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Dr. Ava Ackerman

Medical Director, Veterinarian, DVM

Dr. Ava Ackerman joined Santa Clara Pet Hospital in August 2022. A Chicago native, she attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for both Veterinary school and undergraduate studies. She has been practicing in the Bay Area since 1997. She has aspired to be, and describes herself as an old-fashioned family doctor. Happy to see all species, Dr. Ackerman believes that all pets, big or small, are important members of the family and deserve the best quality of care.

Married with two children, Dr. Ackerman loves biking with her husband, spending time with family, hiking, the Chicago Bears and deep dish pizza.

Dr. Jennifer Lawrence

Veterinarian, DVM

Dr. Jennifer Lawrence graduated from Tufts University in 1996 and has been working at our hospital ever since. Her family includes three dogs: Jenny, Stitch and Belle. She has an outdoor aviary with several different bird species, a Box Turtle and a Russian Tortoise. She enjoys trying to keep up with her husband and sons, traveling and skiing.

Dr. Steven Piert

Veterinarian, DVM

Dr. Steve Piert graduated from UC Davis in 2003, and completed an internship in small animal medicine and surgery in 2004. He joined our practice in May 2012. He enjoys all aspects of general practice, especially soft tissue surgery. He enjoys spending time with his wife and two sons. He has an Australian Labradoodle named Finley and three orange tabbies named Hank, Fergus and Scotty.

Dr. Emmalena Gregory-Bryson

Veterinarian, DVM, PhD

Dr. Emmy Gregory-Bryson graduated from Michigan State University in 2010, and continued on to complete a PhD in 2014 studying the cancer, Histiocytic Sarcoma, in Bernese Mountain Dogs. She joined our practice in 2024. She enjoys spending time outdoors with her husband and two kids and crocheting. Her household includes a 19 year old crested gecko, three cats: Harry, Sachi, and Davinci, and a rabbit named Megathump.


Office Manager

Julie joined Santa Clara Pet Hospital in 1991. She left for a few years to work in human medicine but came back to us in 2002. Her family includes two Cattle dogs named Hudson and Lou and two cats named Randy and Ricky.



Rachael has been working with us since April 2002. She has a pit bull mix named Poptart. She loves spending time with her family, cooking and watching football.



Dori was born and raised in Cincinnati, OH. She has a Shepherd/Pit/Husky mix named Roxy. Outside of work, you can find her horseback riding, at the beach or spending time with her son.


Veterinary Technician

Lauren is a technician at Santa Clara Pet Hospital who has been with us since 2001. Her pets include a Doberman Pinscher named Lani and her cats Misty and Marcel. She also owns chameleons, a Sulcata tortoise and tropical fish.


Veterinary Technician

Michelle joined our team in 2014. She is a Veterinary Technician with 24 years experience and a degree from Cal Poly. Prior to working here she worked in Gilroy, Santa Cruz and Austin, TX. She spent 3 months training dolphins at Sea Life Park in Hawaii. She has a cat named Flash and a Pembroke Welsh Corgi named Piper. Michelle is an avid baker and spends all her spare time in the kitchen.


Veterinary Technician

Crystal was born and raised in Campbell, CA. She joined our team in 2018. She has a Siberian Husky named Kavik. She enjoys spending time with friends and family and being outdoors.


Veterinary Technician

Kara joined our team in 2022. She was born in Sacramento, CA, but was raised in both Washington and California. She attended Carrington College for her RVT license. She has two cats named Peanut and Jinx. On her downtime, she enjoys hiking and traveling.


Veterinary Technician

Maggie joined our team in November 2011. She previously had relocated to the bay area from Florida, where she worked as an art teacher for middle school children. Maggie enjoys all art and has a BA degree in ceramics. She has two cats named Caleb and Phoebe.


Veterinary Assistant

Jacob joined Santa Clara Pet Hospital in 2017. He has two cats named Chowder and Asher. He enjoys video games, animal biology and rescuing animals.


Veterinary Assistant

Maddie has been with us since 2021. She graduated from Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo in 2017 with a degree in Animal Science and Biology. She has previous experience working in animal shelters, zoos, wildlife education centers, and a marine wildlife rehabilitation hospital. Her household includes a Great Pyrenees named Natasha, a German Shepherd named Maxwell, five “foster failure” cats (Penelope, Violet, Teddy Bear, Pickle, and Murdock), and one chicken named Lady Maple. Outside of work, Maddie enjoys watching scary movies, baking, scuba diving, roller derby, and knitting.

Mama Kitty

Human Resources

Mama Kitty came to us in August 2012 as a stray with four kittens. Although we found loving homes for all of her babies, we just couldn’t let her go. She can often be found in the reception area greeting clients and patients or sleeping in her bed.