I grew up on a small farm in the little town of Madras, located in Central Oregon. I always knew I would make a career working with animals, not only because my mother is also a veterinary technician, but because as a child I was always preoccupied with caring for our animals or those we found and took in.
When I was very young, it was a special day when I could accompany my mom to work at the clinic. I was captivated by surgery and not at all frightened by watching Dr. Mark McFarland remove a diseased eye from a cow, or Dr. Hallie Miles-Moore amputate a foreleg on her own dog. I often played sick so I could go to work with mom, watch all the cool surgeries and occasionally be asked to “help.” If you ask mom she will tell you I always got as close to the action as possible to be sure I saw it all!
Although I could have attended technician school right out of high school, I wanted to expand my knowledge so I enrolled in Oregon State University where I earned a BS in Animal Science and a minor in Agricultural Business. During summers off, and then part time during my last two years of college, I worked in private practice. After graduation, I worked full time in a really wonderful general practice in Oregon, but realized I wanted to get out of the Willamette Valley rain. So, in 2009 I moved to Boulder, Colorado, where I worked as an anesthetist and surgical nurse at a specialty veterinary practice.
In 2011, I was offered an extraordinary opportunity: to join the amazing staff at the CSU Flint Animal Cancer Center. Like most people, I used to think oncology was sad, but all my false assumptions changed dramatically on my very first day. I was blown away by the compassion, care and attention given to each and every patient, and deeply impressed by how every pet owner is treated not like a client, but like a member of the family. The learning atmosphere at the FACC is not exclusive to students, but shared by the entire staff. Every day I learn something new about medicine, the human-animal bond, and about life.
One intriguing fact about the FACC is that our patients are the happiest individuals in the waiting room. We are always greeted with smiles and hugs. Our patients don’t know they have cancer; they only know that when they come here, they receive undivided attention that includes a lot of love and lots of cookies! It is both touching and encouraging to know that our patients aren’t afraid to come for their appointments.
Cancer and cancer treatments never act the same way from one patient to the next. This is both interesting and frustrating at the same time, and one of the reasons I am excited to be a part of the FACC. Our team works endless hours conducting research that will, hopefully, benefit all cancer patients—animal and human. Thanks to our work, we can offer our patients the option of participating in clinical trials based on our research and research done around the country.
We are dedicated to providing clients with the latest treatment options, high quality care, compassion and trust. What I enjoy most is the patient-nurse-doctor-client relationship that is formed with every patient family. I love helping people feel comfortable with their decision about care for their beloved pets because there is no wrong decision. I am happy to come to work each day knowing I can help a family, as well as learn new ways to be a better nurse. There is no better place to be!
I try to maintain a good work-life balance, so during my free time I love playing indoor and grass volleyball, coaching high school volleyball, baking, scrapbooking and spending time with my handsome six year old kitty, Bosleigh.