoeing, kayaking, sailing, surfing, scuba diving, snorkeling (he’s a novice at many but getting better at any opportunity). Kate and John have a very independent outdoor cat Karen, a snuggly Sphinx cat Baldwynn, and a sweet old black lab lady Abby. For those who read this far – I lived in a boat and it sank.×
Dr. Jane Mellencamp grew up in Seymour, Indiana on a farm that raises crops and cattle. She realized early on that Veterinary Medicine was her calling and earned an undergraduate degree in Biology at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. She then moved to Columbus, Ohio and received her doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from The Ohio State University. During her time in Columbus she developed a love for live music, making Austin perfect for a chosen home.
Her professional interests include soft tissue surgery, dentistry, hospice care, and preventative medicine. In her free time she enjoys bring-your-own-vinyl night at the ABGB, seeing as much live music as she can, and visiting the beautiful state parks of Texas. She shares her home in South Austin with a dog named Donna June, whom she adopted from Austin Pets Alive! shortly after moving to Texas.
Dr. Mellencamp takes pride in client education and believes answering the ‘whats’ and ‘whys’ of diagnostics and treatment helps pet owners make the best decisions for their family.×
As a kid lying in a tiny kid bed, Dr. Santoni would dream that she had become her favorite animal of the week. Upon waking, she’d lay quietly and wonder why her animal spirit had to be trapped in the puny body of a six-year old. Dani has moved beyond her childhood dreams but they still cement her love for animals and her desire to care for them as a veterinarian.
Dani had the good fortune of being born and raised in Mexico City — a cosmopolitan blend of new traditions and indigenous art and culture that led her to study anthropology at UTSA. After college, she spent a few years working in policy, political campaigns, and even the Texas Senate- a great career no doubt but it left her longing for her childhood dream of being a vet.
She left her career, and spent the next three years working as a veterinary technician while she completed her veterinary school prerequisites. In the meantime, Dani became one of the first techs at PAZ — back when it was Corner Vet in East Austin. After her hard work at Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine she was quickly extended a full time job as a vet back where she started in East Austin.
Dani has a passion for international veterinary medicine and wants to learn more about how veterinary medicine can improve animal welfare and the lives of everyday people. She has completed veterinary externships in Africa and throughout Latin America to focus her brand of empathy – an important tool that she wants to share with the clients at PAZ East.
Dani loves to cook, eat, drink, and be merry. She practices her down-dog at Black Swan Yoga, but you might catch her on a lunch-time run around Lady Bird Lake. She hopes to be a good guitar player one day, and would like to dance more often. She shares her home with a tiny white cat named Baby B, a giant rescue Doberman named Lilith, and her best-friend and partner who is also a dog-nerd.×
Dr. Melissa Tackett is excited to be joining the Paz team as she is such an advocate for positivity, the Fear Free movement, and the human-animal bond. She is originally from Knoxville, TN and a 2018 graduate from Lincoln Memorial University’s veterinary college. Dr. Tackett also attended undergrad at LMU to complete her Bachelor of Veterinary Medical Technology degree.
Like many veterinary doctors, Dr. Tackett knew from a very young age that she wanted to love on pets forever and make that her career. I mean, she did have a pretend clinic set up on her grandparents’ porch when she was in elementary school where the neighborhood kids would bring their dogs over for her to give a dose of love to, not much has changed as she still loves on every pet that she sees, but now she gets to actively participate and make their lives healthier and therefore happier- making medicine fun and less stressful.
Internal medicine cases, geriatric medicine (She is a SUCKER for a grey muzzle), and anything related to German Shepherds all fall under her umbrella of professional passions.
In addition to that, Dr. Tackett is a firm believer that teamwork makes the dream work which is why she loves client education. She feels as though when owners understand a medical condition fully, they are empowered to make great medical decisions for their pet. For her, forming a relationship with her clients is just as important as the relationship she forms with their baby/her patient. Dr. Tackett is also a big fan of chronic disease management because she gets to develop that bond, her client learns, and she enjoys being able to offer a multimodal approach to a disease process- another reason that she loves Paz.×
Dr. Colby Kiefer was born and raised in New Orleans, LA. For most of his childhood, he was denied access to furry companions—the sheer horror of an untidy household and “the smell” was too great for his parents. Thus, his budding interest in vetmed was forced to remain a quiet smolder. Eventually, through incessant pleading and practiced puppy dog eyes, a four-legged friend by the name of Callie was welcomed into his home; the first steps towards a career as a veterinarian were taken.
Colby completed his undergraduate education at Tulane University in New Orleans majoring in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. When not in class, he spent most of his time waiting tables, going home for free dinners, playing music in a handful of bands, working at a bouldering gym, and exploring all the things New Orleans had to offer. He then applied to and was accepted into the University of Tennessee (“the other UT”) College of Veterinary Medicine in Knoxville, TN.
His professional interests include surgery and dermatology—he can’t resist poppin’ a pimple. But, what really gets him jazzed up about vetmed is helping to facilitate an environment for clients, patients, and coworkers that is welcoming, respectful, and conscious of the different backgrounds and experiences that each individual brings with them. When in the hospital, you’re likely to catch him smiling.
Colby currently lives in East Austin and shares his abode with his partner, two dogs (Rayna James and Sully), and a kitty cat (Stevie).×
Dr. Kelly Might, DACVS was raised in Bedford, Texas, a town between Dallas and Fort Worth. He moved to Austin to attend the University of Texas at Austin as an undergraduate student, earning a bachelors in zoology and a minor in Spanish. He then attended Oklahoma State University for veterinary school. Early in his first year at Oklahoma State, Dr. Might found his calling for veterinary surgery. Dr. Might completed a 1-year rotating internship at PetCare Veterinary Hospital in Santa Rosa, California. He then went on to perform a 1-year surgical internship at Aspen Meadow Veterinary Specialists in Boulder, Colorado. These experiences were then followed by a three-year surgical residency at Washington State University in Pullman, Washington. During his training Dr. Might developed a strong interest in minimally invasive surgery and orthopedics. While at Washington State University, Dr. Might published multiple manuscripts and found great interest in orthopedic research. After 9 years away from home, Dr. Might, his wife, and two children returned to Austin, Texas. By teaming up with Dr. Allman and performing mobile specialty surgeries, Dr. Might is able to provide complicated surgical procedures to many pets that would not otherwise be able to receive specialty care. When not at work, Dr. Might enjoys cycling and spending time with his family.×
Although not a native to Austin, Rachel is a native to Texas. Having lived far north, southeast, and central, she’s had a little taste of everything this state has to offer. Austin has always felt most like home though, so after completing her Veterinary Technician degree in Houston, she officially moved to the south side with her two cats, Tanny and Mitch. Similar to most veterinary professionals, Rachel has always felt a connection with animals and never really considered a career in any other field. She feels lucky to do what she loves everyday and is excited to continue learning and shaping herself into the best tech possible. Rachel enjoys low key outings with friends and family but is happiest at home, with some coffee, her cats, and The Office.×
Rachel was born and raised in Houston, TX and moved to Austin about 7 years ago. She has been an animal lover since childhood. Growing up her mother was severely allergic to dogs and cats and was unable to have any pets of her own (besides a fish named Arnold and a couple of gutter frogs). She would always sneak next door to the neighbors house to play with their animals and was constantly rescuing animals from the streets.
She got her first job at 15 at a boarding facility as a kennel technician and worked her way up from there. She graduated from the Vet Tech Institute of Houston in 2013 and has been a licensed veterinary technician since 2014.
At home she has a 4 year old great dane/pit bull mix named Ruby and in her spare time enjoys hiking, traveling, playing guitar and drawing.×
Suzanne came to us originally from Illinois. After high school and college there and a little bit of normal life in the Midwest, she decided it was time to get weird and move to Austin after only spending 2 days here on a road trip! She’s lived in Austin since 2016 and never looked back!
Her favorite part of being a certified veterinary technician is preventative medicine, but a nice foreign body surgery can always be fun!
You can find her taking her pugs Matilda and Willie out hiking, going to concerts, brunchin’ it up with friends, or trying to be a bad ass on the roller derby track playing on the Hell Marys for the Texas Roller Girls!×
Jordan is that rare specimen you find in Austin, he was actually born and is continuing to be raised in the Capital of Texas. Jordan is not only whip smart when it comes to EXOTICS but he is also fearless when working with animals that feel fear. As many of our clients know- it takes a special spirit to keep animals at ease when they are in pain and Jordan is the right type of chill vibe you desire when your loved one is feeling bad. His mother and father encouraged him as a young man to be compassionate and he has taken on all kinds of animal relationships from dogs and cats to reptiles and pocket pets. His experience has proven invaluable at PAZ and so has his personality. Jordan still loves the outdoors and still has a fancy for observing and examining all kinds of live critters in the wild. You can find Jordan riding bikes, playing any sport at Zilker or rock climbing on the green belt and usually with a loving entourage. He has kept Austin weird for over 20 years and hopes to keep that spirit alive forever.×
Amanda is passionate about animal care and has been a veterinarian technician for over seven years now. Amanda’s love for animals lead her to get a Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Science from Lubbock Christian University.
Lubbock is her hometown and that’s where she met and married her amazing husband, Pierce. Together, they have two cats: Baloo and Mar.
Recently, they made the decision to move their little family to the beautiful city of Austin, Texas. Amanda is looking forward to meeting you and providing care to your sweet animals here at Paz Veterinary.×
Caryn originally hails from Virginia, but moved to the beautiful City of Austin 5 months ago. She had been working in the Veterinary industry for over 20 years! Her compassion and dedication to animal welfare can be seen in her own fur babies. Elyk, a 3 year old German Shepard and Bear, a 1 year old Border Collie mix keep her busy at home.
When she isn’t dedicating her time to the wellness of pets she likes to hike with her 12 year old daughter. Caryn is excited and grateful to be a part of the PAZ Tribe!×
Destiny is from a small town in East Texas. Prior to making the move to Austin she lived in the outskirts of Dallas and became a certified veterinary assistant. She moved to Austin in 2014 and started working in the veterinary field. Throughout the years she has gained experience as a technician and receptionist.
Destiny enjoys being able to switch throughout the clinic with each position. She is very interested in exotics and loves to get experience with their handling and care at any time possible! She has her own personal sled dog team (3 huskies) named Dakota, Daisy, and Toa (Krakatoa)! She also has a cat named Molly but she tends to be the forgotten child because she is the perfect example of a cat.
In her spare time she has started training Daisy and Toa in agility classes and also takes her dogs to miscellaneous dog events in Austin or out to hike the trails. If she isn’t doing any of those things then she is hanging out at home with her boyfriend and her small herd of pets.×
A native of south Austin, TX, Kelly knew from a young age that she wanted to work with animals. She spent many afternoons volunteering in vets offices while in high school, which ultimately helped her break into the vet tech industry.
After working at vet clinics all around Austin, Kelly has finally made her home at PAZ. Always eager to learn and grow, she looks forward to the challenges that each new day brings.
She lives with her husband, Britt, a pug named Ellie, and two cats, Charles and Marie. When not working, she enjoys reading, video games, and watching terrible movies.×
Ella was born in Hawaii, and after living across the U.S. as a youngin’, found herself in Austin, Texas. She’s currently working towards her undergraduate degree in biology at St. Edward’s University
Ella got a taste for veterinary medicine after shadowing at PAZ in spring 2019, and is now excited to be an official member of the PAZ family! Hopefully one day she can be one of the Top Dogs and be a veterinarian herself!
Animals have never been absent in Ella’s life- volunteering at shelters, working in horse barns, doing school research with honeybees, and even completing an internship with the San Antonio Zoo’s bird department are just the beginnings of her journey. She claims two wonderful family pups back in San Antonio, Fiona and Violet, and a chunky, cuddly hamster named Shinji who keeps her company in Austin.×
Ivi was born in El Salvador and came to Texas when she was 9 years old and has called Austin home ever since!
She has loved animals since when she can remember, taking care of her own rabbits, ducks, chickens, dogs and cats! Ivi started pursuing a degree in Biology and Animal Science at Texas State University.
Ivi has worked in the veterinary field for 5 years focusing on High Quality, High Volume Spay and Neuter and has even traveled to Puerto Rico to do relief work there.
Ivi likes working in this field because you won’t see the same thing every day. “There is always something cool to learn and always cute things to see.” She says.
On the weekends, you’ll find her out paddleboarding, kayaking or doing anything that involves water and outdoors. After long days of work Ivi likes to be lazy, watching something on Netflix or Hulu with her 8 year old puppy, Sapper.
With roots in New Orleans, it’s no surprise that Kate has settled here in Austin where the weather is nice and people know how to have a good time. After graduating from LSU, Kate made a leap of faith to move away from Louisiana on a whim to pursue a career in film. Between gigs, Kate knew she had to find something else more sustainable and was hired on by Karma Dog Training as an assistant trainer. Fast forward three years and Kate is now leading Puppy Kindergarten and couldn’t be happier to have such a fun and rewarding job. If you’ve got puppy questions, Kate is your go-to girl.
Growing up, Kate was always surrounded by animals and as an only child, her dog became her best friend. Frequently her mom would come home with stray or injured animals so she learned to be compassionate from a young age. With knowledge in animal behavior and excellent people skills, it’s no surprise Kate has found a family with PAZ. When she is not busy helping people and their pets, Kate enjoys practicing yoga, aerial arts, discovering new music/food, and spending as much time as possible soaking up the sun and water on the Greenbelt. If she isn’t out and about with friends, you bet she is at home cuddled up with her pup, watching either cartoons or horror flicks.×
Andrea originally hails from Houston (H-town, baby!) After realizing ATX is way better, she made the move and has been living in Austin for about 3 years. She is absolutely loving it here in Austin and as part of the PAZ family. Andrea has always had pets growing up and has a deep love for all animals. While Andrea is a stellar receptionist, she plans on going to school to become a veterinary technician.
Andrea has two beautiful big dogs who mean the world to her. Lou is a three-year-old blue Great Dane, and Norm is an almost one-year-old blue Cane Corso. When she’s not at work, Andrea enjoys spending quality time with her man and hiking, camping, and chilling with her dogs, friends, and family!×
Vanessa was born in California and raised (for the most part) in Texas. She started working with animals in 2012 as a volunteer dog walker at a local shelter in Fort Benning, Georgia. Vanessa knew she wanted to work with animals even more closely after that and landed a job as an adoption counselor at a Humane Society in Alabama.
Over the years, Vanessa has worked with many wonderful people and feels lucky she’s been able to see so many animals find good homes. After years as an adoption counselor, Vanessa moved back home to Texas and worked as a receptionist at an animal clinic with a focus on rehabilitation and a holistic approach. Vanessa loves helping people and animals alike, and nothing makes her happier than an animal who has a long life free of cruelty and sickness. She takes pride in the fact that she gets to help ensure animals live a happy, healthy life full of love and friendship.
In her spare time, Vanessa is a hardcore cross-stitcher, crocheter, video game streamer on Twitch, and roller derby badass for one of the tops teams in the world.×
Ashlee was born and raised in El Paso, TX. After graduating from the University of Texas at El Paso, and obtaining a bachelors degree in biology, she moved to Austin in December 2014.
Ashlee enjoys hanging out with her fur baby, Alastor. They enjoy hiking, swimming, and hanging out at Zilker. If she isn’t hanging out with her pup, shes probably hanging out with friends, eating, studying ASL at ACC, training at Austin kickboxing Academy, or volunteering/making friends with insects at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.×
Chrissy is a born and raised New Jersian, with a love for the outdoors, and an insatiable enthusiasm for dog-snuggling. Fine art and photography are the elements of her formal education, leading her to a decade-long career in wedding photography management in the Northeast. In time, a workplace filled with furbabies was on the horizon.
She transplanted to Austin in early 2019, with husband, Sean and their Blue Heeler, Koda. She is happiest while helping others, creating art, or experiencing the natural world. PAZ vet really encompasses not only her fondness of these things, but her in opinion- all things ‘Austin’. Chrissy feels right at home here surrounded by loving, creative, animal advocates.
Born & raised an Austinite, Rita’s compassion for animals started young. Her parents frequently found strays hiding in her room and her passion for helping animals didn’t stop there. Since she couldn’t keep every stray in her room, she started volunteering on weekends at a local vet clinic from ’96-’98. A dozen practices, 22 years, and countless pets and fosters later, Rita has found her home at PAZ.
Working in the veterinary field is fast-paced, always gives her something to learn and do, and she finds it incredibly rewarding. With no pets of her own currently (bunnies on the way!), Rita loves being able to care for others’ furry friends and soak up all their puppy love.
In her spare time, Rita enjoys crafting, sewing, drawing, visiting graveyards and watching horror movies. She’s also all about reading anything and everything on architecture and interior design.×
Even though Nikki LaCour was born in Lubbock, Texas, she made her way to Austin as soon as she could in 1984! She took a brief sabbatical to go back to Lubbock to attend Texas Tech University where she obtained an undergraduate degree in Animal Science and Natural Resources and Chemistry. As a college student, she followed her passion working as a veterinary technician in Emergency and Critical Care as well as working at a general care practice. Her passion for animals and their pet parents followed her through her entire college career and beyond! After graduating Texas Tech University, she quickly left Lubbock to come back to Austin, Texas where she left off. In 1998 she worked as a technician (general practice and critical care) here in Austin until 2014.
Over the years of being a technician, she developed a new budding passion for the business side of veterinary medicine, and was graciously mentored by another manager so she was ready to accept a position as a Practice Manager in a general practice hospital in Round Rock, Texas. Being successful in Round Rock, she was given another opportunity 16 months later to become a Regional Operations Manager for 16+ practices from Austin to Boston (Eastern US) supporting and helping to develop processes. During her time as a Regional Operations Manager, she developed a passion for identifying and mentoring new leaders within her region. After a little over a year, she moved from Regional Operations Management to Integration Management in the same large veterinary company experiencing hyper-growth (growing from 13 clinics to over 280 in roughly 3 years) clinics and staff ranging from small, 1 doctor practices to emergency/specialty hybrid practices with over 100 staff.
Managing the emotions around change, training and helping to support practices in new partnerships was exciting. Nikki was traveling extensively and although she loved her career, she was looking for something different. Then, she found Paz Veterinary! Joining the team in January of 2020 as Director of Operations.
Nikki has a husband, and an 11 year old son as well as 4 dogs (2 mini dachshunds, a chihuahua and a chiweenie). She is also a plant enthusiast, owning over 300 plants.
She is super excited to be part of the amazing Paz Tribe!×
Karen, who hails from the beautiful Pacific Northwest, grew up an introverted child who found a natural solace in animals. She was raised with cats and dogs but also any animal that needed care.
She started her career in veterinary medicine as a kennel attendant and receptionist over 15 years ago. She decided this was a path to pursue and became a veterinary technician shortly after. Moving to Austin about 10 years ago, she continued along the path and worked for an emergency animal hospital before taking a year off to reset and travel the world. She heard about PAZ through a friend and decided that it would be a great place to utilize her skill set and further her belief in the strong human/animal bond.
She has two lovable pets named Beeju, a nine year old pitbull, and Judas Goat, a small black cat who runs the house. Outside of veterinary medicine, her hobbies include yoga and meditation, and anything that inspires empowerment and respect for nature and all of its inhabitants.×
One of the rare local unicorns, Jimmy was born here in Austin, Texas! Growing up he had a niche for helping others, always putting them before himself, which in turn grew into his adult life. Attending school at The University of Texas in San Antonio he studied science and criminal law to help achieve his life goals.
Jimmy’s empathy and his amazing ability of communication led him to work in the finance industry (totally different from his schooling) where he found his real talent in helping people. Working with all types of clientele he developed the skills he needed to succeed and help others achieve their goals.
Fast Forward and here he is working with amazing people (again) and the added bonus of animals! Hooray! As our Director of Client Experience he is responsible for ensuring YOU (yes, you), the client, have the best possible experience at PAZ and that your furry friend is provided with the utmost possible care that we give here each and every time!
In his free time, you can catch Jimmy at the trail going for a bike ride or run, hiking around town, and of course binge watching TV. He enjoys spending time with his pups, friends, and co-workers alike for social gatherings.×
Having been born in Texas into a military family, Troy has had the joy of living throughout this country and even abroad but Austin remains home. Time and place hold no boundaries in Troy’s wanderlust of veterinary and animal care. He has been immersed in this career for over 285 full moons (23 years) and enjoyed each one of them with great admiration.
Troy claims the force of the Universe is what delivered him to PAZ Veterinary and he reminds people daily of his gratitude on finding a place where he can put his passion and experience to the call of animal stewardship. He has been able to combine his own philosophy of animal care with his desire to serve others, all while fitting in with an eclectic group at PAZ.
Troy’s first foray into animal care was in 1989 – right after the San Fran quake shook the city to shambles including the lives of the dogs and cats. The SF Humane Society quickly put his talents to use and his experience with giving was amplified through the eyes of animals. His natural curiosity led him to practice manager positions but he still thrived in treatment of sick animals, whether holistic medicine, as a chemo-tech, critical care and emergency tech, no job was too tough for Troy.
He has been able to call on experience from different regions of the US and they have all been paired well with technical duties. He remains worldly in his compassion and brave with his guidance and has become a great father figure for dealing with emotional clients as well as emotional employees. PAZ Veterinary is thankful to have kind and patient leadership through Troy and his love of veterinary medicine.
Troy finds so much rhythm in the mantra below-
“Love and care for the animals…but…
never forget to do the same for the people.”×
Melissa was born and raised right here in South Austin. She spends part of her time at Texas State University studying Psychology. She joined PAZ Animal Collective to be part of an awesome team, and has quickly become a leader among our tribe.
When she doesn’t have her head in the books in San Marcos, she likes hanging out on the San Marcos river with her two pups, Riley and Wayne. If she’s not up front catering to the wagging tails and the smiling faces visiting PAZ, you might also find her riding bikes or playing disc golf with her family in one of Austin’s many parks.×
Dru has dedicated most of her life to working with animals. From training farm dogs during her free range childhood in the woodlands of North Mississippi, to earning her Bachelors Degree in Equine Science, to fostering and adopting Retired Racing Greyhounds, she has always found joy in the practice of Compassionate Animal Care.
After leaving her long-time career as a horse trainer and instructor in the Pacific Northwest, Dru made her way to Central Texas, where she turned her talents to pet grooming for the next decade. It was through grooming for an animal hospital that her interest in becoming a Veterinary Technician took root and began to blossom. She eventually realized that Austin was where she felt most at home, and heeded the voice of Karma that called her to PAZ Veterinary in 2016.
When she’s not organizing and managing the PAZ clinic inventories, you’ll find Dru practicing Yoga, working on her next Yarn Project, or out in Nature hiking and camping. She also volunteers with Greyhound Adoption League of Central Texas – Central Texas Chapter, hosting Meet & Greets, assisting with medical records, and advocating for Greyhounds and other Sighthounds in need of Forever Homes.
Dru currently shares her home and her heart with Taavi, aka Mr. UberSnoot Ambassadog, adopted from GALT-CTX in November 2018.×
Hailing from Austin, TX, Ashley the Queen Bee had early aspirations of becoming a cowgirl, riding horses and working a ranch. She also deeply admired the veterinarian profession and had dreams of becoming (or marrying) a vet one day. One wish down and one to go as she is the better half to Dr. Nicholas and proud mother of the two kinetic babies you see around Paz Vet, Redding and Fields Vaughan
Ashley grew up with a deep love and fascination of all living creatures and frequently brought home stray kitties, birdies, and anything that was looking for love. A passion to nurture was cultivated by her mother, who is a labor and delivery nurse, and whom also instilled an education of care and responsible medicine. Ashley loves to be around all furry friends and believes their unconditional love is one of the worlds greatest gifts and is necessary for those seeking a fulfilled life. Paz Vet has also been a creative outlet for Ashley as she has had the opportunity to work with some of Austin’s greatest minds (VUKA-Impact HUB-Seeds Interiors) in creating an environment where you can feel like you are home when you bring your loved one to see our amazing staff!×
Tess is a native Texan, but she has lived all over the western half of the country. After finishing her BS in Biology and Painting at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA, she returned to Austin briefly before disappearing into the mountains of Colorado for a year. The pursuit of a graduate degree brought her back to the Hill Country to attend Texas State University, where she attained her MBA.
After deciding not to pursue veterinary school, Tess explored several other facets of the animal health field. She has worked as a pharmacy technician compounding veterinary medications, a dog trainer, and volunteered as a surgical assistant in a Colorado animal shelter. Although she loves the medical side of animal health, she hopes to someday use her background in business and biology to improve the changing veterinary industry. Her time as a dog trainer and her undergraduate research on animal behavior sparked a particular interest in the relationship between humans and their pets; she believes that bringing a better business philosophy to a rapidly growing industry will ultimately lead to better care, longer companion animal lives, and happier pet owners.
Tess now calls Colorado home, but knocks out some fantastic remote work for us and knows she always has a home with us if she’d ever like to return to ATX.×