Stories of badass veterinary technicians who left an impression

September 9, 2019

Veterinary technicians can make your day and save your case. Here are some of our favorite stories of techs in action.

Veterinary technicians can do it all. In order to celebrate the work they do every day, we reached out to some of our favorite dvm360 contributors and Fetch dvm360 speakers to tell us about the most badass thing they'd ever seen a technician do. The answers ranged from highly specific clinical moments to essential everyday tasks to one particularly impressive moment from an amorous client.

Spay it isn't so

From Hilal Dogan, BVSc, CCTP

I was doing a spay on an overweight bully-type breed. Everything was so slippery due to the oiliness. I was ligating vessels and was struggling to keep tissues stable. I started to panic slightly, and there were no other DVMs in the building I could ask to help me. I called one of the most experienced techs over and she assisted me with finishing.

Not only did her extra set of hands help me finish the job, but she was extremely encouraging the entire time. She would say, "You got this, you can do it!" repeatedly, and she actually knew how to do spays and understood the anatomy, which was a bonus I wasn't expecting! After I had struggled by myself for what felt like an eternity, as soon as she stepped in to help, we finished the surgery at lightning speed.

I also love it when techs happily do things I hate doing. For me that is ripping out broken toenails, lancing abscesses (yeah, yeah, I know I'm "that" vet) and wrangling fractious animals! I don't know what I would do without my techs.


Standing up and speaking out

From Oriana D. Scislowicz, BS, LVT, aPHR

There was a patient that had suffered a brain injury and was doing extremely poorly and clearly suffering. The owners were adamant they wanted to keep him on the respirator and not euthanize despite his poor prognosis. The lead tech rallied for this patient, pushed the doctor to stand his ground with the owners and explain that this was unethical, and he couldn't continue to let this patient suffer. Ultimately the patient passed very soon after, but for the lead tech to have the courage to push for this and advocate for her patient really resonated with me.


The little things that mean the most

From Danielle T. Russ, LVT

There are a million little things our LVTs do every day that really stand out to me. Here are just a few:

  • holding the door for a client, rushing to help them inside with a cat carrier or excited dog

  • ensuring a comfortable, inviting, warm environment with Kleenex ready for difficult times with our patients and clients

  • sitting with a client while they grieve-sometimes providing words of peace and at other times, just sitting with them as they cry depending on what the client needs

  • issuing follow-up calls and answering questions as many times as it takes for our clients to be comfortable with the plan

  • providing extra time and TLC to our anxious patients

  • investing in expanding their knowledge and skills so they can be their best for their patients and clients

  • sharing their knowledge and skills with their teammates

These actions may seem insignificant, but they are far from it. These are the things clients, patients and team members remember because it leaves a lasting feeling of kindness, compassion, empathy, understanding and warmth.


Standouts in the field

From Tasha McNerney, BS, CVT, CVPP, VTS (anesthesia and analgesia)

A few examples of badass technicians making professional strides in the industry:

  • Nancy Shaffran was the first technician to become president of the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management.

  • Stephen Cital is the cofounder of the Veterinary Cannabis Academy where they strive to teach veterinarians and staff about safe and appropriate use based on scientific evidence.

  • I was the first technician ever to be invited to the National Conference in Moscow Russia (okay … shameless self-promotion, but it was pretty cool to be asked out of all the choices.)


Delivering compassionate care


We had a client whose cat needed to receive subcutaneous fluids three times per week. She lived alone, and at one point she had to have a medical procedure that left her unable to deliver her cat's fluids for a period of several weeks. One of my veterinary technicians heard her story and, on her own, reached out to this client to offer to come to her home to deliver the fluids until the owner was capable of doing it herself. This was compassionate initiative at its very best!


Stop in the name of love

From Bash Halow, LVT, CVPM

When I worked in New York, we had this really hot, former male model client that used to bring his dog in for care. All the women (and some of the men!) in the office were crazy for him. All except one. Diedra, a licensed tech and quite a looker herself, was cool as a cucumber when it came to guys, the model included. And, of course, this drove the model to distraction.

Every time he came in, he always asked if Diedra was there and he waited longer, if necessary, just to have her start the appointment. After each visit, we grilled Diedra on what happened in the room: "Did he talk to you? Does he seem interested?"

"Yeah, I guess," Diedra would say, brushing a long lock of blond hair out of her face. "I guess."

We all wanted to kill her.

One day, I'm in the room holding for Diedra while she was preparing to take the model-dog's temperature. Mr. Model is standing nearby and the romantic tension in the room is enough to make me weak in the knees. Unbelievably, while Diedra is parting the rump hairs of this dog to find the insertion point for the thermometer, I watch Mr. Model reach into his pocket and slip a folded piece of paper under the dog's collar, then he gives me the shush finger. I can't believe it. I actually start to blush!

After what feels like an hour, Deidra pulls the thermometer out of the dog's rear, mumbles 101 and makes her way to the front of the dog where the patient's chart was located. Mr. Model and I are glued to her to see what will happen next.

Diedra spies the note, grabs it, reads it, looks up at Mr. Model and then as deliberate as you please, she uses it to wipe the crap off the end of the thermometer. Then she says, "I'll go get the doctor."

Diedra, if you're reading this ... wherever you are... the rest of the world and I are still madly in love.