Meet Dr. Liz and her team...
Liz Oien, DVM, Owner
From an early age, Dr. Liz Oien knew she wanted to become a veterinarian. Her love for the profession originated from her family farm when she would work side by side with the local farm vets. Her education includes obtaining her Bachelor of Neuroscience Degree from Washington State University and Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Ross University. Dr. Liz has been practicing small animal and emergency medicine in Western Washington since 2012. She opened Port Orchard Animal Clinic in 2017.
Although Dr. Liz truly enjoys all aspects of helping dogs and cats, she has a natural affinity for soft tissue surgery and dentistry. To make sure she stays up to date on the latest advancements, she attends national conferences and has been trained by board certified dentists and surgeons. If your pet does require surgery, rest assured they are in skilled hands.
You probably have already figured this out, but Dr. Liz is a bit of an old soul. Her hobbies include making stained glass lamps, baking, and listening to Frank Sinatra. She loves to spend time with her husband Ken and their son Winston. Her pup Peaches is often at the clinic, while her kitty Boo Bear prefers to stay cozy at home.
Kimberly Smith, Veterinary Nurse / Licensed Veterinary Technician
Nurse Kim first started working in the veterinary field at the age of 16 as a kennel and vet assistant. After graduating high school she worked with a dog groomer before deciding on veterinary technology. Kim is a Licensed Veterinary Technician, having graduated from Pierce College veterinary technician program in 1995. She has been a vet tech for over 24 years, and has worked in equine (horse) medicine, overnight emergency, and general practice.
Being an animal lover, Kim and her husband live with their 3 Boxers (dogs) Diesel, Sully, and Monty, and lots of Betta fish, 2 Ranchu goldfish and 1 Oranda goldfish. They enjoy taking the dogs on hikes and to the beach during the spring and summer. During the winter Kim enjoys reading, chilling with her boxers and decorating for the holidays.
Whitney Watland, Veterinary Assistant / Receptionist
Whitney is our veterinary assistant and occasional receptionist. She happily assists wherever she is needed. She recently completed her bachelor's degree from Washington State University in social sciences and comes from a management background, having managed a pet sitting company for five years, and with her husband Jeff, a Pepperidge Farm franchise for many years. A true Pacific Northwesterner, Whitney was born and raised in Gig Harbor and now resides on Fox Island.
She and Jeff love live music, especially at the Columbia River Gorge, and their favorite bands are Dave Matthews Band, Zac Brown Band, and Foo Fighters. They also adored seeing OAR at Red Rocks. Exploring and traveling brings Whitney great joy, whether it be a day trip to the mountains or a cross country trek. Whitney also enjoys reading, gardening, working on her house and yard, and hanging out with their beloved pups, Martin Van Buren and Lou Piniella.
Natasha Gastaudo, Veterinary Nurse / Licensed Veterinary Technician
Natasha has been working alongside Dr. Liz for over 3 years. After having her son August, she returned to work at Port Orchard Animal Clinic in 2017. She feels that she has found her calling as a certified veterinarian technician. Starting out as a veterinary assistant in 2010, she graduated from Brown Mackie College in 2014 and has been a Licensed Veterinary Technician for 5 years.
Before finding her niche in veterinary technology, Natasha spent a few years volunteering at a wildlife rehabilitation center and interning at the Kansas City Zoo caring for elephants and sea lions! While she enjoyed working with large animals, she found her passion in education, caring for patients, and getting to know their owners.
Natasha and her husband, Brandon, are originally from Missouri. They enjoy hiking and traveling as much as they can with their son, August. Her hobbies include reading, swimming, and yoga. As our resident cat lady, she spends a lot of time cuddling her two black cats, Kova and Cash.
Rokki Southworth, Receptionist
Rokki’s love and admiration for animals started at a very young age. Growing up on a 200 acre ranch, she helped her family care for and raise Clydesdales, mules, Texas longhorns, pigs, sheep, and goats. At 16 years old Rokki started working at a boarding facility, and went on to work for the Humane Society and several veterinary clinics in Oregon. A natural caregiver, through and through, Rokki’s true calling is being an advocate for both pets and their people.
Rokki was born and raised in central Oregon and recently moved to the area with her two boys, Blayton, and Graham. Their crew is rounded out by Apollo, a Bernese/Labradoodle, Blossom, a ragdoll kitty, and Nessie, a bearded dragon. You’re most likely to run into Rokki in the great outdoors - the whole family enjoys hiking, fishing, kayaking, and exploring. Rokki is passing her passion for nature on to her sons.
Marissa Van Niekerk, Veterinary Assistant
Marissa grew up in Maple Valley, Washington always being a lover of animals, everyone knew she’d end up in this profession one day. After graduating from Washington State University with a BS in Animal Sciences she moved to South Africa to work on Game Reserves and in rehabilitation centers caring for wild and endangered animals. This is where she met her husband, Wessel, and they rescued their dog Ranger, a Boerboel/Rottweiler mix.
Marissa has worked in veterinary clinics of all different kinds for 6 years now. She, Wessel, and Ranger currently reside in Gig Harbor with their other dog Stompie, a Mastiff/Pitbull mix, and her 20 year old cat Dutchess. When Marissa is not working she enjoys traveling, cooking, gardening, camping, birding, and pretty much anything outdoor related. Oh and don’t forget, Go Cougs!
Alissa Bennett, Veterinary Assistant
Alissa has always been drawn to the animal field and was lucky enough to begin her veterinary career 8 years ago in Monterey, CA. This isn’t too much of a surprise for anyone who knows Alissa - She grew up with quite the crew including peacocks, hedgehogs, and lizards! While there, she learned quickly that caring for animals was where she belonged. Alissa thrives with the challenges the veterinary field has to offer and has special interest in anesthesia, dental care, and orthopedics.
Alissa recently graduated from Penn Foster with an associates in Veterinary Technology and is looking forward to taking the VTNE this July to become an official licensed veterinary technician. Outside of work Alissa enjoys spending time with her husband, Travis, and their two adorable dogs, Mango and Kiwi. Together they love adventuring, cooking and watching movies!