Our qualified and passionate team
Pawly Understood is a dedicated and passionate team of veterinary and pet training professionals. See below to learn more about our team members.
Dr. Elle Parker
BSc BVMS (Hons) MANZCVS (Behaviour)
Dr. Parker is a behaviour veterinarian - similar to a psychiatrist, but for pets.
"I help animal patients who have behaviour and psychological problems using scientific, up-to-date, evidence-based and ethical medical treatment.
I am dedicated to improving animal welfare and the human-animal bond through increasing education, understanding and intervention of mental health in pets."
Having always been fascinated by both psychology and animal behaviour, I naturally found my calling in the blossoming field of veterinary behaviour. I learned of the confronting reality of how commonly behaviour issues devastate the lives of pets and their families. I was struck by how fundamentally important but under-recognised this area of veterinary medicine was. So I launched into it and never looked back.
As a vet, I have a special interest and additional post-graduate qualifications in behaviour.
I graduated from Murdoch University in WA in 2010. I then undertook further study through the University of Sydney and gained membership through examination to the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists in 2016.
I am so grateful that I have been able to combine my academic and real-world passions to enthusiastically follow a unique, challenging and rewarding career path. I love feeling like I have made a difference at the end of each day. My ultimate mission is to change and save lives."
Dr. Emma Ruck
Dr Emma is a Veterinarian with a special interest in animal behaviour.
Emma is from New Zealand and trained at Massey University. She has spent the last 8 years in general practices around Adelaide. She has developed a passion for behaviour medicine, this was strengthened when she got her Australian Shepherd, Echo who has separation anxiety. Through their journey together Emma can empathise with both the emotional toll behaviour problems can take on the pet and their owner, but also on how rewarding it can be to make progress and achieve a better life together.
Emma is currently studying a behaviour medicine course through Sydney University and is enjoying putting these skills to good use.
Dr. Emma Vermeeren
MDI (CPDT), BSc, DVM, MANZCVS (Behaviour)
Emma has been involved in animal training all her life. She assisted with the local dog obedience club on Kangaroo Island where she grew up. She completed Pony Club to D* and Parelli Natural Horsemanship to level 2. More recently, Emma has graduated the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree at the University of Adelaide. Emma has also completed her Certificate IV in Companion Animal Training through the Delta Society to become a certified professional dog trainer. Emma undertook a Continuing Education course through the University of Sydney in Veterinary Behavioural Medicine in 2019, and has applied to sit her veterinary memberships in Behavioural Medicine in 2021.
Emma currently owns two Miniature Schnauzers; one that has suffered generalised anxiety and separation anxiety her whole life, and the other that has developed a noise phobia (started off as thunderstorm phobia) as she ages. She is also a mum to an 18 month old girl. Emma thoroughly enjoys the parallels between human and animal psychology and learning theory.
Dr. Carol Mayes
BSc BVMS MANZCVS (Behaviour)
Carol's interest in animal behaviour started after completing Fear Free certification a few years ago. Making small changes in how the dogs and cats were handled in the small animal practice where she worked made a huge difference to the behaviour of the dogs and cats and so she was hooked. The more she learned, the more interested she became and the more there was to learn. She had now passed her membership exams in behaviour and gets a huge amount of satisfaction being able to treat animal's mental as well as physical health.
Dr. Lizzie Davis
Lizzie joined our team in October 2022.
Lizzie graduated from Murdoch University in 2006 and became interested in behaviour when she could see there were so many patients whose needs were not been addressed. Her main goal is to see every pet (and their owners) living their best life.
She is the very proud owner of a miniature sliver poodle called “Charlie Boy Lamb Chop” He enjoys bike rides and walks on the beach.
She looks forwards to being able to help you and your special companion.
Kimberley is a qualified force-free behaviour trainer.
Kim became passionate about animal welfare and helping people to better understand their pets after adopting two special needs dogs. She has worked with shelter animals for over 5 years and obtained her Certificate IV in Companion Animal Services with the Delta Institute in 2018.
Kim has an interest in biological sciences and obtained two bachelors degrees from Flinders University in 2012 and 2015. Kim is committed to keeping her knowledge current by attending animal behaviour seminars and workshops.
Tenelle is a qualified force-free behaviour trainer.
She has a broad scope of educational achievements including a Bachelor of Arts, Graduate Diploma in Education, Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing 2011, Certificate IV in Companion Animals 2017 and has achieved her Fear-Free Certification in 2019.
Tenelle has worked as a vet nurse, taught puppy schools and worked with the RSPCA and Canine Behavioural School. Her professional goal is to strengthen the human-animal bond and improve the life of our animals and those lucky enough to care for them.
She has a stream of foster animals coming through her house - "Every animal I meet is an individual and a teacher. They are all memorable and have a place in my heart".
Irana is a qualified force-free behaviour trainer.
Irana has been in the animal welfare industry for the majority of her working life. First starting at the Animal Welfare League SA at 18, then to the RSPCA at Lonsdale for the next 10 years. Over this time Irana became passionate about animal welfare which in turn drove her to seek an understanding of animal behaviour so that she could help transition homeless pets into their forever homes.
Irana has completed her Certificate IV in Companion Animal Studies and strives to further educate herself with behavioural seminars and workshops. Whilst animal behaviour is her passion, so is providing people with support and empathy whilst working through their pet’s challenges.
Charlotte is a qualified force-free behaviour trainer.
Charlotte has always had a keen interest in learning about the behaviour of animals, which led to her undertaking and completing a Bachelors degree from Flinders University in 2016 and then a Diploma in Canine Behaviour Science and Technology from the Companion Animal Sciences Institute in 2021.
Since Charlotte began working at the RSPCA 6 years ago, her passion of improving animal welfare has grown and she has dedicated herself to helping dogs, including those with special needs, find their forever families. Charlotte shares a home with her own special needs dog, Layla.
Heather is a qualified force-free behaviour trainer.
Having experienced all sorts of different training styles having had German
shepherds for many years, Heather was really happy to find the use of positive
reinforcement training while working at Guide Dogs for the Blind in the UK. It is
from them that she adopted her dog Iris, who travelled to Australia with her in
2012. Iris became reactive following a couple of attacks and escalated Heather’s
passion in animal behaviour and science.
Heather spent 10 years at RSPCA, the last 4 setting up and running their dog
training school and she and her current canine companion Paddy could often be
seen out and about promoting force free training around Adelaide. Whilst like all
animal behaviour geeks Heather is always engrossed in educating herself in the
latest science and techniques, she is now pursuing her dream of completing her
formal qualification as a Professional Canine Trainer with the Pet Professional
Guild and undertaking the Diploma of Animal Behavior Science and Technology
through the Companion Animal Institute specialising in dogs and cats.
She is honoured to be working with the amazing team at Pawly Understood to
help as many more animals as possible.
Angela is a qualified force-free behaviour trainer.
Angela holds a Certificate IV in Animal Behaviour Servies with the Delta Society obtained in 2013. She is passionate about advocating for dogs, dog behaviour and positive reinforcement training and believes is key in understanding how to best set our dogs up to succeed. Angela enjoys working with owners supporting them to best achieve the outcomes to be able to help their pets. She also enjoys teaching puppy classes on a regular basis supporting the importance of puppy early education and training.
Angela became passionate about helping other owners and their dogs through working with her own special needs dog and enjoys helping others with a similar level of understanding and empathy. She has a broad scope of both animal and human behaviour as she also has experience in previous customer service and human recourses corporate roles.
Anna (she/her) is a certified Dog Trainer through Karen Pryor Academy (KPA-CTP), a qualified Dog Guide Mobility Instructor and Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist (O&M/COMS).
“When I completed high school I considered studying teaching, psychology or social work. I am delighted that I can direct all of these interests with my love of animals and their people.”
Anna has diverse and extensive experience training dogs and people to create happy, harmonious and mutually rewarding connections.
Anna completed a Bachelor of Arts at Deakin University, Melbourne in 2001, Post Graduate Diploma of Orientation and Mobility at La Trobe University, Melbourne in 2002, Living and Learning with Animals: The Science and Technology of Behaviour Change in 2020, the Karen Pryor Academy Dog Trainer Professional program in 2021 and Fear Free Pets certification in 2022. Anna also volunteers at Canine Behavioural School.
Regularly attending conferences and seminars, an avid reader of behaviour and training books, Anna’s philosophy is to work with people and animals effectively and compassionately as an advocate of force free and positive reinforcement training methods.
Bonnie (she/her) is a fully qualified and registered veterinary nurse (Cert IV) as well as a Fear Free Certified individual and puppy pre-school instructor.
Bonnie has worked across a broad range of areas throughout the animal industry for over 5 years. Bonnie has two senior dogs of her own who are both behavioural patients themselves. Although she is interested in many areas her passion lies in behaviour, geriatric care, palliative care, euthanasia/after care and rehabilitation.
"My favourite part about my job is that I get to be an advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves. Being able to work closely with both patients and owners through every step of their journey is so incredibly rewarding. I can't imagine myself ever working in another field."