If they woof or meow, both of the Dr. Mizumotos are ready to assess their medical needs.
After four years of planning and seven months of construction, Twin Lakes Veterinary Hospital is fully remodeled, updating the now 50-year-old business.
Twin Lakes Veterinary Hospital, founded in 1971 by Dr. Everett Bottemiller, might be one of Federal Way’s oldest businesses. The now Mizumoto family-owned veterinarian is still keeping their practice modern in its design and medical work.
“Every year, we always look to improve the hospital, whether it’s the equipment, maybe doing a little remodel, or even just our medicine,” said owner Michael Mizumoto. “We’re always trying to upgrade and be progressive.”
Michael Mizumoto bought the practice in 1981 from Bottemiller, and now he and some of his family still keep the business going. Michael Mizumoto works alongside his wife, Margaret Mizumoto, who works part-time, and his son Dr. Robert Mizumoto, also a veterinarian.
Although he has some family working beside him, he also has a few employees who have been with the practice for 20-plus years. Mizumoto said everyone he works with is like family.
During the seven months of construction, he and his employees worked out of two trailers. Despite the downsize, he said the team still worked great.
Their building is now fully remodeled, which has opened up the hospital space, making the quarters less cramped. Michael Mizumoto said the hospital is now much more efficient, and with the extra space, they can take more clients. The facility went from four to six exam rooms, and they now have quiet rooms for recovering cats and dogs.
For the love of animals
Michael Mizumoto said he always liked animals. When he was in junior high school, he worked at a veterinarian hospital, and this is where he discovered what he wanted to do.
“I started working at a veterinarian as a part-time job, and there it just kept my interest,” he said. “Even at that time, I decided I wanted to be a veterinarian. So the best place to go was Washington State University because they had the best school.”
Michael Mizumoto is 72 and wants to retire by the end of the year — and pass the practice on to his son, Robert Mizumoto. Despite deciding it’s his time to go,he still loves his job and comes to work with a smile because he loves working with his staff. He said he doesn’t think he will ever fully retire. He’ll be around if they need an extra hand or if someone needs to go on vacation.
Robert Mizumoto had a similar story to his father. He grew up coming to the hospital, and working there was his first job when he was 15. And when he graduated medical school, he had the opportunity to come back and work where he grew up.
“I’ve always had a very strong interest in science and medicine, and I always saw my dad enjoying being around animals, and I always enjoyed watching him work and seeing the things he could do,” Robert Mizumoto said. “So I had a natural gravitation toward it.”
The Mizumotos have lived in Federal Way since 1976, and they say they’ve seen the community change, but they still really like it. Margaret Mizumoto said Federal Way is very diverse, and because of that, there is almost every kind of food.
With his dad retiring soon, Robert Mizumoto will soon take over the family practice, which he said is a great privilege and honor.
“Not everyone gets the opportunity to work with their family and enjoy what they do and have very great mentors,” Robert Mizumoto said. “My parents have really set up a legacy with this hospital that I’m extremely proud to be part of and continue on with.”