Our Veterinary TeamChico Creek Animal Hospital
Meet the Veterinarians & Team of Chico Creek Animal Hospital! We’re pleased to provide exceptional vet care for your pets!
We are solely dedicated to your pet’s care! We look forward to getting to know you, and we hope you’ll take the time to scroll down and get to know us.
Our Care Team
Jocelyn Schmidt was born and raised in Santa Rosa, CA. She comes to us with over 22 years of experience working in the Veterinary field.
Jocelyn grew up on a small farm where she raised and showed pigs in 4-H for many years. She had everything from horses and steers to rabbits. She began working at a large Specialty/Emergency Veterinary Hospital in 1999. She graduated from Santa Rosa Junior College with her Associates in Animal Science in 2002. She continued going to school, finishing the Vet tech program at the SRJC in 2005. Jocelyn became a Registered Veterinary Technician in 2005.
Jocelyn transitioned over to animal shelter medicine in 2006, working at several different Non-profit and public shelters throughout Northern California. Jocelyn’s specialty became HVHQSN (High Volume High-Quality Spay & Neuter). Jocelyn helped develop a mobile spay and neuter program in Sonoma County, as well as starting an internship program for Tech students at the local College. Jocelyn’s professional interests include practice management, staff development, and training. Jocelyn is currently working on getting her Certified Veterinary Practice Manager (CVPM) credentials.
Jocelyn enjoys spending time outdoors with her family & friends. Jocelyn is a mom to four kids, two dogs, five cats & 14 chickens.
Karissa is one of our receptionists. She attended Nevada Union High School and has been in the veterinary field for 6 years. She grew up loving animals on a farm. Her love for animals started when she attended an ROP program in highschool and she has never looked back ever since. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her keeps, begging outdoors. At times, she loves the going to the coast because she loves the ocean. She currently has two young boys and three dogs.
Alex is one of our veterinary assistants here at Chico Creek Animal Hospital and attended Napa Valley College. She prides herself in how much she genuinely cares and how much passion she has for the field of work and helping animals. When patients come in, she just wants them to feel secure and heard. In her free time, she loves spending fun times with her dogs and going for runs. The gym is another one of her passions and she loves learning more about how to care for her pets.
Jessica is one of our veterinary assistants. She took the ROP CVA course in Chico and has been practicing since 2017. She prides herself in helping clients make good and confident decisions for their pets. She is proud to be in veterinary medicine because she likes making personal connections with our patients, clients, and team. In her free time, she likes to visit local markets, enjoys live music and being with family and friends.
Erin attended Chico State University and has been practicing veterinary medicine since 2020. She prides herself on her ability to learn things quickly. Even when she isn’t sure how to do something, she is always happy to learn!
Outside of work, Erin enjoys baking, playing video games, drawing, and playing with her cat, Dusa.
Ty attended Chico State University and has been in veterinary medicine since 2019. She enjoys building relationships with clients and being able to help pets live their best lives.
Outside of work, Ty can be found doing CrossFit, stress cooking, and giving her dog, Bear, love and attention!
Erin attended CSU Bakersfield and has been practicing veterinary medicine for a year. She prides herself in taking the best care of her patients, always striving to learn new techniques and skills, and doing her best to make every visit as stress-free as possible. In her free time, she does cross-stitching, plays video games, hikes, and spends time with all her pets.
Kyla graduated from Granda High in 2013 and started online classes with PennFoster in 2020 to become an RVT. She has been practicing veterinary medicine for 3 years. Kyla prides herself in the amount of compassion she brings to her field every day. She enjoys doing all she can do for each and every single patient. Whether it’s a healthy animal coming in for a routine check-up or a sick one, she makes them feel comfortable and loved. In her free time, she spends time searching for cool hiking spots, goes to the beach, spends time with family and friends, or works on her hobbies which include photography or putting puzzles together.
Veronica is one of our veterinary assistants here at Chico Creek Animal Hospital. She has been practicing for 2 years and went to Orange County Community College and is currently attending Chico State University. Veronica prides herself in being communicative, being part of a team and working hard, caring about her teammates, clients, and their pets. In her free time, Veronica likes to play soccer, be outdoors and active, and spend time with family and friends.
Alexis is one of our veterinary assistants here at Chico Creek Animal Hospital. She is still relatively new to the field. Alexis went to Chico State and received a B.S. in Animal Science. She has loved and enjoyed animals since she was very little and takes pride in educating clients on how to care for their animals. She is also very thorough about preventative care. In her free time,
Alexis loves to go rollerskating, planting, and hiking. She is originally from Maryland and lived most of her life on the East Coast but has fallen in love with California and all of the outdoor activities it has to offer.
Taryn is one of our veterinary assistants here at Chico Creek Animal Hospital. She has been practicing for 3 years and went to Butte College, she plans on becoming a veterinarian one day. Taryn prides herself in making sure the clients understand what is being recommended and why, being friendly and professional, and making sure the clients are happy with their visit and the quality of care here at the hospital. In her free time, Taryn enjoys training/working with her Mustang, working on the ranch where she grew up, and spending time with friends and family. Taryn volunteered at many animal shelters and veterinary hospitals throughout the years.
Shannon is one of our veterinary assistants here at Chico Creek Animal Hospital. She is relatively new to the field and has been practicing for 1 year, she went to school at Butte College. She prides herself in the patience and love she has for working with animals. Shannon takes pride in making sure her work is well done and doing everything she can to help her teammates. In her free time, Shannon likes to exercise, do photography, and make her own jewelry. She enjoys spending time and playing with her animals when she’s at home.
Christina is one of our veterinary receptionists at Chico Creek Animal Hospital. She is fairly new to the veterinary field and attended Durham. When it comes to veterinary medicine, Christina prides herself in providing excellent customer service. She likes to treat clients like they are part of the Chico Creek family and their pets like they are her own. In her free time, she loves to spend time with her partner, dogs, and cat. Christina has two chihuahuas and a cat (all rescues). She also enjoys doing puzzles, spending time outside, and having some quiet time.
Erika is one of our veterinary receptionists at Chico Creek Animal Hospital. She had been in the veterinary field since 2018 and attended Central Coast College. She grew up going to different zoos and aquariums which sparked her interest in animals. She also grew up with dogs her whole life and taking them to veterinary appointments always interested her. After high school, she decided to attend a veterinary school where she found love for the field. She has grown a passion for surgery and dental after working at an animal hospital. In her free time, she enjoys spending time outdoors, shopping, pedicures, and trying different restaurants with her boyfriend. She also volunteers at Wildlife SPCA where she gets to work with all sorts of wildlife. She has two cute Frenchies and a beautiful Calico.
Caitlyn has always been in the business of helping others. For many years, her work focused on providing quality customer service, but Caitlyn’s passion has always been about caring for animals of all types. It is however only recently that Caitlyn took a leap of faith and decided to jump into the new career of Veterinary Medicine!
Caitlyn has had pets all her life. She grew up in Chico with her family and a special dog, Gypsy, that she created a deep bond with. The two of them spent a beautiful 15 years together and Gypsy was the source of Caitlyn’s inspiration to help animals today.
Caitlyn is the middle child of a family of six. Her parents both love music and dancing so life at home was always full of entertainment. Growing up, Caitlyn enjoyed reading, dancing, painting, and swimming. One of her favorite activities as a child was going to the zoo of any city she visited with her family, to try and see if she could learn about a new species she had not seen before.
After finishing high school, Caitlyn attended college and studied IT Data Management. She is now the most tech-savvy team member we have!
Caitlyn is the newest addition to the Chico Creek team. Being able to help problem-solve with an owner or relieve the stress of worrying if their animal is okay is one of the most rewarding parts of the job she says!
Caitlyn lives in Chico with her husband and their dog, Bella. She is very much treated as the baby of our household. Welcome, Caitlyn!
Neilsa was born and raised in Monterey, California, where she grew up with a number of Beagles and a few guinea pigs. She’s always adored spending time with the earth’s creatures, and she started to develop a fascination with the medical side of their care needs as she got older. One choice of career started to make more and more sense: veterinary care. Now, Neilsa gets to help pets daily as a member of Chico Creek Animal Hospital’s Veterinary Assistant team!
Neilsa was only in high school when she secured her first internship at a local veterinary hospital in Monterey. Next, she moved to Chico to attend Chico State University and study animal science and biology. During her last semester, Neilsa signed on for an internship at a busy 24-hour emergency hospital—on the last day of her internship, she was hired as an employee! She remained there for two years before transferring to a smaller general practice setting in 2018. When the time came for a new opportunity, Neilsa came across an opening here at Chico Creek Animal Hospital. She joined the clinic family in the fall of 2020 and hasn’t looked back since.
As an Assistant, Neilsa enjoys diagnostic work and is especially fond of collecting samples to study under the microscope. She’s also passionate about educating the area’s pet parents about their animal companions’ needs, especially first-time owners.
Neilsa’s interests outside of work include crafting, painting, journaling, fostering and rehabilitating wild animals in need (she’s even fostered possums and squirrels!), and doting on her own pets at home. She and her husband, Ryan, have a menagerie of animal companions, including Nova, a Husky/Shepherd mix who is the most loving, smart, and happy dog Neilsa has ever known; a tabby cat named Nala who loves to cuddle on the couch; and a pair of playful guinea pigs named Cotton and Delilah. Neilsa also has several reptile pets: two crested geckos named Ash and Ember, Cleo the leopard gecko, a goofy albino corn snake named Cornelius, and a Western Hognose snake named Hermes.
Lexi’s own passion for rescuing pets is what pushed her toward a career in veterinary medicine. She’s always recognized the high level of patience, professionalism, passion, and strength needed to perform in this field every day, and she wanted to be a part of that. That’s why Lexi chose to become a veterinary professional herself—she’s a proud member of Chico Creek Animal Hospital’s Veterinary Assistant team.
Lexi was born in Southern California but spent most of her life growing up in Paradise. She attended California State University-Chico, graduating in 2016 with her degree in exercise physiology, and then decided to dive headfirst into the world of animal medicine. She started working at a well-established dog boarding and daycare facility in the area, which only cemented her desire to help as many pets as possible in a hands-on way. In August of 2020, Lexi joined the team here at Chico Creek Animal Hospital as a Veterinary Assistant and hasn’t looked back since.
Around the hospital, Lexi enjoys communicating one-on-one with pet owners and getting to meet their adorable companions every day. She’s also passionate about animal behavior, something she’s been interested in ever since her days at the dog boarding center, and she likes learning about different treatment modalities whenever she can.
Away from work, Lexi enjoys spending time outdoors and is an avid hiker. She’s also fond of weightlifting and even participated in several Crossfit competitions in the past. At home, she has two rescued pets of her own: Toby, a black Maltipoo who squeals in delight whenever Lexi gets home, and an 80-pound Rhodesian Ridgeback mix named Max who prefers the simple things in life like good food, fun walks outside, and a soft place to sleep.
Taylor’s past experience in the human healthcare field gave her a passion for helping others through the power of medicine. Having adored animals since she was a little girl, a career in the veterinary world simply made sense! Taylor is thrilled to continue her journey in pet care right here at Chico Creek Animal Hospital.
Originally from Red Bluff, California, Taylor joined the Chico Creek Animal Hospital team in July of 2017; her mother has been a member of the clinic team for several years, and Taylor jumped at the opportunity when a position opened. She’s found that she particularly enjoys helping with various types of surgeries, taking X-rays, and studying samples to spot abnormalities. Most of all, Taylor loves to meet pet owners and their adorable companions every day!
Outside of her interests in animal care, Taylor enjoys reading great books, paddle-boarding, and going caving (she recently explored the many caves of Lassen Volcanic National Park!). She and her family have three dogs: Hannah, Bugsy, and Daisy.
Kelly animal shelter work helped her to appreciate animals’ loving and affectionate nature. Volunteering at a local shelter with her younger daughter, the pair sensed that they had a natural connection with the animal residents. Kelly met many inspiring animals; and she was especially touched by Winnie, a little pit bull terrier who overcame many challenges. Over time, Winnie found a good foster home; and then a loving adoptive owner welcomed this sweet girl into her forever home. Kelly was grateful she could contribute to a better future for these deserving animals!
Kelly is a California native, growing up on a 10-acre Gerber-area farm. Kelly shared her life with her parents and brother; and she kept rabbits, geese, chickens, and even a billy goat. Kelly’s grandmother lived nearby, and Kelly has fond memories of playing board games and baking cookies with this generous woman. When Kelly wasn’t visiting her grandma, she enjoyed horseback riding and roller skating.
After graduating from high school, Kelly held varied jobs; however, she suddenly found herself without work in January 2014. Kelly was pleased to be welcomed into the Chico Creek Animal Hospital family, and she appreciates the opportunity to learn something new every day. Kelly enjoys being able to help the animals she loves, and she also delights in getting better acquainted with the pets’ dedicated owners.
Away from the hospital, Kelly lives on her childhood farm with her loving husband, to whom she’s been married for 25 years. The couple has two accomplished daughters, one of whom is a cosmetologist while the younger girl is a rising high school senior. In Kelly’s spare time, she has a passion for reading, gardening, and day hiking. Kelly also has an adventurous spirit, as she and her younger daughter soon plan to explore the challenging sport of kayaking. During the summer months, the family often pulls their trailered boat to the lake; or they pack the camping gear in the car for a weekend trip.
This animal-loving family has welcomed two dogs and one cat into their household. Kelly’s Labrador retriever/Great Dane mix pours on the charm if he thinks he’ll receive a treat. Kelly’s Jack Russell terrier/pit bull terrier mix is also highly entertaining, acquiring the name “Meercat” for her comical sitting position.
Co-owner, Registered Veterinary Technician
Wendy Bettencourt received her veterinary medicine career inspiration from her father’s guard dog. When Wendy was a small girl, she often visited her father’s mechanics’ garage. His resident German shepherd guard dog immediately bonded with little Wendy, staying close to her while she visited different parts of the facility. Even then, Wendy felt touched by the dog’s loyalty and devotion, and she felt completely protected. Now, Wendy’s veterinary medicine career enables her to return that same love and care to her furry patients!
Wendy is an Amarillo, Texas native, although she moved to California when she was eight years old. Living with her mother, stepfather, a brother, and a sister, Wendy loved to immerse herself in the magical world of books. Building on her early experience with her guard dog friend, Wendy cared for many creatures throughout her childhood. Besides numerous dogs and cats, Wendy kept hamsters, rats, guinea pigs, a parakeet, rabbits, ducks, and a Shetland pony on the family’s property.
During high school, Wendy joined a Future Farmers of America chapter, eager to acquire more knowledge about animal husbandry and care. She gained practical experience by becoming a veterinary practice kennel assistant. While on the job, Wendy decided to learn more about veterinary medicine. When time allowed, she shadowed a generous veterinarian who passed on much of his knowledge and prepared her for the career she enjoys today.
Now that Wendy has worked in veterinary medicine for 30 years, and has earned her Registered Veterinary Technician credential, she is certain she was meant for this rewarding career. She especially enjoys assisting in surgical procedures, knowing that successful outcomes often help her furry patients to live longer, healthier lives with their pet parents. Wendy also takes great care in processing patients’ blood and urine samples. She realizes that accurate results enable the veterinarian to make the correct diagnosis and prescribe the proper treatment.
Wendy has a long history of collaboration with Dr. Bettencourt, as the couple has worked together for 13 years, and has been married for the past three years. They previously owned a central valley practice, but they relocated to the Chico area to reconnect with Dr. Bettencourt’s family. Wendy and Dr. Bettencourt are excited about Chico Creek Animal Hospital, and they look forward to providing quality veterinary care to the community.
Wendy also leads a fulfilling life away from the hospital. She has two grown children: a beautiful daughter who will soon become a mother; and a son who is currently preparing for dental school. Wendy has also become an accomplished cook, always experimenting with new recipes she finds on the Food Network. Her grown children always make time for Wendy’s tasty meals, and they have each settled on a favorite dish. Wendy’s dogs also appreciate her cuisine; in fact, they patrol the kitchen while she cooks, always looking for tasty fallout.
When time permits, Wendy enjoys traveling; and she has already visited exotic destinations such as Israel, Egypt, and Jordan. She’s especially fond of Hawaii since on a previous visit she conquered her fear of heights and experienced a thrilling zipline trip.
Wendy has also welcomed four furry family members into her home. She has a very close bond with her older dog Stitch, who had experienced very little human contact before Wendy met him. Lainey, Stitch’s companion, is a small girl with a lot of personality, and she’ll do almost anything for a snack. The two rambunctious cats, Deliah and Kramer, keep Wendy on her toes.
In particular, Kramer has become known as a prolific hunter; and he often brings Wendy live lizards, birds, and rats to show his affection. On one memorable morning, Kramer released a large rat into the house, causing Wendy to hop on a table in panic. Her husband and son eventually caught and released the rodent in a nearby field, but not before Wendy had a good heart-to-heart talk with her fearless feline hunter.
Dr. Brittany Sansoni
Becoming a veterinarian has been a lifelong dream for Dr. Brittany Sansoni. She fostered kittens and volunteered with numerous animal rescue programs as an adolescent growing up in Tracy, California. She attended Chico State to pursue a bachelor’s degree in animal science, then continued her education at Ross University on the island of St. Kitts in the Caribbean. After a quarter-century of working towards her goal, Dr. Sansoni became a doctor of veterinary medicine following a year of clinical study at Oregon State University.
The dream of becoming a veterinarian and helping animals in need has taken Dr. Sansoni – quite literally – halfway across the world and back. Along the way, she has been fortunate to have many unique experiences that have helped shape the professional she is today. No matter where she’s been, however, her passion for animals and animal care has never diminished. In fact, she has grown to feel a deeper passion and pride for the profession thanks to the long, diverse journey that she’s had.
Dr. Sansoni joined the team at Chico Creek Animal Hospital after experiencing first-hand the dedicated, caring, and compassionate staff that’s been serving the Chico community for years. She knew immediately that she wanted to be a part of an environment that placed such an emphasis on caring for animals and providing a great experience for owners. And she jumped at the opportunity to return to Chico, an area that has been an integral part of her life for so long.
Outside the office, Dr. Sansoni is quite an outdoor enthusiast, enjoying hiking and camping whenever the opportunity presents itself. Together with her fiance, Nick, she has a growing fur family that includes three dogs, four cats, and a friendly tortoise named Darwin.
Dr. Valoree Johnson
Ever since elementary school, Dr. Johnson has been obsessed with taking care of animals of every shape and size. She bottle-fed calves, calculated diets for her horse, and even got a doe goat for Christmas that she took for walks in the park. For Dr. Johnson, veterinary medicine simply made sense—what better way to help others while spending time around animals every day? Now, she’s proud to serve as an Associate Veterinarian here at Chico Creek Animal Hospital!
Dr. Johnson grew up in Arizona and California with her parents and two younger brothers. She was particularly inspired during her high-school years when she met Dr. Loretta Dean—the first woman to graduate from the University of California-Davis’s College of Veterinary Medicine—and accompanied her on farm calls. Dr. Johnson would attend U.C. Davis herself, also securing a work-study position with an equine neonatal unit in Lexington, Kentucky, before continuing on to the University of Georgia to complete her undergraduate studies and earn her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine.
Dr. Johnson joined the Chico Creek Animal Hospital team after the clinic’s very own Amber connected her with Dr. Bettencourt. Her favorite part of every day is meeting and getting to know the area’s pets and animal owners; being a firsthand witness to the bonds between pets and owners is truly rewarding!
In her time away from the office, Dr. Johnson enjoys bicycling, training for and competing in hunt tests with her dog, and spending time with her family. She has two children, Emily and John, who live in New York City, as well as several animal companions: Chuck, an orange-and-white lap cat; Little John, Dr. Johnson’s son’s Golden Retriever mix; and a goofy and happy Black Labrador named George.
Dr. Matthew Bettencourt
Veterinarian / Practice Owner
Dr. Matthew Bettencourt’s childhood veterinarian inspired him to pursue a veterinary medicine career. Growing up on a Chico, California dairy farm, young Matthew often saw the local veterinarian who treated the farm’s sick cows and calves. Over time, Matthew increasingly saw himself as a veterinarian; and during his senior year in high school, he offered to volunteer at this veterinarian’s practice. This generous professional introduced Matthew to the world of veterinary medicine, providing this young man with valuable medical knowledge and career guidance. Today, Dr. Bettencourt is grateful for his rewarding veterinary medicine career!
Matthew spent his childhood as one of 12 children, an experience that taught him the importance of sharing with his siblings. Growing up on the dairy farm, Matthew also learned the value of hard work. During his childhood, Matthew became acquainted with animals ranging from farm livestock to household pets. On any given day, Matthew might encounter dairy cattle, sheep, goats, chickens, ducks, geese, and dogs and cats. As a member of his local 4-H and Future Farmers of America chapters, Matthew became accustomed to showing his dairy cows at many regional fairs.
After Matthew graduated from high school, and then from Chico State University, he set his sights on Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. To Matthew’s great relief, he was accepted into the veterinary medicine program. He trekked halfway across the country to school, traveling in his old El Camino packed full of his possessions. After four years of hard, intense work, Matthew Bettencourt received his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine in Spring 2001.
After his veterinary school graduation, Dr. Bettencourt returned to California, working in several small animal practices, one of which he purchased. After selling that practice, Dr. Bettencourt and his wife Wendy had a strong desire to return to the Chico area. In summer 2013, they found a vacant veterinary hospital building, which they decided to purchase. After completing extensive remodeling work, the visionary couple gave the building a brand-new identity. In June 2014, Dr. Bettencourt opened Chico Creek Animal Hospital’s doors, ready to offer excellent veterinary care in his beloved hometown.
Dr. Bettencourt thoroughly enjoys meeting his clients, and he’s grateful that these pet parents provide such good care to their cherished animals. He also finds surgery challenging but rewarding. Finally, Dr. Bettencourt thrives on seeing puppies and kittens, as these fuzzy, energetic babies always brighten his day.
Away from the hospital, Dr. Bettencourt relaxes by doing woodworking projects. He and Wendy dearly love their five furry family members, each with their own personality quirks. Little Lainey the Yorkie mix, who also has several other endearing nicknames, loves to shake her “green monster” stuffed toy. Stitch, her terrier mix playmate, is always by her side. Three distinctive cats also share this loving home. One of Dr. Bettencourt’s cats has been with him for 14 years, and he deeply loves his senior feline companion. While she has some medical challenges, she is thriving with his love and care.
Kramer, the most distinctive household cat, has now become the resident hospital cat. After “fearless hunter” Kramer bullied the other two feline family members, Dr. Bettencourt relocated Kramer to the hospital premises. Now, Kramer can survey his domain unchallenged, keeping the humans and other animals under control.