From a young age, Jennifer Belz knew she wanted to be a veterinarian.
"I was your typical little kid that liked animals," Belz said.
Her parents encouraged her interest in math and sciences. From there, she followed a straight and narrow path to her goal.
"Anything that could get me closer," Belz said.
Belz completed her undergraduate studies at UW-River Falls.
"I always really liked the area," she said. "I like the town and kind of always wanted to be there."
After graduating from University of Minnesota, she found her way back to the general area, working first in Ellsworth, and then in Hastings.
On Feb. 1, she'll officially return, making her dreams come true in the process. Belz will take over Kinnic Veterinary Service, located at 1333 N. Main St., this month.
"I knew I wanted to stay in the area," Belz said. "I always wanted to be a practice owner."
She heard of the opportunity by word of mouth, and jumped at the chance to have her own place.
"It was just a perfect fit," Belz said.
She's looking forward to getting situated in the practice.
"Get to know the clients," Belz said. "I'm looking forward to being anchored."
She's excited to be working with new clients for the long-term.
"From puppy or kitten to that sad day," Belz said.
Though a few associate veterinarians will be leaving, Belz said the rest of the staff is staying on, meaning the clients will see familiar faces and policies.
The change will be a bit of a transition for Belz as she takes on more of the business responsibilities. It's the first business she's owned, so Belz is looking to the mentors and other small business owners she's known over the years.
"I'm surrounding myself with a good team of professionals," Belz said.
She wants clients to know her focus is on customer service.
"Most importantly is how much I care about providing good service and quality care," she said.
Belz lives on a hobby farm between River Falls and Prescott, with her husband, two kids, two dogs, two kittens and three horses. She's happy to have her family and her job all close together now, and is looking forward to serving her community.
"It's a privilege," she said.