Come to “Laugh Your Tail Off”, a fund-raiser March 16th in Kingston!

Come out and support the St. Lawrence Vet Tech Students and the Kingston Humane Society. It will be a fun filled evening with tons of laughs and excellent company. I won’t be performing that night but I’d love to meet you all.

http://kingston.absolutecomedy.ca/
Tickets are $10 (please see Holly Taylor or Satori Hiramatsu ) to pre-order.
There will be a 50/50 draw, tickets can be purchased at the door
Doors open at 8:00pm
The show will start at 8:30pm

The purpose of this event is to raise money to cover the cost to have guest speaker Sandra Lean-Leighton BA RVT visit St. Lawrence College to perform her show “Adventures of a SuperVet Tech”. http://sleanleighton.com/

Sandra is an actress with 21 years of experience and also has 20 years experience as a Registered Veterinary Technician. She has combined these two careers and written a one woman show about the daily trials and tribulations of a Veterinary Technician with a comedic twist. The show is meant to inspire future Vet Techs and share how the daily life of a Vet Tech can be crazy, full of surprises, physically & emotionally challenging, but also very rewarding. The goal of this show is to provide Vet Tech students with beneficial advice on how to be the best Technician you can be, prepare them with a few stories of common situations they can expect, also and how to deal with potential challenges.

Our goal is to raise enough money to cover the cost of having Sandra perform at our school and also to provide some refreshments for during the performance. However, we anticipate raising over and above the amount needed. So any money raised that exceeds our goal for the show will be donated to the Kingston Humane Society on behalf of the St. Lawrence Vet Tech Students.

 

 

Douglas SVTs

 

Kingston, here I come

I am delighted to announce that another Ontario College has signed onto the “Adventures of a SuperVet Tech” Ontario Tour. St. Lawrence College in Kingston, Ont.  has confirmed a show on April 8, 2016. Thank you Paula Kirkwood-Zahara and vet tech students Satori Hiramatsu and Holly Taylor for helping to put it all together. I can hardly wait to share the fun.

"Able to leap over a Clydesdale in a single bound!" by Dennis Martin

“Able to leap over a Clydesdale in a single bound!” by Dennis Martin

Dogster Magazine article profiling Sandra Lean-Leighton BA RVT

 

We Chat With the “SuperVet Tech” About Her One-Woman Comedy Show

The performer-slash-veterinary technician uses comedy to teach us about an often overlooked — but vitally important — profession.

Whitney C. Harris  |  Feb 24th 2016

Most dog owners have logged a number of hours at the veterinarian, but they may not be aware of a key player at the vet’s office: the veterinary technician. This is the person whose name you might not know but who you often see assisting the doggy doctor with all sorts of things, from X-rays to small surgeries. It’s one of the fastest growing professions out there, but there’s a lot most people still don’t know about it.

Given that many of us aren’t incredibly familiar with the role these professionals play in the lives of our beloved pooches, Sandra Lean-Leighton, a trained technician, has made it her mission to educate the public, with a healthy dose of humor. The result is a one-woman comedy currently touring colleges and conferences in Canada and the U.S. called Adventures of a SuperVet Tech.

Sandra Lean-Leighton and her alter ego, Super Vet Tech. (Photo courtesy Sandra Lean-Leighton)

To get an idea of Lean-Leighton’s style, check out her four-minute YouTube video “Believe It … Behind the Furry Curtain,” which she posted two years ago as she was first introducing her unique perspective to the wider world.

According to her years of experience, vet techs are the highly hands-on participants in so many animal health scenarios. The veterinarian does the diagnosis, but that person also has to run a business and take care of all the associated work and considerations. But the vet tech’s sole focus is on the animal.“We have so many great stories,” says Lean-Leighton, who has an acting background and calls the job of a vet tech “dangerous and incredibly emotional work.”

Aside from conducting lab work, ultrasounds, and administering medications in clinics, shelters, wildlife facilities, and anywhere else animals are found, vet techs deal with some fairly absurd situations on a regular basis. As Lean-Leighton tells it, she’s encountered a German Shepherd whose owner was convinced his dog could read his mind, a geriatric pooch with missing teeth whose owner pre-chewed all his food, and a dog whose ear infection was improperly treated with oral antibiotic pills shoved into his ear canal.

Then there’s the woman who was stupefied to hear that her female dog became pregnant. “That’s impossible,” she said. “My male dog is gay!”

Sandra-Lean-Leighton-SuperVet-Tech

It’s doesn’t stop there. Imagine for a moment changing an ear bandage on an uncooperative and brawny Great Dane, or eating your lunch while crouched down in a cage because you need to monitor an animal coming out of anesthesia. Plus every other emergency or high-stress situation, like nursing gunshot wounds in dogs who found themselves in the middle of a drug deal gone wrong or grief counseling those who are euthanizing their pets. This is the material Lean-Leighton has to work with as the person who’s essentially the go-between for the animal and the vet.

“I love working with animals,” she says. “So much is intuition and empathy and communication.”

And it’s also about having a strong stomach, a big heart, and a keen sense of humor – the three essential attributes that Lean-Leighton credits vet techs with having. Of course, SuperVet Tech can do some pretty amazing things, too. Like smell a parvo puppy from miles away and take an X-ray without a machine. But the act isn’t all stand-up comedy. It’s also about instilling pride in the audience of technicians and acknowledging the emotional and physical demands of the job – while wearing headgear, a cape, and funky boots for added entertainment value.

Sandra Lean-Leighton during a performance of her show. (Photo courtesy Sandra Lean-Leighton)

Currently, Lean-Leighton is looking for sponsorship so she can spread the word about her beloved profession and potentially raise funds for local shelters. And although she doesn’t have a dog at the moment – working 12-hour shifts makes cat ownership the better option – she had a pup when she was younger who died of distemper. “That made me wish I could have done something,” she says.

Today, Lean-Leighton has worked in more than 40 clinics and with more than 120 veterinarians, and Adventures of a SuperVet Tech is introducing her to hundreds of other professionals who she’s helping to inspire. In her mind, every animal is really special; it’s just a matter of figuring out what it is that makes each special.

And the same can be said of her. Who else would dress up like a mock superhero to spread awareness of the joys and challenges of her beloved profession and those she helps on a daily basis? It’s safe to say she’s doing something truly spectacular for the vet tech field and for the animals as well.

About the author: Whitney C. Harris is a New York-based freelance writer for websites including StrollerTraffic, Brides.com, and WhattoExpect.com. A former book and magazine editor, she enjoys running (with her dog, Finley), watching movies (also with Finley), and cooking meatless meals (usually with Finley watching close by). She and her husband (and Finley, too) welcomed a baby girl named Rowan in August.

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REVIEWS

Photo from Adventure of a Supervet Tech

 

In the Toronto Fringe show Adventures of a Supervet Tech, Sandra Lean-Leighton shares tales from over two decades as a Veterinary Technician. This is a zany, energetic show that packs a few unexpectedly emotional punches. This marriage of Lean-Leighton’s rich background in theatre with the colourful experiences she’s had as a vet tech aims to shed some light on a valuable but underappreciated profession. As she puts it, she takes audiences ‘beyond the furry veil.’

Sandra Lean-Leighton spent the first two decades of her career in performance, finding opportunities in Canada and internationally, both behind-the-scenes and as an actor. She founded Lilliput Productions, a children’s theatre company for which she wrote, performed, and produced a number of successful shows.

Lean-Leighton really gives it her all in this multimedia show, and is unflappable onstage. She’s a confident and warm performer, and able to charm. These are skills she likely honed in children’s theatre, and they work just as well here.
Indeed, I could see this show playing well to a wide range of ages, so long as audience members are prepared for some gross-out humour and frank discussion of male reproductive equipment.
If you require your theatre to be Very Serious and Cerebral, this isn’t for you. Lean-Leighton wears a superhero costume for much of the show, and there are plenty of goofy moments. However, if you’re willing to go with the flow and have some fun, there are laughs to be had as well as things to learn!
There are also brow-raising tales, particularly when Lean-Leighton reveals a few of the stranger behaviours exhibited by the more eccentric pet owners she’s encountered. She’s never cruel, however. In fact, there are some poignant moments as she discusses death, dignity, compassion and pain in an understated way that is quietly moving.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from the show, but Lean-Leighton won me over with her charisma and commitment. She’s not afraid of a little razzle-dazzle, and I couldn’t help but grin in response. It’s clear she loves what she does – the acting as well as her work with animals – and that adds something undeniable to this show.
Mooney on Theatre
More reviews……
 Adventures of a SuperVet Tech is a delightful production which exceeded my expectations. It is a passionate, entertaining and inspiring work. Some surprises: the amount of technology used in the field by a vet tech; the pathos evoked in the segment about euthanasia, which had a very personal aspect to it; and the description of the  CRAZY (her word) pet owners encountered. Fast moving, creative, and a great piece of theatre. Thank you Sandra for your WORK!!    Joan S. Toronto
And Another!
The show  re-ignited my student’s passion for the profession and  she felt much more confident in moving forward with pride and excitement.  She wanted to make sure that we knew how helpful the show was to her and thanked us for arranging your visit. I think that is proof-positive that you are achieving your goal of encouraging and inspiring these students! I was watching the students (and our staff) through the show, and lots of smiling, nodding and genuine enjoyment was evident!
Diane Boyle DVM Douglas College, Coquitlam, B.C.

 

Excerpt from the Show – SuperVet Techs

SuperVet Techs

Being a registered vet tech is not for sissies! Every vet tech needs 3 essential attributes; a strong stomach, a big heart and a keen sense of humour. Man, if you can’t laugh at the absurdity of some situations, you are dead in the water.

But, if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t mind their hands looking like roadmaps from scratches and bites and not just from clients who get an estimate, or thinks nothing about owning 3 cats, 2 dogs, 1 rabbit and 5 gerbils, all rescue cases, or spend more time at work on your hands and knees than……..well other professions, or if you can pick up a piece of poop with your bare hands without thinking about it, you probably have what it takes to be a vet tech. But what makes a veterinary technician a SuperVet Tech?

Well look at Batman, he doesn’t have superpowers, but just like him we’ve got the skills to operate the fancy gadgets and machines. Heck, we do lasers, X-rays, ultrasounds, cat scans.

And just like Spiderman’s and his Spidey sense. We have something I like to call “SuperSenses”. First off, there’s common sense, to singlehandedly fight chaos when all hell breaks loose in the treatment room.

Then there’s the sense of sight, to be able to see when an animal is in pain and needs medication. Or the sense of smell, to be able to detect kidney failure on a cat’s breath. Or the sense of hearing, to be able to hear a heart murmur on a little kitten, or the sense of taste, …… honestly, haven’t I grossed you out enough already? And most importantly, the sense of touch. To touch the heart of a grieving owner and know just the right thing to say. That, my friends takes super sensitivity.

No, with the combination of our experience, skills and SuperSenses, the truth is, all Registered Veterinary Technicians are SuperVet Techs. And you don’t need a cape and funny boots to prove that.

Excerpt from the Show- RVTS

RVTS

When I was an actress and attending a party, someone would ask the inevitable question, “What you you do?” When I told them I was an actress, you could see the feeling of excitement rising up in them.
” Have I seen you in something? Who have you worked with? Are you famous?”.
Nowadays, when at the same kind of party and the same kind of question comes up and I say “I am a Registered Veterinary Technician”, it’s a very different response.
” A what?” Some are polite enough to fain interest and slink off while others start going on and on about how expensive their last vet check-up was. I am neither surprised nor disappointed. But what does amaze me is the feeling I get when I state my profession. A warm glow wells up in me and I have a rush of immense pride. And it’s the memory of that feeling that keeps me going through the many challenges I face daily in my work: and there are many; the physical and emotional demands of the job, the relatively low pay and lack of recognition. Hey, every job has it’s downside and I could go on and on……..but instead…Here’s the good news.

Now, I’m going to be throwing some numbers at you so hold onto your seats. Look at the career websites out there. Veterinary Technology is one of the fastest growing professions there are. One says the need for RVTs will increase by 30% in the next 5 years. And get this, a recent scientific veterinary journal says a good RVT can increase the income of a veterinary practice by as much as $93,000 a year. Those are big numbers and make no mistake, vets are starting to take notice. Fully accredited Registered Veterinary Technicians earn 21% more than the unaccredited ones. There’s incentive to stay in school, huh? My friends, the future looks very bright. There are 12 different veterinary technician specialties such as Emergency Clinical Care, Large Animal, Squirrel Gynaecology…… not really Squirrel Gynaecology, just making sure you’re still with me.. But you get my point…… Our professional associations are working very hard on promoting us to the public. And that is key to our future. Hey, this is a great time to be a Registered Veterinary Technician.
I remember working at an emergency and referral facility. I was filling in for dermatology at the time: nice thing, nobody died on my shift. One day I walked into the trauma room and hit-by-car dog had just come in and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It was straight out of Grey’s Anatomy, the only thing missing was Dr. McDreamy. (aside) They killed him off, why did they do that? Anyway, all the alarm bells and whistles were ringing, drugs and fluids were flying, and 6 people were working very quickly but calmly using their skills to save a life. Wow! At that moment I remember thinking, “How did a right-brained artsy fartsy like me ever end up being a part of this fantastic team of professionals?”
I can’t tell you how honored I am to be among the ranks of Registered Veterinary Technicians. So for a moment, let’s give them the stage.

RVT photo montage 20 secs, music by Tom Leighton “Christmas on Queen Street”

Personal Profile on Vet Tech Prep Website

My Vet Tech Story: Sandra Lean-Leighton RVT

by Lori HehnDecember 4, 2015 at 8:00 AM

This month we are featuring veterinary technician Sandra Lean-Leighton, RVT! Sandra has a very unique story and we are honored that she is sharing with us. She is previous actress who became a veterinary technician and now does a “Adventures of a Super Vet Tech” Show. Her story is sure to make you smile!

VTP:  When did you become a vet tech and how has your experience evolved into what it is today?

SL-L:  After 20 years in the performing arts as an actress, writer and producer, I made the best decision I ever made, to go into veterinary technology. I attended Seneca College in King City, Ontario. I worked in different small animal clinics for 2 years, then established my company Vet Tech Support Services being a locum veterinary technician in over 40 different veterinary clinics in the Toronto area. My work has taken me from “Vet to the Stars,” caring for the pets of the rich and famous, to an ER referral clinic, working in dermatology and neurology, to shelter medicine at the Toronto Humane Society, one of the largest shelters in North America. I love the variety and challenge of meeting new people and learning a vast array of different veterinary approaches and techniques.

Two years ago I decided to combine my two careers. I’ve written a one-woman comedy about my experiences as a vet tech. I’ve been performing my show “Adventures of a SuperVetTech” for the vet industry and the general public as a motivation vehicle for vet techs and to raise the public profile of our profession. I am currently touring vet tech colleges and conferences and in July 2015 did a 7 show run at the Toronto Fringe Festival. The response has been amazing. I couldn’t be happier.

sandrafuzzy.jpegVTP: What do you do at work? Tell me about a funny part of your show

SL-L: A section of my show talks about getting a semen sample from a Pomeranian, wrestling a cormorant with a broken wing and treating gunshot wounds on a hound dog. Dealing with the “Peculiar Quirks” of various pet owners is also highlighted. We love the owners, but sometimes they come out with great lines like, “My female dog can’t be pregnant, my male dog is gay!!” or, “Do you have group rates for cremations? I have 23 dead cats in my freezer.” My personal favorite is, “I’ve installed a window in my freezer and “Fluffy” is sitting on a lovely pillow looking out. She says hello.”

VTP:  How do you cope with job-related stress?

SL-L:  Being a vet tech is very stressful and the chance of burn-out is always there. I try to keep my sense of humor. That is one of the most important elements to working in this field. If you can’t laugh at some of the bizarre things that we are asked to do, you’re dead in the water. It’s also very physical work so I keep in shape by bicycling. It helps me clear my head and gives me a good workout.

VTP:  What pets to you have?

SL-L:  I’m a cat person. I just have one cat currently, Redley, a rescue case, of course. He came to me with chronic stomatitis and after unsuccessful treatment, it was decided to pull all of his teeth. What a miraculous change for him! For the first time he is pain free, he plays, grooms and has a new lease on life. It makes me feel better about having to do drastic extractions on my patients. Through my experiences with my own animals, cancer, diabetes, or poisoning, it gives me an opportunity to see the veterinary world through an owner’s eyes. It helps me remember that this animal is loved and cherished by its owners, just as I adore my pets. It raises the stakes.

VTP:  What is it about being a vet tech that makes you happy and feel valued?

SL-L: I have to admit, I have a special place in my heart for shelter medicine. When an animal comes to us in physical or mental distress, I love to watch the miraculous change; my favorite thing is the release of that animal to its new owners. I always look to the animal and say, “This is the luckiest day of your life,” and I know it’s true. Also I love cat abscesses, so juicy and easily fixed and I love cystocentesis, liquid gold!

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VTP:  Any words of wisdom for those preparing to be a vet tech or are considering this as a future job?

SL-L: I can’t tell you how proud I am to be a veterinary technician. As a right-brained artsy-fartsy, I am in awe of the talented and dedicated people with whom I share the initials RVT. They constantly amaze and inspire me. My advice to vet techs is to bite the bullet, take the VTNE, and join this challenging world as a true professional. In the future, as this vocation gets the recognition it so rightly deserves with the general public, it will pave the way for better pay and better working conditions. Our vet tech associations are working very hard for that very thing. And of course, never…ever…lose you sense of humor!!

We veterinary technicians, with the combination of our skills, experience and “Supersensitivities,” that makes us all SuperVet Techs.

For more information about Sandra and “Adventures of a SuperVet Tech” please visit her website link or contact her at sleanleighton@gmail.com.

Do you have a unique story or would you like to share your vet tech experiences?

We will continue to do a monthly “My Vet Tech Story” piece to help inspire students or others who are considering this as a career or are interested in learning more about what vet techs do.

About Lori Hehn

Lori Hehn is a practicing veterinarian and a contributor and content manager with XPrep Learning Solutions. She has a drive for continual learning and enjoys interacting with veterinary and vet tech students. She also writes veterinary learning books for children.

Win/Win Show and Fundraiser at Douglas College

It was a win/win situation at Douglas College, Oct 8th as Sandra Lean-Leighton presented her hilarious theatrical production “Adventures of a SuperVet Tech”. Not only presented as a motivational show for vet tech students, the public were also invited to share in the fun and proceeds from the ticket sales went to a very worthy cause, the VTEC Fund for student bursaries and extra equipment for the program.

Below are testimonies by the staff of Douglas College………

“Thank you so much for coming and for an inspiring show for the students.  I thought it was very well done. I shared with you the story of the student that had been looking quite downhearted earlier in the day and had come to my office to share her frustration in her own performance and lack of motivation.  She was questioning whether she had chosen the right path, and if what she was feeling meant she should quit school. ….. She sought me out after the performance and was smiling from ear to ear.  She told me that the show had re-ignited her passion for the profession and that she felt much more confident in moving forward with pride and excitement.  She wanted to make sure that we knew how helpful the show was to her and thanked us for arranging your visit. I think that is proof-positive that you are achieving your goal of encouraging and inspiring these students! I was watching the students (and our staff) through the show, and lots of smiling, nodding and genuine enjoyment was evident!”
Diane Boyle DVM Faculty Douglas College

“We were able to raise a little over $400 to donate to the VTEC Trust Fund – a nice bonus to cap off a great evening.”
Brian Chapell, Dean Veterinary Technology Program, Douglas College

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