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Veterinary Care



Jackie Gai, DVM - PAWS Director of Veterinary Services

Dr. Gai began working with PAWS in 2001, and is our Director of Veterinary Services. Dedicated to providing excellent quality, compassionate veterinary care to all of PAWS' animals, she is on site with our animals a minimum of three days a week, and is on call for emergencies 24/7. Dr. Gai oversees our veterinary program, and is also an integral member of PAWS' management and animal care team.

Dr. Gai began working with captive wildlife at the Oakland Zoo in 1989. She started out as a volunteer and docent, was hired as a zookeeper, and ultimately worked as an Associate Veterinarian for several years. A lifelong interest in elephants intensified during her time as an elephant keeper, helping to hand-raise an African elephant calf named Kijana.

Dr. Gai was the head veterinarian for the Micke Grove Zoo from 2002-2009, and has also been providing veterinary care to sanctuaries, wildlife rehabilitation centers, and select private clients in northern California since 2001.

Believing strongly in community service, Dr. Gai has served on the California Department of Fish and Game Director's Advisory Committee on the Humane Care and Treatment of Wild Animals, the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians' Legislative and Animal Welfare Committee, and the University of California, Davis, Small Animal External Advisory Committee. She also volunteers her services during disasters, such as helping to care for birds after oil spills, and assisting local animal shelters — including those in Calaveras County during and after the 2015 Butte Fire.

A graduate of the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Gai believes in "paying forward" the mentorship she received throughout the years and enjoys speaking to student groups and mentoring young people interested in caring for captive wildlife. She has been an invited speaker and guest lecturer at U.C. Davis and multiple conferences and symposia on topics such as caring for captive wildlife, elderly elephants, animal welfare, and veterinary ethics. She is also a published author and co-author of several peer-reviewed scientific papers, and has a strong motivation to contribute to the scientific literature on topics that benefit animal welfare. 

Dr. Gai has a heartfelt commitment towards meeting the medical, physical, social, and emotional needs of captive wild animals. She is especially dedicated to the care of geriatric elephants, and believes that veterinarians and animal caregivers can do much to improve the quality of life for elderly animals of all species.


  Dr. Gai with Nicholas


A profile of Dr. Gai was featured in "California Veterinarian", a publication of the California Veterinary Medical Association. Click on photo above to read.


Read Dr. Gai's article, "Caring for Elderly Animals", published in PAWS' online newsletter on October 28, 2014. Click on the photo above to read.


Read Dr. Gai's report, "Veterinary Care for Elephants in a Protected Contact Management System",

published in PAWS' online newsletter on August 27, 2015. Click on the photo above to read.



Jennifer Curtis, DVM, MPVM


Dr. Curtis has been a part-time Associate Veterinarian at PAWS since 2013. She earned her DVM degree at U.C. Davis in 2009, and also completed a Masters of Preventative Veterinary Medicine degree in 2010. She also works in private practice with small and exotic animals, and has a strong background in sanctuary work, having spent time at the Limbe Wildlife Center in Cameroon, Africa, caring for a variety of species. 

"I was in Limbe, Cameroon, gathering research for my master's project when I first experienced a sanctuary (LWC). I returned home to graduate, and after working in small animal practice for a few years I decided to return to LWC to work as a veterinarian where I cared for a wide variety of primates, birds, and reptiles that were victims of the bush meat trade. I feel very lucky to have met Jackie Gai and to have found PAWS. I love sanctuary work because the philosophy is one I whole-heartedly agree with — it all comes down to the animals and what is in their best interests. At the end of the day I know that everything I have done has (hopefully) made their lives a little bit better, and they all deserve that."



Lynn Dowling, RVT


Lynn Dowling is a Registered Veterinary Technician with many years of experience caring for both domestic and captive wild animals. She earned her RVT degree and licensure in 1994, and went on to earn a B.S. in Biology at U.C. Davis. Lynn worked for nine years as a zookeeper and RVT at the Folsom Zoo and Sanctuary, gaining invaluable experience learning about behavior and husbandry for a variety of species, including bears and tigers. Since 2002, she has been working in a very busy 24-hour emergency clinic, and now has the responsibility of a supervisory position. Lynn has worked with Dr. Jackie Gai for the past 10 years, assisting with procedures on an astounding variety of animals, and was officially hired by PAWS in 2013.


"I fulfill my heart's passion by working and helping at PAWS. I love being involved with a sanctuary that truly functions as an active advocate for not only the animals at PAWS, but captive animals everywhere."







Performing Animal Welfare Society
PO Box 849, Galt, CA 95632

209/745-2606 office/sanctuary
209/745-1809 fax

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