1. Hello Emilie! Can you tell us about yourself and your role at Highlands Animal Care?
I am currently the only VTIT here at Highlands. This means that I am going to school to become an LVT (licensed veterinary technician).
2. Who are your cats and how did you find each other?
There are 3 boys that call me mom. Their names are Arlo (3 years old), Gander (1.5 years old), and Moose (1.5 years old). All of them were adopted by me from places of work. Arlo was found at about 6 weeks old by a good samaritan. I took him home at about 10 weeks old. I call him my grumpy old man. Gander and Moose were brought in at maybe 24 hours old and I have been their mom ever since. They drive me crazy but I wouldn’t have as fulfilled a life at home.
3. Cats are such graceful and intelligent pets. Can you tell us about some of their unique characteristics and care requirements?
Cats are sort of the aliens of the veterinary world. They all have their own personalities and care needs. The biggest myth is that cats don’t need as much care as dogs. Thankfully, this is changing. I’m proud to be part of that change here at Highlands Animal Care. Fun fact- cats generally drink more water when it is flowing, like with a water fountain. Also, they may drink more when their food is kept separate from where they drink water.
4. When did you become interested in the veterinary field, and what led you to join Highlands Animal Care?
Veterinary medicine had been a back burner idea. I made the leap in 2016. I went to an accelerated program for Veterinary assisting and graduated in 2017. I have actively been working in the field since 2018, starting as a kennel attendant. I fell in love and can’t imagine doing anything else.
My last job was not a great situation for me. There was no team cohesion, no open communication, and lack of growth potential. However, I had grown close to one veterinarian, who had left the practice and then joined Highlands Animal Care, so I kept that in the back of my mind as an option. While casually looking for a new job, I saw the ad for a position. I decided to make the jump because I needed a change. I liked that there was an open concept and that there was opportunity for growth. I decided to make the leap and applied, not thinking that I would be asked to join the team.
This has been the easiest (almost) year of employment I have had. There have been ups and downs, but I have never experienced so much growth and understanding among coworkers. I know that it is a cliche, but we are definitely a family.
5.As the spotlight team member of the month, can you tell us about the Fear Free techniques that are used at Highlands Animal Care?
The biggest take away for fear free is it boils down to going at your pets pace. We offer treats, go slow, and try to do as much with our pet parents as possible. Sometimes staying with pet parents is more stressful for them, so we adjust as needed. If we find that the pet is too stressed to continue, we often recommend calming medications to go home to be given 1-2 hours prior to visits. This is to take the edge off to make the visit less scary.
6. What advice would you give someone considering a career in veterinary medicine?
If you are wanting to go into Veterinary medicine, my biggest pointer is to do your research. Loving what you do is important, but loving where you do it is just as important. Being a kennel attendant is usually a great place to start because it teaches you a lot about animal care, basic veterinary medicine, and allows you to grow.
7. What’s the most rewarding aspect of caring for pets, exotics and non-exotics?
While I love almost all aspects of animal care, I really love cultivating relationships with pets and their parents. I love to educate pet parents in ways to better care for their pets.