Friend to the four-legged

They are often confused for doctors, but the people in the blue scrubs are veterinary technicians, and it’s a whole different job.

Unlike some of her peers, Isabel Garay, 24, wasn’t faced with difficulty when choosing her major. Her passion to help animals keeps her going, which is why she chose to major in Veterinary Sciences and Technology.

Aa a child, she knew she was going to pursue a career in the veterinary field. Garay said her hobby was helping animals.

“I liked feeding the stray cats around my neighborhood,” Garay said. “I loved taking care of them. They had no one to look after them.”

Garay grew up in a supportive and loving household, despite of all the obstacles her family faced.

“We moved around a lot,” Garay said. “I had to move from my apartment to my grandma’s, and then from there, to a house with my whole family because of the Northridge Earthquake.”

Garay was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder, experienced educational struggles.

“I had to move from three different schools because of my disability disorder,” Garay said. “They kicked me out because I wasn’t learning quick like the others.”

Garay said the Pierce Vet Tech Program helps her out tremendously.

“It’s hard to concentrate with a disability because I focus and get distracted a lot,” Garay said. “With the program here, I get a lot of hands on work which is helpful for me.”

Garay said she enjoys the hands-on experience that she receives at Pierce.

“My favorite part are the labs with the animals, with the techniques, and the skills I learn,” Garay said.

Garay said that knowing how to hold an animal, knowing the difference between overdosing and underdosing, how to give a dog a pill and how to extract blood, are just a few skills that she has learned.

Angela Killipis, instructional assistant in the RVT program, said that Garay is a great student to have.

“She absorbs material, she is helpful, and she is participatory,” Killipis said.

One of Garay’s responsibilities as a vet tech student is finding homes for program animals.

“We had a program animal cat that got adopted, which is good,” Garay said.

Vet tech student Caroline Franko said that Garay is a great example of a successful student in the vet tech program.

“She’s one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met and really supportive,” Franko said.

Garay said that she uses the experience she learned at Pierce while working at a cat clinic sanctuary, where she rescue cats from shelters.

After Pierce, Garay hopes to get a job working with cats and reptiles.

Garay said that she might continue her education after Pierce.

“If I continue, I will probably go to CSUN and major in biology,” Garay said.