Success Stories

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Lesley Wilson

Lesley Wilson, ABCVT, enrolled at Animal Behavior College (ABC) in March of 2008 to become a Certified Veterinary Assistant. Just a year and a half later, she is now working as a Surgery Technician Assistant at a veterinary hospital in Santa Cruz, CA where she currently lives.

Lesley had a variety of different jobs throughout her life. After taking some time off work, she decided it was time to go back with a purpose, “I took the ABC Vet Assistant course so that I could return to the working world doing something I loved,” she said.

Lesley had moved to Santa Cruz with her husband who was pursuing his career working for the University of California Santa Cruz. The ABC program is designed to be flexible and convenient so it allowed Lesley to learn from anywhere in the United States which made continuing her education easy, even while she was moving.

After Lesley completed the extensive in-home study portion of the ABC program, she was paired up with a local veterinary hospital where she would perform her hands-on training externship.

“I was lucky enough to be taken on at the Felton Veterinary Hospital for my externship. It is a smaller practice in my home town of Felton (just 10 minutes from Santa Cruz).“Lucky for me, the three doctors and the team of nurses were very supportive, extremely helpful, patient and excellent teachers. I wouldn’t be where I was today without them. The externship was my favorite bit of the course,” said Lesley.

After completing her 80 hours of hands-on training at the veterinary hospital, Lesley successfully passed her final exam. She graduated from ABC with honors, meaning she scored over 90% on all of her exams and externship.

Today Lesley has a career doing what she loves, caring for animals. She says, “I was hired on a part-time basis at the hospital where I did my externship as an Veterinary Assistant. I later took a second part-time job as a Radiation Assistant in a much larger hospital, Santa Cruz Veterinary Hospital (SCVH). Two weeks ago, I accepted a new position at SCVH as a surgery technician assistant. This is particularly exciting because the surgery days at Felton where always my favorite…now every day is a surgery day!”

Lesley says the most rewarding part of her job is being able to comfort the animals that are in pain or are just plain nervous. She believes that a good Veterinary Assistant must be “A good communicator, provider of good customer service, posses the ability to spontaneously adjust work flow, have a strong stomach and of course, have a compassion for animals.”

Lesley’s empathy for animals along with her education from Animal Behavior College has helped her thrive as a Certified Veterinary Assistant. She is grateful for her certification because she knows it has given her an advantage over others who are not certified. “A lot of assistants seem to work up from a kennel type background. I was lucky to skip that whole step and walked into being a nurse with all kinds of knowledge and skills that the kennel workers take months or even years to gain,” she says.


Teresa Cabrera

Having formerly worked in apartment management for 10 years, Teresa Cabrera, ABCVA, became ready for a career change and wanted her new job to allow her to be surrounded by furry friends. “I have always wanted to work with animals since they are my passion,” she says. “I came to a point in my life where I was able to make a career change and knew it was the right time.”

Teresa located Animal Behavior College (ABC) and enrolled in March of 2008 to put her career change on the fast track. The ABC program consists of an in-home study portion coupled with invaluable hands-on training available to students nationwide. The ease of the study materials along with guidance from her Program Manager, Penny, helped Teresa to excel during the in-home study portion of the program and prepare for her externship.

Once Teresa had completed her book work and passed all of her exams, it came time for her hands-on externship in which she volunteered 80 hours at a veterinary clinic in her area to practice what she had learned in a real-life veterinary setting. She was set up with the Vet Clinic of Palm Harbor, Florida where she was able to gain added guidance and assistance in mastering the tasks of a veterinary assistant. “The experience was awesome and the staff is very friendly,” she says. Actually, Teresa continues to volunteer with the Vet Clinic of Palm Harbor to this day as extra preparation for her career in veterinary assisting. With each passing day, she becomes more and more aware of the various aspects of the job. “My most rewarding moments have been when I have been able to perform tasks on my own after completing my externship,” she says.

Teresa sincerely recognizes the importance of the role of the veterinary assistant in an animal hospital and in today’s society. “Veterinary assistants are important because there aren’t enough people in the world that truly care about animals and have the desire to help educate the world about the needs of animals,” she says. As an ardent animal lover who admits that “animals are my true love, and they bring me happiness,” she has a bright future ahead of her working as a compassionate, well-educated veterinary assistant since graduating from the ABC Veterinary Assistant training program in October of 2008.

Teresa does not plan on halting her education here; she hopes to continue on to become a Certified Veterinary Technician. She explains that her ABC education laid a strong foundation for her future veterinary endeavors. “The curriculum covers everything you will be doing, not only as a veterinary assistant but as a veterinary technician.” To others wishing to work in the veterinary field, she describes the crucial characteristics of a person who works with animals – “Compassion, professionalism, dependability, empathy, understanding, and a desire to continue learning and growing in the industry,” she says.

As a confident ABC graduate and Certified Veterinary Assistant, Teresa knows that her ABC education has given her an advantage over other people wishing to become veterinary assistants. “I have an official certificate and the hands-on experience to back me up,” she explains. With her new ABC certification, she is now searching for a job as a veterinary assistant with confidence and pride. She knows that this career will help her to help animals, and that to her is a dream fulfilled. “It has already opened my eyes to different types of illnesses and needs that animals have that I never knew possible,” she says. “It has shown me that animals are not that different from humans in terms of what they need for healthcare.”

Teresa currently lives and works in Palm Harbor, Florida with her four cats, rabbit, and three fish.


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