Our Veterinary Team

Meet the Veterinarians & Team of LaPaw Animal Hospital! We’re pleased to provide exceptional vet care for your pets.

Get to Know Our Veterinary Team!

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.

Dr. Deb LaPaugh

Medical Director

Dr. LaPaugh graduated from The University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. She worked in Syracuse, New York, for several years before moving to Oregon. She then worked in several animal hospitals as a relief veterinarian in Portland and Central Oregon before building LaPaw Animal Hospital in Bend, Oregon. Dr. LaPaugh has special interests in surgery and exotic animals. She has 3 cats at home and 2 rabbits plus 2 cats and a rat at LaPaw Animal Hospital. Dr. Deb loves the boring stuff of life, such as reading, but she also skis, hikes, and bikes like a good Central Oregonian.

Started at LaPaw Animal Hospital: January 2001
Education: University of Pennsylvania
Interests: reading, skiing, biking, taking my dogs on adventures, and enjoying all the beauty of Bend.

Dr. Stephanie Sur


Dr. Stephanie Sur grew up in California. She attended the University of California Davis for her undergraduate studies. She earned two Bachelor of Science degrees, one in Medical Microbiology and Immunology, the other in Neuropsychology. Dr. Sur went on to receive her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine in 2003. She completed her IVAS (International Veterinary Acupuncture Society) certification in veterinary acupuncture in 2010. Dr. Sur enjoys all aspects of veterinary internal medicine but has focused the past ten of her seventeen years of experience on integrative and holistic approaches to healthcare, including acupuncture, herbal medicine, homeopathy, and nutritional therapy. Dr. Sur is a new Bend transplant with her husband and 2 young children.

Education: Ross University

Interests: Family time, bike riding, trail walking, movie watching, trying new restaurants, studying health, and spending time with friends.

Heather Barkman

Hospital Manager

Heather has been working in the veterinary field, in many roles, for over 20 years. Her twin teenage boys keep her busy with competitive basketball year around when it is available. Her family enjoys anything outdoors, from Skiing, Snowboarding, biking, playing tennis, to enjoying the water, in beautiful Central Oregon. The family has 2 dogs and 4 cats.

Michelle Leighty

Veterinary Assistant

Michelle is a long-term employee at LaPaw Animal hospital and is vital to the smooth running of our surgical and dental procedures. Before coming to LaPaw Animal Hospital, Michelle worked for several years at the Redmond Humane Society. Michelle has 2 dogs and 1 cat, and chickens. She seems to be constantly working to improve the house she bought in 2014. Michelle and her partner have a rowdy son named Landon!

Started at LaPaw Animal Hospital: 2008
Interests: Petsitting, Various pets, Biking and Family.

Jen Hill

Technician Assistant

Jen is a Veterinary Technician. She came to LaPaw Animal Hospital from the Bay Area of California (yes, she is one of those! But, she is quickly becoming a proper Bendite!). She has been at LaPaw since December of 2019, and we think she is awesome as a technician AND brightens everyone’s day with her cheerful attitude (even when she’s in a “bad” mood”!). Per Jen “The best part of being a veterinary technician is helping people keep their pets happy and healthy so they can be around for as long as possible!”.

Jen has a 12-year-old curmudgeon of a cat named Caroline and a 13 ½-year-old hysterical Pug named Rhett. Rhett can commonly be seen zipping around LaPaw in his wheelchair on a regular basis.

Started at LaPaw Animal Hospital: 2019
Interests: Bird watching, gardening, reading, jewelry making and pottery.

Natalie Biernacki

Technician Assistant

Natalie started in October of 2017 and has proven to be one of the most enthusiastic employees LaPaw has ever had! Natalie has numerous lizards (don’t ask me how many!), a hedgehog named Nelson, and a puppy named Mang! She is officially a Technician’s Assistant but has helped in reception as well.

Started at LaPaw Animal Hospital: October 2017



Mikayla has been in Central Oregon for her WHOLE life! She has a boyfriend, 2 dogs (CoCo and Daisy), and 2 cats (Marley and Rousy). She is very active and loves biking, hiking, pottery, and photography. She loves spending time being around her family, friends, and pets!

Started at LaPaw Animal Hospital: July 2019