ABC Veterinary Assistant Program Student of the Month
Charlene Dodson, a western riding instructor who lives in Colorado Springs, Colo., has a passion for animals. She was raised with all sorts of pets and is comfortable working with them. All those years of caring for her own animals inspired Charlene to pursue a career working with them. As her life revolves around her horses, Charlene said she would eventually like to primarily work with large animals.
- When and how did you know that you’d be a successful veterinary assistant?
At first I went to nursing school to become an RN. However, after a time, I realized I no longer wanted to work with sick people but with sick animals. I have loved animals since childhood and love to help them. I enjoy the medical field as well, so when putting the two together I knew I would love being a veterinary assistant. I knew my place was in the veterinary industry.
- What knowledge and experience have you gained as an ABC certified veterinary assistant?
I attended my externship portion of the program at Springhill Animal Hospital in Bryant, Ark. That was where I learned how to properly restrain animals during routine examinations and procedures. I also learned how to capture radiographs and experienced administering vaccinations and other various medications. I sat in on numerous surgical procedures as well. I was also surprised to learn about so many different types of breeds of cats and dogs that came through the hospital on a daily basis.
- What was the biggest challenge you faced during your externship and how did you overcome it?
My biggest challenge was when I started the externship because I felt like it was a new job. I still needed to learn the ropes and get used to the flow of working in a veterinary facility. Soon enough, I realized there was nothing too challenging since I already had the knowledge from my previous stage work. It also helped that the facility’s staff turned out to be really nice and treated me like part of the team.
- What skills would you like to master during the next 12 months?
I would like to master all of the skills I have learned throughout the program, focusing on handling unruly patients. I would also like to get more practice in developing radiographs and assisting in more surgeries. More experience is the only way to master any skills and, of course, I want as much experience as I can get.
- What has been your most rewarding moment as a vet assistant?
It is very rewarding to help during an emergency. Emergencies are some of those moments when you know you are needed to help save a pet’s life. To assist in the critical care of pets in need and then watch them pull through then go back home to their family is more than rewarding.