For 55 years, the Edmonton Cat Fancier’s Club has been promoting the health and well-being of cats in Edmonton. Nicole Hemmingway is a NAIT alumnus of the Health Animal Technology program and is president of this club. She heard of the club through NAIT but was still a relatively fresh member before being elected as president. Not only is she president of the club, but also president of her own company, known as Nila Enterprises Pet Care Services.
As an animal health technologist, she covers a wide variety of veterinary skills and jobs, described as a difficult jack-ofall-trades job. This covers a variety of tasks, from taking X-rays of animals, to restraining them, to informing the public about what is exactly wrong with their pets.
Hemmingway’s first contact with Animal Health Technologies, or AHT, was during her life on the farm, raising several different animals, from horses to cats to dogs. Her curiosity piqued, with her father’s encouragement she came to NAIT. After graduating from the program, she detailed some of the challenges that were faced after the fact.
“The [job has] long hours, a lot of times, it’s 12 to 16 hours a day … it is a very high challenge job that you do get career fatigue in,” she said.
“You’re constantly being asked by the public to be compassionate and caring and sometimes that goes off the rails and you have to go from one appointment to the next … a tech’s work is very, very difficult, in the fact that you can’t always turn yourself on and off.”
While working with animals is difficult, she finds that it’s the owners that are some of the most troublesome to work with.
“It’s difficult to have some owners understand what needs to be done in order to ensure the health of their animal,” says Hemmingway.
She had some final advice on the career in the field of AHT, recommending that students who are already in the field, or are looking into it, to volunteer their time with places in order to gain that real world experience.
“It’s good to volunteer in a situation where there is rescue, great to get into a vet clinic, if that’s where you’re headed … there are a lot of avenues for veterinary medicine. You can go into research, you can go into meat inspecting, it’s not just limited to working in clinics.”
Before we parted ways, we talked a little about Meow Mania, which is essentially a substitute for cat shows.
This event is an attempt to make it more open and involving with the public, such as open judging. She hopes that in the future, proper videos could be made in order to inform the public about the proper procedures and rules of cat shows, since there is very little content about the complex nature of cat shows to begin with.
For those who wish to attend Meow Mania, it happens this weekend, Nov. 5, at the Edmonton Italian Culture Centre, from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.
– Trumann Tu
Photo by Vincent Lau