Preventative Care@3x

National Vet Tech Week: Q&A With AZPetVet’s Heather Bonaski

Oct 12, 2022 | Ask a Vet, AZPetVet, Holidays, Vet Tech Week


What Is a Veterinary Technician?

They’re amazing; that’s what they are! In any veterinary facility, vet techs play one of the most critical roles. A CVT, or certified veterinary technician, has likely earned an associate degree or higher in veterinary technology from an accredited school and passed a national exam demonstrating specific knowledge and competencies. CVT training typically includes lab and clinical work with live animals. Anywhere there is a veterinarian on staff, you’re sure to find a vet tech serving as their right hand! We also want to take this time to recognize our awesome veterinary assistants who work alongside our techs and doctors to ensure a smooth-running clinic.

In honor of this year’s National Vet Tech Week, we met with Heather Bonaski, the learning and development manager at AZPetVet and a certified veterinary technician. Heather has flourished in her time at AZPetVet, working her way through many positions at individual hospitals, to a role in the business office, and has tons of experience working as a tech- making her the perfect person to answer your top questions, including how to become a vet tech and what exactly a vet tech does, along with her background in the veterinary field. 


How long have you worked at AZPetVet?

I’ve worked with AZPetVet for seven years. I started at the Goodyear location as an extern in tech school and moved up to a CVT (Certified Vet Tech) and then into the role of a tech supervisor. I have also worked as a hospital manager at our Westbrook and Sarival locations before transferring into my current learning and development position in the business office.


For those wondering how to become a vet tech, what is your training/background?

The path looks a little bit different for everyone, but I’m a certified veterinary technician as well as Fear Free and Recovery CPR certified. I have an associate degree in veterinary technology and a bachelor’s in business. Between managing at our Westbrook and Sarival locations, I also taught veterinary assisting to junior and senior-level high school students. The more field exposure I get, the better. We’re always learning! Another way you can begin your career as a tech is as a Veterinary Assistant. Veterinary Assistants work alongside techs and doctors to gather history from clients, get vitals on patients, help with treatments such as ear cleans and nail trims. In addition, they run in-house lab work, help educate clients, and so much more! There are veterinary assisting schools, but at AZPetVet this can also be an entry-level position (with no schooling). We have training programs developed to help train these skills on the job! As assistants learn more they can also be promoted into non-credentialed veterinary technicians.


Did you always know you wanted to work in this field?

Yes! I’ve always known I wanted to go into the veterinary field. Like many others, my dream was to become a veterinarian as a child. However, as I got older, I realized that while I have a strong love for pets, I also have a great desire to guide and educate, which led me to my current role. Working at AZPetVet, I really get the best of both worlds. 


What inspired you to become a vet tech?

That’s easy! My love for animals and science ultimately drew me to this field. It’s so rewarding having a career that allows me to do both. 


What is the most rewarding part about working at AZPetVet?

The most rewarding part about working at AZPetVet is the feeling that we’re all working towards the same goal of helping animals, whether that’s with the doctors and support staff in the hospital physically helping them or the team members in our business office helping the hospital and teams run more efficiently so that they can best care for their patients. It really feels like a family!


What does a veterinary technician do/what does a day in the life look like?

A vet tech’s day-to-day really varies. Sometimes they assist in research, perform lab procedures, prep animals and equipment for surgery, administer vaccines and medications — the list goes on! A day in the life of my current role can look pretty different each day, too. I spend quite a bit of time creating and updating training for our team members. Each month I get to meet and present to new hires at orientation, but my favorite days are the ones I get to spend in the hospitals working directly with team members. 


Do you have any pets of your own?

Of course! That would be like a tattoo artist without tattoos! I currently have a 10-year-old domestic short-haired cat named Chewy, an 11-year-old Pembroke corgi name Dakota, an 8-year-old pit bull named Totoro, and we just brought home a new pit bull puppy named Moose!


Can you recall one of your funniest/most memorable moments at AZPetVet?

I don’t know if I could pick just one funny or memorable moment to share. I have so many great memories working with AZPetVet, like the time a sugar glider jumped off of a tech’s head, or we created a music video from security footage of team members dancing, or helping with puppy c-sections. I’d say most moments at AZPetVet are memorable! 


What is something we didn’t discuss that you think people should know about being/becoming a vet tech?

This is such an amazing and ever-growing field. When I decided to become a vet tech, my whole life changed, and so many doors were opened to possibilities I could never have imagined. In my opinion, the veterinary field is the best place to be. We get to work with cute puppies and kittens, help heal furry (and not-so-furry) family members and be there for people in need.


The question, “What does a veterinary technician do” is not so simply answered! What don’t they do is the real question! National Vet Tech Week presents an excellent opportunity to celebrate the incredible work of veterinary technicians around the country. But, that hard work, compassion, dedication, and determination to keep the pets in our community happy and healthy does not go unrecognized year-round. Huge thank you to Heather and our amazing AZPetVet team for all you do, and happy Vet Tech Week!


Disclaimer: Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately.