Veterinary Technician graduate
Staff member, Think Wild Wildlife Hospital
For Caroline Read-Mullins, treating and releasing wild animals, such as golden eagles and great horned owls, is part of an inspiring career, one that launched with her COCC Veterinary Technician training.
“I’ve always been deeply interested in animals and had planned on graduating college with a degree in zoology,” she says. After shifting gears into the study of art — where her muse was mostly wildlife and nature — Read-Mullins’ path beyond college soon changed to raising a family and overseeing a farm on Puget Sound. But as her children grew, her career thoughts began to drift back to her original aspirations.
“After doing some research, and always wanting to move to Bend, the COCC Vet Tech program was perfect for me,” she says. “I was impressed by the instructors’ deep wealth of knowledge. I really enjoyed the fact that each class was taught by a veterinarian or a professor who was specifically knowledgeable in the subject that we were studying.”
Upon finishing the program and becoming certified, Read-Mullins began her career at
East Bend Animal Hospital, with a plan of eventually transitioning to Think Wild,
a Bend-based nonprofit wildlife hospital. At Think Wild, she does patient intake and
intake exams, helps prepare medications, assists with surgical procedures, runs fecal
tests, and checks bloodwork. She also coordinates volunteers, and, of course, helps
with releases. “I can’t get enough and am always looking for more experience and knowledge.”
Read-Mullins has also volunteered as a live collection staff member at the Lindsay
Wildlife Museum in Walnut Creek, California.
Think Wild admitted 700 patients last year, from songbirds to small mammals. “Knowing that I am helping injured wildlife return to their natural environment is endlessly rewarding for me, as is ending the suffering a wild animal would have to endure if left to die. I believe wildlife rehab is not only a growing field but also more important than ever before.”
COCC Veterinary Technician student
“When I made up my mind to pursue a degree as a certified veterinary technician, I initially intended to study via distance learning. At the time, I had the good fortune of working with some recent graduates of the COCC Veterinary Technician program. They were so capable, so skillful, that I began reconsidering my distance learning plans. Over the following months, I heard a great deal more about COCC’s program: its immersive hands-on learning, its academic rigorousness, its reputation for excellence. The graduating class before mine also achieved a remarkable 100% Veterinary Technician National Exam pass rate, which was quite an achievement and a far cry from the passing rates of the distance programs I was considering. COCC’s program is hard, no bones about it, but doable. Veterinary medicine can also be an emotional rollercoaster, full of highs and lows every day. The biggest reward for me is knowing that I’m making a positive, tangible impact on the lives of animals and the people who love them.”
Veterinary Technician graduate
Crooked Tails Veterinary Clinic
“I’m super happy to be in this new career — I wouldn’t change it for the world.”
Having grown up on a dairy farm in Idaho, Jill Ward bonded with animals from an early age. She knew animals would always factor into her life, even if her first career as a hair stylist took her in a different direction — for 20 years. But the day came when Ward craved a change, and despite being somewhat daunted by the Vet Tech training, she dove in and never looked back.
“Working in veterinary medicine was always something I wanted to do,” she says. “Never in a million years did I think I would have this much responsibility, and be able to do it,” she adds, recalling some challenging days that revolved around science- and math-oriented schoolwork. “But as soon as I got my hands on the work itself — and I mean anything — I knew I could do it.”
Having worked with Crooked Tails in Prineville and Cinder Rock Veterinary Clinic in Redmond, Ward is practiced at everything from animal dentistry to filling prescriptions to performing ultrasounds. Every day is unique and there are so many different species out there, she shares.
“I’ve worked with a lot of men and women who went to different schools all over the country,” she adds. “I do feel like COCC’s program was just as good, if not better, than a lot of other programs I have heard about. I’m super happy to be in this new career — I wouldn’t change it for the world.”