Graduates in the Spotlight

Jessica VanBoening
Veterinary Assistant for Bowling Green Veterinary Clinic

In love with animals since she was little, Jessica Van Boening always knew she was destined to work in the pet world. When she started exploring veterinary-field schools, Jessica realized she couldn’t afford an expensive veterinary technician school or college to get her veterinary tech license. Nor could she pay for full-time daycare for her then four-month-old daughter Rylee Sue. In addition, with a traditional classroom setting, Jessica knew she wouldn’t be able to spend much time with her husband Jaye, a six year Army veteran stationed at Fort Cambell, Ky.

“Jaye’s schedule was always unpredictable,” Jessica said. “Most jobs, people have set times of getting home. Not with the military. My husband could get a call in the middle of the night, having to be at work in 10 minutes. Or he would be at work for four hours and have the rest of the day off. It really is just hectic and I knew I could not plan on a studying schedule around his working hours.”

“ABC’s home-learning program was a perfect fit for me and I found it far more conducive to my situation when compared to the regular university I had attended for one semester,” she continued. “I could study when my daughter was napping and work my schedule around when my husband was home. I was very grateful that the MyCAA program provided me with the tuition I needed to complete my studies.”

Jessica completed her hands-on course training at the Bowling Green Veterinary Clinic and now works there. The knowledge she gained about snap tests, animal restraints and how to sanitize the rooms properly proved very relevant to her job. Jessica currently works in the sale barn at the facility. She tags cows and bulls for state identification and assists with pregnancy checks, vaccinations, semen checks and castrations. As she gains experience in the field, she frequently references back to the knowledge she acquired at ABC.

“I find myself doing things without being asked, which makes me feel amazing,” Jessica said. “I have random moments where I think, I totally remember reading about this in my textbook.”

There certainly is no shortage of animal “face time” for Jessica when she is at home. When her husband was recently deployed to Afghanistan for his third tour, she moved in with her mom and dad in Missouri. Between her “furry friends” and the pets at her parents’ home, there are a total of 38 animals. In the photo above, she is riding Ace, her Polish Arabian gelding who is 11 years old. There are also four other horses, her daughter’s pony, a miniature horse, three dogs, three cats, one rooster and 25 chickens.

Jessica always believed she’d be successful in the veterinary field.

“My ABC experience was so valuable in helping me reach my dream of working with animals, which I felt was my path even at an early age,” she said. “The staff was so nice and easy to talk to. I loved every minute of the program. When the things you do make you happy, you do them well.”


 

Jo Serrano
Veterinary Assistant for VCA Veterinary Care Hospital

Jo Serrano lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico and currently works at the VCA Veterinary Care Hospital. Although she loves working with animals, cosmetology was her first passion. She has been a hairdresser for 42 years and is presently working in both professions. Jo worried about her future, she says “I got to thinking that I didn’t want to be doing hair at 65. What else could I do that I am also passionate about? I have always enjoyed being around animals, and knew that a career in the veterinary world would be great!”

Two years ago Jo started looking for jobs in the veterinary field. Most of the available positions required previous experience and an educational background in veterinary medicine. Jo comments, “I was interested in the veterinary program at my local community college but it was too demanding on my schedule. I needed to work full time while also going to school.”

Jo began exploring other ways to work with animals. While doing some online research she came across Animal Behavior College. The ABC Veterinary Assistant Program would allow her to go back to school while still earning a living. She comments, “The course is very doable. The time frame is reasonable and so is the tuition. Also, studying at home and having access to practice tests was a big plus for me.” The hands-on portion of the course solidified Jo’s commitment to following this career path. “The externship helps a person see if they really want to work in a veterinary hospital. You work with live animals instead of just reading about them. I thought: I’m here with the animals and maybe I can help them somehow,” she says.

After she completed her externship, Jo continued to volunteer at the facility. The staff recognized her hard work and dedication and after 3 months, Jo was hired as a veterinary assistant. She knows that there is still so much to learn and is continuously trying to expand on her knowledge of the field. Jo observes and assists with a variety of procedures at the animal hospital including nail trims, blood draws, injections and catheter placements. She is receiving more training and becoming more successful everyday at the VCA Veterinary Care Hospital.

Jo describes her experience as an ABC Certified Veterinary Assistant as “nothing but positive.” She adds, “Everyone I have had contact with has been friendly, helpful, encouraging, and kind. I have recommended this program to several people. Animal Behavior College has made my dream become a reality.”


 

Trisha Southall
Veterinary Assistant for Angels for Animals

Trisha Southall has always loved being with animals and has a passion for helping those in need. After working as a caregiver at an adult group home for the past 14 years, Trisha began seeking a career that would incorporate both facets into her life. She explains, “I have always wanted to help animals, but the cost for college was a huge issue for me. When I saw an advertisement for Animal Behavior College on Facebook, I made the call, and haven't looked back.” The ABC veterinary assistant course was a perfect fit for Trisha because she would not only be able to work with animals but also nurse them back to health.

After successfully completing the book portion of the program, Trisha began her externship at Angels for Animals in Canfield, Ohio, only 15 miles away from her home. She says “It [the externship] was a great learning experience. I learned how to administer vaccinations, hold a dog during an examination, the proper procedure to give medication, and how to correctly clean a cage.” Halfway through her externship, Trisha was offered a job at the hospital. “Thanks to ABC college, I have more doors open to me than I ever thought possible. It helped me realize that I can be a successful vet assistant,” Trisha comments.

Once Trisha graduated the Veterinary Assistant Program with honors, she decided to continue to supplement her education by enrolling in the ABC Dog Obedience Program. She would recommend any of the programs at ABC to those interested in working with animals. In Trisha’s experience, “the ABC staff was always there to answer any questions I had and I could take the exams as they fit my schedule. I thought I would only get to dream of working with animals, but thanks to ABC that dream is now a reality.”


 

April Sparks
Veterinary Assistant at Eubanks Animal Clinic

For April Sparks, the courage to take a leap of faith has allowed her to touch and save animal lives in a big way. Originating from Jacksonville, Arkansas, ABC Veterinary Assistant Program graduate April Sparks always knew she wanted to work in the pet care industry. “Veterinary assisting has always been my first choice career wise. I have always wanted to work with animals.” However, life does not always go as planned. When April was blessed with a child of her own, she could not conceive how she’d be able to juggle going to school to pursue her dream along with being a new mom. April admits, “I have always wanted to study veterinary medicine, but when I had my daughter I thought that life was over, but this program has made me realize that I can do anything I set my mind to.”

After almost giving up her dream to pursue her career in veterinary medicine, April Sparks turned to the internet to do some research. She soon found the Animal Behavior College website, and along with it discovered that ABC works with the Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts (MyCAA) program to assist military wives in pursuing their career aspirations. April had little doubt once she discovered ABC that it was the college for her. “I considered Penn Foster, but Animal Behavior College seemed more informative and the admission counselors where so helpful. Terrence Crook was my admissions counselor and he was very friendly. He made me feel welcome. Michelle Metzger was my Program Manager and she was amazing! She was always there when I needed help. Everyone that I spoke with from ABC was pleasant and sincerely cared about helping me.”

April thrived as a student in Animal Behavior College’s Veterinary Assistant Program and graduated as an honors student. The home study allowed her to balance her learning with her time at home while the hands on portion gave her real life experience. “ABC has opened up so many opportunities for me and my family. I got to learn something that I love and always wanted to do while I stayed home and took care of my family. It has also made me realize that I can do more that I thought I could. ABC has boosted my confidence and it is an amazing school for full time parents and workers.”

After graduating from the ABC Veterinary Assistant Program, April was offered a job at the veterinary clinic that she did her externship at. She now works full time at the Eubanks Animal Clinic. She works with the veterinarian most days and as a receptionist a few days out of the week. “There are so many things that I have done and I have only just begun. I have taken the American College Testing (ACT) aptitude test and scored a 23. I have also applied to a university to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in biology. Hopefully one day I will continue on to Veterinary Medical School. I saved a puppy's life a week ago and I was so proud of myself. ABC taught me how to do this. I love going to work everyday. Without ABC, I would probably still be a housewife. I am so happy with my career choice. Thank you ABC!”


 

Megan Reitenour
Veterinary Assistant at Statesville Animal Hospital

With three generations of stock car racers in her family the name Megan Reitenour is most commonly associated with the world of Nascar. Reitenour began her racing career 15 years ago at the age of 5 when she began racing Quarter Midgets. Although being a professional race car driver was Megan’s first career choice, she has always loved animals and has used this love to spark a new career for herself. “I have had a hard time securing funding to race this year so I wanted to pursue my second passion. The care and well being of animals has always been very important to me.”

While Megan has always loved animals, it was volunteering with her local animal shelter that confirmed her desire to become a certified veterinary assistant. “I have always been good with animals but working at the veterinary hospital gave me the confidence to know I can do a good job and be successful at it. It also helped me be more alert for problems with my own animals as well as the pets of my family and friends. “

Having the desire to pursue a second career and actually finding the resources to do so is two different things. Once Megan knew she wanted to train to become a certified Veterinary Assistant, she then had to figure out how to work it into her busy racing schedule. After doing some research, Megan discovered Animal Behavior College. “I felt ABC was the best program available. It seemed structured, yet flexible to accommodate my busy schedule as well. I was able to work in a top notch veterinarian facility with great people who took the time to work one on one with me and let me get the hands on experience that I needed to be successful in this career field.”

A resident of Statesville, North Carolina, Megan now divides her time between working as a professional race car driver, a veterinary assistant, and a contributing supporter of SICSA (Society for the Improvement of Conditions for Stray Animals). She works with the Statesville Animal Hospital and is seeking permanent employment in the veterinary field. She is also focusing on starting her own pet sitting business in the near future.


 

Lynnda Ferguson
Veterinary Assistant at Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital

A New Mexico native, Lynnda Ferguson has always had a profound love for animals, beginning with the self-described love of her life, her thoroughbred horse Ajax. Throughout her life, Lynnda has pursued a great deal of endeavors, beginning with acting. She has been a professional actress for 25 years, and has worked in classical theater, on television, and in films. Although her career as an actress was something that she was passionate about, she had always dreamed of working with animals.

A few years before enrolling in the program, Lynnda faced breast cancer. Although the diagnosis was tragic, she has always looked at the positive side of things, and described it as a life-changing experience, in more ways than one. Surviving cancer made her realize that she wanted to work with animals, and that she belonged in the animal industry.

After some extensive research, Lynnda decided that the best education to pursue would be a Veterinary Assistant certification. She was drawn to Animal Behavior College because of the home-study coupled with hands-on training. What truly made her decide to become certified through ABC was the assistance of a program manager. Lynnda knew that she was a self-motivated person who could complete the program, but the fact that there was a professional in her field of study there to help answer all of her questions and assist her with understanding the information was the most appealing aspect of ABC.

Once she enrolled in the program, Lynnda was not disappointed. ABC’s faculty was warm, open, and willing to help. She found the material clear, concise, and easy to comprehend. Whenever she encountered something that she did not understand, she would call her program manager Ashlie with questions.

Lynnda’s favorite part of the program was the externship. Applying all of the knowledge that she had gained from the book work to a hands-on environment was an invaluable learning experience. The fact that ABC assisted her with finding an externship location was an aspect that she truly appreciated.

Lynnda graduated from ABC’s Veterinary Assistant program with honors in June of 2010.

As a result of becoming certified through ABC, Lynnda was hired at her externship location, and currently works there as a part-time employee. With ABC’s help, she found success in the animal industry, and is now living her dream. Since Animal Behavior College gave her an excellent foundation in veterinary medicine, she is now pursuing a degree as a Registered Veterinary Technician. She loves working with animals, and is open to any new opportunities that the veterinary field can offer her.


 

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