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A human who is great with animals


Parkway Veterinary Hospital is perfect place for Lisa Moffenbeier to practice

Once she was a little girl who tagged along with veterinarians at Lake Oswego’s Parkway Veterinary Hospital, watching with wide-eyed wonder as they helped animals.

Now, Lisa Moffenbeier is all grown up and tall enough that Parkway founder Dr. Gregg Takashima jokes that she should bend her knees when they pose for photos together.

Moffenbeier has grown up in a lot of other ways, too. In fact, the curious little girl is now the newest staff member at Parkway, a young veterinarian whose potential is rated highly by Takashima.

As she puts it, “I get to come here every week and play with animals.”

But what makes Moffenbeier special is her ability to relate to people who love animals.

“To just love animals is not enough to be a veterinarian,” Takashima said. “You’ve also got to love people. You’ve got to communicate with them in order to take care of the pet.”

Indirectly, veterinarians help people as much as they do animals.

“It is no longer just anecdotal evidence,” Takashima said. “Hard research shows that pets lower people’s blood pressure, improve heart health and lower stress.”

In other words, healthy pet, healthy pet owner.

Moffenbeier started out as a cat lover. Around age 8 she started accompanying her mother when she took the family cat down to, of course, Parkway. This was not unusual. What was unusual was that the fascination of treating animals’ medical problems took hold of her so strongly that it set her on the path to her profession.

A milestone occurred in third grade when Moffenbeier was assigned a career day project. Naturally, she chose becoming a veterinarian. Takashima was the vet who helped her.

“I interviewed Dr. Takashima,” Moffenbeier said. “He gave a lot of time for me and answered all of my questions. He showed me how the human-animal bond was very important. I decided I’d like to return the favor and do this for other people some day.”

At that point Moffenbeier had a mentor and Takashima had a protégé. She never stopped going to Parkway, doing any job that was asked of her and observing treatment of animals at every opportunity — through graduation from Lakeridge High School and going through both undergraduate and graduate programs at Oregon State University.

“I always knew I wanted to come back here,” Moffenbeier said. “I would take care of the animals here every spring and summer. The staff would bring me into treatment sessions and let me watch surgery.”

Takashima noted, “Lisa was able to get the kind of hands-on experience that is rare for veterinary students these days.”

“Choosing to become a veterinarian was a very clear thing for me,” Moffenbeier said. “I loved animals, science and medicine. Treating animals is sort of like a puzzle because they can’t tell you what is wrong with them. It keeps me interested and it’s also extremely rewarding.

“I never considered doing anything else. If becoming a vet hadn’t worked out, I was doomed.”

Upon graduating with her doctorate of veterinary medicine degree from Oregon State University, Moffenbeier got a crash course in the animal medical world by working in a 24-hour veterinary clinic in Utah. An experience like this tends to separate true veterinarians from people who are merely fond of animals. Moffenbeier loved it.

“It was a great experience,” she said. “I really learned to think on my feet.”

After about a year in Utah, Moffenbeier got a chance for the perfect job: an offer to join the staff at Parkway. Last May she became the newest member of Takashima’s team. Many of her cases have been routine, but sometimes she must become a veterinarian detective.

“A little dog was brought in because it was not eating,” Moffenbeier said. “I found that it had a prolapsed disc in its back. After a few weeks of treatment it was so much better and was running around.”

It is always a good sign when your patients start running around, and Takashima thinks Moffenbeier has a great future at Parkway. Her only career goals at this time are to increase her ability “one skill at a time,” especially becoming proficient at noninvasive surgery techniques, where animals not only don’t have to go under the knife but also have amazingly brief recovery times.

There is just one more thing …

“Being a veterinarian is not a job, it’s a lifestyle,” Takashima said. “You can’t just take off your white jacket at 5 p.m.”

Moffenbeier has learned that lesson, too. On her day off she saw a stray dog run in front of her car as she was driving down the street. She got out of her car, grabbed the dog and was quickly able to find its home.

Moffenbeier’s life is going to the dogs. She likes it that way.

Parkway Veterinary Hospital is located at 3 SW Monroe Parkway, suite 5, just down from New Seasons market. For more information, call 503 636-2102 or visit