Career Spotlight of the Month (May 2020)
Name: Rebecca (Becky) Bartley, RVT, CCMT
Q & A with Becky
OAVT: Where did you go to school and what made you decide to take a Veterinary Technology program?
Becky: I graduated from the Georgian College Veterinary Technician program. Growing up I always had a fascination with animals and so I’ve always known I wanted to work with them. At first, I thought I wanted to be a Veterinarian. Once I was already in university, I quickly decided that my passion ran so deep I needed to take a quicker path to reach my goals. Joining the Veterinary Technician program was the best decision I had ever made. I was working with animals hands-on from the first day.
OAVT: Tell us a bit about your current job.
Becky: I currently am the owner and operator of Trooper Pet Massage & Services, a Mobile Veterinary Nursing Service for the Simcoe County and Muskoka areas. You will also find me occasionally at different practices around the area as I like to continue to Locum when I can!
OAVT: What inspired you to start your own business?
Becky: My love for animals and their humans is what inspired me. I have worked in emergency medicine, shelter medicine and traditional clinics. I even dabbled in the sales department with Royal Canin. I found I liked different aspects of each of those jobs. I love medicine and helping patients, I love building trust and earning the respect from owners. I focused on how I could build a career that satisfied all of my desires and likes, and I formed a Mobile RVT service.
At the time (2016) I still worked full time in a practice and could only offer very few services - like nail trims and ear cleanings. Since then, it has grown into a much bigger and more fulfilling role where I work along side Veterinarians and their teams to support stress free care and offer convenient services in homes for clients and their fur-babies.
OAVT: You mention working with Veterinarians and their teams. Veterinarians would be referring clients to you, following a treatment plan set by the Veterinarian. Have you had success connecting with clinics?
Becky: I have found great success working with Veterinarians. A lot of DVMs wish they had the time or staff to offer in home services like this, and by working so closely with their team I am able to boost their client/practice relationship. I work as an extension to their practice and I have found by running my business like this I am able to gain more support from local clinics.
OAVT: So what kind of services do you offer, under the recommendation or the direction of a Veterinarian?
Becky: Just some of the services I am fully equipped to offer in-home are blood draws, doppler blood pressure monitoring, medication administrations or demonstrations, bandage changes, and of course, certified canine massage therapy.
OAVT: When you started your business, did you see a need in the market for these types of services?
Becky: I have a passion for fear-free care, and when I noticed how much better patients were doing in their homes (even simply for a nail-trim) it made me realize that there was so much potential here to alleviate even more stress on the pet! Offering these services not only results in less stress for the patient (and family), it results in much more accurate results. I think we can all agree that the results of a blood pressure reading from a stressed, fractious cat in a clinic setting can be a little unconvincing. It is AMAZING how different those “Warning, will bite!” patients are in their home environment.
OAVT: What is a typical day like for you?
Becky: Busy! If you ask anyone who knows me, they will tell you I am not a “sit still” type of person. I constantly am on the go and always have a project I am working on. You can also imagine there is NEVER a dull moment with a young Border Collie around. I typically have one set office day a week, where I do all of my call backs/reminder calls and scheduling, and the rest of the week I am usually on the road. I do locum casually as well, which I try to do as often as I can.
OAVT: Do you feel like your RVT skills are being utilized in your current role?
Becky: One of the reasons I locum as often as I do is to make sure all my technical skills are being utilized. I love my role, and the majority of my technical and interpersonal skills are being used; however, there are just some skills (like anesthesia) that cannot be utilized on the road, and so it is extremely important to me to always have a role in a hospital somewhere, even if it is only one day a week.
Continuing education is also extremely important to me. Not only because it is a requirement through the OAVT, but because medicine is constantly evolving, and it is crucial to stay on top of it.
OAVT: What other jobs have you had in the RVT field?
Becky: Like I mentioned before, I have dabbled in many fields. Emergency medicine was intense but rewarding, and it's where I started out. I highly recommend for every RVT to pick up emergency shifts at one point or another in their career. It’s a game changer. It really puts why we do what we do into perspective.
I have also worked in small, family-owned and large, fast-paced traditional practices. From each I learned so much, but I have to say locuming has been my favourite experience in the regular practice scene. I have met so many wonderful people and learned so many “tricks of the trade”!
I also worked for a few years with Royal Canin as a Pet Nutrition Advocate. I presented to clients about their diets at events and in pet stores. This role really helped me step out of my shell and be able to approach and converse with strangers. It was very humbling. Although I have stepped away from that role, I am so glad I had the opportunity to do it.
OAVT: What advice would you give to RVTs who are thinking of starting their own business?
Becky: Follow your dreams! Pursue what makes you feel the most happy and fulfilled. Remember why you became an RVT and find what aligns with your morals. I have seen too many RVTs burn out or suffer from compassion fatigue (myself included). Do your research if you’re thinking about starting your own business and stay determined. It's intimidating but well worth it. And remember, you don’t necessarily need to start your own business to get out of the situation you’re currently in if you’re not feeling fulfilled. There are SO many opportunities for RVTs out there!
OAVT: RVTs are passionate people, and every RVT has an area they are most passionate about. What is YOUR passion?
Becky: As you now know, I have an interest in fear-free care but I also am passionate about palliative support. Having this mobile nursing service has allowed me to be a part of many pets' QOL teams, and it has been a very fulfilling experience. Canine Massage Therapy, in particular, has been incredibly rewarding as you can physically see improvement in the pet’s mobility and comfort level. I have such incredible clients and patients that make me feel appreciated and valued. I pride myself on my devotion to pets and their people, and feel lucky to have come as far as I have.