A small veterinary clinic like ours is a very special work environment. You spend an incredible amount of time with each other, often under very stressful or emotional circumstances. And when there are only a few of you, there is no way to work with someone you don’t really get along with. Add to that the fact that cats are challenging patients, and it requires a certain understanding and patience to work with them, and you have the recipe for disaster if you hire the wrong person. Fortunately, I have an incredibly tight-knit, dependable, caring, professional and generally awesome staff with whom it is a pleasure to work. Let me introduce them to you…
I’ll start with Alice, because, well, it all started with Alice. When I opened the doors of my own practice for the very first time nearly 17 years ago, Alice was there. Alice is a veterinary technician (which is like an animal nurse, but we can’t legally use the term “nurse” in Ontario, even though it more accurately describes what they do). Alice took a sabatical for a few years to raise a family, but came back several years ago to help us out. If you’ve been to the clinic, you might not have met Alice. We keep her in the basement…OK, not really, but Alice is our surgical nurse on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and our surgery is downstairs in the clinic. We tend to keep her pretty busy with our inpatients on those days. On quiet surgery days, Alice steps up and helps with our outpatient care. Alice and I are more like sisters than co-workers. We’ve worked together so long that a lot of the time we know exactly what the other is thinking. That is an incredible thing, especially in surgery, when things can change in an instant, and normal can become seriously abnormal in a heartbeat.
If you have had anything to do with King Street Cat Hospital over the last 4 years, you have probably met Lucy. Lucy is my adopted daughter, or she should be anyways. Lucy has a Bachelor of Arts degree and 14 years of dance training, which is an unusual background for a veterinary professional, but with Lucy, it works perfectly. I have worked with many people over the years, but I’ve never seen anyone who can handle a cat like her. She has a way of calming down even the most unhappy of felines, and makes it look easy (which, by the way, it isn’t–not even remotely). Whereas Alice can read my mind, Lucy can read my emotions, and she knows exactly how to handle every situation. She is amazing with the clients; professional, patient, kind, and generous with her time and her care. And her self-confessed OCD keeps the inventory right on track.
Samantha is the most recent addition to our team. If Alice is the sister, and Lucy is the daughter, Sam is the mom of the clinic. She has twin daughters rapidly approaching their teenage years, so she has incredible patience, and an unreal ability to stay cool no matter what craziness is surrounding her. Sam always knows just how to defuse a tense or difficult situation. With the clients, she is professional and compassionate. She is strong and tough when she has to be, but she is also incredibly gentle and caring, especially when it comes to the kitties. Sam is a true animal lover, and comes with a long history of assorted jobs working with or around animals, including a stint at the Bowmanville Zoo. There isn’t anything she won’t do for the animals; even if she has never done it before, she will always give it her best shot (which is usually amazing, by the way).
So that’s it, that’s the team. There’s just the four of us, but together we have done amazing things. Of course, we couldn’t do it without the help and support of about a million other people, including our kennel staff, volunteers, co-op students, delivery people, repair people, IT people, lab people, company reps, consultants, referral vets, colleagues, emergency clinics, and, most importantly, our families.
Next week, we’ll meet the cats of King Street Cat Hospital.
Dr. Meow (^^)~
“God made the cat in order that humankind might have the pleasure of caressing the tiger”–Ferdinand Mery