October 17-23 marks Veterinary Technician Appreciation Week! Vet techs are essential to the everyday workings of veterinary clinics and hospitals. In human health care we have nurses, lab techs, dietitians, anesthesiologists, radiation techs, and many more, but in veterinary health care vet techs cover all of those jobs. So take some time this week to say thank you to your vet techs for their hard work, compassion, experience, and care.

What is a vet tech?

blonde man in blue scrubs using stethoscope on old shepherdVeterinary technicians are an integral part of a veterinary care team. They have gone through a specific 2-4 year education program and practicum accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities. They also commit to participating in continuing education annually to stay up to date with the most current research.

Vet techs have been educated in the principles of both normal and abnormal life processes and in laboratory and clinical procedures and are responsible for the care and handling of all animals who enter their clinic or hospital. They work under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian and can assist in performing a wide variety of tasks. However they cannot diagnose, prescribe medications, perform surgery, or engage in any activity prohibited by a state’s veterinary practice act.

In addition to those regular responsibilities, vet techs may also specialize in certain areas after more training, testing, and a certification. Those specialties include anesthesia, clinical pathology, dental technology, dermatology, emergency and critical care, internal medicine, and nutrition among others. Visit the NAVTA website for a complete list.

When your furry friend goes to the clinic, vet techs are the professionals who are trained to:

  • obtain your pet’s medical history
  • collect specimens and perform lab procedures, including blood work and immunizations
  • provide specialized nursing care
  • prep your pet and the necessary tools for surgery
  • administer and monitor anesthesia
  • assist in surgical care and diagnostic imaging
  • perform dental prophylaxis
  • educate you on your pet’s health and medical needs

Check out this video honoring vet techs for their contributions to veterinary medicine:

How to celebrate your vet tech

This year Vet Tech Appreciation Week is focusing on the message of self care. Over the last year and more, vet techs have had to handle a workload and stress level that was beyond anything the veterinary community had seen before. Techs are on the frontlines every day, compassionately working with each pet and their owner to provide the best care possible. NAVTA writes that “they work tirelessly in exam rooms, labs, and operating rooms, putting to work their vast technical and scientific knowledge treating and caring for every species of animal.  Their broad skills – both professional and personal – allow veterinarians to work more efficiently and effectively.  And they do it all with love and a smile, day after day.”

While it is important to recognize their contribution to veterinary medicine, we must also recognize the importance of self care and support them in their efforts toward a healthy work-life balance.

If you’d like to do more than just thank your vet tech, here are some ideas for vet tech themed gifts:

  • Vet tech themed apparel, face masks, or tote bags
  • Customized bandage scissors or stethoscope tags
  • Travel mugs or tumblers
  • Gift cards, for necessary supplies/memberships or for their favorite coffee shop/restaurant/store
  • Any of these customized gifts from Etsy

This week and every week we honor veterinary technicians for their commitment to high quality, compassionate care for all animals. Thank you for everything that you do.

Top Reasons to Adopt a Shelter Dog

Everyone deserves a second chance, but second chances don’t always happen for shelter pets. When they do, they often come from people who are responsible, mature, and determined to make a positive difference. 

When you adopt a shelter dog, you give him or her a second chance. If you have are on the fence about adopting, the following benefits of adopting shelter dogs may help clear your mind.

golden puppy asleep on top of crate and bedding in shelter

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

You will be saving a life while discouraging puppy mills

According to the ASPCA, about 670,000 dogs are euthanized each year. Many of these animals face this fate because there is no space for them at shelters. No dog lover, including those who run shelters, wants to resort to euthanasia, but even as a last resort, it is often necessary.

There is something you can do – adopt a shelter dog! It may seem like a drop in the ocean compared to the number of pets in need. However, many dog lovers have realized its impact, adopted a dog, and significantly reduced the number of euthanized dogs. And to your adopted dog, you’ve made all the difference in the world.


While many dog breeders care greatly for the puppies they produce, and the work that goes into raising healthy happy pups, some backyard breeders conduct their business in unsafe conditions. They may mass-produce puppies and keep them under unfit conditions. Some even care more about profit than the dogs’ well-being. Many rescues and organizations are working to shut down puppy mills, but the process is long and difficult. It takes all of us to recognize and raise awareness of and then help stop these negligent breeders.

When you adopt a shelter dog, you can help to lower the demand at pet shops and unsafe breeders. Adopting a shelter dog may be your chosen way of standing up against cruel breeding practices.

You free up shelter space

If it was up to us, all dogs would be in loving homes. But each day, more people are compelled to surrender their canine companions. Research shows that more than 1 million pet owners have no option but to relinquish their beloved pets each year. Their reasons may include:

  • Personal health-related issues
  • Pet health-related issues
  • Pet housing issues
  • Inability to care for the pet
  • Insufficient finance

Many of the relinquished pets end up in shelters, but shelters have limited space. By adopting a shelter dog, you free up space in shelters so they can take in and save more pets.

It will cost you less

Depending on the breed and the pet shop, a pure-bred pup may cost anything between $500 and $3,000. However, popular dog breeds, such as Frenchies and Goldendoodles, often fetch an even higher price. On the other hand, adopting a dog will cost about $800 in addition to the adoption fees of about $500 to $700. 

Think there’s not much difference? Guess again!

These are just the initial purchase costs. Other costs include spaying/neutering and vaccinations. You will pay extra fees to get these procedures done on your pup when you purchase them from a pet shop or breeder. However, dogs from shelters often come already spayed and vaccinated.

Also, if you adopt an adult dog it is often easier to estimate other costs such as pet insurance, food, grooming, equipment, and training. Your pet will already be grown so there’s no need to purchase multiple sizes and types of equipment for a growing puppy. So it is not only cheaper but also may be easier to budget for a shelter dog.

Some shelter dogs come already trained

One of the biggest wins of adopting shelter dogs is that some come already trained. As we mentioned earlier, many pet owners relinquish their fur babies due to circumstances beyond their control. Often by the time this happens, many have already taken their furry friends through plenty of training. Though it’s likely the poor pooch may be anxious at first, they will start to trust and love you given time to adjust in positive surroundings.

Many dogs in shelters are potty trained, familiar with basic commands, and may even do simple tricks. The shelter staff will also give you plenty of information about their temperament, likes, and dislikes so that you can give your new pup the care and enrichment they deserve.

You will be adopting a furry buddy who can likely already behave calmly in many situations, and with some additional training and adjustment time, makes a wonderful companion for all of your hobbies and adventures. 

There is variety as well as consistency

With more than one million pets entering shelters each year, there is no doubt that those shelters have a variety of pups to choose from. Whether you like a large and athletic dog, a medium-sized pup who loves to snuggle, or petite dog who likes to lie on the couch all day, you can find them at a shelter. Shelter dogs range in size, age, breed, and personality. The great thing about shelter dogs though, is that they all go through behavior assessments when they arrive at the shelter, so depending on what you are looking for in a best friend, the shelter volunteers can help you find a dog that fits into your lifestyle.

You will make new friends 

Adopting a dog entails a longer process than buying one from the pet shop or breeder. You start by identifying a suitable shelter or rescue, then pick a potential fur baby. After these steps, you could be vetted, approved, and instructed on how to take care of your new friend. Some shelters even perform post-adoption visits. 

As you engage in this process, you are bound to meet many potential pet parents who have a heart like yours and interact with shelter staff frequently. You will expand your circle of friends who love dogs, especially folks who know a lot about dogs, like the shelter staff. 

brown puppy looking at camera and smiling with blue plaid collarPhoto by Troy Bridges on Unsplash

It is a worthy action

Last but certainly not least, adopting a shelter dog is a worthy action. Many pet parents understand the benefits of owning a dog, but when you adopt a shelter dog, you go a step beyond just owning a dog. Although you stand to gain the above rewards, more importantly, you do it for the dog’s sake; you save a life.

It’s your way of giving back to a species that has provided companionship, care, and protection to humans for centuries. And, as you do it for the dog’s sake, other dog lovers watch you and may be inspired to do the same. 


Contributing Author: Emila Smith is a freelance journalist and blogger with a love for those with four legs! She has grown up around animals and pets and wants to use her knowledge on pet behavior, training and lifestyle tips to help other pet parents live the best possible life with their furry friend.