Animal Behavior College Veterinary Assistant Program Student of the Month – June 2013
Shennandoah Hardesty (she goes by Lizzi) is a very enthusiastic and passionate student who shows great potential in the animal care field. Currently in her externship at Pebble Creek Animal and Bird Hospital, Lizzi was so eager, knowledgeable and dedicated, that she was hired by the hospital during her externship. Lizzi resides in Tampa, Fla., and also bartends on the side. Becoming a veterinary assistant wasn’t her first career choice. Lizzi wanted to be a medical examiner but soon realized she was more passionate about working with animals in a veterinary clinic setting. She grew up with animals and always knew she wanted to work with them to some extent, but wasn’t sure if this was going to be a viable career for her . This changed when Lizzi enrolled in the ABC program. Now employed as a veterinary assistant, she continues to learn about the many different aspects of the veterinary field. Ever curious, Lizzie wants to further her education and one day work with monkeys. She is amazed by the intelligence of these creatures and what they can accomplish. Lizzi’s passion for animals is apparent in her clinic work and schooling at Animal Behavior College.
- What was the biggest challenge you faced during your externship and how did you overcome it?
I was very skeptical and a bit scared to draw blood or place a catheter in the animals at the clinic due to the feeling of piercing the needle through their skin. It was such a challenge for me because I felt it was a bit harsh and I felt like I was hurting them. I also was not entirely prepared to see animals being euthanized and it made me extremely sad. The technicians at the clinic worked with me and explained that it is definitely difficult to take in at first, but it gets easier and that made me more relaxed and comfortable drawing blood and placing the catheters. The euthanasia was one of the toughest things to experience, but over time I noticed it was something that needed to be done and was best for the animal.
- Describe a humorous moment that you witnessed or took part in while working at a veterinary hospital.
There were actually two experiences at the clinic that made me laugh out loud. I was doing paperwork in the front office when the doctor was working with a patient (a bird) in one of the rooms. Out of nowhere the bird got loose and flew right above my head. It was such a random thing and caught me off guard. I laughed and we eventually caught the bird and everything was good. The other incident was when a Chihuahua became loose in the clinic and it took three vet techs and two doctors to catch it. It was such a quick little dog. I am definitely having some fun experiences working at the clinic.
- What has been your most rewarding moment as a vet assistant?
A Jack Russell terrier had been hit by a car and the outcome did not look good. We all worked together and did our best to save him, but he had to be transferred to another hospital. A few days later, we received a card from that hospital saying the dog was going to make a full recovery and was doing well. Being a part of that was such an amazing and rewarding feeling.
- What knowledge and experiences have you gained from becoming an ABC certified vet assistant?
I have learned the medicine aspects in this field as well as restraint and how to properly take care of an animal in the clinic. I never knew I would be able to learn so much in such a short amount of time.
- What are your plans for the future?
I want to further my education in the veterinary medicine field as well as eventually work in a laboratory. Animals are my passion and I want to get in as much as I can to make my career and the life of animals my priority. I love this field and couldn’t see myself doing anything else.