MEET OUR DOCTORS
ELEANOR DUNN, DVM
Medical Director & Owner
Dr. Eleanor Dunn has been committed to providing extraordinary veterinary care to patients and their families in Oakland for over 30 years. She is the founder of The Grand Lake Veterinary Hospital and is a skilled medical diagnostician as well as a general practice surgeon. Dr. Dunn strongly believes in a holistic approach to veterinary medicine, integrating all her years of training in medicine, surgery, and dentistry with acupuncture, herbal therapy, and nutritional therapy. Her passion for helping her patients live the happiest, healthiest lives they can through individualized care is evident in everything that she does. Her goal is to educate clients and make her patients and their families feel valued and taken care of. Her guiding philosophy is that life feels more full when you extend yourself to others.
Dr. Dunn started her journey to becoming a veterinarian as the youngest of seven children in Illinois. The household abounded with cats, dogs, mice and rats. In high school, she gained experience with goats, sheep, pigs and cows on her brothers farm. She attended Middlebury College, graduating summa cum laude. She created her own major in biology and physics and worked in human medical research in neonatology and ultrasound. She went to the University of Illinois Veterinary School, graduating salutatorian in 1986. While she will always have a love of research, veterinary medicine combined her passion for science with her love of animals and sharing her knowledge with the families that own them.
Dr. Dunn has always been a knowledge seeker. She is not satisfied until she has answered the question, “why, or how can we do better?” She was a boarded diplomat of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners for 20 years. Later in her career, frustrated that western medicine alone did not have all the answers, she became certified in veterinary acupuncture. She also extensively studied nutrition therapy and Chinese herbal medicine. She brings her research background and evidence-based eye to everything. Don’t be surprised if she says “Well, the clinical research says…” during your visit.
When not at the hospital, she enjoys spending time with her husband, two children, cat Tigerlily, and dog Zephyr. She is a long-time supporter and board member of the Friends of Sausal Creek, which has worked for decades to restore Oakland’s prized Diamond Park and Canyon. She loves hiking, nature, gardening, studying local history, and genealogy.
ELIZABETH MACDONALD, DVM
Medical Director & Owner
Dr. Elizabeth MacDonald has almost two decades of experience providing state-of-the-art medicine and surgery for dogs and cats. She is thrilled to partner with Dr. Dunn and the family at Grand Lake Veterinary Hospital to help preserve private ownership of veterinary hospitals. In doing so, she seeks to continue their tradition of excellence through individualized care that comes from thoughtful, compassionate, knowledgeable medicine. She looks forward to meeting old and new patients and fostering the human-animal bonds that helps us thrive.
Dr. MacDonald grew up in Piedmont and went to school in Oakland. She is excited to finally be practicing back home. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Davidson College, then went on to U.C. Davis Veterinary School, graduating with the Phi Zeta Honors in 2000. She continued her training at The Animal Medical Center (AMC) in New York City, where she completed an internship in internal medicine, surgery and emergency medicine. AMC was, at the time, the only emergency and specialty veterinary hospital in Manhattan. This means she saw everything from the untouchable guard dog from the Bronx to diamond-studded poodles in Kate Spade handbags. She owned an Irish Wolfhound as a child, and New York taught her to adore all dogs LITTLE as well as all dogs GIANT–and a few sizes in between. Her first love and the driving force behind becoming a veterinarian was, of course, her childhood cat “Stripes.” She was known to arrive home from school as a child, claiming that dogs and cats had just “happened” to follow her home. (Admittedly, there might have been some encouragement on her part.)
Outside of work, she is kept busy with three human children, a labradoodle, two rats, and four chickens. She loves to get outdoors whenever possible, be it skiing or hiking, but, in reality, spends a lot of time on the sidelines of soccer fields cheering.
MELISSA PARTIN, DVM
Dr. Melissa Partin graduated from the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine in 2001. She moved to the Bay Area in 2005 and worked for the same practice group until 2012 when she left to spend time with family in Sweden and Germany. Now that she is home, she is thrilled to have found a new veterinary family at The Grand Lake Veterinary Hospital.
Dr. Partin has strong interests in preventative medicine, behavior, and surgery. She has been to Guatemala, Easter Island, and American Indian reservations all over the country as a volunteer for Rural Area Veterinary Services. Away from the practice, she enjoys camping, hiking, biking, and studying Swedish. Her four-legged family members are Diego, a rescue kitty, and Leon, another kitty friend, adopted from the SF SPCA.
LYDIA WOOD, DVM
Dr. Lydia Wood has been committed to helping animals for 25 years. She began volunteering at the Marine Mammal Center in 1993 while she was attending Mills College. This experience led her to a job as a vet tech working with dogs and cats. As time went on she realized that this was her calling and this work inspired her to go back to school to obtain her DVM at U.C. Davis in 2006.
Lydia grew up overseas in Milan, Johannesburg, Paris and Brussels. Being an American who had never lived in the United States, she decided that she should go to college there! She chose Mills College in part for her appreciation of the Bay Area. She has lived in Oakland on and off since 1990 when she began attending Mills.
Lydia enjoys dealing with a variety of subjects throughout each day, from ophthalmology to dentistry to surgery and medicine. Diagnoses and treatment options for animals are becoming more and more complicated as science progresses. Lydia enjoys talking through all the possible options and outcomes to help people make the right choices for their pets and their families. She understands that often there is no one right answer but grey areas that need to be addressed to find the proper path forward.
Lydia spends her spare time with her partner, her son, her rescue dog and her stray cat. She has a great passion for the outdoors and California and all the adventures that it has to offer.
DANE WHITAKER, DVM
Dr. Dane Whitaker has been practicing veterinary medicine in the San Francisco area for the last 23 years. He recently completed his Masters in Preventive Veterinary Medicine at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, training that makes him uniquely qualified to study the dynamics of disease in populations of animals. Although a Bay Area native, he grew up in Florida and graduated from the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine in 1994.
His veterinary interests include small animal medicine, clinical pathology, marine mammal medicine and One Health. Through volunteer work at The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, Dr. Whitaker solidified his desire to return to school to receive further training. His area of research focused on ocean health and marine conservation as it pertains to human health.
Dr. Whitaker is a Board Member of the LGVMA, and takes an active role in promoting the ideas of inclusion and acceptance for all members of the community in the veterinary profession. In his spare time, Dr. Whitaker volunteers with several non-profits which help people with HIV/Aids. He also enjoys traveling, hiking, surfing and is an avid swing dancer and drummer.
Dr. Whitaker works at The Grand Lake Veterinary Hospital on an as-needed basis.
EVELYN IVEY, DVM
While Dr. Ivey is no longer a regular relief doctor at our clinic, we include her bio here because we believe her work supports the mission of our hospital, to treat animals with love and compassion.
Dr. Ivey is the founder of Peace for Pets, a service that provides loving hospice and euthanasia services in the comfort of home. She provides consultations for pet owners who have questions about Quality of Life, Euthanasia, and other aspects of End of Life care. To learn more about Peace for Pets, or to contact Dr. Ivey, visit www.PeaceForPets.net.
Dr. Ivey graduated Magna cum Laude from Cornell University in 1991 and received her veterinary degree from the University of California at Davis in 1996. Following a one year small animal medical and surgical internship at the Animal Medical Center in New York City, she completed an exotic pet residency and received her ABVP Board certification in Avian Medicine in 1999. She served as a staff veterinarian at the Veterinary School of The University of Pennsylvania where she taught veterinary students in the classroom and on clinical rotations. She has lectured across the country and and authored several scientific and review papers.
LAUREN KNOBEL, DVM
Dr. Lauren L. Knobel came to California in 1980 and completed her B.A. with honors at Mills college in Oakland in 1984. She was one of 4 WICHE students from the state of Hawaii which sponsored her education at Colorado State University where she received her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine in 1990. She has practiced in Oakland since her return in 1990. Dr. Knobel has strong interests in client education, internal medicine, dentistry, behavior, and rehabilitative medicine. She is active in the Great Dane and German Shepherd Rescue Foundations.
Dr. Knobel enjoys spending her free time sailing the bay and beyond, traveling, spending time with family, cooking and playing with her 4 legged and feathered family of one dog (the wonderful whippet Bugsy), one cat (the best ratter around; Keiki Hula Girl), a 30 lb African Sulcata tortoise (Leon), and 7 chickens that grace her little zoo with eggs when they decide to (and yes, they all have names).
MEET OUR STAFF
Anya started working as a receptionist at a veterinary hospital in 2007. She had just moved back from New York City after leaving NYU, where she had been working part-time as a receptionist in a chiropractor’s office in Greenwich Village while going to school. When she arrived back home in the Bay Area she landed a job as a receptionist at a small veterinary practice in San Leandro. Since then, she’s come to learn how much she loves interacting with people, and how good it feels to make someone’s day better. She found it incredibly rewarding to be an important part of the client and patient experience. She also acquired her first cat, Oscar, while working at that first practice. “He has changed my life for the better. I fell in love with this field because I brought Oscar home, and realized that the people we help, love their pets the same way I love Oscar,” Anya says.
As the Hospital Manager at Grand Lake Vet, she tries to keep things as positive as possible. “My goal in every interaction is to leave each client feeling like they just had the best experience at GLVH possible. Even when I have to have difficult conversations, I try to actively listen, and empathize. That goes for staff too! I try to treat people the way I want to be treated. I also try to frame every interaction from the perspective that everyone is doing the best they are capable of in that moment.”
For Anya, “Pets mean unconditional love. They are the epitome of what family is to me. They are companions, friends, and deserve our respect. Oscar, my cat, helped me survive some of the most difficult phases of my life. My pets mean the world to me, and I have never been without an animal friend in my life from the age of three. I cannot imagine walking this earth without them.” Her family is made up of her wife, Grover (who she knew was her soulmate when she showed her a picture of her cat two minutes into meeting each other), and their zoo. Oscar, Frida, and Spock, her three cats, guard the homestead. Little miss Johnny Cake, the friendliest Staffordshire Bull Terrier in East Oakland, comes to work with her everyday. She’s the cutest little pit bull, with a huge personality. She also keeps a live planted freshwater aquarium and a jungle of houseplants.
Anya feels proud to work at Grand Lake Vet and to be a part of building the team here. “I love how gentle and compassionate everyone is at Grand Lake Vet, and that doesn’t just apply to how our clients and patients are treated, but also how we treat each other. The veterinary field is incredibly rewarding, but depression, compassion fatigue, and burnout are realities we all face, no matter what your position is in a practice. I’ve never worked somewhere where people take care of each other like we do at Grand Lake Vet. There’s no judgement, and we respect each other. We celebrate and grieve together. I feel like Grand Lake is a part of my family.”
Anya is working on becoming a Certified Veterinary Practice Manager. But in her spare time she and her wife explore the Redwoods and East Bay trails with their staffy, Johnny Cake. “My dog Johnny Cake’s name is a nod to my Belizean heritage. She’s a sweet little Caribbean biscuit!”
Co-Head Registered Veterinary Technician
Lindsey completed her RVT classes at Western Career College in and became a licensed technician in December of 2009. Lindsey has always had a love for animals and originally wanted to be a veterinarian as a child. She had a career training horses, which she started doing in 1989. Eventually, she wanted a change. It was at that point she decided to become a veterinary technician. I has always loved animals, and had an interest in medicine, so becoming an RVT seemed like a perfect melding of the two.
Lindsey wants to build the trust of the client and the patient at every visit. For her, her pets are family. They are her constant companions who give her unconditional love. She recognizes that relationship exists for all of our clients and their pets, and treats them with the same level of respect and care she has for her clan of cats and dogs at home.
Lindsey chose to continue to work at Grand Lake Vet (she also worked at the former Lake Vet before its closure) because she loves, “her coworkers, the wonderful clients, and of course watching the animals over their lifetimes.”
When Lindsey isn’t helping to lead the crew at Grand Lake Vet you can find her instructing dressage. “I love teaching people how to improve communication with their horses.” We think Lindsey is a real gem (with staff, people, horses, and furry friends/patients).
Co-Head Registered Veterinary Technician
Barbara is one of our co-head registered veterinary technicians here at Grand Lake Vet. She was also a technician at Lake Vet years ago.
When asked why she chose veterinary medicine, Barb explains, “I love how animals are so direct with their feelings, and I’m fascinated by the science and art of medicine that our DVMs perform every day.”
Her career in veterinary medicine began in 2010 when she began working in a small practice after graduating from Portland Community College with a degree in Veterinary Technology and became a licensed technician in Oregon (which she maintains). Additionally, Barb has a Masters degree in Library Science and was a librarian and system administrator for some time prior to changing careers to work with animals – something she always wanted to do. She still loves public libraries, and believes they are a critical institution in our democracy. But she is so very glad to be working with animals every day (and we are so glad she is too!!!).
We love Barbara because she approaches all of her patients with a calm demeanor and really uses a gently touch. She is incredibly knowledgeable, caring, and a pleasure to be around. Her goal is to make everyone comfortable, welcome, and to be responsive to their reason for being here.
For Barb pets are a part of the family, they’re what makes a home warm. With that perspective, she aims to live by the golden rule, and this applies to interactions here at work with her patients and their people. To Barb, working at The Grand Lake Veterinary Hospital means that she is able to be, “grateful every day to work with wonderful team mates, colleagues, and doctors who share the same goal of providing the best possible care and kindness to our patients and clients.”
Barbara and her human partner live in Oakland with a rescue kitty named Troy and a cattle dog mix named Cisco.
Registered Veterinary Technician
Alex chose a career in veterinary medicine because she wanted to not only make a difference to animals but their humans as well. She began working with animals in 2010, when she was hired in her first year of schooling to become a registered veterinary technician. Alex says, “I did not know anything about the veterinary world, so it was a lot to take in. I admired the passionate and intelligent technicians I worked with, hoping to one day be as skilled as they were.” We definitely think Alex has succeeded!
Alex aims to ensure clients have a better understanding of their pets and veterinary medicine. With respect to her patients, her goal is to provide excellent care with the least amount of stress as possible.
When we asked Alex about what her pets (Ella, a lab mix; Domingo, a pit-bull; and Mr. Perry Poppins, her kitty) mean to her, she said, “My pets are like my kids. I enjoying adopting pets that are “undesirable” due to behavior issues. It is a challenge, but if you are will to put the time and effort, the reward exceeds the hassle.”
We love Alex’s philosophy that everything in life is temporary, and that there’s no need to stress over the little things, your hardship will be over soon. Alex enjoys working at The Grand Lake Veterinary Hospital because she loves that we go the extra mile for people and their pets. She feels that there is something new to learn everyday and if you’re not learning, you’re not living!
We love Alex as much as she loves mangoes!
Chai has been with Grand Lake Vet since the Summer of 2016. She is an Oakland native and has a degree in Marine Biology. Chai absolutely loves animals of all kinds, from land to sea. She chose to work in the veterinary field because she wanted to learn about cats and dogs. She has experience in public education and animal care-taking, and is passionate about conservation and protection of animals and their environments. She and her boyfriend share their home with a few fish, shrimp, and snails, and two kitties.
Chai began working with animals in 2011, handling swell sharks for the public to touch – they have soft bellies! During this time she was a volunteer while in college at Santa Cruz. The Grand Lake Veterinary Hospital is her first place where she has had the opportunity to work with domestic animals like cats and dogs. Chai’s goal with each client interaction is to make them smile, and to demonstrate how much she cares about their pets. She aims to make all of our patients feel comfortable here. Chai sees her pets as her babies, so she treats our patients like they are family too. Don’t be surprised if you see Chai on the floor snuggling with our patients in the lobby.
We’re so thankful that Chai is a part of our team. When we asked Chai why she has chosen to work at Grand Lake Vet she said, “The people who work here are crazy and pleasant to be around, and they work hard!” When Chai isn’t working, she enjoys exercise, hikes (anywhere toward water!), animal-watching, and making people smile.
Angel worked with us here in the office for several years before moving to her home state in Texas to start her family with her husband. Now that she’s out of state, you may still talk to Angel, as she remotely assists us with calls and emails.
Because of her love of science, medicine, and animals, Angel has been working with in the veterinary field since 2001 when she started out as a kennel assistant in a VCA in Houston. She was tired of doing work she didn’t enjoy and started working at a veterinary hospital. Soon after, she realized that she could help clients feel well cared for, and have confidence in her and the practice as a whole. She strives for the animals to have the most positive and comfortable experience possible when she is interacting with them in the practice.
For Angel, home is with her pets. They bring so much humor and warmth into her life. She shares her home with her husband, daughter, and her two pets, June Bug the terrier and Riley the cat.
Angel will always have a place in the Grand Lake Vet family, no matter how far she goes! She’s helped us by remotely assisting our staff because we practice at a high level of care, and the animals are treated with a lot of patience and compassion. We’re so grateful to still have her on the team.
Angel is also a licensed cosmetologist, and even as she moves forward in her new profession as a hair stylist, veterinary medicine will always have a piece of her heart. Thanks, Angel!
Veterinary Assistant & Inventory Manager
Alan began working in the veterinary field as a receptionist in about 2011 at Lake Vet, before it closed. He came back when Dr. Dunn opened Grand Lake Vet but decided he really wanted to focus on helping the patients in a more hands on way, and eventually became one of our veterinary assistants.
He chose this field because he loves animals, and he really wanted to help people and their pets feel comfortable. He specifically chose to stay with the Grand Lake Vet family because we ARE family. He appreciates the fact that the team treats each other like family, and almost as if our patients are our nieces and nephews. “We just want what’s best for them. Even the ones that are up to no good,” Alan says.
Alan’s home family consists of his two siblings, his parents, and their cat: a silver tabby short-hair named Elvis. His sister and her wife have three cats and a dog he shares his home with. His sister’s cat, Oscar, has been his nemesis since she brought him home in 2007 as a kitten. But now that they’re roommates, they have an understanding…
While Alan doesn’t personally have any pet’s he cares deeply for the animals in his life. Elvis, his parents’ cat, often accompanied him on neighborhood strolls, and he “once fought off a cartel to get Elvis his kibble…true story!”
On his days off, Alan enjoys reading graphic novels and comic books, drawing, and collecting sneakers.
Koy has been with The Grand Lake Vet family since August of 2015. She didn’t have any veterinary experience when she came on board, but has learned many skills and grown her knowledge base tremendously in the time she’s been here! She started out as a receptionist, and eventually discovered her love for hands-on treatment of our patients and became a veterinary assistant. She is currently taking courses to work toward becoming a registered veterinary technician.
Koy knew that working with animals was her calling by the time she was 10 years old. As a young child, she always wanted to help stray dogs and cats. She felt helpless then, but she knew even then that animals should live a good life with people who understand and care for them. As she grew older she realized she wanted to encourage and educate people on how to care properly for their furry friends, and with this in mind, decided this was the field for her.
Today, she is able to realize her childhood goal here, by interacting and bonding with clients, so she can help provide them with knowledge on how to care for their pets whether that be physical care, or educating them about products and diets that aiding promoting and maintaining the health of our patients. She aims to help clients learn how to interact and care for their pets in a way that will allow them both to feel safe, happy, and secure.
Koy’s family is made up of her boyfriend, son, and their two dogs: a Husky named Cierra and a Miniature Pinscher named Prompto. Her pets are family, and mean so much to her.
When Koy is not at work, she enjoys outdoor activities and soaking up as much sun as she can get! Most of that time though, is spent thinking of ways to tire out her young son and their two dogs. She also digs into her artistic side, with make up, photography/editing and all things food.
Client Service Representative
Cora loves working with pets and has been for eight years. She enjoys spending her days off with her family, cooking, shopping, and most importantly, making sure her daughter is enjoying every minute of being a toddler!
Since Cora joined our team in 2014, she has shown tremendous leadership skills and has become an asset to the front office (and the rest of the hospital!). We are so thankful for Cora’s dedication and service!
Client Service Representative
Veronica is glad to be back at The Grand Lake Vet after a 10 year hiatus. She adores cats, dogs, and birds, and enjoys spending time in nature, walking her dogs, and frequently goes whale watching. She gives back to the community by educating people, young and old, about the importance of spaying and neutering. She loves to be wherever the animals are. Veronica has rescued a German Shepherd, 3 broken shelled turtles (they were hit by cars), a parrot named Eddie, and an umbrella cockatoo. Her animals keep her busy and she loves spending time with them. We love Veronica for her personable and sweet demeanor.
Client Service Representative
Kelly started at Grand Lake Vet in April of 2017, with no prior veterinary experience. After pursing a degree in visual arts, she decided to work in this field because of her love and compassion for animals.
Kelly “feel[s] very lucky to have had the opportunity to meet and get to know the pets (and their humans, too) as well as [she has].” She cares for them all as if they were her own and she finds great pleasure in being able to help them get the care they need and deserve! With this in mind, she tries to be as helpful and compassionate as she possibly can be with every client and patient. She chooses to work at GLVH because of our dedication to providing both the client and patient with the best possible veterinary experience.
Kelly’s family is made up of her partner, and their two cats: Maple and Charge. Her pets mean everything to her, they are her children!
Her deep love of animals is on the opposite side of the spectrum from her disdain for foxtails. Ask her about!
In her spare time, Kelly collects videos for her VHS collection. And a fun fact she loves to share is that her second cousin was Robert Redford’s landscaper.
Client Service Representative & Kennel Assistant
Danielle joined us in the summer of 2018 as a cross trained receptionist and kennel assistant. Before becoming a part of the GLVH team, she completed an online veterinary support assistant course to get her feet wet.
She wanted to work in the veterinary field because she knew it would allow her to do what she is most passionate about, helping animals. Ever since she was little, she has always had a deep love and respect for all animals, and concern for their well-being. Danielle tells us, “While I grew up with all sorts of animals from the time I was a baby (ranging from fish to ferrets to horses), I worked with animals in a professional setting at Larimer Humane Society in 2011 as a kennel attendant and animal enrichment volunteer. I would spend the mornings cleaning kennels and doing laundry, and the afternoon walking dogs, playing with cats, or socializing rodents.”
Now that she is a member of our team here, she tries to be compassionate and empathetic, understanding that the clients and the veterinary staff have the same goal, to help the pet. She strives to be patient and kind, to both the parent and their pet. She lives by the mantra that the kindness one does for an animal may not change the world, but it will change the world for that one animal.
Danielle spends her time off with her boyfriend (they were high school sweethearts), and their rescue dog, Roxanne, and their domestic pet mouse, Olive. She found Olive running loose at school when she was only a few weeks old. Danielle loves building her toys out of cereal boxes. She is a very smart mouse, and comes when called!
Joan was one of the staff from Lake Vet who returned when Grand Lake Vet opened in 2013. She is a San Francisco Dog Walking Academy graduate, and completed four terms of school to become a Registered Veterinary Technician from 2010 to 2011.
She has been involved with dogs for many years, and when she needed to change careers before working at Lake Vet, she wanted to work with them professionally and sought out a career in veterinary medicine.
Joan wants every client and patient to have a wonderful experience and want to come back to us. She always tries to the best she can, and lives by that. Her pets are everything to her, and she really enjoys learning about and working with the animals here at Grand Lake Vet.
Joan spends her days off with her husband John, Peet and Pebbles her Standard Poodles, and you’ll often see her walking her small poodle mix, Stretch (a rescue who was born right here in the clinic). She also does competitive obedience with her dogs and has earned various titles with them.
We’re glad to have Joan for her down to earth perspective and attention to detail!
In 2017, after a long career in business, followed by several years at home raising her daughter and volunteering in her community, Susan went back to work as a “pack leader,” taking groups of dogs on off-leash hikes in the East Bay hills. It was an amazing experience for Susan, and convinced her that she wanted to spend her working days focused on animal care. Specifically, Susan wanted to lessen pets’ stress and to let them know that they will be cared for as if they were her own. So, she applied as at Grand Lake Vet. She felt interview process was detailed without feeling rigid, “which I think really sums up the working environment at GLVH. I’m so happy to be working along side such smart, caring, down-to-earth people.”
Susan was born and raised on the East Coast and spent 14 years living in New York City. She moved to the Bay Area in 1995 and hopes to never leave! Her family is made up of her husband Michael; daughter Vivian; doggies Hermione and Heidi and crested geckos Albert and Victoria. “Pets make our family complete! We love them so much and still cry when we think of our dear Harry (the Sheltie) who died in 2017 at 14. Vivian and Harry grew up together. Such kismet that the wonderful Vet who came to our house on a Sunday night, during a torrential downpour, to help Harry to his next destination was Evelyn Ivey, a doctor who worked at Grand Lake Vet.”
Susan loves to cook, hike, read, play tennis and travel with her family. We’re so grateful to have Susan on the team!