Working in Clark County: Carrie Burhenn: Veterinarian

By Mary Ricks, Columbian news assistant

Published:

 

Veterinarian Carrie Burhenn was fresh out of college. She needed a job but first wanted a vacation. While looking for a place to board her cat during her travels, she came upon a clinic that needed another veterinarian. Her career was launched. Now she wants to "keep on doing what I am doing, just get better at it."

Name: Carrie Burhenn, veterinarian.

Job/employer: Co-owner, with Cathy King, of Feline Medical Clinic, 5801 N.E. 105th Ave.

Age: 52.

Education/professional background: I graduated from Oregon State University in 1990. I was part of a program that required me to attend both Washington State University and OSU. I have an additional certification as a feline specialist from the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners.

WORKING IN CLARK COUNTY

Working in Clark County, a brief profile of interesting Clark County business owners or a worker in the public, private, or nonprofit sector. Send ideas to Mary Ricks: mary.ricks@columb...; fax 360-735-4598; phone 360-735-4550.

Residence: Washougal.

One word to describe yourself: Motivated.

How you got this job: My cat got me my job. After I graduated from college in 1987, I was going on vacation and needed someplace to board my cat. When I took my cat to the clinic they said they were looking for another vet to work there. I was hired. It was my very first job.

Most rewarding part of job: Helping people understand their pet and their ongoing relationship. Although some view being a veterinarian as "working with animals," you really have to be a people person. I can have the greatest cat-handling skills in the world, but if I cannot communicate to an owner, all is lost.

I "fix" very little in this world. I help people decide what they will do and help them find ways to accomplish it. The cat will either respond to treatment or its care as planned, or we will have to make a new plan if it does not. Cats are living, breathing creatures and individuals, and they do not read textbooks on what they are "supposed to do."

Most challenging part of job: Actually, if I am honest, it is getting to work before the clients.

Personal/business philosophy: What we are trying to do here is offer good primary care for cats that dogs have always been privy to. Cats don't always get the same level of care. Cats are very social creatures and we try to give them a quiet environment so they can feel comfortable.

Something you would like to do over: I don't think I would ever go back in age or I would have to give up what I have learned. Some things were hard to learn and I made the best decision at the time.

Best feature of my community: The open space.

What would make your community a better place: People getting to know their neighbors better. When you live far apart you don't always cross paths.

Favorite restaurant/pub/coffee shop/store: The Hearth restaurant in Washougal.

Hobbies: I collect old books on travel and exploration in Africa. It fuels my interest in the state of the world's wildlife today. We read what the old explorers saw and see what we have lost. I also like drawing, cycling and photography.

Volunteer activities: My husband and I plant trees or help get rid of invasive plants at the Steigerwald National Wildlife Refuge.

Favorite travel destination: Africa.

Most interesting book in last 12 months: "The Dovekeepers" by Alice Hoffman.

One thing you want to do this year: I am always looking and investigating ways to understand the people and the world around me. Experiencing other cultures, broadening my experiences in the world around me, reading about the history of our planet and the universe we live in, all this helps me to understand the people I meet and talk with every day.

Something you want to do within five years: Keep on doing what I am doing, just get better at it.

Person you'd most like to meet: I would have loved to have met Nelson Mandela.