Going from LZ to becoming a successful vet

Jim Weimer, staff writer

When most kids say they want to become a veterinarian when they grow up, most parents think of it as just a phase, but for Jami-Lyn Derse, 1999 graduate, this dream would become a reality.

Starting out as an E.R. doctor in a veterinary clinic, Derse decided it was time for a change.  As an E.R. doctor, Derse saw all the emergency cases coming into the vet and did emergency surgeries. Even though she still does this part time, she has been working at her travel veterinary clinic for two years now, going to patients’ houses to take care of pets in their own environment.

Q: Do you think that your years of high school at Lake Zurich helped to prepare you for this career?
A: I do. I did a lot of science classes, because that’s what I liked, and I feel like it gave me a good background for what I needed.

Q: What made you open up a travel vet?
A: I did solely emergency medicine for four years, and quite frequently clients would ask me if I could do a checkup at their house, or if they had done a surgery they would ask me if I could take the stitches out at their house. I kept having to tell people I couldn’t do that because I didn’t have the setup or the capability to do so. Other people would tell me how difficult it was to get their pet in the car, or that they couldn’t go to the vet because of a busy work schedules and things like that. What happened is I had a daughter, and after that I decided to do E.R. work part time and open up a house-call business so I could help out my clients that had been requesting the service for such a long time.

Q: What made you want to become a veterinarian?
A: I guess I am one of those people that just always knew that’s what I wanted to do. From very early on I had a love for animals, we had lots of pets, things like that. I feel like a lot of kids say they want to be veterinarians, and really I just never grew out of it.

Q: What is the importance of a travel vet?
A: People sometimes have difficulty taking their pets to the vet; they might have multiple pets or busy work schedules, I also have a lot of elderly clients. Pets are just much more comfortable in their home environment, so when I go to a house to do their treatments, they don’t really know that they are being treated by a vet. They are much more calm, less stressed, and it’s really a great benefit to both the patients and the clients.

Q: How long do you think you are going to stay a travel vet?
A: I am definitely going to keep on doing this because I really enjoy it. I have been doing it for two years right now, and I have been doubling my clients every years, so I’m hoping to continue to do so.

Q: What makes you enjoy it that much?
A: People are just so appreciative when you are helping their animals, saving their animals lies, and I really enjoy helping the animals and helping the people as well.

Q: What’s the best thing you remember from your years at Lake Zurich?
A: Probably all the sports that I did. I did volleyball, basketball, and track all four years. I have very good memories of all the sporting events and friendships of all of those.