Meet Our Staff
Lisa Harrenstien, DVM, Dipl. ACZM
Dr. Lisa Harrenstien is the owner of Avian and Exotic Veterinary Care, which she founded in April 2016. Dr. Harrenstien has 30 years of experience as a veterinarian, including employment in private small animal/exotics practice, university exotics practice, postdoctoral training in zoological pathology, consultant work related to avian and exotic species, and zoo practice. She was an associate veterinarian at the Oregon Zoo for 13 years, and is a Board Certified Specialist in Zoological Medicine(TM), an ACZM Diplomate. The ACZM is the American College of Zoological Medicine, which is the veterinary specialty organization related to the care of avian/exotic companion animals, as well as free-ranging wildlife and animals in zoological facilities. Dr. Harrenstien was the first veterinarian in Oregon to have achieved this specialist ranking, and remains the only private practice veterinarian in the Pacific Northwest with this status.
Dr. Harrenstien belongs to numerous veterinary organizations, including the Portland Veterinary Medical Association and the American Veterinary Medical Association. She is on the executive committee of the American College of Zoological Medicine, serving as the organization’s treasurer.
Dr. Harrenstien’s favorite patients over the years have usually been the ones that heal well from serious illnesses and still appreciate her veterinary visits, including a California sea otter named “Thelma” who needed a lung removed, a young double yellow headed Amazon parrot named “Miss Lilly” who had her upper beak bitten off by a macaw, and a Houston toad named “Ratatouille” whose face and toes healed well after a predatory attack by a rat.
Paul Gibbons, DVM, MS, Dipl. ABVP (Reptile/Amphibian)
Dr. Paul Gibbons joined AEVC in January 2018 as our associate veterinarian, bringing 23 years of veterinary experience to our team. Dr. Gibbons obtained his DVM degree at the University of Illinois, completed a clinical residency in avian, herpetological, and non-domestic mammal medicine at University of California–Davis, and obtained his Master of Science degree from UC-Davis emphasizing diagnostic assay validation and wildlife disease ecology. Early in his career he worked in mixed animal practice in the Midwest, then founded an exotics private practice in Wisconsin, then became Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer of the Turtle Conservancy, a global conservation NGO.
Dr. Gibbons is a board-certified specialist in Reptile and Amphibian practice through the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (ABVP), being a founding Diplomate, and from 2002 to 2012 was ABVP board certified in avian medicine. Dr. Gibbons is very active in professional veterinary organizations, including being Past-President of the Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians. His work is published in numerous scientific journals, conference proceedings, and lay periodicals, and he has been an invited educator at conferences and conservation facilities throughout the world. In 2009, Dr. Gibbons was selected by his peers for the “Exotic DVM of the Year Award.” He serves the Association of Zoos and Aquariums as program leader of the Ploughshare Tortoise Species Survival Plan, on the Radiated Tortoise SSP Advisory Committee, and on the Steering Committee of the Chelonian Advisory Group. He is a member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group and the Conservation Planning Specialist Group.
Dr. Gibbons is passionate about helping people to sort through myriad sources of information to solve health problems and ensure the best possible care for exotic animals.
Josie Rose, DVM
Dr. Rose joined AEVC in August 2018 as an intern/associate veterinarian. She is a native of Cleveland, Ohio, and her interest in exotic and zoological medicine has taken her across the country. Her interest in zoological medicine started in high school when she worked as an extern with the Veterinary Department at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and continued through her undergraduate training at Ohio State University. She is a 2013 graduate of UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, and it was at UC Davis where she met her husband, a fellow veterinarian. Following graduation from veterinary school, she completed a small animal rotating internship at VCA Loomis Basin near Sacramento, California and then proceeded to work the following year and a half in small animal medicine in Bakersfield, California. During this time, she provided contract services for the local zoo. Following this experience, she completed two internships in zoological medicine at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and Indianapolis Zoo. She enjoys research, and was recognized by Morris Animal Foundation for her research with black rhinos during her veterinary training. She has published two articles, and also presented two topics at the 2018 American Association of Zoo Veterinarian's conference in Prague, Czech Republic. Dr. Rose enjoys veterinary problems that require "thinking outside the box" for solutions. She especially loves cases that integrate many different disciplines to achieve the best outcome for exotic patients. Dr. Rose runs half marathons and enjoys trivia competitions, historical documentaries, and visiting her many family members across the country. She is very excited to be a part of the AEVC team!
Alexa Franklin, CVT
Alexa is an Oregon native, having grown up in Salem. She has always had a passion for exotic and zoo animals, and has cultivated that passion with volunteering at a local wildlife rehabilitation center and attending Portland Community College's Veterinary Technician program, which she graduated from in 2016. Alexa knew early on in her veterinary career that exotic animal medicine was the specialty for her, and working at AEVC makes that dream a reality. Alexa lives with a variety of animals including two cats, one dog, a hedgehog, a leopard gecko, a crested gecko and a betta fish. In her spare time she enjoys reading, playing video games and drawing.
Jill McLeod, LVT
Jill was born and raised in Washington, where she was fortunate enough to have a supportive family that let her take care of a wide range of animals. This encouragement strengthened her interest in animals, and led to Jill’s career in animal care. Jill first acquired a veterinary assisting certificate, then went back to school to become a veterinary technician. After more than five years of working as the head licensed veterinary technician in a small animal practice, she realized that she wanted to work more with exotic animals, so she went back to school at Western Washington University, receiving a bachelor’s degree in biology. She then interned at Wildlife Safari in Winston, Oregon where her passion for exotic animals grew. Subsequently, she worked at San Antonio Zoo where she worked as the only veterinary technician in their multi-doctor veterinary department. She moved to Portland to work at Oregon Zoo, and now has joined us as a full time licensed veterinary technician. In her spare time, Jill loves reading, hiking, and spending time with her dog and cat.
Jennie Parker, CVT
Jennie is a native of Oklahoma and has had a passion for exotic animals since she was a little girl. She graduated from Oklahoma State University - Oklahoma City Campus in 2014 with a degree in Veterinary Technology. In Oklahoma, she worked at a 24 hour emergency veterinary clinic for 4 years. Jennie moved to Oregon at the beginning of 2019 with the goal of becoming a Veterinary Technician Specialist in Exotic Companion Animals; there are currently only 10 of these technicians in the country! Jennie has owned a wide variety of animals such as sugar gliders, rabbits, snakes, lizards, birds, small mammals, tarantulas, cats and dogs. In her spare time, Jennie likes to stretch her creative wings with drawing and other media.
Christine Weld, CVT
Born and raised in central Florida, Christine attended the University of Florida and received a BS in Biology. Her career started with a primate internship at ZooTampa at Lowry Park, volunteering at Big Cat Rescue, and working with the bird, reptile, and kangaroo team at Busch Gardens Tampa. Then, deciding to pursue veterinary nursing, she attended St. Petersburg College for an AS in Veterinary Technology through a distance education program. While continuing her degree, she followed her dream of moving to the Pacific Northwest with her husband, dog, and cat in tow. After working in several dog & cat clinics and obtaining her Certified Veterinary Technician license, Christine was eager to care for exotic animals again. She jumped on the opportunity to join AEVC in 2016 when it was still a fledgling veterinary practice. Over the years she has honed her exotic animal knowledge and nursing skills with the help of amazing veterinarians, clients, and patients. In mid-2019, she took a break to care for her new baby. Though Christine loves being a mother, she also loves working with animals and is excited to have returned to AEVC!
Receptionists & Veterinary Assistants
Mandy is a born and raised native of Portland, Oregon. She first worked with exotic animals when she was a ZooTeen at the Oregon Zoo in high school, and she was able to follow her passion by attending PCC's Biology and Management of Zoo Animals program, obtaining an Associate of Applied Sciences degree. Mandy completed a year long co-op internship at the Oregon Zoo and a 3 month internship at Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium in Tacoma, WA working with a wide variety of species in their Asian Forest Sanctuary exhibit. Mandy previously worked in emergency veterinary medicine but has now been given the amazing chance to extend her insight and her abilities at AEVC. In her spare time, Mandy enjoys reading manga, watching anime and doing puzzles.
Felicia Hamilton was born and raised in Oklahoma. She has been in love with the science of veterinary medicine since she was a child. She began her work with exotic animals in high school through the junior curator volunteer program at the Oklahoma City Zoo, then she obtained a Bachelors of Science degree in zoology, and began working for an emergency clinic in Oklahoma after college. After gaining experience in intensive care and surgical medicine of dogs, cats and smaller numbers of exotics, she moved to the Portland area in 2020 to focus on learning more about exotic animal medicine. Outside of her love of veterinary medicine, she has two main passions: music and tabletop gaming. She has played the double bass since 2001 through school, semi-professional, and community groups. She is joined in her move to the Pacific Northwest by her husband, who supports her every endeavor.
Jackie is an Oregon native who has over 15 years of veterinary reception and client care experience. She has worked in both emergency and small animal practices, but has always wanted to learn more about the specialty of exotic animal medicine. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology from Oregon State University, and she also spent a year at Oregon Coast Community College where she earned a Certificate in Aquarium Science and participated in various volunteer and internship opportunities involving marine and freshwater fish and invertebrates. She absolutely loves being in a profession where she gets to help pets and their humans, and she has a great passion for all varieties of animal health and medicine. Her current pet family consists of one dog, a cat and two betta fish. She is very excited to start this new adventure with AEVC!
Kathleen has had a lifelong love for animals. Her first pets were a guinea pig and silkworms when she was four years old, and she started fostering orphaned kittens when she was twelve. Kathleen's passion for wildlife and conservation guided her to earn a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies. With a desire to get hands on experience with a wide range of animal species, Kathleen completed the 2 year Biology and Management of Zoo Animals program at PCC. Through the program Kathleen completed a student internship at the Oregon Zoo, and she has been involved in wildlife rehabilitation at the Audubon Society of Portland for almost five years. Throughout Kathleen’s life, she has had a variety of pets from box turtles and rats to parakeets. Currently, Kathleen has a dog, two cats, five goldfish, and a 20-year-old corn snake.