Meet Tia: Veterinary Technician Turned Practice Support Coordinator

Tia is a practice support coordinator at the VetCor home office.

Ever since I was little, I’ve been passionate about animals. My first pet was a cat named Kim. I got her when I was four. Throughout my childhood, I’d go on to have hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, birds, and, of course, more cats. As a Girl Scout, I took a trip to a horseback riding camp and absolutely loved it. My parents saw how happy it made me, so when I was in the fifth grade, they let me start riding lessons. At 16, I bought my first horse - a beautiful white Arabian named Prince - and I had him until I left home for college.

Tia and her dog, OllieIn 2010, I enrolled in Mount Ida’s Veterinary Technology program. While there, I completed six internships at a number of local animal hospitals, including VCA Palmer, Boston’s MSPCA-Angell, and VetCor’s Parkway Veterinary Hospital in West Roxbury, Massachusetts. I graduated from Mount Ida in 2014 and went on to pass my state boards and become a certified veterinary technician. While interning at MSPCA-Angell, I was offered a job upon graduating, so I started there a few days after receiving my degree.

Working as a veterinary technician at MSPCA allowed me to learn a lot and perfected my skills. When I first started out, I was nervous but I quickly learned that working at an emergency animal hospital doesn’t leave you much time to doubt yourself. Working in the emergency department was fast-paced and stressful but also extremely educational and fun. In less than no time, my confidence had grown and I felt ready to face any and all challenges that came my way.

In the first few months I worked as a veterinary technician, I was particularly interested in ophthalmology. However, the more animals I saw and cared for - which included skunks, possums, and ducks in addition to companion animals, pocket pets, and exotics - the quicker I realized that I was interested in everything. My favorite part of the job was doing life changing, and life saving, work. In fact, I once assessed a dog and found that her gums were badly bruised. That discovery led to the diagnosis of a bleeding problem that, if left untreated, could’ve been fatal.

Two years after I started working at MSPCA, I decided I wanted to obtain my master’s degree. In the fall of 2016, I enrolled in Mount Ida’s Healthcare Management program. Eventually, working at an emergency animal hospital while taking college classes got a bit exhausting, so I took a job at Parkway Veterinary Hospital. It proved to be a wonderful decision. The Parkway team was tight knit and welcoming and VetCor was great about communicating with everyone to make sure they had whatever they needed.

As I got closer to finishing my master’s degree, I thought I might need to complete an internship before obtaining my diploma. I was familiar with VetCor because they had acquired Parkway about a year prior. I checked out their website, hoping to find a relevant internship opportunity. Instead, I found that they were looking for a practice support coordinator. I applied, got invited to the corporate office to interview, and received a job offer.

Tia and her husband, John, at their weddingI was pleasantly surprised by my transfer to the corporate office. Like they were at Parkway, the people were friendly and welcoming right off the bat. There’s a great sense of community in the home office. Although my current job is much different than it was when I was working at an actual hospital, the five years I spent as a veterinary technician have helped me immensely. My job now includes completing tax paperwork and x-ray registrations as well as sustaining vendor relationships. However, my veterinary technician experience provides me with unique insight into what our hospitals need which allows me to feel confident about making decisions for them. I’m really lucky to be able to say that I enjoy what I do.

When I’m not at work, I love spending time with my husband, John, and our dog, Ollie. We adopted him two years ago on my birthday. Funnily enough, we didn’t even intend to adopt a dog on the day we brought him home. We had been walking a nice dog-friendly hiking trail in Weston and saw that everyone around us had dogs. For a few months, we’d been looking for “the one” but we didn’t have any luck.

On a whim, we decided to go check out Northeast Animal Shelter in Salem. I pulled up their website on my phone on the way there and looked at the adoptable dogs. That’s when I came across Ollie. Immediately, I fell in love - and so did John. We took Ollie home the same day and he’s been making our lives better ever since.

In terms of work and life, in general, this past year has been a whirlwind. I earned my master’s degree in May of 2018 and spent a semester working as a lab assistant at the University of Massachusetts (UMASS). There, I was able to teach future veterinary technicians how to safely draw blood and give injections to mice, hamsters, gerbils, rats, and rabbits. A few weeks ago, on January 5, 2019, I married John in a beautiful ceremony held in Leicester, Massachusetts. The day was a magical blur filled with friends, family, laughter, and fun.

Now that I’m married and the wedding planning is finished, I’m setting my sights on obtaining my doctorate degree. I’ve been looking into Business Administration programs, although I’m not sure when or where I’ll go. Regardless, I’ve got John and Ollie and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.