"Some days I'm a cat wrangler. Some days I get to snuggle puppies. Other days I console sad owners that just received bad news. On a day like today, I am able to give owners peace of mind in knowing that a heart murmur is not going to impact their pets life. Every day is a different day. " -Shannah P., Team Leader, Austin Shoal Creek, TexasNicole T., Veterinary Assistant at CVCA Vienna, Virginia, with patient (Pre-COVID)
When the doors of CVCA open for business, our team members are ready for whatever may come - good or bad, happy or sad, we're here through it all for the pets we see each day. Today, we want to take a look into the hard work our support staff puts in on a daily basis to heal hearts and give pets more time with their families.
Joe R., Veterinary Assistant at CVCA Annapolis, Maryland, has a daily routine - his morning and evening 'lap' helps to make sure everyone is taken care of:
"I walk into the clinic's Intensive Care Unit and start to look at the monitors listing all the patients. I look for any of our patients, as well as any potential patients that may be heading our way. I say hello to all the staff of all the departments I can while I do my lap and make sure that if someone needs to talk about something that I listen. I love this part of my day for so many reasons. A giant part of our jobs is to not just help and teach our pet parents but to help and teach our fellow staff members."
Nicole T, Veterinary Assistant at CVCA Vienna, Virginia, (pictured), gives us some insight into what she does every day:
"The majority of what I do in a day is patient care and client education. I try to make my patient's have a comfortable and stress-free visit with our group. This could be giving out treats to the patients, going extra slow and being conscious of how my patients are reacting to me, and providing extra cushion for my senior patients. For clients, I try to provide easy to understand education about their pet's heart disease and medication, as well as an empathetic ear. My hope is that my clients leave the visit with improved confidence and understanding of their pets' care."
During the day, there are always ups and downs. Brittany J., Veterinary Assistant also at CVCA Fairfax, has been with CVCA for three and a half years. She describes the way our staff forms a bond with every patient and their family. When a patient passes away, it's sometimes as heartbreaking for her as it is for the patient's family.
"Losing a patient is always the hardest part of the job. However, knowing that we did everything we could to help and be there for our patients and clients through the most difficult times is very rewarding. There have been several occasions where I think back to several of the patients we have had over the years and to be able to help give them the best quality of life for as long as we did helps ease the pain. Sometimes this job can really create some emotional pain, but reading/hearing the clients acknowledge how thankful they are for all that we did truly makes it all worthwhile."
What inspires our staff to spend day in and day out helping animals? For Jillian W., Team Leader of CVCA Towson, Maryland, it was an easy decision:
"I've always loved animals since I was young. I started in kennel work when I was 17, and knew I wanted to do more and help sick animals, which led me to start as an assistant in an animal ER, and things evolved from there."
Now, Jillian has been with CVCA for almost 3 years and leads our Towson team!
For Amanda K., Veterinary Technician who also works at CVCA Towson, the passion is a bit more technical:
"I've worked in the animal field in almost every capacity (zoos, pet boarding, grooming), but I was always drawn to veterinary medicine because I love the diagnostics. I love taking all the clues and symptoms of a pet's illness and putting it all together to figure out the cause and coming up with a treatment plan."
Lena H., Veterinary Assistant at CVCA Fairfax, is one of our newer team members, having joined us only 7 months ago. Veterinary medicine is a tough field - she describes being burnt out before joining CVCA. Now, Lena overcomes challenges and barriers by talking about the tough times.
"My family gets to know the pets I see because I come home and decompress and share stories, whether it be happy ones like 'I'm so happy! I got to snuggle the CUTEST chihuahua today!!' or like 'I said goodbye to a really sweet shepherd today.' It helps me feel better talking about my patients in a loving way."
Ashleigh W., Technician at CVCA Gaithersburg, Maryland, has a support group at work to help deal with challenges:
"I have learned that I work with a group of really exceptional human beings in Gaithersburg. They have and will go out of their way to help you when things are tough, but when things are going great too! And the patient is always their priority, which is a group I definitely am glad to be a part of.
Great communication between CVCA, other doctors, and our clients is the most important thing our team works towards each day. Shannah P. can sum up best how that communication impacts others:
"If I had to choose just one thing I enjoy in my daily work routine, it would be client communications. My own dog was a patient of cardiology before I worked here, so I've experienced the anxiety and fear of what may be found. It's scary. Especially during COVID and our curbside service, I comfort owners and let them know that their pet will be treated as I treat my own animal. Their pet is in great hands when we enter that building, despite their owners not being there."
We hope you enjoyed the peek into the daily life of our CVCA! Remember to thank the technicians, assistants, and representatives who help take care of your pet and keep them CVCA heart strong! ❤️