Meet Our Team

The Owners

Jay and Liz Lawrence

DVM, Owners

Drs. Jay and Liz Lawrence have been the owners of Value Vet since 2014. They have been happily married for 12 years and have a 2 year old son named Evan. They are both graduates of the Iowa State University Veterinary program and combined have 16 years of small animal veterinary experience. Dr. Liz has special interests in surgery and medicine and Dr. Jay enjoys medicine cases, radiology and pharmacology. They have a German Shorthair Pointer named Morgan who thinks she owns all the couches and beds in the house. In their free time they enjoy the outdoors including golf, hiking, bird hunting with Morgan and chasing Evan around.


Melissa Kobberdahl “Dr. K”


Dr. Melissa Kobberdahl grew up in West Des Moines, Iowa and is a 1991 Valley HIgh School grad. Initially, she received her Bachelor of Science degree at Iowa State University in 1995. She remained there to complete her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine in 2001. Her first 10 years as a veterinarian were spent in Illinois, just south of Chicago. In 2011 she moved back home to be near family. On the job, she is called Dr. K and especially enjoys surgery, with interests in the Human – Animal Bond and pet therapy. Outside of work, she spends most of her time with her 12 year old son Dylan, and their 5 Border Collies: Floss, Swirl, Storm, Sky and Cloud. She loves the wide open spaces of the Great Plains, especially South Dakota. Her passions include the training and breeding of Border Collies, sheepdog trials, anything musical and tie-dye.

Karla Leo


Dr. Karla Leo is a graduate of Wartburg College and a 2002 graduate of Iowa State College of Veterinary Medicine. She practiced small animal medicine and surgery in Illinois for 4 years before returning to the Des Moines area. Dr. Leo has worked as a spay/neuter surgeon and has performed thousands of these procedures. She also has an interest in felines.

Dr. Leo lives on a working farm with her husband, two young sons, two cats, and two dogs. She enjoys gardening, raising sheep, camping at the Iowa State Fair, and boating on Lake Panorama.

Gretta Albrecht


Bio coming soon!

Melinda Kelchen


Dr. Melinda Kelchen spent her early years in Ames, Iowa graduating from both Ames High School and Iowa State University. At Iowa State University she received a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Science prior to graduating with her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine in 2002. She practiced small animal medicine and surgery in Fort Dodge, Iowa for 9 years prior to moving to the Des Moines Area. Dr. Mel’s veterinary interests include internal and preventative medicine and enhancing the human-animal bond. She also loves meeting new people and their special four-legged family members.

Dr. Mel has been married to her husband Chad for 19 years. They have two children, Sam and Nick. As a family, they enjoy boating, camping, biking, hiking, watching movies, and playing games. Most nights you can find them cheering on their teenagers at all their school activities.

The owners of the house are Goose, the 5-year-old Border Collie, and Maverick, the 2-year-old mixed hound we rescued in January of 2020.

Lisa Nelson


Dr. Lisa Nelson graduated from Iowa State University with a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. She has been in practice for over 30 years, 25 of those years in the Des Moines area. She has worked in a variety of professional roles and at a variety of clinics before coming to Value Vet. Her areas of clinical interest are pain management and wellness.

She has been a lifelong owner and fan of Chesapeake Bay Retrievers so it makes her day when she gets to see one in the clinic. Her current Chessies – Buck and Cody – keep her on her toes and are her constant companions out camping, hiking, kayaking, or helping out on the family farm. Her other interests include woodworking, photography, and nature conservation work.

Allison O’Grady


Dr. Allison graduated from Iowa State University, College of Veterinary Medicine in 2013. She is studying for feline board certification and is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association. She grew up loving many pets, and showed a dog, a cat, a rabbit, and a guinea pig in 4-H. She enjoys spending time with her family, walking outdoors, and reading.

Rachel Livermore


Bio coming soon!

Office & Support Staff

Scott Denhart

Veterinary Practice Manager

Scott joined Value Vet as the Hospital Manager in August 2018. Raised in Des Moines, he began life-long work in companion animal veterinary medicine in July 1981 as a young kennel attendant for his father’s veterinary practice. Over this time, he has continually worked to hone friendly & helpful client service skills to fit his fundamental commitment to enhancing the human-animal bond. Current crew of critters at home are Afghan Hounds named Dinah, and Elvis, and his lovely wife of over 20 years. Hobbies include gardening, reading, dog grooming (!), hanging out with family, and cheering on the Chicago Cubs’ radio broadcasts.


Office Coordinator

Raeome joined Value Vet in December of 2009. She has been a Vet Assistant and now Office Coordinator. She was born and raised in the Des Moines Metro area. She now lives in Johnston with her husband John and fur baby Gus. She has 2 grown children and 2 granddaughters. In her spare time she enjoys going to the movies and spending time with her family and friends!


Veterinary Technician

Doni joined the Value Vet team in March 2015. She has been in the veterinary field since she was 14 and worked her way up to Lead Veterinary Technician/Surgery Tech. She has 2 crazy dogs Rascal (Jack Russell/Rat Terrier), and Tank (Bully mix).

Outside of work she enjoys the outdoors, camping, reading, photography, traveling, and spending time with friends and daughter!


Veterinary Technician

Vanessa started working at Value Vet in September 2005 after volunteering at several veterinary clinics since she was 14. She began helping with the front desk and general assisting, and has worked into her passion as a surgery tech helping pets through the process. Vanessa is married with 2 girls. Also at home, she has 2 cats: Hawkeye and Olive Bean. Favorite hobbies include hunting and fishing in her free time.


Veterinary Technician

Amber has been with our clinic since June of 2018. She loves animals as well as the fast-paced environment of being a vet tech and the variety of tasks that must be performed with each patient. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time outdoors, reading and creating abstract paintings. She lives at home with her boyfriend, Matt, their boxer mix, Rocky, and two cats, Oscar and Gizmo.


Veterinary Technician

Iowa-born Texas raised, Lauren joined in July 2020. She is currently planning to attend Penn Foster this coming semester. Newly married she has 2 dogs, a guinea pig, and a tortoise. When not at work, she loves to hike, cook, and spend time with her family.


Veterinary Technician

Jen was born and raised in Des Moines and graduated from East School in 1997. She has been working as a veterinarian technician since 2001 and recently joined our team in June 2021. Jen and her husband Garry have three sons, Max, Aaron, and Noah, and two Boxers, Elsa, and Addie along with a French Bulldog named Kiwi. In her spare time, she enjoys camping and hanging out with friends and family.


Veterinary Technician

Heather joined Value Vet in October 2021. She graduated from Iowa State University with a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science and has been a veterinary technician since 2015. Heather and her husband Dustin have two Labrador Retrievers – Ty and Porky, a German Shepherd – Roscoe, as well as two cats – Sassy and Flash and a Paint horse – Cotton to round out the household. In her spare time, she enjoys showing her horse, camping, and gardening.


Veterinary Assistant

Jaden has been a member of the Value Vet team since May 2022. She graduated from Simpson College in the Fall of 2022. Outside of the clinic she enjoys spending time with her cat, Roxy, taking care of her plants, and enjoying the great outdoors.


Veterinary Assistant

Born and raised in Johnston, IA. Kelly has been working with animals since 2007! In 2018 she became a dog trainer before joining our team in 2022.

Outside of work she enjoys spending time with her son, hiking, photography, playing games and cuddling with her 2 dogs Kota and Daisy!


Veterinary Assistant 

Alex grew up at a farm in Norwalk IA, she moved to Des Moines in 2022 and began working at value vet in the fall of 2022. She is currently attending DMACC for pre-vet courses. In her free time, she enjoys hiking with her three dogs – Bear, Sarge, and Keda. As well as reading, traveling, and doing home improvement projects.


Veterinary Assistant

Rowan is a high school student who has been with Value Vet since January 2020. When she isn’t working she’s busy at school, spending time with friends and family. She enjoys reading, writing, drinking coffee, and traveling.


Pet Care Coordinator

Desiree joined Value Vet in February 2019. She has been a veterinary assistant since 2005. She lives with a Chihuahua named Tuey and her clowder of cats. In her free time she likes movies, music and researching her family tree.

Areas of Special Interest: Feline behavior and care, radiology and client education.


Pet Care Coordinator

Tracy joined in August of 2019. She has worked in the medical field since 1998. She lives with her Frenchton Lexi, and enjoys traveling to new places and experiencing new cultures.


Pet Care Coordinator

Anne recently joined Value Vet after a long career in healthcare and insurance benefits based on her love for animal care. Anne and her husband, Gary, of 39 years were recently rescued by their new family member, Mattie, from an Amish farm and could not be happier!