Recently, I spent the day shadowing a credentialed veterinary technician in honor of National Veterinary Technician Week—a simple assignment that turned into one of the most eye-opening experiences of my life.
I got in touch with AAHA-accredited Riverview Animal Hospital in Durango, Colorado. My dog, Rio, has been a patient there since he was a puppy, and they’ve helped us through a variety of scares, from dog bites and nose mites to a particularly unpleasant case of giardia.
Riverview arranged for me to shadow Jessica Krafthefer, CVT, who had just celebrated her eight-year anniversary of working at the practice as a veterinary technician since graduating from the Bel-Rea Institute of Animal Technology in Denver.
7:10 a.m. I pull into the parking lot at Riverview Animal Hospital and Krafthefer waves to me from the front lawn while she waits for an overnight patient—an elderly standard poodle—to relieve herself.
“This is Trixie,” she says by way of introduction. “She has liver failure, but the doctors are treating her with everything they have.”
I follow Krafthefer and Trixie into the back room of the hospital. Trixie goes into a big kennel with a little stuffed toy before we...