Dr. Irene Vanderwerff grew up in Kansas where her love of animals began early in life. She spent her childhood caring for her cats and hamsters and training her German Shepherds. She grew up listening to her parents tell stories at the dinner table about their experiences as nurses. This helped her develop an interest and passion for medicine. Early on, she decided she would marry her passion for animals and medicine by becoming a veterinarian.
After high school she attended Kansas State University majoring in Animal Medicine but balancing out her education with a minor in music where she sang in the Women's Glee Club and learned to play a large beautiful pipe organ. She also spent time working for a grain science lab studying the strength properties of wheat gluten.
Before applying to veterinary school, Dr. Vanderwerff decided to take a break from schooling to be a missionary for her church. She lived in Brasilia, Brazil for a year and half learning to love the Portuguese language as well as the culture and of course the people she was serving.
During her 4 years at Kansas State University Veterinary School Dr. Vanderwerff worked in a dairy lab testing the natural hormone levels in the cattle. She also increased her interest in, surgery along with discovering a love for parasitology. Nothing gives her more satisfaction than getting rid of a flea infestation! While at vet school she managed to find time to earn a 2nd degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do, which she firmly believes kept her sane for 4 years.
Dr. Vanderwerff started her professional career in a small Wyoming town where she gained 4 years’ experience working with clients who had small means and little ability to transfer their pets to the nearest referral center (3 hours away). The clinic treated every type of animal that was brought in including horses, cattle, iguanas, snakes, ferrets, etc. She learned to improvise and try new things and is very grateful for the knowledge she gained from that experience.
Value Pet Clinic - Kent has been lucky enough to have Dr. Vanderwerff working at the Kent since 2012. She absolutely loves it here in the Pacific Northwest and has no plans to leave any time soon. She enjoys working in a walk-in clinic where you never know what to expect and every day holds a new adventure.
When not working, Dr. Vanderwerff can be found cuddling with her 10 year old cat Leite (which means "milk" in Portuguese...he's a pure white cat!) and watching a good movie. She volunteers with her church and also with the Tacoma Refugee Choir where she helps out as a board member in their goal to bring fellowship to immigrants and refugees. She also enjoys playing in the nearby mountains and going to shows and events in downtown Seattle with her friends.