With a journey in veterinary medicine that took root in New Jersey, then continued in Rhode Island, followed by some time in the Caribbean, Dr. Kelly Rock is proud to currently be residing in the Region where she is surrounded by the people she loves, doing the work she is passionate about.
As a veterinarian at Vale Park Animal Hospital, Dr. Rock has the special opportunity of working with dogs and cats of all different breeds. Though her initial interest in veterinary medicine included a goal of attending school in California to become a trainer and zookeeper for more exotic-type animals, she could not be happier with where she is today.
“I love working with cats and dogs, they keep me busy enough. Those other animals are always outside, and it’s chilly outside,” Dr. Rock said with a laugh.
Although many children say they want to be a veterinarian when they grow up, it was different for Dr. Rock as she has maintained some form of this goal ever since she was a little girl.
“Apparently in kindergarten, I had written something about how I wanted to be a veterinarian,” said Dr. Rock. “I guess you could say I always wanted to be a vet, but then I fell into it as an adult and thought, ‘Oh, this is where I’m supposed to be.’”
She earned her Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology at University of Rhode Island, ultimately kick-starting her studies related to veterinary medicine. As she began taking prerequisite courses for the programs she became interested in, she was working at different places that shifted her goals a little more each time.
“I was working in Florida at the Rainforest Cafe with their parrots and their fish, and I thought, ‘You know what? I really want to go to college in California to become a trainer and a zookeeper,’ so I came back home to finish the courses that I needed and got a part-time job at a veterinary office,” said Dr. Rock. “But then I realized that I kind of like this, so I said, ‘I’m going to become a certified technician.’ So, I got ready to do those courses and the head of the program looked at me and said, ‘Yeah, you’re probably not going to finish the program. You’re going to be a vet.’ And two months later, I went up to her and said, ‘Yeah apparently you were right, I do want to be a vet.’ So, I stopped those introductory courses and started applying to vet school.”
She completed her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine at Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine in Saint Kitts, the larger of the two Caribbean islands that make up Saint Kitts & Nevis. She not only left the Caribbean with a degree but also the love of her life, Vale Park Animal Hospital Veterinarian and Practice Owner, Dr. Brent Lakia.
After meeting each other, Dr. Rock and Dr. Lakia found their way to Northwest Indiana where they settled in and now have three children. In true, veterinarian fashion, the two also have two dogs and two cats. The family enjoys taking their dogs, which are German Shorthaired Pointers, to the Indiana Dunes National Park to hike with their kids.
“The kids just got new bikes, too, so when the weather returns this spring, we’ll be going out on our bikes, and of course, be playing at the lake,” said Dr. Rock.
One thing that stands out is Dr. Rock’s appreciation for being a member of Vale Park Animal Hospital’s team, and how every aspect of her job has a family feel. Not only do her coworkers make being at work comfortable and inviting, but even the clients they are fortunate to work with make it feel like they are helping their own family.
“As a work unit, everybody here gets along like a nice, big family, and it’s a very comfortable feel, so that’s awesome,” said Dr. Rock. “A lot of our clients have been coming to Vale Park for a really long time, so there’s a family member aspect there as well. It just makes it really comfortable.”
Though each day as a veterinarian has its ups and downs with new situations constantly arising, Dr. Rock noted how one of her more memorable experiences since working at Vale Park Animal Hospital was when she had the opportunity to deliver puppies on her birthday.
“I did get to do a cesarean section delivery on my birthday, so that was kind of nice to say happy birthday to all the puppies on my own birthday,” said Dr. Rock. “I think there were eight of them, so we weren’t exactly twins because I don’t know what the right word would be, but more just birthday buddies.”
Dr. Rock takes her job very personally and has a deep understanding of how treating a client’s animals is no different than treating loved ones. For example, Dr. Rock mentioned that dental care is a favorite of hers as it allows her to ensure that pets are healthy and comfortable, ultimately benefiting their overall health.
“I really enjoy dentistry. I like to help make sure that mouths are comfortable. We clean their teeth, we take x-rays of the whole mouth to make sure that all those teeth are healthy, and we determine if anything needs to be removed or not, and of course, it’s all done under anesthesia,” said Dr. Rock.
Attention to detail and quality care for each animal that enters Vale Park Animal Hospital’s doors are what make the clinic such a special place to receive treatment from hard-working veterinarians like Dr. Rock.
To learn more about Vale Park Animal Hospital and its quality team members like Dr. Kelly Rock, visit the website at https://valeparkah.com.