VetCor Community Connections - June Edition
As always, our practice teams are out and about in their communities, lending helping hands wherever they're needed. They attend leadership meetings, participate in fun team building activities, win (several) awards, get engaged, better their lives through gaining citizenship, and celebrate their team members. We are so proud of them for all that they do to help build and foster connections in their local communities.
Check out some of our favorite examples of Community Connections from June below!
4 Tips to Keep Your Pet Safe This Fourth of July
The Fourth of July is fast approaching and if you’re anything like us, you’re probably super excited to attend a backyard barbecue (or three) and watch some fireworks.
Although holidays are fun for us, they can stress out our furry family members - but fear not!
We’ve got you covered with these tips:
1. Keep all paws off the food & drinks
As you know, pets love getting into food meant for people but it can make them sick or worse. If you’re having guests over, ask them to refrain from feeding Fido. Keep food and drinks - especially alcohol - out of reach of your pet at all times. This goes for charcoal, skewers, glow sticks, sparklers, lighter fluid, and citronella candles too.
2. Be wary of the weather
Lots of Fourth of July celebrations take place outside when the sun is shining and the weather allows. If you bring your pet with you, make sure they have access to water and shade at all times. Watch out for signs of overheating and if they appear to be getting too hot, bring them inside to cool down.
Managing Environmental Allergies in Pets
It’s that time of year again! The sun is shining and your pets are probably excited to get outside. However, the 2018 State of Pet Health Report found that environmental allergies in pets have increased over the last 10 years with a 30.7% increase in dogs and an 11.5% increase in cats.
Common allergens that affect pets include pollen, dander, mold, feathers, insect bites, and bee stings - all of which can be found, or happen, outside.
Symptoms in pets include:
- Facial swelling
- Excessive licking
- Itching and scratching
Luckily, you can better manage allergic reactions by:
1. Using your air conditioner
Nobody enjoys hanging out in their house when it’s sweltering but instead of opening your windows to cool down, invest in an air conditioner. When windows are left open, insects and pollen can get into your house. Although it may be more expensive, opting to use an air conditioner will be beneficial to any pets that have allergies.
Meet Amanda: A City Girl Living in Texas
Amanda is the hospital manager at Northside Animal Hospital.
I was born and raised in California before moving to Waco, Texas. I have fond memories of growing up beside the San Francisco Bay and I loved swimming in the ocean. Plus, the seafood in that area is truly one of a kind.
At heart, I'm a city girl, and it took me some time to get used to the slower pace of Texas. After spending three years living here, I can say that I really enjoy the relaxed culture. However, I'm not sure that I’ll ever get used to the humidity.
I first started working in the veterinary industry almost three years ago as a receptionist. More and more, I found myself stepping away from the front desk and taking on more hands-on tasks in the exam and surgery rooms. Eventually, I was promoted to hospital manager.
I have a three-and-a-half-year-old pit bull named Klarky, and my love for him is what inspired me to enter this field. Klarky is the most human pit bull I have ever met!
He visits the hospital often and, when he does, he prefers to hang out with people over other dogs. He loves being babied and he enjoys being tucked into bed with an old robe of mine.
Protect Yourself from Ticks This Season
Ticks are present all year round but they’re particularly active when the weather’s warm. We understand the importance of protecting our furry friends from ticks but we often forget to look after ourselves.
Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, and ehrlichiosis are just some of the many illnesses and viruses that ticks can spread to humans. Although these illnesses are treatable, prevention is key and you should exercise caution to avoid being bitten.
Use these tips to remain tick-free while you enjoy the great outdoors:
1. Be wary of areas where ticks are present
Ticks can be found almost anywhere, although grassy, wooded areas make ideal homes for them. You can find them in your yard, in the woods, and on your favorite hiking trail but you may be surprised to learn that they also live in sheds, treehouses, play structures, and inside/on tools used for yard work, like wheelbarrows.
2. Dress appropriately (and use repellent)
If the weather allows, wear long-sleeved clothing and pants to protect yourself from ticks. Use insect repellents that contain deet (20% or more) or spray your clothing with permethrin to reduce your chances of being bitten. Apply your repellent according to the instructions on the container and wash it off when you come home.
3. Check yourself and your clothing
After being outside, you should check both your body and your clothing for ticks. They’re commonly found on ankles, armpits, hairlines, and the back of your knees. Conduct a quick body check and if you find any ticks on your clothing, remove them and then throw your clothes in the dryer for 10 minutes using a high heat setting to kill them.
VetCor Community Connections - May Edition
As always, our practice teams are out and about in their communities, lending helping hands wherever they're needed. They help raise money for great causes, celebrate their teammates' milestones, win board nominations and awards for being wonderful at what they do, inspire young minds, visit one another, and brighten our days with puppies. We are so proud of them for all that they do to help build and foster connections in their local communities.
Check out some of our favorite examples of Community Connections from May below!
Meet Christine: The RM with a Passion for the Outdoors
Christine is the regional manager for the northern New Jersey and Pennsylvania regions.
I was born and raised in Pennsylvania. I grew up in Souderton and currently live in Hatboro with my daughter and our menagerie of pets. Right now, we have a Rottweiler named Reese, a Greyhound named Jasmine, a bird named Jello, and two cats, Roman and Kangaroo (Roo).
Although I’m now a regional manager for the northern New Jersey and Pennsylvania regions, I first got started as a kennel attendant around 20 years ago. From there, I quickly worked my way up to veterinary technician and later, hospital manager. Of the 20 years I’ve spent in the veterinary field, 10 were in emergency medicine.
I’ve been a member of the VetCor family for over six years now. I was fortunate enough to work at both West Trenton Animal Hospital and Columbus Veterinary Hospital prior to becoming a regional manager which has given me a lot of insight into how things work at both the practice and corporate levels.
I love supporting people who help animals but, outside of that, my favorite part of this job is that no one day is ever the same. I’ve always enjoyed troubleshooting and coming up with solutions for various problems which has been beneficial to me both in terms of treating pets and providing practice teams with managerial support. For me, the most difficult aspect of the job has been learning to turn my brain off when I’m not working.
10 Things You Should Know About the Home Office
While you know that the VetCor home office is in Hingham, Massachusetts, most of you haven’t seen it in person. The home office is still probably a bit of a mystery to you, so enjoy these fun facts about it, what it’s like to work here, and where the town of Hingham is located.
Without further ado, here’s what you should know about the VetCor home office:
Team Building Activities Your Team Will (Actually) Love
When you hear “team building,” you probably think about traditional activities, such as ice breakers, trust falls, and/or word games. There’s nothing wrong with taking that route and those activities can be a lot of fun.
However, we want you and your coworkers to create lasting memories when you bond together - and maybe try something new along the way - which is why we’ve compiled a list of nontraditional team building activities that you’ll actually love.
Learn more about those activities here:
1. Take on an Escape Room
If you’re looking for a unique team building activity that won’t take up too much time (or involve any planning), visit an escape room. Escape rooms teach players to work together to achieve a common goal in a fixed amount of time. They highlight important skills, such as clear communication and conflict resolution. Plus, the themed rooms make the experience particularly immersive which results in a nice break from the day.
2. Put on an Adult Field Day
Growing up, field day was the one day of the year that you knew would be awesome. As an adult, you might be surprised to find out how much you missed playing a good, old fashioned game of dodgeball or capture the flag. If you have an outdoorsy team, survey them to learn about the types of physical activities they’d be interested in and then get to planning. Ideas include tug of war, potato sack races, water balloon fights, and frisbee.
3. Complete an Obstacle Course
Whether a Tough Mudder, Spartan Race, or a terrain race, obstacle courses are great for teaching teams about working together efficiently. Such courses make for fun filled days and lots of memorable moments. They emphasize the importance of identifying individual skills and using them to assist others. Just ask the Cat Hospital of Orlando team - they completed a terrain race last February and they loved it!
VetCor Community Connections - April Edition
As always, our practice teams are out and about in their communities, lending helping hands wherever they're needed. They take care of shelter dogs, attend various veterinary conferences, throw parties for their staff, host fun community events, invite students to tour their hospitals, help raise money for great causes, and receive awards for their hard work. We are so proud of them for all that they do to help build and foster connections in their local communities.
Check out some of our favorite examples of Community Connections from April below!
Meet Tilden: Abilene's Adventure Seeking Hospital Manager
Tilden is the hospital manager at Abilene Veterinary Clinic.
Like most kids, I wanted to be a veterinarian when I was a little girl. I was born and raised in Abilene, Texas and I had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with animals growing up. In fact, I showed pigs through high school and I’ve been riding horses for over a decade now. These days, I own three horses, Joe, Shiner, and a miniature named Puddin.
I’ve been working at Abilene Veterinary Clinic since I was 15 and my coworkers really have become my second family. After I graduated high school, I realized that I didn’t want to leave home for college and would prefer to continue working as a veterinary technician. Shortly after that realization, I was promoted to hospital manager which was very exciting, especially since I had pretty much grown up there.
My favorite part about working at the hospital is getting to know the clients and their pets. I love building rapport with pet owners and showing them they can trust me with their best friends. Their pets have really grown on me too and I care about them as if they were my own. I’ve known many of my senior patients since they were puppies and kittens and I feel fortunate to have watched them grow up.
In addition to caring deeply for the clients and patients I see, I love my work family too. My coworkers make the day go by quickly and I enjoy being able to create lasting friendships with them both inside and outside of the hospital.
Say Hello to Our New Team Members
Big things are happening at VetCor and we’re happy to welcome these new team members.
- Martin Lucas – Martin, our Manager of Data and Analytics, comes to us from Talbots where he worked as a Data Scientist and Manager of Analytics.
- Steven Ramsdell – Steven, our Financial Analyst, comes to us from North East Animal Hospital where he was an Inventory Manager.
- Eric Fuller – Eric, our Practice Acquisition Manager based in Dallas, Texas, comes to us from Antech Diagnostics where he was their Lower Mid-Atlantic Regional Business Manager.
- Jennifer Kupneski – Jenn, our Practice Acquisition Manager based in Los Angeles, California, comes to us from Dentsply Sirona where she worked as a Territory Manager.
How to Make Time for Exercise
Life is busy and it can be difficult to make time for exercise, even when we want to. While it’d be great to be able to hit the gym for an hour or so more days of the week than not, that’s not always realistic. Luckily, there are plenty of ways we can incorporate exercise into our daily routine.
If you want to stay active but don’t have time to hit the gym, try these tips:
1. Make your dog’s day
Pet owners know how much most dogs love to be outside. Before or after work, consider taking your dog for a 30-minute walk or, if you have a bit more time to yourself over the weekend, bring them hiking on a nearby trail if that’s something you’ll both enjoy. This is a great way to stay active and allow your dog to socialize.
2. Take the stairs
This one might seem like a no-brainer but whenever you can, opt to take the stairs. If you live in a multi-level apartment or townhouse complex, ditch the elevator and get your steps in. If you really want to, you can even start at the first floor and take the stairs to the top floor just to fit in some extra activity without going somewhere else.
3. Work out while you watch TV
Many of us want to go home and relax after spending a long day at work but that doesn’t mean we have to be sedentary. You can have your cake and eat it by exercising while you binge the newest release on Netflix. Stretch, do some yoga, ride an exercise bike, lift hand weights, or use a resistance band while you watch your favorite show.
VetCor Community Connections - March Edition
As always, our practice teams are out and about in their communities, lending helping hands wherever they're needed. They help young students explore their interests, throw awesome parties for their furry friends, take on terrain races, represent VetCor at job fairs, fundraise for great causes, speak to the media about the importance of spaying/neutering, and make guest appearances in Times Square. We are so proud of them for all that they do to help build and foster connections in their local communities.
Check out some of our favorite examples of Community Connections from March below!
Meet Dr. Bruno: Chief of Staff, Client Educator, and Party Planning Extraordinaire
Dr. Niccole Bruno is the Chief of Staff at Companion Animal Hospital.
I grew up in Queens, New York which is where my interest in veterinary medicine first began. Like most people in this field, I’ve always had a desire to help animals. As a young girl, I’d feed stray cats and dogs in my neighborhood. When I got older, I started volunteering at an animal hospital in Hempstead and from there, my passion blossomed.
You might be surprised to learn that I’ve been working in the veterinary field for over two decades now. Prior to becoming a veterinarian, I worked as a kennel attendant, a veterinary assistant, and a veterinary technician as well as dabbled in the areas of both research and pharmacy.
After working those jobs for many years, I knew I wanted to become a veterinarian, so I attended Tuskegee University where I majored in animal science. I later attended Cornell University and graduated with my DVM degree in 2006. After that, I moved to Katy, Texas which is where I currently reside with my family.
Over the past 13 years, client education has become one of my favorite aspects of working as a veterinarian. Unfortunately, many people don’t understand the importance of providing their pets with preventive and routine health care. That’s why it’s my goal to help them learn about the huge role they play in their pet's long term health.
When I first started working at Companion Animal Hospital, I was an associate veterinarian. I was honored when I was promoted to Chief of Staff within my first year there. I truly enjoy working with both my staff and superiors. I appreciate the work-life balance afforded by VetCor because it allows me to pursue my career goals and still have time to spend with my family.
Dr. Julie Kopser & the Mazunte Project
Dr. Julie Kopser is a veterinarian at Countryside Veterinary Hospital.
Dr. Julie Kopser recently spent five days doing volunteer work in Mexico as part of the Mazunte Project. She was one of several surgeons who dedicated their time to spaying and neutering animals in a coastal area that lacks access to surgical care. Over the course of a single week, Dr. Kopser and the other volunteers were able to perform 698 surgeries that benefited both local pets and the endangered sea turtle population that lays their eggs nearby.
The Mazunte Project was first organized by Dr. Richard Rodger of the Palmarito Sea Turtle Rescue over 20 years ago. He works closely with Dr. Marcelino Lopez Reyes of the Centro Mexicana de la Tortuga, or the Mexican Turtle Center, to organize teams of veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and volunteers to provide surgical care to animals that live by 10 beaches housing the nests of endangered turtles.
Although each year every turtle lays approximately 100 eggs, only 1% of the hatchlings are estimated to survive due to predation by dogs, poachers, wild mammals, birds, crabs, parasitic flies, and beetles. Spaying and neutering local animals increases the hatchlings’ chances of survival and the volunteers’ hard work has been proven to be effective. Over the last two decades, Dr. Rodger has seen a steady decline in the number of unneutered dogs roaming the beaches which allows the turtle population to thrive.
There are times when tens of thousands of sea turtles land on the beaches at once. These events, known as arribadas, prompt locals to come watch the hatchlings make their way to the ocean. The journey to the water is difficult on the hatchlings and many of them fall prey to dogs, crabs, and birds. Fortunately, the Palmarito Sea Turtle Rescue patrols 12 miles of beach and digs up nests to move them to corals with protective fencing. Each year, they protect and release an average of 40,000 hatchlings with the help of both volunteers and locals.
VetCor Community Connections - February Edition
As always, our practice teams are out and about in their communities, lending helping hands wherever they're needed. They host food drives to help both people and pets, assist Girl Scout Daisies in earning their badges, work hard to maintain their accreditations, create fun photo ops for their clients, receive new certifications to better care for animals, send their pups to the Puppy Bowl, and receive letters from local students. We are so proud of them for all that they do to help build and foster connections in their local communities.
Check out some of our favorite examples of Community Connections from February below!
Tax Filing Made Easy
Tax season has arrived and people across the country are letting out a collective sigh. While the process of filing your taxes can seem stressful, it doesn’t have to be!
Follow these helpful hints and you’ll be a tax filing expert in no time:
1. Stay informed
In 2017, Congress passed a new tax plan. It went into effect this year and could affect various aspects of your return. Tax brackets have been updated, state and local taxes (SALT) have been capped, and certain tax credits have been expanded while others have been eliminated entirely. You can learn more about those changes in this Credit Karma article. Be sure to plan accordingly or you could be unpleasantly surprised.
2. Get organized
Organizing your documents will, without a doubt, make filing your taxes much easier. If you’re filing with a spouse or you’ve had multiple jobs within the last year, create separate piles for W-2 forms, 1099 forms, and other documents, such as 1098 and 1098-T forms for homeowners and individuals paying off student loans. Consider using H&R Block’s tax preparation checklist to ensure you have all the necessary documents.
3. Make a list of deductions and tax credits
Thinking about various deductions you may qualify for can be hard to do on the spot. Instead of waiting to think about your deductions until you’re in the process of filing, make a list beforehand. Qualifying deductions include charitable donations, student loan interest, and last year’s state tax. Don’t overlook tax credits, such as the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit, either!
Meet Tia: Veterinary Technician Turned Practice Support Coordinator
Tia is a practice support coordinator at the VetCor home office.
Ever since I was little, I’ve been passionate about animals. My first pet was a cat named Kim. I got her when I was four. Throughout my childhood, I’d go on to have hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, birds, and, of course, more cats. As a Girl Scout, I took a trip to a horseback riding camp and absolutely loved it. My parents saw how happy it made me, so when I was in the fifth grade, they let me start riding lessons. At 16, I bought my first horse - a beautiful white Arabian named Prince - and I had him until I left home for college.
In 2010, I enrolled in Mount Ida’s Veterinary Technology program. While there, I completed six internships at a number of local animal hospitals, including VCA Palmer, Boston’s MSPCA-Angell, and VetCor’s Parkway Veterinary Hospital in West Roxbury, Massachusetts. I graduated from Mount Ida in 2014 and went on to pass my state boards and become a certified veterinary technician. While interning at MSPCA-Angell, I was offered a job upon graduating, so I started there a few days after receiving my degree.
Working as a veterinary technician at MSPCA allowed me to learn a lot and perfected my skills. When I first started out, I was nervous but I quickly learned that working at an emergency animal hospital doesn’t leave you much time to doubt yourself. Working in the emergency department was fast-paced and stressful but also extremely educational and fun. In less than no time, my confidence had grown and I felt ready to face any and all challenges that came my way.
In the first few months I worked as a veterinary technician, I was particularly interested in ophthalmology. However, the more animals I saw and cared for - which included skunks, possums, and ducks in addition to companion animals, pocket pets, and exotics - the quicker I realized that I was interested in everything. My favorite part of the job was doing life changing, and life saving, work. In fact, I once assessed a dog and found that her gums were badly bruised. That discovery led to the diagnosis of a bleeding problem that, if left untreated, could’ve been fatal.
Two years after I started working at MSPCA, I decided I wanted to obtain my master’s degree. In the fall of 2016, I enrolled in Mount Ida’s Healthcare Management program. Eventually, working at an emergency animal hospital while taking college classes got a bit exhausting, so I took a job at Parkway Veterinary Hospital. It proved to be a wonderful decision. The Parkway team was tight knit and welcoming and VetCor was great about communicating with everyone to make sure they had whatever they needed.
VetCor Community Connections - January Edition
As always, our practice teams are out and about in their communities, lending helping hands wherever they're needed. They collect donations for various organizations in their communities, help fundraise for good causes, get nominated for awards, win awards, offer special programs to pet owners in need, and earn new certifications to be able to provide the best care for their clients' pets. We are so proud of them for all that they do to help build and foster connections in their local communities.
Check out some of our favorite examples of Community Connections from January below!
New Year, New Resolutions
It’s that time of year again - many of us recently made New Year’s resolutions and some of us are already struggling to stick to them. You may be asking yourself why you bothered making a resolution at all but fear not! We have some tips that will help you make reasonable resolutions and actually follow through on them.
To set - and achieve - attainable goals, try the following:
1. Narrow down your list of resolutions
Most of us have entire lists of goals we’d like to achieve or resolutions we’d like to make. That said, committing to change is hard work and it’s easy to overwhelm ourselves by setting unrealistic - or simply too many - goals. Choose three or four resolutions that are particularly important to you and stick with them.
2. Implement small changes
Big changes don’t happen overnight. They’re the product of hard work and dedication. So whatever your resolution may be, make sure you start small. Change your habits slowly and try to focus on one at a time. Dedicate an entire month to making one small change and then do the same with another habit the next month. Consistency is key!
3. Hold yourself accountable (and enlist help!)
Accountability can make or break our ability to stick to a resolution. Let others know about your goals to stay motivated but take it one step further. Ask your friends and family to give you support and encouragement when you need it. If any of them made similar resolutions, find out if they’d like to work toward achieving their goals with you.
Meet Tammy: Hospital Manager, Animal Foster, and Karaoke Enthusiast
Tammy is the hospital manager at Richmond Veterinary Clinic.
I grew up on a farm in Illinois and, as a young child, I could often be found bottle feeding baby pigs with my father or following him through the livestock pens. Later in life, I had wonderful experiences working as a receptionist at Texas A&M's Large Animal Hospital in College Station, Texas where, in addition to seeing horses and cattle, we would even treat the occasional camel, ostrich, or tapir!
In fact, while I was working there, one of the ostriches removed the large bow from a secretary as she walked by. It saw the shiny clip and just couldn't resist! She was fine but never ventured that closely again.
My love of animals led me to meeting - and later marrying - my husband, who earned his DVM degree from Texas A&M's College of Veterinary Medicine. Together, we bought and sold two veterinary practices. Every day is rewarding because we’re able to provide help to sick and injured animals.
The most challenging part of being a hospital manager is maintaining a daily balance of all my duties and responsibilities. I strive to keep staff and doctors on track so we can reach peak performance and give our patients and clients the best care and service we can provide.
My family and I have two dogs, a beagle mix named Cubbie and a Chihuahua-Daschund mix, Macy, who we adoringly call Pippy Von Skippy. We also foster animals. We’re currently fostering Arbor Oakley, a kitten we found in a backyard tree.
VetCor Community Connections - December Edition
As always, our practice teams are out and about in their communities, lending helping hands wherever they're needed. They host Thanksgiving potlucks for their team members, raise money and collect donations to assist those in need, throw amazing Christmas parties for their staff, and run 5Ks when they're not hard at work. We are so proud of them for all that they do to help build and foster connections in their local communities.
Check out some of our favorite examples of Community Connections from December below!
Meet Jen: Mom, Receptionist, and DIY Aficionado
Jen is a receptionist at Pet's Best Friend Veterinary Hospital.
I grew up in Hamilton, New Jersey and spent most of my childhood around animals. I’ve always loved them and I still get excited when I meet new puppies and kittens. In the summer, I’d pet sit for family friends and all of those experiences helped steer me toward a career that involved working with animals.
My first pet was a calico cat named Molly. She was given to me when I was in kindergarten and she was my best friend for 21 years. Now I have two dogs, a German Shepherd named Rudy and a pitbull mix named Elsa, and three cats, two tabbies, Loki and Thor, and a calico named Charlotte.
I’ve been working in the veterinary field for about five years now. In all honesty, this job kind of found me. I had been a waitress at a local bar and grill and worked alongside one of the Pet’s Best Friend veterinary technicians, Tara. I was looking for steady, full-time work and she mentioned that the animal hospital she worked at was looking for a receptionist.
After filling out an application, I was invited in for an interview and it went so well that I was hired on the spot. Although I didn’t have any prior reception experience, I learned quickly and have since gained many new skills.
This Month, Create a Plan to Quit Smoking
One of the main priorities of the Life at VetCor program is ensuring our employee have the tools and resources they need to improve their overall wellbeing.
November marks two important health initiatives; National Diabetes Month and the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout on November 15th. Because smoking increases a person’s chance of developing diabetes, we want to discuss the benefits of quitting and how you can get started.
As you know, smoking negatively affects your health. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it causes a variety of adverse physical health risks, numerous respiratory and cardiovascular problems, and many types of cancer, including lung, liver, and esophageal.
Diabetes is similarly harmful. The CDC reports that people who have diabetes are twice as likely to suffer from heart disease or strokes than people without it. It’s also the leading cause of kidney failure, lower limb amputations, and adult-onset blindness. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the disease, accounting for over 90% of all diabetes cases, and smokers are 30 - 40% more likely to develop it than nonsmokers.
The Great American Smokeout exists to help smokers create a plan to start living healthier, smoke-free lives. Like us, the American Cancer society understands that kicking a long-term habit is hard, so they’ve compiled a list of resources to help interested individuals get started.
Meet Leah: A Small Town Girl, Living in a Vet Tech World
Leah is a veterinary technician at Nickel City Animal Hospital.
Growing up on a farm in the small town of Hastings in upstate New York, I always knew I wanted to devote my life to helping animals but didn’t have the resources available to best achieve that goal. My father and grandfather’s kind and compassionate treatment of all living creatures – even the ones most people don’t like, such as bugs – led me to develop a similar attitude toward animals.
As a child, I spent a lot of time with animals and developed a knack for caring for them at a very young age. My family had dogs, cats, chickens, ducks, and, at one point, a pig. My siblings and I also had birds, lizards, and a sugar glider named Perry.
In 2011, after spending a year in Utica, I packed up my life there and moved three hours away to Buffalo in order to attend Medaille Tech’s veterinary technician program. Despite my nerves, I dove headfirst into the program and quickly fell in love with the work.
I first got involved with Nickel City Animal Hospital (NCAH) when I interned there while pursuing my degree and, after my skills and dedication were recognized, I was invited to stay on as an assistant. I graduated from Medaille in 2015 with an associate’s degree in veterinary technology and a bachelor’s degree in biology. Upon becoming licensed, Nickel City hired me as a veterinary technician.
Congratulations and Welcome to Our New Team Members!
It was a busy summer at VetCor. We’re thrilled to welcome and congratulate these team members.
- Jacqueline Ledoux – Jackie, our Content Marketing Specialist, comes to us from the Watertown Mall where she worked as an Administrative and Marketing Assistant.
- Talisa Murray – Talisa, our Employee Engagement and Corporate Recruiting Specialist, comes to us from AAA Northeast where she was a Talent Acquisition Associate.
- Michele Booth – Michele, our Corporate Counsel, comes to us from WellCare Health Plans where she served as Senior Corporate Counsel.
- Lauren Looney – Lauren, our Practice Acquisition Manager based in Raleigh, North Carolina, comes to us from RedHat Software where she worked as a Business Development Manager.
- Justin Martin – Justin, our Practice Acquisition Manager based in Columbus, Ohio, comes to us from Davita Kidney Care where he was an Account Manager.
- Jenny Wiltse – Jenny, our Regional Manager for Chicago, comes from a client services manger position at the Veterinary Specialty Center of Buffalo Grove, Illinois.
- Katie Hanson – Katie, our Hiring Specialist based in Orlando, Florida, comes from a corporate recruiting position at Collabera Inc.
Help Your Practice Thrive by Utilizing These Emotional Wellbeing Practices
Emotional health and wellbeing are just as important as physical health and wellbeing but, unfortunately, they sometimes get overlooked.
Emotional wellbeing, or a lack thereof, can significantly impact a person’s physical health, mental health, productivity, attitude, perspective, and ability to be successful. At VetCor, we actively try to improve various aspects of employee wellbeing, so we asked some of our hospital managers how they foster emotional wellbeing in each of their practices.
This is what they had to say:
1. Let your team members know what they’re doing well
Praise can make a big different in a staff member’s productivity and morale. Sarah Morrissey of Northwood Oaks lets her team know what they’re doing well on a daily basis and she encourages employees to give shout outs to their coworkers. Dr. Michele Consiglio of West Shore also utilizes a box of appreciation notes which she calls the “happy box” and Dr. Janice Wilson of Indian Valley emphasizes the importance of recognizing hard work.
66 VetCor Veterinary Technicians Recently Passed Their Boards
As you know, at VetCor, we hire great people and buy great practices. We also encourage our employees to develop new skills and pursue educational opportunities to help them grow their careers.
That's why we’re proud to announce that the following staff members have passed their boards and attained new credentials.
Essential Tips for Disaster Preparedness
The peak of Atlantic hurricane season is here which is why it's important to take some time to reflect on disaster preparedness.
As unlikely as it may seem, a disaster can strike at any moment. Whether it's a fire, tornado, hurricane, flood, or blizzard, it's critical to be prepared and have a plan in place.
There's a lot to consider when creating a disaster plan – especially if you have a spouse, children, or other close family members. You can utilize this American Red Cross resource or this Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) resource to create a family disaster plan.
If you're a pet owner, you need to include your animals in your disaster plan as well. If you don't, you could be inadvertently putting yourself, your pet, and first responders in danger.
It's up to you to find out which shelters allow pets and what types of assistance are available for pet owners in an emergency situation. Creating a 'safe' place at home is not sufficient and, if you leave your pet behind, they will likely get lost, injured, or worse.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends following these tips to make sure you're ready to assist your pet during an emergency:
94 VetCor Staff Members Return to Vet School This Fall
At VetCor, we truly believe our motto, "We hire great people. We buy great practices." Without the hardworking and dedicated people who make up our practice teams, including our students and externs, we wouldn't have the exceptional reputation across the country that we have today.
As you know, our Life at VetCor program emphasizes the facilitation of skill development and career growth. That's why we’re proud to announce that the following staff members who joined us as part of our Summer Jobs and Externship programs will be returning to veterinary school shortly:
VetCor Community Connections - August Edition
As always, our practice teams are out and about in their communities, lending helping hands wherever they're needed. They put on car washes, host food pantries, star in nationally broadcasted PSAs, and even build wheelchairs for their furry friends in need. We are so proud of them for all that they do to help build and foster connections in their local communities.
Check out some of our favorite examples of Community Connections from August below!
How They Got Here: Gayle Cefole, Regional Manager
Gayle is a regional manager for the Northern New England area.
There are generally two approaches when taking on a new position - you can dive in head first with your own way of doing things, or you can dip your toes in, feel the water, and see how the other swimmers approach the waves.
Gayle Cefole, Regional Manager for the Northern New England area, was so grateful and almost taken aback when VetCor told her to take the latter route when she joined VetCor in 2015.
“Most businesses are about numbers and jumping in with both feet immediately. But I took their advice and concentrated on putting people in front of processes, and I have never stopped doing it,” said Gayle.
By adapting this philosophy, partially born out of an experience at a discotheque in Madrid where she was attending an industry conference, Gayle has realized that one of the most important qualities of an effective team leader is to listen.
“Give your employees an ear to bend, share ideas, encourage, care, and the possibilities are endless,” said Gayle. “I’ve also discovered that I learn more from my teams and colleagues than they do me. In this role, the best service I can do for them is to encourage, listen, support, and to first and foremost care.”
Prior to joining the team, Gayle was Practice Manager at Countryside Veterinary Hospital in Chelmsford, MA for over 15 years. She considered herself a corporate outsider before taking on her current role, but she has been so encouraged by VetCor’s belief that fostering meaningful relationships and focusing on your team is the only path to sincere success.
Refer a Friend to Our VetCor Family
Every time summer rolls around, doesn’t it seems like your summer bucket list gets longer and longer? The warmer weather and longer days stimulate your senses and boost your energy levels making you want to try out a new hobby like paddle boarding or sailing or maybe just a new seafood restaurant.
That social feed gets a lot more interesting and you are bound to be inspired to try something new or head out an adventure for the weekend. Wouldn’t it be nice to have some bonus money to put towards those summer bucket list activities?
Community Connections - June Edition
The warmer weather has our teams out in the community helping wherever they are needed. From running collections out of their hospitals to sharing laughs as a team, we love to see our practice teams having fun together and helping the helping pets and people in their communities.
Check out some of our favorite examples of Community Connections from June below!
Congrats To Our Veterinary Technicians Who Passed Their Boards!
Congratulations are in order for the 27 VetCor team members who have recently passed their Veterinary Technician credentials! It takes a lot of hard work and determination to achieve the necessary accreditation, whether it be a certification, registration or license. Please join us in celebrating the following team members:
25 VetCor Team Members Head To Veterinary School
Another group of dedicated VetCor team members is off to vet school this fall! Whether they are continuing their journey towards a veterinary career, or just getting started, we are so proud of each and every one of these support staff members for putting in the hard work and dedication.
We know that it also takes a good support system to help get through the application process and beyond. We would like to take a minute to recognize all of the hospital management teams for their mentorship and encouragement along the way.
Congratulations to everyone hitting the books this fall! We are so proud of you and wish nothing but the best in the upcoming school year.
Community Connections - May Edition
Spring has sprung, and our teams have certainly sprung into action these past few weeks to help out their communities! Whether it's building a neighborhood playground, raising funds for local animal rescues, or supporting police officers - two and four-legged - we couldn't be more proud of all of the ways our practice teams are helping pets and people in their communities.
Check out some of our favorite examples of Community Connections from May below!
Welcome & Congrats To Our New Team Members
It is our pleasure to welcome two new additions to the VetCor family - Andy Riddick and Tia Irving!
Andy is our newest Regional Manager, overseeing the Florida region. He has over 27 years of experience in the field of veterinary care, starting out as a Veterinary Technician and recently enjoying Practice Management for the last 22 years. Andy has opened over 70 hospitals for a nationwide practice in 17 states, and has consulted and managed general, specialty and emergency practices up and down the east coast.
Tia, our new Practice Support Coordinator, joins us from our West Roxbury, MA practice, Parkway Veterinary Hospital, where she has been working as a Certified Veterinary Technician. She has also worked at the MSPCA-Angell in Boston as a Triage and Ophthalmology Techician, and just recently completed her masters in Healthcare Management.
We would also like to congratulate all of the Home Office team members who are advancing their careers and taking on new roles - many of which are brand new to VetCor - to better support our practices:
Where I Am Meant to Be
Julie Roscoe is the Hospital Manager at East Towne Veterinary Clinic in Mequon, WI.
East Towne Veterinary Clinic was one of the first dozen clinics that VetCor acquired. I remember it was a scary time for the support staff when we were transitioning – we had been so well taken care of by Dr. David Tunder and Dr. Frank Schober. It is now about 18 years later, and although we have had many changes, our team has been a stable symbol of the care and compassion that VetCor recognized in us from the beginning.
While Dr. Schober is no longer on the team, Dr. David Tunder, who founded East Towne Veterinary Clinic in 1984, is still practicing with us today as our Chief of Staff. I have also been with the practice for quite some time – for 25 years, to be exact! I started in 1993 as a Customer Care Specialist, and recently got promoted to Hospital Manager, when our previous Manager, Melanie Meyer, was moving on to become a Regional Manager.
Though we have been part of the VetCor family for so long, I really enjoy that our clients still see us as an independent practice instead of a "corporate-run" hospital. VetCor doctors get to practice medicine how they see fit, and can leave the management aspects to the Hospital Managers, Regional Managers, as well as the leaders and support staff at the Home Office. Our doctors are given the freedom to make decisions on what they feel is in the best interest of the patient – not what numbers they need to attain. It’s something that you hear during the acquisition process, but that makes you skeptical that it might be too good to be true. I’m happy to report, it’s not!
We also get to continue doing the things that make our practice unique, like our community outreach. We work closely with a few rescue organizations such as TailWaggers 911, and offer complimentary new adoption exams and discounted spays and neuters, as well as discounted vet visits to Pugs and Hugs rescue. We also foster kittens for the Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission, and have found homes for over 100 kittens since 2009. It has always been important to us at East Towne to enrich our community and strengthen our bond with our residents – two and four-legged.
VetCor Family at the SAVMA Conference
Thank you to everyone who came to visit us at the Student American Veterinary Medical Association (SAVMA) Conference in Philadelphia this month!
It was our first time attending this event. Hiring Specialists Carol, Raquel, Jess and Farren, along with Diana, our Director of Marketing & Employee Engagement, got the chance to meet so many awesome veterinary students from across the country. We even got to meet some alumni from our summer jobs and externship programs.
Beyond the Exam Room
Meet Dr. Adam Christman – Co-Chief of Staff at Brick Town Veterinary Hospital, Teacher, Trailblazer, Animal Rights Advocate, Local Celebrity and so much more.
As a young child, I was passionate about learning, loving animals, and being a leader. My parents wondered where I got all this drive, energy and enthusiasm from! Having been born and raised (and now practicing) in my hometown at the Jersey Shore in Brick, NJ, I always carried my passion for animals with me. My high school biology teacher (now a client of mine!) motivated me even further for my love of science.
I knew I wanted to be a veterinarian as I journeyed through life. But I also knew there was going to be more to my career beyond the exam room. I received my BS in Animal Science and minored in Spanish at Rutgers University. I had the privilege of combining my two loves (animals and the Spanish language) in Puerto Rico, doing my senior thesis on a dairy farm. That thesis certainly “MOO-ved” me up the ranks in being accepted to veterinary school at Iowa State University!
Over the years, it’s been such an honor to journey through the roles of Veterinary Technician, Associate Veterinarian, and now to Co-Chief of Staff at Brick Town Veterinary Hospital. But my story doesn’t stop there! I want to be clear that being a veterinarian is really tough – physically, mentally, emotionally and compassionately. But through it all, VetCor has been there for me in supporting both my team and myself.
They understand and value the wellbeing of their team members. They have been an excellent partnership and a huge support system for the community causes that are important to our practice. They also encourage physical fitness as part of their wellness challenges and rewards program – and me and my team will even do some exercises in between appointments! Who says you can’t do squats while doing a nail trim? The home office team always gets a kick out of seeing photos of us team-building while having fun!
VetCor Community Connections - February Edition
Already this year, we’ve seen so many examples of amazing connections within the VetCor family, as well as out in our practices’ local communities.
From helping an abandoned cat regain her strength to walk again, and dressing up as nerds for a day, to networking with VetCor Family members at one of the largest veterinary conferences of the year, here are some of our favorite examples of community connections this month!
Welcome & Congrats To Our New Team Members
We're thrilled to have Michael J. Lynch on board as our new Chief Financial Officer. He joined us in December 2017, and has already made an excellent impression on the corporate office team. Mike’s career has been mostly in financial leadership roles for consumer-oriented businesses. He recently served as CFO for Au Bon Pain for eight years, and for four years prior to that, as the CFO for Footstar.
Mike has also worked in several financial roles at American Express, Sony Corporation of America, General Mills and Arthur Andersen. He earned his BA in Economics and Accounting from the College of Holy Cross and his MBA from Harvard Business School, and is a Certified Public Accountant in New Jersey. He and his wife, Julie, are actively involved with the Dana Farber Cancer Institute/Jimmy Fund. They live in Needham, MA with their four children and two Shih Tzu’s – Hazel and Pepper.
It is also our pleasure to announce two new additions to the Recruiting and Acquisitions teams – Farren Rice and Kerrin Venafra!
Farren, our newest Hiring Specialist, is helping us to further our regional recruiting support in western PA, Ohio, Upstate NY and Long Island. She is a great fit for the position, having been a Recruiting Researcher for many years, and sourcing executive and technical candidates for clients in the aviation industry. She also got the chance to work with one of the world’s largest fortune 500 companies – The Walt Disney Company! She even helped placed the Director of Maintenance for the entire Aviation Department at Disney World.
Kerrin is our newest Practice Acquisition Manager, covering the Greater Atlanta area, and she joins us with a wealth of veterinary experience. She started working at an animal hospital in RI in high school as a technician, and then went on to be a Practice Manager for a general practice in RI for eight years. From there, she went into Veterinary Pharmaceutical Sales for just shy of three years, covering all of MA and RI. Kerrin has been married to her husband, Paul, for 12 years, and they share their home with three rescue dogs – Abbie, Zachary, Kenzie – and 4 kitties – Kodi, Reggie, Sawyer and Libby.
A Company That Cares
Jennifer Weitzel is the long-time Hospital Manager at the Animal Medical Center of Ontario in Mansfield, OH.
After being the Hospital Manager of the Animal Medical Center of Ontario for 14 years, the practice has always been a huge part of my life. In 2016, the owner and I decided to start meeting with corporations to buy the practice – the practice that meant the world to me. We met Bob Dionne, acquisition manager from VetCor. I remember thinking that not only did he seem like a down to earth person, but he was very proud of the company he represented.
I had concerns in our search of a corporate buy-out, especially what it would mean for our high practice standards, our amazing staff, and how it would impact a job I loved so much. After leaving the meeting with Bob, I knew that VetCor was going to be the type of organization I could see myself working for in the years to come.
I started helping with the process of VetCor acquiring AMC, and I wondered if they would live up to their promises. I can say after 8 months; the answer is 100% YES! Every day, we are still AMC of Ontario – we practice our style of advanced medicine, continue to grow the practice in the direction we envision, and still maintain our extraordinary staff with the amazing support of our Regional Manager, Matt, and the whole corporate team.
Veterinary medicine is changing in the direction of corporate-owned practices, which seems scary to many. But, as I went through this journey, I realized very quickly that I am fortunate to be a part of a company that cares not only about the success of the practice, but most of all, their employees. They have shown me that they want every employee to have a balanced personal/professional life. That is important to me as I love having time with my husband, John (also a VetCor employee!), our two beautiful daughters, Lexi and Alyssa, as well as our seven furry friends.
Let me mention something that really made me realize that I worked for a company that truly cares: About three months ago, my daughter and my husband were both having some health issues. Not only did my Regional Manager call me to see how they were doing, but he continues to always ask about my family and refers to my children like he has known them forever. It made me realize that the feeling I had at acquisition about joining a "family" still carries through today.
VetCor Community Connections - January Edition
Our team members have kicked off the New Year by celebrating amazing achievements, working hard to care for animals and people in need, and having fun together. After all, isn't that what Life at VetCor is all about?
Check out some of our favorite examples of Community Connections from this month below!
Tech Connections Program
Hiring great people is an important part of the Life at VetCor program. And focusing on technician recruiting and development is a significant part of that program. We listened to what our teams had to say after Survey de Mayo, and a recurring theme that came up time and again was the struggle to hire technicians.
Cathy Doucette, the head technician at Kingston Animal Hospital in MA, participated in an internship with the Hingham office this summer focusing on technician recruiting to find the best ways to attract, hire, and retain quality veterinary technicians. She reached out to AVMA-accredited Veterinary Technology programs in our states to start building long-term contacts and relationships with VetCor.
Happy Holidays From All of Us
'Tis the season! From shelter fundraisers to donation drives, to pet phots with Santa, and even sharing fun ways to celebrate the holidays with your pets, there are so many ways our teams spread holiday cheer and joy this time of year.
Check out some of our favorite holiday happenings and charitable events from the VetCor family below!
Thick Skin and a Compassionate Heart
Dr. Bruce Cox, DVM, is a veterinarian and Chief of Staff at Northside Animal Hospital in Waco, Texas.
Veterinary medicine has been very good to me. High school in Waxahachie, Texas brought a great vocational agriculture teacher who stressed involvement in leadership and public speaking. I was an FFA kid.
With a love for animal agriculture, rural people, and life sciences, veterinary medicine was the career that encompassed all three. Lots of studying and football games at Texas A&M prepared the way for veterinary college. The tremendous course load was bearable through the camaraderie with my great 137 classmates.
Then I was off to Tyler, Texas to a classic fire-engine, mixed-animal practice. My first boss was a patient and hilarious man. I looked so young at 25! After a couple of weeks to orient myself to the surrounding countryside, I went on my first farm call. When I met the farmer at the pasture gate, he looked in my truck, then behind me on the county road and asked, “Son, is the doctor comin’, too?”
Thick skin is good to develop, until you earn your clients’ trust!
After five years, a beautiful Tyler wife, and one daughter later, opportunity knocked loudly. And, I bought it! My own clinic was deeper into East Texas. Off to Nacogdoches we moved. Solo practice was too hectic for mixed animal medicine; so, I became a small animal practitioner. The work was rewarding and the clients were very appreciative… especially the local comedic radio personality who showed up in full scrubs, mask, and gloves with his English bulldog for her scheduled C-section!
At the time, it was tough to get a technician or another vet to move to that part of Texas. My secretary was the anchor of the front half of the clinic for more than a decade. College kids were my helpers, and I trained art majors and aquatic biologists to prep surgeries and to hold off veins. With the clinic paid off, and I knew inside me that another change was due.
Manage your money today to plan for tomorrow.
The everyday choices you make can help you live a healthier, happier, and more fulfilling life - both at work and at home. This month’s wellbeing resource is about helping you improve your financial health.
Your financial health is your savings, retirement, and spending. Decisions you make every day have an effect on your immediate and future financial health. Here are some helpful tips to think about.
Did you know that your physical and financial health is interconnected? Money worries can cause stress, anxiety and depression. Take a look at your financial situation. If you’re not where you need to be, make a plan to improve it. This helpful newsletter from HUB offers some great tips including online tools and smartphone apps.
Getting sick can also have major financial ramifications. Maintain your physical health to maintain your financial health. Regular check-ups, eating healthy and routine exercise can help you stay financially and physically fit. In some cases, you can even save money by visiting urgent care instead of the ER for off hour, non-critical health issues (but always err on the side of caution and got to the ER if you’re not sure.)
VetCor Community Connections - November Edition
This holiday season, we’re thankful for all of our practice teams and the compassionate care they provide to pets and their families each and every day. Not only do many of our team members work hard throughout the holidays to provide urgent/emergency care to patients in need, but they also go above and beyond to help pets and people in their communities in lots of other ways.
Check out some of our favorite examples of Community Connections within the VetCor family, as well as out in our practices’ local communities, from this month below!
How They Got Here: Cassie Linley, Hospital Manager at Abilene Veterinary Clinic
I was born in Odessa, Texas and moved to Abilene, Texas before I was two. I remember when I was a child, I would bring home anything that moved. I tried to help stray and injured animals and nurse babies back to health. My mom always had a yard full of animals while I was growing up. I would bring home dogs, cats, birds, and even snakes. I almost gave my mom a heart attack – she is terrified of snakes!
Needless to say, I always knew I wanted to work with animals. During my senior year in high school, I joined an intern class, and my teacher met with Dr. Ellis about employment at Abilene Veterinary Clinic. I went in the next day for an interview and was hired on the spot.
My entire career has been at Abilene Vet! I started in 1999 as a part-time Kennel Attendant doing the end of the day clean up. I took every opportunity to expand my knowledge and become more helpful. I moved up to Hospital Technician shortly after starting, and learned how to medicate animals and monitor animals recovering from anesthesia. I loved my hospital patients and treated them as if they were my own.
Then I cross-trained for Surgery Technician where I learned about anesthesia, dentals, x-rays, and surgical preps. I stayed in surgery from many years and was eventually promoted to Lead Technician. I helped to train my co-workers and oversaw surgery, hospital and boarding. I was promoted to Hospital Manager in 2005, and I now oversee a wonderful hospital that truly cares about the best interest of each pet and client. I work with an incredible group of dedicated staff!
Our clinic joined VetCor in March of 2016. I think it is normal to feel nervous about a transition from private practice to corporation, but I quickly learned that I now have a new family to support us and help our practice grow. VetCor worked hard to make the transition seamless and easy. They wanted to know what will help us and make our day-to-day operations easier.
Dr. Mark E. Russo, VMD, Dipl. ACVIM, is a veterinarian and former owner at Kingston Animal Hospital in Kingston, MA.
In the business world, and in life, it’s generally prudent to generate a fair amount of cynicism or skepticism when something seems too good to be true. That being the case, it’s all the more amazing to me – and all the more do I feel blessed – to have chosen VetCor as our partner for Kingston Animal Hospital.
When I sold to VetCor in November 2015, the practice had been around for 68 years... founded by my father, Dr. Raymond Russo (who was still coming to work eight days before he passed away at age 93.) I started working at the hospital at about age eight as a part-time weekend and summer kennel boy (still the most fun I’ve had in veterinary medicine), and then after veterinary school for over four decades as a neurologist, general practitioner, and now, a holistic practitioner.
When my father started Kingston Animal Hospital in 1947, Kingston was a tiny coastal town with a true "small town feel." Even as the town and the region have grown to become more suburban, we have worked hard over the years to retain and perpetuate the small town feel and encourage a sense of uniqueness.
In particular, while we strongly believe in offering excellent veterinary care tailored to the clients’ preferences and capabilities, we also fervently believe in offering that care in a warm and friendly manner with lots of empathy, caring, integrity and value. We also work hard to maintain a nurturing and productive work environment for ourselves, and even have some fun at work. We try hard to remember that a significant part of the fulfillment and satisfaction in veterinary medicine comes from having a worthwhile job done well.
Archived Blog Posts
- October 15-21, 2017 is National Veterinary Technician Week
- VetCor Community Connections - September 2017 Edition
- Pets & Preparations: Tips for Emergency Preparedness
- It All Started With a Little Majik
- Our Summer Team Members Head Back to Vet School
- The Balancing Act
- Welcome & Congrats To Our New Team Members
- VetCor Community Connections - July 2017 Edition
- Meet Harrington Javier – Hospital Manager, Dad, and Yankees Fan
- Change Is Good
- VetCor Community Connections - May 2017 Edition
- Another Group of Dedicated VetCor Team Members is off to Vet School!
- Q & A with Cathy Doucette
- Doing the Right Thing
- Welcome & Congrats To Our New Team Members
- Why VetCor?
- Kaity Blackburn: Animal Lover, Science Junkie and VetCor Acquisition Manager