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National Veterinary Technician Week with Katrina Parkinson

This is National Veterinary Technician Week! Meet USDAA competitor and veterinary technician, Katrina Parkinson.

October 11-17 is National Veterinary Technician Week, sponsored by the National Veterinary Technician Association of America. Let's show some appreciation for all the techs who help care for our dogs and other pets when they are in need! Today we feature Katrina Parkinson, a veterinary technician and agility competitor from Mill Valley, California.

Tell us about your experience competing in agility?

I am amazed at what a community I find at agility trials. It is heart-warming to watch people gather around and support their fellow competitors both in the ring and outside it. I have met so many interesting people from such diverse backgrounds while attending trials. I love that everyone has their own measure of success and I love to watch people come out of the ring like they just won nationals even when they didn't qualify. 

Do you participate in any other dog sports or training with your dogs?

I have dabbled in nose work and one of my dogs has her NW1 title. I really didn't have time to do both well, so I mostly stick to agility now.  

What types of dogs do you have and what are their names, ages, and any titles?

I have a faux Border Collie, Maddie. She is likely a Border Collie/cattle dog cross. She is my first agility dog and has her LAA-Diamond, ADCH-Platinum, PDCH-Platinum, VVD-Platinum, MACH, CATCH, NATCH-2, Vers-NATCH-2, and IWAC2. At 11, she just became the third highest ranked dog in the USDAA lifetime achievement standings. 

My second agility dog is a Border Collie, Fawkes. She is six-years-old. She has her LAA-Gold, PDCH-Gold, and ADCH. 

Tell us something unique or that you love about your dogs.

Maddie always sports a purple tail these days. She is deaf in her right ear following a surgery she had at the age of five. I am pretty sure she learned to read numbers as she always seems to know where to go, even when I don't.

Fawkes developed an odd habit of attacking tunnels when she was a young puppy. To this day, she will still run up and bite one when she is frustrated. It drove me crazy when she was younger, but now I just think it is a cute little quirk that makes her that much more special.  

How did you become a veterinary technician?

I stumbled into the job. I had to leave grad school where I was studying chemistry to have surgery on my ankle. One surgery turned into many and when they finally told me I was done with surgery, the vet I took my pets to offered me a job. I soon moved to a specialty clinic and sat for the RVT exam. I have been at the same clinic for almost eight years now.  

What do you enjoy about this job?

We are advocates for the animals. The vet has to work more with the owners and make sure they are happy too. For us, it is all about the animals. I am lucky enough to work for an orthopedic specialty clinic, so I am always learning things to help my dogs be the best and healthiest canine athletes. 

Whats one thing youd love dog owners and fellow competitors to know about being a veterinary technician?

When you are in a human hospital, you have a nurse that takes care of many things, a phlebotomist to draw your blood, an x-ray technician for x-rays, a pharmacist to fill your prescriptions, a custodian to clean your room, and a chaplain or therapist to talk to if necessary. A veterinary technician does all of these jobs for each and every animal in our care. It requires a diverse pool of knowledge and a lot of compassion. 


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