Our Careteam

Wendy Bettencourt
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.
Kelly Privette
Veterinary Receptionist
Kelly Privette's 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.
Taylor Privette
Veterinary Assistant
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.
Alexandra Pillsbury
Veterinary Assistant
Lexi’s own passion for rescuing pets is what pushed 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.
Neilsa Presley
Veterinary Assistant
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.
Jennifer Hurst
Registered Veterinary Technician
Jenny can’t remember a time when she didn’t adore animals of all shapes and sizes. Her parents used to breed Cocker Spaniels, and she spent a lot of time with the dogs while growing up. Jenny’s early experiences with pets made a lasting impression—she’s always wanted to devote herself to bettering the lives of the earth’s creatures!

Jenny grew up in Ontonagon, Michigan and attended Veterinary Technician school in Minnesota, graduating in 2001. She practiced in Minnesota for nine years, then took time off to raise her three children. Jenny couldn’t be happier to return to the world of veterinary medicine—she joined the Chico Creek Animal Hospital family in the summer of 2018, and she’s been caring for the area’s pets ever since! Jenny particularly enjoys running laboratory tests and using them to reach a diagnosis, and her favorite aspect of her work is interacting with patients and their loving owners on a daily basis.

In her time away from work, Jenny enjoys going for long walks, hiking, camping, going to the beach, and visiting family in upstate Michigan. At home, she and her three children share their lives with two loveable cats, Mittens and Luna.
Charlotte Schoo Ians
Office Manager
Charlotte cannot remember a time when she didn’t want to help each and every animal that crossed her path. Whether it was feeding a homeless cat or picking up a runaway dog on the side of the road, Charlotte has always felt an obligation to better the lives of the earth’s creatures. For her, working in veterinary medicine was always the natural next step in her passion! She’s the proud office manager of Chico Creek Animal Hospital.

Charlotte is originally from Belgium, and moved to the United States when she was 23 years old. While in Belgium she graduated with her BA in communication. Her veterinary journey began when she signed on as a receptionist at an animal clinic in San Diego and soon she was assisting in the exam rooms. It was during this hands-on training that Charlotte completed her certification at Mira Costa College to become a Veterinary Assistant!

Next, Charlotte relocated to Chico and became a Pharmacy Technician and Veterinary Assistant at a local clinic. In early May of 2018, she was thrilled to join the team here at Chico Creek Animal Hospital––she’s been helping the pets and animal owners of the area ever since. In 2019 Charlotte took on the role as office manager.

Away from the office, Charlotte loves to spend time outdoors enjoying the beautiful California weather. She especially likes to take her dog, Marley, on hikes and picnics! Charlotte also shares her life with an aging foster dog, Charlie.
Darlene Sollberger
Administration
Darlene is a native of Amarillo, Texas, where she grew up with all sorts of family pets. After spending time in California during the 1970s, she moved back to Amarillo and spent 12 years working on a ranch; it was during this time that her love of hands-on animal care blossomed. Now, Darlene gets to work alongside her family to better the lives of the area’s pets—she’s Wendy Bettencourt’s mother and Dr. Matthew Bettencourt’s mother-in-law!

Darlene has a wide variety of work experience to draw from while serving pets and animal owners here at Chico Creek Animal Hospital. In addition to her years working on the ranch, she’s served in the food service industry and also worked in the medical records field for 15 years. When she and her husband retired from the working world, they moved to California in order to be close to the Bettencourts. Now, Darlene is thrilled to lend a helping hand as a member of the Chico Creek Animal Hospital team!

In her spare time, Darlene enjoys gardening in her backyard and spending quality time with her wonderful grandchildren.
Caitlyn
Receptionist
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!