A Q&A with Amanda, Veterinary Clinic Assistant.
We learn pretty quickly here at SNKC that everybody’s got their story. That applies not just to our clients and their pets, but to the staff as well. We’ve all taken different paths to get to the same place, and those paths have given us all unique experiences that make this a great place to work, to learn, and to grow.
Today we’re talking to Amanda. Amanda is a Veterinary Clinic Assistant, and she brings with her a lot of experience with different kinds of animals, a desire to educate and assist our clients in any way she can, and a depth of compassion that really speaks to what we look for in the people we want to join our team.
1. Can you tell us a little bit about your first pet?
My first pet was a Black and White German Short-Haired Pointer named Polly. She was my dog, and we grew up together. There are pictures of us together in my car seat. We went everywhere and did everything together. We spent 15 amazing years together.
2. It also sounds like you have a little zoo at home (6 birds, 4 bearded dragons, 2 tortoises, 2 snakes, a leopard gecko, a turtle, 2 fish tanks, and 2 dogs, according to your bio). What’s that like? Is it hectic? Does everybody get along?
Actually, our zoo has changed a bit in the past few months. My very first beardie, Inego, passed away unexpectedly a little over a month ago. Then this past weekend, we took on a couple more snakes AND we are considering adopting another dog. The most time consuming thing is feeding and watering everyone. However, (my husband) Bryan and I try to always tackle these tasks together.
With so many animals in the house, some people assume that they get shoved in a cage and just looked at. Not our babies! We’ve socialized them with humans and other animals. Everyone gets handled and loved on! Our dogs are great and can get along with pretty much any other animal. Our macaw LOVES to run around on the floor and chase the dogs. For health and safety reasons, we can’t allow the reptiles and birds to be together. We spend a lot of time with all of the animals on a regular basis. Life with a zoo like ours can sometimes be overwhelming, but we wouldn’t change it for anything.
3. Do you think your experience with a wider variety of animals helps you bring something different to SNKC? You seem very comfortable working with and being around animals.
I do. Each type of animal I’ve worked with has taught me different ways of communicating and different ways of looking at behavior. For example, when you’re dealing with a parrot, it’s like dealing with a toddler. Everything that you say and do is being soaked up. You get bit…A LOT. The natural instinct is to pull away, but you can’t. If you pull away it becomes a game to them and they’ll continue to do it. They’ll test you. Working with birds teaches you a different type of patience. I feel like these different types of interactions help to give me a broader view, therefore making it easier for me to adapt to each different situation I am presented with.
4. How did you find your way to SNKC? What appealed to you about the organization?
We moved to the KC metro in August in 2015. I hadn’t heard of SNKC, but saw a Facebook post about a vaccination clinic in May of this year. I went over to the Facebook page and looked it over. I saw a post about hiring opportunities, so I went to the website and read everything I could. A Veterinary Assistant position was open; I read the description and realized that I’d done a lot of this work before and it was all stuff I loved doing! I wasn’t looking for a job. Something was pulling me toward SNKC, though.
I took the leap and filled out the application. I heard back quickly and went in for an initial chat. I felt so at home. I felt like this was where I belonged. I came in a few days later for a second interview. Again, I felt something; it was like coming to SNKC would help me feel fulfilled, like I was making a difference in pets’ and owners’ lives. I accepted the job offer and was set to give notice at my current job.
But then I was diagnosed with cancer. I was devastated. Not because of the cancer; I was devastated that I couldn’t come to SNKC. I needed my health insurance. I’d already met my insurance deductible and needed to keep that insurance until I was cancer-free.
So with a very heavy heart, I contacted Amanda and Amy and told them what had happened and I retracted my acceptance of the position. I stayed at my old job and battled cancer.
On July 6th, I went through surgery and was off work for several weeks. Unfortunately, my oncologist did not release me to return to work in a time frame that my company felt was reasonable, so they let me go. As I hung up the phone with my now ex-employer, I immediately thought of SNKC. I reached back out and re-submitted my application. I heard back quickly, interviewed with with (Vet Clinic Supervisor) Alica the following Saturday and started work the next Tuesday.
5. Does any particular client or pet stand out in your mind when you think about your time here so far? Anybody that you got to help that gave you the sense that we *are* making a difference in people’s lives?
I already have so many moments that have felt that way! Once on a Saturday at our KCK location, a gentleman came in to try to get his Chihuahua vaccinated, heartworm tested, and to get some heartworm and flea medication. I kneeled down to greet the dog, and the man quickly explained to me that his dog had already been “kicked out” of two other facilities because of his aggression, and was considered a “very bad dog.” I talked with him for a few moments to gauge the dog’s demeanor. I told him I would do my best.
I took the dog to the back. I explained the situation to the doctor and we agreed to try and do what we could. At first, we were pretty unsure how it would go. But we came up with a plan and were able to safely restrain the dog and do everything that needed to be done. When I took the chi-chi back to his Dad, the man had a scared look on his face. I sat down beside him and told him that his buddy was now vaccinated, heartworm tested, and had on flea and heartworm prevention. He was so appreciative. The look of relief on his face was incredibly rewarding!