ABC Veterinary Assistant Program
Student of the Month
Kerri Denhalter lives in Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., where she originally heard about Animal Behavior College while watching an episode of “Animal Cops” on Animal Planet. Although Kerri’s first dream was to become a marine biologist, she had a strong interest in nursing and nutrition as well, and figured that becoming a veterinary assistant would combine all of her career choices into one. Kerri decided to pursue this rewarding career and now works as a veterinary assistant at a Best Friends Animal Hospital. She was hired on as an employee after completing her volunteer externship hours there.
What was/is the biggest challenge you faced during your externship and how did you overcome it?
For the last 15 years, I focused on being a military spouse and raising my two boys within the challenges of military life. Stepping back into the work field was a bit intimidating and a little scary; it was the hardest part to overcome. I overcame it by retelling myself all the many tips I shared with my boys over the years, such as “Be brave, you can do this” or “Just be yourself, be honest and work hard and it will all fall into place.” I guess I started to take some of my own advice. I was also able to overcome my challenges due to my family’s support; they have cheered me on since the beginning.
Describe a humorous moment you witnessed or took part in while working at your externship location.
There have been quite a few at my work and during my externship; however, one that sticks out is when I had a small mix breed canine on the exam table and I was taking his temperature. I had to do quite a bit of sweet talking to this little guy because he was very scared and unsure of being at the hospital. But I finally gained his trust and took his temperature and finished up his vitals. I was feeling quite confident and proud that I was able to handle this tricky little dog. But as I went back into my scrub pocket to pull out my pen, there it was a little poop on it. He had gone a little after taking his temperature but I didn’t realize some of it had ended up in my pocket. It was all pretty funny, since now that the exam was all said and done, the little tricky dog did get his way with me, just in a different style.
What has your experience been like in the ABC Veterinary Assistant Program?
My experience has been a wonderful one. I was a bit unsure at first since it was all through the computer and online for most of it. I had worried what would I do if I needed help or was confused, but after working with the program manager and my externship coordinator they put all my worries to ease. I did have questions or needed clarifications on a few things but they were always so quick, patient and clear with all their responses. It made me feel very comfortable while I went through my learning.
What are your future career plans?
I have thought of continuing my career path and possibly going to school to become a licensed veterinary technician. But for right now, I am happy learning in my current job as a veterinary assistant, which will only help me that much more in working hard toward becoming a veterinary technician.
If you could work with any exotic animal, what would it be and why?
I am not sure if whales would be considered exotic, but they have always had a special interest and love in my heart. I think they are some of the most majestic and beautiful animals still today.