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My Vet Tech Story: Devon Ayres, RVT

by Lori Hehn - Feb 5, 2016 8:00:00 AM
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This month we are featuring registered veterinary technician Devon Ayres, who is an ICU technician.

Devon has been working in the veterinary field for a long time, and I used to work with her during my internship when she was the critical care technician. And she is funny! Some of her answers during her interview made me laugh. She is amazing and we hope you will enjoy her inspiring story.

VTP:  When did you become a vet tech and how has your experience evolved into what it is today?

DA: I've been working in the veterinary industry for over 20 years but I started like a lot of people, as a kennel technician.  I "graduated" to technician in 2000. I had a lot of really excellent on the job training and received my Bachelors of Science from UCSD in 2002 which allowed me to use the alternate route program in California to become licensed. I started working in day practices, as do most of us, but moved into emergency and critical care which I really enjoy.

The hours aren't the greatest but the cases are more interesting and I think I do my best work when caring for patients with complicated disease processes, such as DKAs and acute on chronic renal failure and post-op surgical management of patients with PSS ligation, adrenalectomies, etc. I most recently worked at the Regional Referral Veterinary Center in Springfield, Virginia where I worked in the CCU and as a CT technician. A few days ago I moved to San Diego so I am currently looking for employment. 

VTP: What is the an interesting case you have seen in practice or something you have learned about being a vet tech?

DA: Hmmm, that's a broad question! I've had many patients over the years that I like to call "frequent flyers." Patients with chronic disease processes that necessitate regular emergency department and ICU visits. These cases are interesting to treat and I certainly honed my nursing skills with these repeat patients. But I think that what I learned most with them was to not judge people's decisions about their pets' care too harshly.
There were definitely times that I disagreed with a client's decision, whether to euthanize or not to euthanize, whether to go forward with a surgical option, whether or not to try medical management at home. As veterinary professionals, its our job to council a client and help them to make the best choice for the whole family. And the vast majority follow our recommendations. But will they always make the same choice that we would make? No. But it is their choice and veterinary staff need to refrain as best we can from judging those clients. Ultimately, they are the ones that live with those decisions.

 VTP:  How do you cope with job-related stress?
DA: What job related stress?! Just kidding. I'm an avid runner, rock climber and martial artist. I love being outside and traveling. I use exercise to de-stress after work and find that as long as I'm doing some kind of physical activity I'm much happier. I am also a firm believer in the therapeutic value of cake.

 VTP:  What pets to you have?
vt2.pngDA: I have two dogs and one cat. My cat, Elf, was a failed foster. I got her at 10 days old with the idea that she would be adopted out. Which did not happen as she is now 14 years old. My first dog is a mini Aussie... kinda. We actually have no idea what he really is as he was abandoned in a foreclosed home. His name is Bodie and he is 26# of happy.
The youngest is Crash at 2 years. He is a husky and yes we knew he was a husky when we adopted him. He is the least vocal husky I have ever met and I take him everywhere because he is a wonderful ambassador for his breed. His previous owner was a little over whelmed with his energy level but he is a great match for our family. 
 VTP:  What is your favorite duty in your job? What is it
 about your specific job that makes you happy and feel
DA: From a technical aspect, I really enjoy managing patients with tracheal tubes. I don't get to do it that often but I am the first to volunteer for those patients. And my coworkers are usually happy to let me! My other favorite duty is actually talking to clients. I want to make sure they fully understand what's happening with their pet so that they can make the best decisions about said pet's medical care.  
The thing that makes me happiest about my job is seeing a critical patient do well and go home. Its the best feeling in the world.
VTP:  Any words of wisdom for those preparing to be a vet tech or are considering this as a future job? 
DA: Some days are going to be hard. Really hard. Remember to take care of yourself because you won't be able to care for others if you're a mess. Take time off, travel, even if its only for a day. Remember why you started in veterinary medicine in the first place. You may not save every cat or dog or ferret or parakeet. But you can provide good care and love and compassion for the ones that come to you. You can be a lifeline for that one pet or that one client and that is something to be proud of. 

We will continue to do a monthly "My Vet Tech Story" piece to help inspire students or others who are considering this as a career or are interested in learning more about what vet techs do. 

Send Us Your Vet Tech Story! We'd Love to Hear About Your Experience!


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About Lori Hehn

Lori Hehn is a practicing veterinarian and a contributor and content manager with XPrep Learning Solutions. She has a drive for continual learning and enjoys interacting with veterinary and vet tech students. She also writes veterinary learning books for children.

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