CHRISTOPHER PACHEL, DVM, DACVB, CABC
Dr. Pachel received his veterinary degree from the University of MN in 2002 and worked as a general practitioner for two years in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area prior to the start of his behavior residency program. He operated a house-call behavior practice in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area until 2010 and became board certified by the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists in 2010. He spent 3.5 years of his residency period under the mentorship of Jacqui Neilson, DVM, DACVB at the Animal Behavior Clinic in Portland, OR before purchasing the practice from her in 2011.
As the owner and primary clinician for the Animal Behavior Clinic, he brings an approach to behavioral therapy which combines learning theory, medical training, and experience along with compassion and effective communication to create a balanced treatment plan that is tailored to the individual patient’s needs. Dr. Pachel’s methodology emphasizes the importance of the human animal bond and the role that companion animals play in the lives of their families.
Outside of direct patient care, Dr. Pachel lectures regularly throughout the US and Canada, and has taught undergraduate and professional courses in veterinary behavior at the University of MN and at the Virginia Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. He has published research on feline water consumption preferences, wrote a book chapter on Intercat Aggression for the May 2014 issue of Veterinary Clinics of North America: Small Animal Practice, and is co-author of a book chapter on Pet Selection for Animal Assisted Therapy.
In his spare time away from the office, Dr. Pachel enjoys distance running, strength training, yoga, and weekend RV excursions. He is a supporter of beer festivals, wineries, and the Portland food scene, and is always looking for new recommendations for places to visit. He shares his home with his partner of 16 years (who happens to be a veterinarian as well), a bull / rat terrier named Corneliuz, and a Ragdoll cat named Cedric.
LIZ GRAY, MS, DVM
Dr. Gray graduated with her Master’s degree from Colorado State University in Zoology (focusing on applied animal behavior) in 2002. She then attended veterinary school at CSU, and graduated with honors in 2006. During her schooling, Dr. Gray worked at a local training facility as a dog trainer, and helped to teach an applied animal behavior class to her fellow veterinary students. She has worked in general veterinary practice, as well as shelter behavior and medicine, for the last 10 years.
Dr. Gray joined the Animal Behavior Clinic as a part-time clinician in 2016 after several years of professional case review and remote consultation with Dr. Pachel. When not seeing cases at the Animal Behavior Clinic, she practices at the Humane Society of Central Oregon in Bend, OR as the behaviorist and one of their veterinarians.
Her specific professional interests include parsing out the physical contributors to behavioral changes in older dogs as well as addressing the unique behavioral challenges faced by rescued and rehomed animals. Dr. Gray enjoys volunteerism, and goes to Playa del Carmen, Mexico every year to volunteer at a 6 day high volume spay/neuter campaign. For fun, she enjoys traveling, hiking, biking, spending time with her two daughters and husband, and rehabilitating the omnipresent foster animals. She has two pets of her own: Kali, a rescued Mexican street dog, and Oscar, a fabulous orange tabby cat.
PAIGE PIERCE, MS, DVM
Dr. Pierce graduated with a BS in Zoology from Michigan State University, and moved to College Station, Texas, to pursue graduate work in animal behavior and genetics. Upon completing her Master’s degree, she moved to Oregon – not because she had a job lined up, but because she knew this was where she wanted to live. She worked for Oregon Fish and Wildlife for a few years, met her future husband there, and then made a slight shift in career path. She attended OSU’s School of Veterinary Medicine, and has been providing medical care for dogs and cats in Portland since 1997.
In general practice, she’s found that her ongoing fascination with animal cognition, communication and emotional health allows her to help clients with pets who have anxieties and/or concerning behaviors. Her particular areas of interest are reducing the stress and fear that so many dogs and cats experience with vet visits, and trouble-shooting issues that crop up for performance dogs. Dr. Pierce joined the Animal Behavior Clinic as a part-time clinician in 2017.
Dr. Pierce and her husband share their lives with three wonderful dogs (Merit, Beacon and Quip), as well as one very handsome orange and white cat (Ember). Favorite family activities include agility, hiking, cross-country skiing, and walking at the coast.
MEGAN CRUZ, KPA-CTP
Megan has been training animals in some way or another since she got a dachshund puppy at age 3. In addition to horses, chickens, goats, fish, cats, numerous small rodents, and of course dogs, she trained and handled animals for the Oregon Zoo’s “Zoo to You” program, which included ferrets, parrots, snakes, box turtles, and rabbits. Nearly 25 years ago she discovered a passion for teaching people to train their animals. When she saw how training exercises or programs improved the relationship dynamics between people and their pets she was hooked.
Her own Airedale Terrier started her down the path of behavior modification, and helping and supporting pets with behavior challenges and their people became her primary training focus. In 2007, Megan was offered the first staff-sponsored scholarship for the Karen Pryor Academy for Animal Training and Behavior, and in January 2008 became the first West Coast graduate and Certified Training Partner of the program (and second graduate overall.) She comes to us with a background full of rich training experience focused on helping pets overcome unique challenges, from teaching group classes to her most recent work with “career change” dogs through Guide Dogs for the Blind who exit the program to be placed in appropriate non-guide work homes. She joined the Animal Behavior Clinic as an Animal Trainer in 2014.
Megan shares her home with Tag the Airedale, Monty the Shetland Sheepdog, Kip the Keeshond, Tsubaki the Labrador Retriever; Jack and Flicka, two kitties; and one amazing husband. She enjoys Japanese art and culture.
STEPHANIE COLLINGSWORTH, CPDT-KA
Growing up in the country provided lots of opportunities for Stephanie to interact with, and learn from, the animals in her life. From dogs and cat to horses and goats, there were always four-legged friends around. She attended her first dog obedience class when she was 17 and that set her on the path to becoming a dog trainer herself. Stephanie quickly found that she enjoyed showing people how to communicate with their pets, and more importantly, how to understand what pets may be trying to communicate to us. She obtained certification as a Certified Pet Dog Trainer in 2009 and works to maintain these credentials with continuing education and training.
She began working at Multnomah County Animal Services in 1999. During her time at the shelter, she has handled thousands of dogs and cats. Her duties at the shelter included the behavioral assessment of shelter dogs and cats, consultation on behavior issues for adopted and fostered animals, and training of volunteers and staff on animal body language, behavior, and basic care. She also fostered dozens of dogs, and admits that adolescent dogs are among her most favorite to work with. She was brought on as an Animal Trainer for the Animal Behavior Clinic in 2015.
Stephanie is a self-proclaimed “dog geek” and never ceases to be fascinated with observing and learning about animal behavior. She is thrilled to be a member of the Animal Behavior Clinic Team and to continue fulfilling her passion for helping people and pets.
Maren can’t remember a time when her life wasn’t all about animals. She joined the Animal Behavior Clinic in August 2013, and takes great joy in helping others. Her primary goal is to provide the best information and assistance possible to our clients and colleagues as ABC’s Office/Practice Manager. She harbors a long-standing passion for understanding the way animals think and the many intricacies of the human-animal bond. Over the years, she has fostered kittens, volunteered for the Multnomah County Animal Shelter, and worked as a dog and cat groomer before shifting to the veterinary field.
She has Bachelor’s degrees in Comparative Literature and Russian Studies from the University of Oregon. She spends her off time traveling near & far, playing music, and cuddling her furry children Saxafrax (an Australian Shepherd), Ash (a Shiba Inu/Sheltie mix), TeeVee Cat, Esteban, Harlow, Atlas, and Sangria (a collection of cats).