Hope Christy introduced herself to the Leo’s Pet Care family during the summer of 2020, and spent the summer volunteering at our Main & Guilford location. Here is what she had to say about her first of what will hopefully be many summers at Leo’s!
For the past couple of summers, finding a veterinary clinic to volunteer at was annoyingly difficult. It felt like I was sending several hundred emails that probably just ended up in a junk mail folder, and even calling and leaving my name and number multiple times led to no responses. Eventually, I decided to text this girl, Maddie, I knew who was in veterinary school, to see where she volunteered when she was home in Indianapolis. She listed multiple different places she’s volunteered but made it clear that her most valuable experience came from Leo’s Pet Care.
Now I started researching all the places she volunteered at. Leo’s Pet Care was the first on my list because, as she said, it was the most hands-on and valuable experience you could get. The website popped up on my laptop, and I immediately clicked on the Work at Leo’s tab. Scrolling down, I saw all the past students, including Maddie. Reading each student’s experiences at LPC was fascinating because of everything they’ve learned to do here! The idea of actually performing blood draws, administering vaccines, and scaling/polishing for dentals was exciting to me. Without even thinking about the other volunteering options, I emailed Dr. Magnusson to ask if I could work at LPC for the summer. Unlike any other clinic, I actually received a reply back that he would like to meet me to discuss the summer sometime around my spring break.
Spring break rolls around and what do you know, we’re in the midst of a pandemic. I immediately thought there’s no way LPC or any other clinic would allow me to volunteer anymore. I emailed Dr. Magnusson again to see if volunteering was still an option and possibly a video call to discuss more about it. Once again, LPC amazed me because, despite the fact of the ongoing pandemic, Dr. Magnusson didn’t turn me away. Instead, we set up a video call so he could learn more about me and tell me what this summer would entail.
One day I sat anxiously waiting for this video call with Dr. Magnusson. We started with all of the basic questions like who I am, where I go to school, what I want to do blah, blah, blah. Once I started going over my other veterinary experiences, he started asking me questions about what I could do, like drawing blood, placing catheters, restraining dogs, etc. Basically, all the things I didn’t know how to do or learn how to do at these other places. Don’t get me wrong; the other clinics I’ve volunteered at have shown me a lot, but you can only learn so much from just observing. Even after realizing I knew how to do absolutely nothing, he just told me I had a lot to learn and could come in to meet his team as soon as I could.
As I got closer to my first day working at Leo’s, my stress and anxiety were only getting worse. Thinking again about drawing blood, preparing vaccines, and everything else seemed absolutely insane. I’ve seen these skills performed so often, but the thought of me actually doing them excited and terrified me all at the same time. Every day, I would practice restraining techniques and holding off and feeling the veins on my dogs to help my confidence for my first day.
My first day at LPC, I was nervously sweating through my scrubs before I even walked through their door. The first people I met were Jade and Angel, who are now two of my absolute favorite people, who have helped me learn basically how to run everything at LPC.
Dr. Magnusson started teaching me right from the get-go, beginning with a 3cc syringe. With ease, Dr. Magnusson showed me how to hold and pull a syringe without moving the needle. It seemed like a simple task at first, but my hands were nervously shaking when my turn came around, and it was not as easy as I thought it would be.
Many of the things I’ve learned this summer weren’t as easy or as hard as I imagined them to be. Many technical skills like restraining techniques, drawing blood, using hemostats, and tying simple interrupted sutures just take a lot of practice and guidance. The people at LPC are patient and want you to succeed. But with success, there are many, many, many failures that you shouldn’t be embarrassed about. Sometimes you’ll hit a vein on your first try, and other times you might fail to try with all four legs. These are the experiences you need to have and the type of people you need to learn from. They were determined from the start to teach me everything they knew from answering phones, checking out clients, drawing up vaccines, and honestly anything you could think of, no matter how many times they had to teach me.
I cannot thank everyone at LPC enough for everything they have taught me this summer. Dr. Magnusson, Angel, Jade, and Eshan have all welcomed me into this family. I only hope that one day I can start teaching someone at LPC the way they all have taught me.
Dr. Magnusson’s VMCAS Recommendation for Hope Christy
Hope Christy is a little different than many of our students. With an unquenchably bubbly attitude and a disarming smile, Hope is great at making you feel like she’s got everything under control, even when she is whirling with nerves and excited energy inside.
What stands out to me most about Hope, is that she is unusually humble and shy about her own achievements. Throughout her training at our hospital, Hope would take notes almost in secret, perhaps not wanting to stand out as the exceptional student we all know she is. Speaking humbly of her athletic achievements, and how she left every day after volunteering a full day at our office to spend her evenings lifeguarding and teaching children how to swim all summer long, Hope never once complained about the amount of work we put on her, or the stress of trying to achieve that ever elusive work-life balance we veterinarians all struggle to find.
Hope’s attraction to animals is infectious, even to me. Hope sees every little furry wiggling butt like her very own family, like a mother would take care of a child. I thought at first that this attachment to her patients might make Hope shy about restraining or performing procedures on her patients, but my fears were unfounded, and despite my reservations, Hope is a straight professional when she needs to be.
While her academic achievements speak for themselves, what I find most interesting about collegiate athletes like Hope, is how easily she swaps identities between student, athlete, and professional. I think sometimes veterinarians feel the key to balance is to do less of everything, but Hope proves you can be a high achiever in many areas at once and still have time to cuddle a puppy.
My one complaint about Hope is that she doesn’t sing her own praises enough, and may not understand just how high she can climb. I know, in this social media age, the more common problem is young people who put too much focus on themselves, but despite all she’s done and continues to achieve, that’s not Hope. She’s humble, makes all those around her feel at ease, jumps in and gets dirty when called on, and ultimately gets the job done with a smile.
Hope will make a welcome addition to the veterinary profession, and to any veterinary college smart enough to snap her up.