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Chloe Chamberlain – Business Owner @balanceathletica

Chloe Chamberlain
Chloe Chamberlain

Purdue Veterinary Technician student Chloe Chamberlain volunteered at Leo’s Pet Care during the entire summer of 2014. We were so impressed by her work ethic and her positive attitude during that summer, that we invited her to join us as a full time veterinary assistant during her 2015 summer break in between semesters at the Purdue College of Veterinary Technology.

UPDATE DECEMBER 2015: After her experience at our hospital, Chloe discovered she was more interested in the business aspects of running a veterinary hospital than she was in the technical aspects of veterinary technology. It is always our goal to expose students to ALL aspects of our hospital, and help them choose their own path. Chloe has since transferred out of the Veterinary Technology program at Purdue and into the Purdue Polytechnic business program. While we are sad to see Chloe leave our profession, we are thrilled we were able to play a small role in helping her realize her true passion, and wish her the best of luck!

Here is what Chloe had to say about her experience at Leo’s:

It is not often that you will find people who are willing to help you out for no reason at all. In fact, it’s a rarity for anyone to do things out of the kindness of their heart these days. As a society we’ve developed a natural “what’s in it for me?” mentality in every decision we make, but if you find someone who goes out of their way to make a difference in your life you will never forget that. I’ve only been blessed with these anomalies a few times thus far and most recently I encountered Dr. Magnusson and his staff, all of whom I will never forget as long as I live.

After finishing my first year as a vet tech student at Purdue, I began my summer with a motivation to gain some experience in the veterinary world. On my first day back at home, I sat down at the table for three hours researching nearby animal clinics and hospitals, calling over 30 businesses to inquire about their interest in taking on a student intern for the next few months. To my dismay, each and every reply seemed to be a variation of “I will talk to the doctor and get back to you” which, as I have now learned, is a nice way of saying “no way”. Downtrodden and a little angry-rejection can be difficult-I searched my area once more and a little clinic called “Leo’s Pet Care” popped up in the middle of my screen. With some reluctance, I decided to give it one more chance. I called and was greeted by Hannah who was the first person all day who seemed to care about anything I had to say and miraculously the doctor had agreed to let me come in to meet with him.

I’ll never forget upon our first meeting, Dr. Magnusson told me that his practice was like a little family, and that he couldn’t let me work there unless they agreed as well. After a short interview and trial day at the clinic, him and his staff had allowed me to stay for the summer and work as many hours as I could. It took a couple weeks for me to realize the extent of the relationships that had been built between all of the staff members, but once I did I understood exactly what he had meant when he referred to them as a family. The dynamics of this work place made it not only enriching academically but enjoyable, and I say that in all honesty. We spent the majority of our days telling embarrassing stories or laughing as we worked and it never ceased to amaze me that, through all the fun we were having, I was learning so much more about the veterinary world than I could have ever imagined.

Another thing Dr. Magnusson told me at my interview was that, by the end of the summer, I will have learned so much that him and I could solely run the entire clinic. I nodded my head in agreement, but in the back of my mind I believed that was an exaggeration of course. Slowly but surely, and in a collaborative effort, Dr. Magnusson, Jen, Stephanie, and Hannah taught me everything I needed to know to reach that point. I went from knowing absolutely nothing about the business to being able and confident to handle clients and patients while representing the clinic well. By the end of the summer I had learned to take care of everything, from the minute the client and patient walked through the door to the moment they left. Not only that but with many cases, Dr. Magnusson explained to me, not only the medical, but the ethical side of every decision he made. For instance, if a dog came in with a disease, he would explain to me what that disease is and how it affects the body, what he would use to treat it and why it would be effective, and also why he handled that particular case the way he did after considering all factors. Knowing everything that went in to each decision he made, I have gained so much admiration and respect for Dr. Magnusson. He truly does everything in the best interest of his patients and clients and that in itself can be hard to come across.

Open to close, we really could run the clinic on our own and that is absolutely astonishing. Not because I was able to absorb so much information in such a short amount of time-that is easy to do when you have people taking so much time out of their busy day to walk you through everything. The time this “family” has put in to teaching me for nothing in return just blows my mind. Not only the care that they have provided me, but the genuine concern for each patient and client alike that come through the door is something very rare and should be recognized as such. It is truly inspiring to see such selflessness from every staff member and it is something I will never forget. If ever you get the chance to work with or entrust the care of your pet to this team, take it without hesitation. They will absolutely make a positive impact in your life. When I graduate, when I get a job, and when I reach success in my life I will know that it is thanks to Dr. Magnusson and the girls and I could never in a million years express my appreciation for that. I will forever look up to each and every one of these individuals and strive to conduct myself in my career and life as I have seen them do.

Dr. Magnusson responds:

On paper, Chloe is clearly a distinguished student. A quick read of her resume shows the effort she has put into her own success, and into her chosen career of becoming a veterinary technician. Not satisfied with the rigors of veterinary technology coursework, you will find that Chloe has also been pushing herself into extended courses in entrepreneurship and veterinary practice management, and is taking three online courses while simultaneously working here full time. On top of all that, she is also volunteering her time with a veterinary neurology specialist, has plans to visit the CEO of IndyHumane to check out the profession of shelter management, and is tossing around the idea of owning a boarding facility some day. Big dreams for such a young mind!

The extra effort Chloe puts into her studies gives insight where Chloe really shines. Her ambition and her self-confidence are matched by dedication, hard work, curiosity, and humility, that make her an absolute joy to teach. When I point out a mistake, Chloe never argues, she just fixes the problem and does it right the next time. When the job gets difficult, she doesn’t give up, she just tries harder. Chloe never breaks down, she never turns down a challenge, and she never loses her smile. Except those rare times, like during a particularly difficult euthanasia, when it becomes obvious Chloe understands the deep impact pets have on people’s lives.

These last two summers have been periods of immense personal growth for Chloe, who is fast maturing into a respectable, responsible worker. She has learned to arrive at work every day, on time, in uniform, with a smile on her face, ready to put in 100% effort. Never afraid to get dirty or wrestle a big dog if that’s what the job calls for, or calmly explain a treatment plan to a distraught pet parent, we have learned we can count on Chloe to keep a cool head under pressure, and back up her coworkers at every turn. Chloe’s fearless, strong, gentle demeanor instantly puts clients and coworkers at ease, and gives the impression that she has everybody’s care well under her capable control.

My proudest moment of Chloe’s visit in 2014 came the day her mom brought in her two dogs for exams and teeth cleanings at Leo’s Pet Care. Early in the morning, Chloe drew blood for their pre-op tests, calculated anesthesia drug doses, administered anesthesia, performed the dental prophys, and recovered both patients (with supervision, of course). Then later in the day, when mom came in for their annual exams and to meet me and my staff, Chloe checked in her mom as though she were a regular client, escorted the family into our exam room, properly restrained both dogs for their exams, went over the expected charges and explained in detail every procedure we had performed and intended to perform on her little dogs, took her mom’s payment, checked the family out, and escorted them all back to the car. I couldn’t have done the work better myself.

Last summer, we joked with Chloe that after a couple months with us, she wouldn’t have any need for four years studying to be a veterinary technician at silly old Purdue University, but of course that’s far from the truth. Even with her obvious natural ability, Chloe will do very well to learn the depth and breadth of knowledge available to veterinarians and veterinary technicians.

A year later, Chloe picked up right where she left off, and continues to impress with her new skills, and her new ambitions.

I joked to Chloe once that she’s already got a vet tech job offer waiting for her here in four years when she graduates from Purdue, but I suspect she may be scooped up by something greater than my tiny little veterinary clinic. Someone with Chloe’s background, determination, and natural ability could go as far as she wanted in the veterinary profession.

This year, Chloe appears determined to make her dreams become a reality, and I have no doubt that she’ll achieve whatever she sets her mind to. I’ll be excited to see just how far she wants to go.