Lexie is an amazing young woman and has been a licensed veterinary technician in New York State for approximately 6 1/2 years. I had the opportunity to ask Lexie some questions about her job. From our interview it’s clear she has a deep love for her profession and it’s no wonder why she is so great at what she does.
The Green Horseman (GH): When did you decide to become a veterinary technician?
Lexie (L): I Always knew I needed a career involved with animals. When looking for colleges I was enrolled at Morrisville (NY) for equine science and withdrew two weeks before classes started because I felt it wasn’t the right path for me; I couldn’t entirely and whole-heartedly commit. I needed a career path that ensured more job security for me as well as benefits and mostly indoors…out of the elements. After working multiple years on a thoroughbred farm six days a week, about ten hour days, I was tired of being forced to work in the rain and snow. I have the utmost respect for those who do it everyday but it wasn’t for me. I wanted to help animals without 8+ years of college and crippling debt. After talking with friends I discovered the wonderful life of a LVT (Licensed Veterinary Technician); about two years of school, significantly less debt as well as less schooling for this ADHD not-so-great student & classes tailored to something I had a passion for…helping animals!
GH: If you met someone who was looking into schooling to become a vet tech what are some tips and advice you’d give to that person?
L: Look into a community college first. Less debt and general education classes are required with any college major. Why not get a feel for college responsibility and get into the swing of things while saving money? Smaller class sizes and better student/teacher communication made these “dry” required classes a little easier and more tolerable/enjoyable for me..while saving money and getting an admirable education that’s transferable. SUNY (State University of New York) Adirondack Community College has a 1+1 program with SUNY Canton where you can do your general education and introductory courses locally to ensure the program is a right fit before you take the plunge into college life. Being a LVT is an extremely rewarding career, but can be emotionally trying at times. You are multiple health professions rolled into one career on a smidge of one of those career’s income; so a passion for helping other living beings both human and pet is a requirement for a healthy and prosperous life. Minimizing your student loans straight out of the gate will help you leaps and bounds in the long run!!
GH: Tell us what makes you proud to do your job?
L: I am the euthanasia go-to person at our clinic. When it comes time for someone to make the difficult decision to bring their pet in for a quality of life assessment or for euthanasia I take pride in helping bring peace to all involved. Witnessing others say goodbye to their beloved pet is never an easy task, but being able to comfort someone in such a difficult time while helping a pet get to eternal peace and stop their suffering is something I am beyond glad to be a part of. There have been studies done that have proven dogs, cats, and horses have no plans for tomorrow. When the bad/difficult days start to outweigh the good I look at euthanasia as a beautiful gift we are able to give them. After giving their loved ones many beautiful memories what greater gift can we really give them but be able to stop their pain and suffering and help them pass on in a safe, loving environment. It’s a part of my job that I truly cherish and feel that I can really help in the most selfless and everlasting way possible; relieving pain, both emotional and physical, for pet and owner.
GH: Tell us about a really tough aspect of your job and how do you get through it?
L: When you know an owner should be complying with recommendations, but finances get in the way. Unfortunately vet care doesn’t come free. It costs money to turn on the lights, pay staff, order supplies, etc. To see and hear complaints about cost of vet care is difficult. The staff that works with you and your pet as well as the ones behind the scenes are all there because they care about animals. No one goes into the field, let alone stays in this profession, if they don’t care about helping animals. To hear owners complain about the cost of the care and supplies provided to their pet can be frustrating. LVTs understand budgeting and limited finances as well as anyone. We don’t get paid nearly as much as most professions. I personally do my best to explain this to receptive clients and owners, to remind them we are here because we care! Client education is key to having a great lasting relationships and support. I’ve learned to not take things personal, especially when people can be abrupt or non-receptive to recommendations. A local vet hospital is a small business, educating clients of this oversight can avoid reluctance from owners to spend money on the reputable care and products provided.
GH: What are some things you wish you could say to clients?
L: Client education. Support local small business. Online purchasing and large corporations take away from local business. By purchasing products and prescriptions through your vet you are supporting the business and getting more product support than you would ever get (if any) from the store or online. You’re also helping the business income so the business can still be there in the future to provide for you and your pet. We are loyal to you and your pet, help our small business!
GH: What are a few simple things that clients can do to instantly brighten your day or make your job easier?
L: Show appreciation in any way. When owners let me know if I left a positive impact in any way; simple compliments, thank yous, smile, cards, anything really. Always let someone know they are appreciated and they’ll go above and beyond. Also, listen to recommendations from the veterinary team; they’re all there to educate you and provide the best quality care for your pet. We’re here because we care!
I hope you enjoyed this interview with Lexie as much as I have. Lexie is clearly passionate about animals and has a lot of knowledge to share. Make sure to show your veterinary team how much you appreciate what they do for your furry family members. Even small gestures can brighten their day!
If you’re considering a career as vet tech, stay tuned for tomorrow’s post!