For a Vet Tech, Duty Calls Even When It’s Cold

Published on January 29, 2014 by arothstein

(MIDDLETON) The life of a veterinary technician is anything but glamorous. The scrub-wearing warriors are the frontline defenders in animal hospitals and veterinary clinics. Even a farm call in Idaho is not out of the ordinary. No matter where they go, they can often be seen covered with anything from pet hair to horse manure and all kinds of bodily fluids in between. Before they go out into the field—ready for battle—many of them receive their training through the veterinary technology program at Broadview University. One thing all students here learn: duty calls even when it’s cold.

Practice makes perfect. A student in the veterinary technology program at Broadview University draws blood on a horse at Blazing Hope Youth Ranch.

“Being a veterinary technician is more than showing up to work in an office,” Heather Williams, an instructor at the Boise campus, said. “I have done farm calls when it’s 20 degrees below. Cows and horses still need their stuff—whether it’s cold or not.”

On this chilly day, it’s well above that at a whopping 25 degrees. Students in Williams’ equine class are testing their knowledge and skills at Blazing Hope Youth Ranch. The local ranch is a nonprofit, faith-based organization owned by Mike Howard. It is the place that Howard and his two dozen resident horses, three dogs and some cats call home.

Thanks to a generous $275,000 gift from an anonymous donor, Blazing Hope recently moved from its location in Nampa to Middleton. The land, the house that sits on it—including the fencing and labor—were all donated by community partners.

For the past three years, Broadview University’s vet tech program has used the site as a classroom extension for hands-on learning and service-learning projects. Students come here year round to apply what they have learned in the classroom, and have it be of benefit to Blazing Hope.

Students visit the nonprofit ranch year round to apply what they have learned in the classroom, and have it be of benefit to Blazing Hope.

“I got into vet tech because of horses,” Alie Columbus, one of the students, said. “I had a horse with a leg injury. I started noticing a lot of horses out there with people who didn’t want to bother with it.”

Wound care, blood draws, administering deworming medicine, and vaccinating dogs, cats and a baby horse, the students work without complaint in the sub-freezing temperatures. Howard is impressed by what he sees.

“Large animal vets and their vet technicians practice rain, shine or cold,” he says. “Not one of those promising students complained.”

The ranch is a familiar site for almost all of the students who go through the school’s veterinary technology program.

“I truly appreciate what Broadview University does for us,” Howard said. “The students who come out here are great helpers. I think it’s a great partnership all the way around.”


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