At Pets Best, we believe the veterinary industry is empowered by the many certified veterinary technicians who, through their hard work and dedication, make a difference in the lives of their patients each and every day. We created the Why I Love Being a Vet Tech contest to acknowledge their tireless efforts. In partnership with the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA), we are pleased to announce this year’s top eight finalists.
Meet Lynn Gipprich, a Veterinary Technician at Northhampton Animal Clinic in Tallahassee, Florida.
Outside of the clinic, Lynn keeps her vet tech skills sharp by wrangling two sweet dogs and a declawed cat named Claudia. Walker, her three-year-old boxer mix, came into her family after he was found on the side of the road as a puppy. An animal rescue organization rehabilitated him as best as they could, but with special needs resulting from head trauma, it made sense for a tech to adopt him and give him the best care possible. Trigger, a two-year-old hound mix, came to Lynn from a neglectful home. She’d intended to foster him, but after he and Walker became an inseparable pair, fostering turned to adopting! Claudia, a Siamese mix, showed up one night on Lynn’s doorstep, thin and infested with fleas. Lynn nursed her back to health, and in turn, Claudia gave solace to another of Lynn’s dogs who died of cancer four months after Claudia turned up.
Lynn feels blessed to be able to live in Florida and enjoy the outdoors all year long. Even in her free time, she brings her fur family along (when she’s able) on adventures to Florida’s state parks, beaches, and theme parks. She’s also SCUBA certified and loves to swim. Claudia the cat does not.
Read on to learn more about Lynn and her contribution to the veterinary community.
Why did you choose to become a vet tech?
After reading my first James Herriot novel, I knew I wanted to work with animals. I was seven years old when I read All Creatures Great and Small and fell in love with the people and stories. I was hooked! I decided a life in animal care and advocacy was for me. And even when I didn’t work directly in the field, I would volunteer with animals. I thought I would become a veterinarian, but I realized that it’s the technicians who are the front-line soldiers in the advocacy for animal care.
Why do you love being a vet tech?
Every “Thank you for caring!” I get from the owners of our patients reminds me why I love my job. And I have pride in the skills I have acquired. I think my favorite story highlights how many different skills we need:
My mother-in-law was visiting last January. She is a nurse and I think she believes vet techs are glorified pet store attendants. One evening I excused myself to head to bed stating I had to get up early since I was the surgical tech the next day. My mother-in-law asked whether I was the scrub nurse, the anesthesiologist, the surgical assistant, or the recovery tech. I said, “Yes.” She was confused until I explained that I am all of those people. From the pre-surgical blood work, through induction, prep of the surgical site, monitoring and assisting the surgeon, and onto recovery, that patient is my responsibility. I do all of that (along with my great team, of course). She looked at me with new respect and said that technicians don’t get paid enough. We don’t do it for the money; we do it for the animals!
If you could improve upon or change one thing about the veterinary industry, what would that be?
I get so frustrated that veterinary medicine seems to work on what I call “daily economics.” It takes every dollar coming in to function every day. There is very little wiggle room. I think there’s a misconception that we operate like human hospitals, but the reality is that if we don’t get paid for our services at the time rendered, we can’t stay open and continue to help animals. If I had a magic wand, I would fund every hospital/ clinic (and give everyone raises)!
Does your clinic talk to clients about pet insurance?
Even a healthy pet requires regular veterinary care, which can add up quickly. Insurance can make a difference in a treatment plan by alleviating a financial burden that may ultimately be the deciding factor in whether a client decides to go through with a procedure.
At my clinic, every puppy and kitten kit has information about insurance in it. And new clients are not only asked if they have insurance, but if they even know about it. Unfortunately, the topic of insurance also comes up after an event where insurance may have altered the outcome.
We invite you to stay tuned to our blog, where we will share in-depth Q&A sessions we held with the remaining finalists. (You can learn more about the Why I Love Being a Vet Tech Contest here.) The contest winner will receive a one-year NAVTA membership and a paid trip to the 2017 North American Veterinary Community Conference. You may vote here for Lynn or any of the other finalists once a day through Thursday, October 6th.