Dr. Nels was born and raised in Omaha, graduating from Westside High School in 1969. He graduated with his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Iowa State University in 1975. He opened Backlund Animal Clinic in 1977 and raised his family in nearby Pacific Heights neighborhood. Dr. Nels has been married to his high school sweetheart, Jeanne, for 40 years and together they have 3 children, including Dr. Michelle. Jeanne is a retired Millard Family and Consumer Sciences teacher and now is a consummate grandmother to their 6 grandchildren. They live with their 4-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Bentley, a perfect lap dog; 8-year-old tortoiseshell, Izzy, who both looks and acts like a kitten; and Gabby, Izzy’s mom, who is polydactyl (having extra toes). In addition to veterinary medicine, Dr. Nels enjoys working in his yard, baking, and watching his grandchildren. Dr. Nels has always been committed to continuing his veterinary education and embracing new concepts in pet care. He is currently going through the PennHIP certification process to diagnose hip dysplasia. He is a past president of the Nebraska Academy of Veterinary Medicine and former Hospital Administrator for the Animal Emergency Clinic.
Dr. Michelle was born and raised in Omaha, graduating from Millard West High School in 1999. She attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for her Bachelor’s Degree in Veterinary Science and graduated with her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Kansas State University in 2007. Dr. Michelle, with the unwavering support of her father, Dr. Nels, opened Canine Rehabilitation and Wellness as a service of Backlund Animal Clinic in 2009. Dr. Michelle became certified in canine rehabilitation (physical therapy) in 2008 through the Canine Rehabilitation Institute and in medical acupuncture in 2011 through One Health Scientific Integrative Medicine. Dr. Michelle and her husband, Shaun, have three rambunctious boys ranging from 2 to 6 years. Shaun grew up in Omaha as well, graduating from Omaha Northwest High School and University of Nebraska- Omaha. He interned at Union Pacific in college which led to his full-time career. Outside of working at the clinic, Dr. Michelle keeps busy enjoying time with Ethan, Ascher, and Carter, and doing all things BOY...cars, trucks, dirt! Carter is especially enamored with his Meow-Meows, Mira, a loving 13-year-old dilute tortoiseshell, and Warble, a spunky 10-year-old shorthair, and Maddie a 13-year-old Labrador Retriever mix.
Janet Warneke, Clinic Supervisor, Medical Technologist
Janet was born and raised in Omaha, graduating from Omaha South High School. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Biology and then graduated from the University of Nebraska Medical Center in 1984 with her Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Technology. She has 35 years of experience working in the veterinary field, 20 of those years working at Backlund Animal Clinic, and doing so, has given her the best of both worlds, love of helping animals in need with love of science, especially diagnostics. Her husband, Mark, is the Director of Buildings and Grounds for Omaha Public Schools. They live with two 14-year-old domestic shorthair cats, George and Smudge, and get regular weekend sleepovers with Gus Gus, the clinic cat! Outside of work, Janet enjoys digging in the dirt and creating things.
Sarah Westrom, Veterinary Nurse, Licensed Veterinary Technician
Sarah is originally from New England. She received her degree in fine arts from Alfred University in New York State and Associate’s Degree in Veterinary Technology from Bel Rea Institute in Colorado. She worked in Denver for 5 years before joining Backlund Animal Clinic in February of 2007. Her husband, Tom, is an avid artist originally from Denison, IA. They are raising a very bright tween-age daughter, Dublin. In addition to Dublin, Sarah has three furry kids, Lucky a 16-year-old Snowshoe, Roco a 6-year-old Chihuahua mix, and Mouse a 5 year-old tripawd Chihuahua. Tom and Sarah are always busy renovating their home.
Cassie Colflesh, Veterinary Nurse in Canine Physical Rehabilitation, Licensed Veterinary Technician
Cassie was raised in Omaha, actually in Woodhaven - the neighborhood adjacent to Backlund Animal Clinic, and graduated from Millard North High School. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from Wayne State College in 2009 and then received her Associate’s Degree in Veterinary Technology from Iowa Western Community College in 2012. Her parents have been clients of Dr. Nels’ for years and Cassie’s childhood dog was treated by Dr. Michelle after knee surgery. She saw firsthand the benefits of physical rehabilitation in dogs and wanted to help other pets improve their mobility and pain control. Cassie is currently enrolled in courses through the Canine Rehabilitation Institute to obtain certification as a Canine Rehabilitation Assistant. Cassie’s husband, Josh, is a pipe fitter, and loves to hunt, fish, and hopes to be able to farm one day. They are expecting their first child in November! Currently they try to tire out their ornery and energetic 3-year-old English Springer Spaniel rescue, Gunner. Beyond assisting dogs to walk again, Cassie enjoys cuddling up with a good book and looks forward to sharing the love of reading with her baby in November!
Chelsea Olson, Veterinary Assistant in Canine Physical Rehabilitation, Veterinary Technician
Chelsea,originally from Washington, moved to Bellevue when her husband and high school sweetheart, Jeremy, was transferred to Offutt Air Force Base. Her current joy is spending time at the zoo with their 7-month-old son, Jeremiah. She graduated from Pima Medical Institute with her Associate’s Degree in Veterinary Technology. Chelsea’s own dogs are patients of Dr. Michelle’s and she was excited for the opportunity to work at Canine Rehabilitation and Wellness to help other dogs with mobility issues. Chelsea has a true heart for caring for animals and people evidenced by her own pets, involvement with animal rescue events, and foster care of local children. She has two 10-year-old dogs, Jack and Cody, and two cats, 9-year-old Nala and 3-year-old Diti. Somewhere in her spare time, Chelsea also enjoys sewing, especially quilting!
Morgan Bryant, Client Care Specialist
Morgan is originally from North Carolina, and moved to Bellevue when her husband, USAF Staff Sergeant Kyle Bryant, was stationed at Offutt Air Force Base. Morgan received her Bachelor’s Degree in Sports Medicine from East Carolina University in Greenville, NC. She has always been interested in orthopedic medicine and was excited to see how similar techniques can be applied in animals. Since joining Backlund Animal Clinic, she aspires to be an advocate for the health and well-being of animals, volunteering her time to rescue and pet therapy organizations. She is currently mommy to three dogs, Juneau, a sassy 2-year-old Siberian Husky mix; Remington, a goofy yet handsome 2-year old German Shepherd; and Abby, a 1-year-old Doberman Pinscher mix who loves playing frisbee.
Deb Dvorak, Kennel Assistant
Deb grew up outside of Stanton, Nebraska, and moved to Omaha to be closer to family. She has always had a love for animals and her job allows her to care for them. Her husband, Terry, loves to barbeque, and together they have two grown sons, Travis and Justin. In addition to all the pets Deb cares for at the clinic, she has four of her own; Chloe is a sweet 11-year-old beagle, Rosebud is a friendly 2-year-old Golden Retriever, and Simba and Jaycee are curious 3-year-old cats. Deb enjoys all Husker sports, dog sitting, and caring for her granddaughters.