I wanted to be a veterinarian as early as I can remember. I have always had a deep connection with animals that has never wavered. I started working as a veterinary assistant just after graduating high school. The goal was to go to vet school, but as I had no way to pay for college I worked full time while going to school. I started as a kennel attendant, and before very long I moved up to assisting the veterinarians. Within two years, I was performing medical procedures and had moved to more advanced veterinary hospitals. It took me ten years to get my undergraduate degrees, but I did it.
By this time I was a very experienced technician, and had passed my certification to become a state licensed veterinary technician. I had been working in emergency and specialty hospitals, and loved the fast pace of emergency and critical care. The drama of taking in an emergency, stabilizing a critical patient, being the support and information person for the family, and seeing the case through to discharge, was all incredibly rewarding. But many cases that came into the ER came in because the humans were not thoroughly educated about their animals physical and emotional well-being. Owners coming in after feeding their dog human food or medication that is toxic to dogs; heatstroke; dogs having problems giving birth because of inadequate veterinary care; behavior problems; the list goes on. Many of these people could have avoided an emergency room visit if they had an accessible source of information they could act on in time.
Even after finishing my undergraduate degrees I wanted to continue to help people and animals, so I applied and was accepted into a PhD program at UCLA in Neuroscience. I was interested in researching chronic pain, and began to work on methods to alleviate chronic pain without cognitive side effects. I completed two years before I wasn’t able to continue financially. I returned to working as a full-time vet tech. I continued to be nagged by the feeling that there was a real lack of dissemination of the important information people needed in everyday situations with their animals. That’s when I decided I wanted to open a retail store, and sought out help from the Green Garage, a sustainability incubator in Detroit. I worked with the Green Garage for several years developing the structure of the business and slowly started reducing my hours at the animal hospital to accommodate my increasing number of clients. Eventually I stopped working in veterinary medicine all together. In my years in the veterinary ER, I saw many difficult cases, and many rewarding cases, but now I’m ready to make a difference further up the line.