Why I became a Veterinary Technician: It’s not just for the animals
Elizabeth Salan A.A.S., C.V.T, Instructor
So many of us in the veterinary field grow up around animals and I am no exception. Dogs, cats, a rat or two, horses, parakeets, the random injured stray– all of these animals were a part of my life from a very early age. I love the “in the moment” quality that animals bring into one’s life, animals don’t stress about what’s going to happen next, they exist solely in the moment.
Becoming a veterinary technician was a natural progression in my life, though it took me some time and a few false starts before I finally figured that out. In my orientation at tech school, I remember having to stand up and introduce myself to the rest of my starting class. We each had to talk about why we were choosing to become veterinary technicians. So many of my fellow students said they were becoming vet techs because they loved animals and/or they liked animals better than people.
Guess what? You have to like people, too. People are the ones who will be bringing these animals to you to heal, people are the ones who will be asking you advice about what to feed their pet, how to house train them, people are the ones who pay the bills for the GDV surgery you just assisted in, and people are the ones taking these pets home to care for them on a daily basis.
It’ll be part of your job to hold an owner’s hand as they say goodbye to their beloved pet of 15 years and it’ll be part of your job to celebrate with that same owner months later when they bring in their new puppy or kitten for their first set of vaccines. It’ll be part of your job to counsel owners when their cat has been newly diagnosed with renal failure and they have questions as to why they need to put their cat on a vet recommended lower protein diet. It’ll be part of your job to teach an owner how to give insulin injections after their dog has been diagnosed with diabetes.
Animals can’t communicate with us in words. They can exhibit through their physical symptoms and physical parameters what may be brewing inside them but we have to use all the tools in our toolbox to help figure out what’s wrong. One of those tools, perhaps the most important tool, is the pet’s interactions with their owners, the people that know them best. The owners are going to be the ones to tell you that their pet has been anorexic for the last five days or that part of a toy is missing and may have been ingested by the pet.
We may have gotten into this field because we love animals but we need to love their people, too. For in loving and helping these owners become the best owners they can be, we have given these pets a chance for their best life. That’s really what veterinary medicine is all about.