You may recall a column from a couple of months ago in which I referenced one of our kittens being run over and taken to the veterinarian’s office as an emergency case. This week I would like to introduce a woman whose job includes dealing not only with animals, but their sometimes distraught and emotional owners as well.
Amanda Mueller-Specht works at Root River Veterinary Center in Preston as a veterinary technician. Amanda has worked at the center for four years.
My first experience with Amanda was in a discussion on the boulevard during the times of COVID. She helped me understand issues that come with rescuing a dog without knowing its background or history. While I know I talked rather fast and at times seemed panicky, her demeanor was understanding, calm and steady. How incredibly lucky this team is to have someone such as her.
Amanda feels lucky she landed this position because she had no experience when she applied for it. The location of the vet center was closer to the daycare where her daughter attended. This is proof positive that simply taking a chance at something you want pays off. They offered her the job, and she loves it.
Loving one’s job is key to job satisfaction. For Amanda, she enjoys working in a small community where she also lives and does so much. She knows most of the clients, as well as their pets, and can mingle with them in the clinic or outside it.
Of course, with almost every job, there is occasionally a dislike or two that comes with it.
“It’s definitely hard watching patients get old or get sick," Amanda said. "Especially when emergencies happen where we cannot make the patients better. It takes a definite emotional toll on our entire team.”
Our family has presented more than one of those emergency patients for which the prognosis was not good. In those moments, as the pet’s owner, one doesn’t think beyond the grief of losing a pet. Frankly, I could not imagine having to experience this on a daily basis.
Oftentimes, when people get into a field like veterinarian technician, it is because their passion is working with animals. Amanda gives this advice: “Loving animals is great, but remember, you also have to communicate and mingle with humans even more than helping with the patients.”
In other words, animals will not be the sole focus, and soft skills in this type of working environment are equally as important. Communication with other people in an empathetic, understanding, calm manner, as Amanda does, is important and needs to be done well.
With four years in this job under her belt, I asked Amanda if she foresaw switching careers. I applaud a woman who can answer as straight as this: “I absolutely love my job and being part of the veterinary community. But, I do know my limits as well as my body’s limits. I know I won’t be able to do this forever if I want to keep my body intact and functional.”
Amanda knows how good she feels after a hard day’s work when all the clients leave smiling, or after consoling a client when a tough choice needs to be made.
Those statements alone tell you, Amanda, the impact you are making, and it matters.