WHO WE ARE
JOANNE BAK DVM, CCRT
Rehabilitation Therapist, Veterinarian
Medical Director/Practice Owner
Dr. Joanne Bak is a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapist with over 15 years of experience in the fields of physical rehabilitation, acupuncture and Chinese medicine. Dr. Bak earned her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine, graduating with honors, from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. She attended a specialty externship in surgery and neurology with the prestigious Animal Medical Center in New York. She completed an advanced post-graduate clinical internship in small animal medicine and surgery with ASG, the Animal Specialty Group of Los Angeles. Thereafter, she practiced general medicine and surgery as an associate staff doctor for twelve years with VCA West Los Angeles Animal Hospital, an emergency and multi-specialty veterinary center which is now among the largest animal hospitals in America. There, she worked alongside various specialists in the fields of surgery, neurology, oncology and internal medicine. While experiencing acupuncture for her own cat who suffered a cruciate ligament knee injury, Dr. Bak found her calling in canine and feline rehabilitation therapy. She completed continued educational coursework through the Canine Rehabilitation Institute and the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society as well as coursework in advanced acupuncture, Chinese medicine and Food Therapy obtained in China through the Chi Institute. She had been mentored by pioneers in the fields of veterinary acupuncture, rehabilitation therapy, chiropractic, and holistic medicine. Her special interests include pain management, geriatric and neurological rehabilitation.
Dr. Bak has previously introduced and implemented rehabilitation services for the VCA West LA Animal Hospital and the Animal Specialty Group. She developed and directed the Rehabilitation & Integrative Medicine Department for ASG for five years and brought her expertise and skills to California Animal Rehabilitation prior to pursuing her own vision. Her passion for enhancing the quality of life of aging pets, providing comfort for pets in chronic pain, support for pets with chronic illnesses or cancer and mobility solutions for debilitated pets, led her to create PAW REHAB, the Pacific Animal Wellness Rehabilitation Center. She brings a vast array of knowledge and skills to her practice which utilizes an integrative approach to healing and recovery. PAW REHAB has been featured on “This is LA” and as one of the American Association of Rehabilitation Veterinarians spotlight practices.
Dr. Bak has contributed to the veterinary community by educating and training veterinary doctors and staff regarding the topics of rehabilitation therapy and acupuncture and by mentoring veterinary interns and students. She has lectured for veterinary teaching hospitals as well as for the Southern California Veterinary Medical Association. Dr. Bak has been a guest on “The Pet Show” and Animal Planet’s “The Pit Boss” which showcased her patient’s remarkable recovery from a complicated fracture. She was a veterinary consultant and fitness expert for Purina’s “Project Pet Slim Down”, a website series and weight loss program for overweight pets. Joanne Bak is a resident of Studio City and is very happy to be bringing rehabilitation services to this area of the Valley. In her free time, she enjoys music, photography, cooking, nights at the Hollywood Bowl and watching her favorite TV shows, but, mostly spending time with her family and dog, Apple, who you might recognize as our logo dog!
DEANNA O'NEIL DVM, CCRT, CVA
Rehabilitation Therapist, Veterinarian
Born and raised in Palos Verdes, California, Dr. Deanna O’Neil earned her undergraduate degree in Anthropology from Fordham University in New York City.
Dr. O’Neil then went on to earn her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Minnesota in 2010. After obtaining her veterinary degree, she completed a rotating internship at VCA All Care.
Dr. O’Neil achieved her Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist training from the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society (IVAS). She is certified in Veterinary Chinese Herbal Medicine through IVAS and the College of Integrative Veterinary Therapies and Veterinary Food Therapy through the Chi Institute. She received her certification as a Canine Rehabilitation Therapist through the Canine Rehabilitation Institute (CRI) and went on to do an internship at the prestigious Animal Rehabilitation Center in Velm, Belgium. She has spent the past five years practicing at California Animal Rehabilitation (CARE) where she specialized in animal rehabilitation and acupuncture. She has a strong interest in geriatric, neurological and canine sports medicine.
Dr. O’Neil resides in the South Bay with her spouse and her celebrity dachshund, Lady Bug. Abandoned by her previous owners, Lady Bug (a.k.a. “Bug”) was introduced to Dr. O’Neil through a rescue. Lady Bug had suddenly become paralyzed and no longer had a home. She luckily found the right veterinarian, as Dr. O’Neil not only got her walking (and chasing squirrels!), but also found a forever home with her. Lady Bug has since raced in the 2017 Wiener Nationals and has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, KTLA Morning News, CNN, People Magazine and countless other news stations due to her triumphant run!! In Dr. O’Neil’s spare time, she enjoys traveling (especially to the Hawaiian Islands), gardening (a self proclaimed succulent specialist), and going to Disneyland (an avid Jungle Cruise fan).
Laura Kirschbaum RVT, CCRP
Registered Veterinary Technician
Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner
Laura began working with animals in 2006, volunteering at animal shelters and assisting with medical procedures. From there she was hooked and went on to earn her associates degree in animal science through Pierce College and became a Registered Veterinary Technician. The first animal hospital she worked at concentrated on orthopedic surgeries and internal medicine. Laura found her way into rehabilitation in 2014 and has never looked back! She continued her education though the University of Tennessee, becoming a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner, and hopes to further better herself in light of healing animals. Behind Laura's quiet demeanor is a genuine compassion for animals, a desire to be helpful and an innate healing energy.
Laura currently has three fur babies of her own, two pitbulls: Murphy and Echo as well as a Carolina Dog mix, Myer. She enjoys spending her time painting, hiking, and meditating but mostly loves lying on her couch in a dog pile.
Veterinary Assistant/Animal Rehabilitation Therapy Assistant
Certified Canine Fitness Trainer
Shoko was born and raised in Japan where she earned her degree in English and Education. Since then, she had lived on the small island of Maldives and Canada. She moved to Los Angeles in 2010. She found her path while assisting a veterinarian with the physical rehabilitation of a Cooper's Hawk at the California Wildlife Center where she volunteered. She had later trained under veterinarians and physical therapists specialized in the field of animal rehabilitation and worked with countless patients at California Animal Rehabilitation (CARE) for over six years.
Shoko’s passion is neurological and geriatric rehabilitation. She also has a strong interest in the prevention of injury in agility and working dogs. She is a Certified Canine Fitness Trainer through the University of Tennessee and Reiki practitioner. Her next goals are to continue to pursue her RVT license and to continue further coursework towards becoming a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner. PAW REHAB is happy to support Shoko with this endeavor.
Dr. Bak worked with Shoko during Shoko’s early days at CARE and is thrilled to be working with her again. She is so proud to see how much she has grown in the field of animal rehabilitation. Shoko’s talents and healing energy are a perfect addition to our PAW REHAB family!
Shoko lives with her husband and her rescue animal family, Doberman mix Emma, two cats Bibimbap and Sukiyaki, three “special needs" birds, and Loabi ("Love" in Maldives) the tortoise.
Cristina grew up in Central California with her parents and an array of animal companions. Her passion is caring for others, both animals and people. For that reason, she initially felt her calling was in childcare and focused on that career path for 15 years. It wasn’t until 2016, that she realized what she was meant to do after experiencing the benefits of rehabilitation therapy first hand with her own dog, Liza. At that moment, she decided to pursue a career in veterinary medicine and changed focus from two-legged babies to four!
PAW REHAB appreciates Cristina’s loving touch and nurturing nature. Her prior experience both as a childcare giver and as a pet parent experiencing rehabilitation therapy brings us a unique perspective.
Prior to coming to PAW REHAB, Cristina worked in a general practice as a veterinary assistant. She is currently studying and working towards becoming a Registered Veterinary Technician.
In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and three dogs: Phife, Clementine, and Maple. She also likes to crochet and rewatch episodes of New Girl.
Animal Rehabilitation Therapy Assistant
Kristin grew up in the Los Angeles area with her parents and two younger siblings. Throughout her childhood they adopted many dogs, but she wasn’t just a dog person, she loved all animals! Many times she would find toads and lizards and try to bring them home but to no avail.
Although, she had a clear love and passion for working with animals, it didn’t occur to her until later in life to pursue the veterinary field.
She initially pursued her college career in Long Beach with the goal of becoming a teacher. However, after a few years she realized her true calling and quickly changed course. Since then, she has been working in the veterinary field for the last three years.
Prior to PAW REHAB, her experience had remained in general practice and surgery but she always had the urge to do more hands on work with her patients. Rehabilitation spoke to her as she felt the purpose of the veterinary field is to make sure all animals are living the best life they can, with proper care and comfort.
Almost having completed her final studies with the Veterinary Technician Program at Pierce College, Kristin will soon be obtaining her Registered Veterinary Technician license. Her goal is to complete further study to become a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Technician. PAW REHAB is happy to have Kristin as part of our team and to support her with this endeavor.
Kristin lives with her two cats, Loki and Cleo and dog, Luna. In her free time she enjoys baking, trying new vegan spots, attempting to improve her yoga technique and rewatching episodes of The Office. She is thrilled to find PAW REHAB utilizing a zen-like approach to patients, to be in a vegan friendly neighborhood and to work for a paperless practice! ;)
Veterinary Rehabilitation Therapy Assistant
Ruby was born and raised in Eagle Rock, CA and received her undergraduate degree in Cell Biology from UC Davis. Shortly thereafter, she began managing a dog rescue in West Hollywood. There, she helped neglected dogs slowly gain confidence, grow into their personalities, and find their forever homes.
Ruby loves helping animals feel better emotionally, but she wanted a way to make them feel better physically as well. Eventually, Ruby found herself working as a pet therapy assistant at California Animal Rehabilitation (CARE) and quickly realized that Physical Rehabilitation was her passion. She has since begun pursuing her Veterinary Technician Associates Degree and is planning on attending the University of Tennessee's Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner program in the near future. Ruby looks forward to furthering her knowledge and skills with PAW REHAB and her dog whisperer qualities make her an excellent addition to our team. Ruby falls in love with every animal she works with and she feels her calm and healing energy welcomes all of her patients to love her back.
Ruby has two dogs, a mini poodle mix and a Swiss Shepherd mix named Frank and Storm.
She also has a calico cat named Molly. In her free time she loves cuddling with her animals, craft projects, and learning how to roller skate. We may want to rethink our PAW curbside service....