Shea: Client Care Extraordinaire…

Shea

Shea Heagle is one of the many amazing people in our client care team at ACCESS Specialty Animal Hospital – Los Angeles. Shea is bright, funny, and compassionate; and we wanted to know what brought her to her current position at ACCESS.

Why veterinary medicine?

Shea never intended to work in veterinary medicine per se, but during a job search she found a description that fit her-customer service, love of people, and working around animals. When she was in high school, Shea hadn’t figured out what she wanted to do just yet…until she met her English teacher who inspired her to work with others.

What brought Shea to ACCESS?

This Pasadena native earned her Master’s degree in Educational Counseling from the University of Laverne and wanted to apply those skills in a new setting. Shea genuinely loves people and has always “worked in the people business.” We think her knowledge and experience is crucial to her position and Client Care is something she excels at.

Where is her favorite place to visit?

Shea loves the beach-Miami, Florida to be exact. This West Coast gal loves to vacation where the water is always warm and the people are super friendly.

What is Shea’s favorite animal and why?

Shea has absolutely no idea where her love of Polar Bears came from, but she adores them! She also has a fondness for Golden Retrievers because “they’re adorable and precious.”

What would she be doing if she weren’t working at ACCESS?

“Working in a school.”

What is her favorite meal?

“Mexican food for sure! I could eat chips and salsa all day, every day.”

Does Shea collect anything?

Shea loves bottle openers and has between 10 and 15 that she has collected over the years as souvenirs.

What is the most challenging case Shea has had?

The life of an emergency room Client Care Representative can be trying both physically and emotionally, so it is no surprise that Shea’s most challenging and most rewarding case involved an ER patient. A client had brought in his cat on emergency-the poor kitty was in critical condition. After much thought, discussion, and time spent with his pet, the owner made the difficult decision to euthanize. Shea was with the client and his pet from the very start and spent time speaking with him about his cat’s long, fulfilling life and the love that he had for his dear pet. Shea was emotionally invested in the case and it saddened her deeply to see this client so heartbroken. Before leaving, he told Shea he was going home feeling better because of her.

What is Shea’s advice for pet owners?

Do not procrastinate in seeking medical attention for you pets, because some things can worsen while you wait.

What does she consider to be her greatest achievement?

“Getting my Masters.” We can’t agree enough with that! Shea has achieved an amazing degree in a field that she is passionate about. We are proud to work with someone that is so dedicated to counseling and caring for others.

We are lucky to see Shea’s talents utilized every day that she’s at ACCESS. Outside of work, Shea loves to try out new Pinterest recipes, her latest being a steak roll-up!  From working closely with clients and doctors, to speaking with admin and connecting with her peers, Shea oozes compassion, integrity, intelligence, and a great sense of humor. We are grateful to have found such a great team member, coworker, and friend.

A Wild Rabbit’s Wild Ride…

Piston is a young male rabbit that is believed to be about one year old. The little bunny came to ACCESS Specialty Animal Hospital, Los Angeles, after a long ride from Nevada to Manhattan Beach—inside the engine of a Toyota Sienna! Luckily, technicians at the Manhattan Beach Toyota Dealership were able to remove Piston from the engine. Avian and exotics specialist, Dr. Olivia Petritz, examined Piston and found no injuries. Miraculously, this wild little guy was in great condition! He is still doing well and has plans to be released by a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.

It is important to note that only licensed wildlife rehabilitators are legally allowed to care for wild animals. Please contact your local wildlife rehabilitation center if you find a sick or injured wild animal.

piston-2

piston-1

Chloe: Vet Tech, Animal Lover, Cancer Survivor…

chloeT

Chloe Thum is one of the many talented Registered Veterinary Technicians who works in our interventional radiology department at ACCESS Los Angeles. This bilingual California native brightens our workday with an ever-present smile, constant optimism, and total adoration for her patients. We wanted to find out more about what led Chloe to ACCESS, so we spoke with her about her interest in veterinary medicine, her battle with cancer, and her “Beast Master” skills.

What brought Chloe to ACCESS?
She is from Northern California and decided to come to Los Angeles when her sister, then a veterinary student, came to ACCESS for an externship. Chloe ended up working with us as a veterinary assistant, saying “this hospital trained me as a tech, I owe a lot to this place.” After leaving to work in an oncology practice (and later a general one) she completed her RVT and, returned to ACCESS to work in our interventional radiology department.

Why veterinary medicine?
Chloe was diagnosed with stage IV cancer and was in renal failure at just 18 years of age. Against all odds and after two years of chemotherapy and radiation, Chloe beat cancer and came out of the ordeal with a new best friend, her Samoyed named Jenner. Jenner is a recovery dog and went to all of Chloe’s college classes with her. After graduating from UC Berkeley with degrees in Spanish and Anthropology, Chloe fell in love with dogs and felt it was time to take care of others – in this case, animals.

Why did Chloe become an RVT?
“It opens doors. With a certification you can do rehab work, and even work in many facilities in South America.”

What is her favorite place to visit?
“I loved the Peruvian jungle! It was beautiful and filled with awesome birds and animals.”

What is Chloe’s favorite animal?
This was a tough one for Chloe, but she narrowed it down to birds (specifically raptors and parrots) and dogs. Though she says all dogs are amazing, she prefers the big, wooly breeds.

What is her favorite thing to do at the hospital?
Although Chloe works in our interventional radiology department, which utilizes fluoroscopy to do minimally invasive lifesaving procedures, she loves the basics! She really enjoys caring for patients, making sure they’re comfortable, well fed, and loved. She also really enjoys anything with abscesses. There’s a satisfaction to providing immediate relief for a patient and cleaning out an infected area.

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?
“Getting my RVT license. I was working full time in the veterinary field during the day and coming home to work on my license at night. It’s no joke—it’s medical boards! …oh, and I beat cancer!” Luckily, Chloe has been cancer free for ten years, and we couldn’t be more thankful for that!

What is the most challenging case she’s ever had?
Chloe’s most emotionally challenging case involved one of our beloved patients, a yellow lab who was anemic and had kidney disease. Chloe became very close with the family and was one of many staff members who fell in love with the sweet dog. It was very difficult to watch the dog’s health decline.

Chloe, a self-proclaimed Beast Master, has raised wildlife in the past! This was one of the most challenging yet rewarding times in her veterinary career, as young raccoons and crows require great attention and care.

What are her tips for pet owners?
Chloe tells pet owners to “pay attention, animals will tell you when something is wrong. Spay and neuter for the love of God!” She also wants to advise owners to speak with their primary veterinarian before changing their diet.

Does she have any advice for me?
Chloe’s best advice to anyone is to “laugh loudly and work hard” and we couldn’t agree more!

“She is amazing. She’s so talented and intelligent” says coworker Krystle. Always willing to lend a hand to those who need help, Chloe’s caring, devoted, happy demeanor is absolutely contagious. You can catch Chloe nurturing her patients at ACCESS, Los Angeles working alongside Dr. Erinne Branter and her skilled team. Outside of work Chloe likes to read, collect original contemporary art pieces, and sing folk music.

chloeT2

Dr. Annie Lo: A Cut Above the Rest…

Dr-Annie-Lo

We are thrilled to announce that Annie Lo, DVM, DACVS is now a board-certified veterinary surgeon. Dr. Lo, a California native who grew up in San Francisco, received an undergraduate degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of California, Berkeley in 2000, after which she extended her studies with research in human hematology.

In 2009, Annie completed her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree at the University of Illinois, going on to complete a small animal surgical and medical internship at the University of Pennsylvania, where she stayed on as a Small Animal Surgical resident.

Today, fully entrenched in the Department of Surgery at ACCESS Animal Specialty Hospital in Los Angeles, she is a highly regarded doctor, with interests in minimally invasive procedures (laparoscopy, thoracoscopy, and arthroscopy), surgical oncology, reconstructive wound surgery, emergency surgery, urinary tract surgery, and various orthopedic procedures. Dr. Lo enjoys reading, gardening, and crafting. She has a special interest in origami, and utilizes her penchant for precision to create beautiful paper flowers.

We want to congratulate Dr. Lo on such an impressive accomplishment!

Go Suzy and Jamie…

ACCESS-SFV-Suzy-Jamie

We at ACCESS like to highlight the accomplishments of our employees outside of the hospital every so often, and boy do Jamie and Suzy deserve the recognition!

Two of our super sweet, always helpful ACCESS Specialty Animal Hospital, San Fernando Valley, team members completed the LA marathon yesterday.The record-high heat was so intense that many people were hospitalized, but that didn’t slow down with this fabulous duo!

Jamie finished the 26.2 mile race in seven hours with Suzy close behind at seven hours, fifteen minutes. This was not the first race for either runner—it was Jamie’s sixth year and Suzy’s 13th!

When they aren’t gearing up for a race, you can find Suzy and Jamie applying the same dedication and care to their positions at ACCESS, and we couldn’t feel luckier!

The Dog who was Set on Fire | Eight Years Later

Looking at Abigail today, you would never know that she was a victim of heinous animal abuse. This nine-year-old Staffordshire terrier currently resides in Southern California with her loving and dedicated family. However, life was not this easy for her a few years ago.

Abigail-is-good

At about one year old, Abigail was found near a vacant house in Lancaster, CA by a neighbor when she was running in circles, on fire. The neighbor quickly put clothing and water on the pup to douse the flames, but it was apparent that severe damage had already been done. Despite the pain, this sweet, battered dog was still trying to wag her tail and even licked her rescuers. Luckily enough, the folks at Karma Rescue sprang into action, ensuring that Abigail would have the funds and medical attention she needed to survive and recover.

Her rescuers took her to a local veterinarian, who then referred them to ACCESS Specialty Animal Hospital, Los Angeles a few hours after she had been soaked in accelerant and purposely lit on fire.

Abigail would receive advanced medical care from several board-certified veterinary specialists as well as human burn specialists from UCLA. Over fifty percent of her small body was covered in severe burns and her initial treatment included plenty of fluids and pain medication. Her injuries were so bad that she was put into a medically induced coma for the first few days to relieve her pain.

She was hospitalized in our ICU from May to December of 2008, where she would be put under daily anesthesia to debride and clean her horrendous injuries, with our specialists ensuring she was comfortable and relatively pain free with the help of medication. Eventually, she was well enough to have several skin grafts performed to help close her wounds. Abigail’s road to recovery was long and treacherous; with the torture she endured being so incredibly inhumane, it forced some of her caregivers to tears in our hospital. Dr. Patty Paravicini, who is now an emergency and critical care resident at ACCESS LA, worked here as a veterinary assistant then; and recalls the lengthy process “she was very bad off at first, the burns covered almost sixty percent of her body. Dr. Carey had to basically re-do her skin. Luckily, she’s had a great life for 8 years now because she was adopted by a great person.”

Abigail was able to leave the hospital with her new parents and go right into her forever home thanks to the hard work done by Karma Rescue; and has been living the sweet life for the past few years, sunbathing with her family and eating to her hearts content—two of her favorite hobbies! Unfortunately, the damage done to her body still affects her today. Since Abigail’s injury, her skin is much thinner and more delicate than it would have been had she not been burned. Her mom puts veterinarian recommended sunscreen every day, but Abby’s skin has still succumb to sun damage.

We want Abigail’s story to show prospective pet owners that there is life after rescue, and that many rescued dogs can live a full, happy life when given a chance; and for anyone who suspects animal abuse to report it immediately. Your information could save the life of a voiceless creature.

Please report any suspected animal abuse to your local taskforce.

LA County | ANIMAL CRUELTY TASK FORCE

24-hour notification hotline 213-486-0450

“Animal cruelty includes any activity that causes injury, disability, or death. Examples of animal cruelty are kicking, hitting, choking, punching, hanging, stabbing, shooting, setting on fire, or electrocuting.” lapdonline.org/actf

Shannon Brown
Marketing Coordinator | ACCESS Specialty Animal Hospitals