I'd always been interested in veterinary medicine, and my goal was to go to vet school. But after I went to Seneca College to take a veterinary technician program and learned everything that was involved in being a vet tech, I decided to stay with it.
School included a lot of hands-on training. The instructors took the time to coach the students and prepare us for what's involved in working in the field. We also had a pretty solid co-op program.
At Seneca, I was a co-president of the animal welfare and vet tech club. We organized and ran public vaccination clinics in the King area, some groom-athons and a number of different programs as well as fundraising for the college program. The opportunity to help oversee and organize those events helped prepare me for when I got here.
There are a lot of options for veterinary technicians to move into clinic manager positions. At the small animal practice clinics I've worked with, the clinic supervisors or managers are technicians who have been there a while. At the Toronto Humane Society, we employ a number of registered technicians and graduates from Seneca who are involved in different aspects of shelter operations, surgery and treatments.
We see the best and the worst in animals, and we see the best and worst in people. We do sometimes see abuse cases that are pretty hard to deal with. It's difficult to see animals in that state, knowing they've been through the kind of experience that led them to the THS, but once they're there, we can do something to alleviate their suffering.
At Seneca, the animals we brought into the program came from the local shelter, so we had a little bit of exposure to animals that, though not actually abused, were lacking proper care. We also did adoptions out of Seneca, so we really got a baseline idea of what sheltering is about.
In this job, you need to maintain registered status as a vet tech and have to be dedicated. This place, like any clinic, takes a lot of energy and time. Everyone has to stay focused on helping the animals.