Staff Spotlight: Katrina Avalos
Meet Veterinary Technician Assistant, Katrina Avalos! Katrina has been with the Humane Society for Tacoma & Pierce County for 9 years. She first started as a volunteer and now she helps save the lives of hundreds of animals every year!
Q. What does a day in your life at the shelter look like?
A. I help with cats, dogs, and surgical assistance.
For days that I work in surgery, I help to quickly set up for surgical procedures in the operating room and assist the veterinarian with pre-surgical exams of each animal prior to surgery. I make sure to monitor each patient in the operating room, alerting the veterinary technician or veterinarian to any surgical complications while each patient is under anesthesia. I also administer vaccines, place microchips, give nail trims, and take x-rays of patients. All the while helping them to slowly and safely wake up and recover from anesthesia.
For days where I assist with dogs or cats, I make sure their kennels are clean as well as feed and give them their medications. Then, I assist the veterinarian with various examinations, x-rays, and blood draws.
Q. What’s your favorite part of working here?
My favorite part of working here is the animals. I equally love dogs, cats, and rabbits, etc. In fact, since I’ve been employed at the shelter, I have adopted 10 animals – 4 dogs, 4 cats, and 2 bonded rabbits.
Each animal we encounter at the shelter has a story to tell and working in the veterinary department especially, you begin to develop bonds with these animals. We diligently take our time with each patient in our care. We develop such a love and compassion towards these animals in caring for them, hoping for positive outcomes in each patient.
I am proud to work for an animal shelter that has positively progressed so far in the advancement of animal welfare. Collectively, we are saving animals’ lives rather than euthanizing them over space or time. This is exactly why I love working for our shelter! Of course, there are the usual ups and downs and times of great sadness for some animals in our care but it’s all worth it in the end – we all work for the betterment of our animals and it warms my heart!
Q. Why are you so passionate about the work we do?
A. I am passionate about the work we do here because of all of the successes we have encountered. We are a shelter of many ‘firsts’ in Washington State. For instance, we were one of the leading shelters in the state to adopt pit bulls to loving homes.
I love how we educate the county and surrounding cities about animal health and the importance of spaying and neutering. It’s also fantastic that we have received grant money in order to help the public with providing low-cost spays and neuters and other medical expenses. It’s all in an effort to keep pets with their families or provide the best possible outcome for each animal in our care.
Q: Any special stories you’d like to share?
A. The best stories I’ve encountered have been when I worked as the Petco/PetSmart store liaison for the shelter. I would bring adoptable pets every day to stores in Tacoma, Puyallup, Bonney Lake, and Federal Way. My favorite part of working with our partner stores was educating the public about what our shelter actually does and furthering the narrative of successful animal welfare. For most people I encountered in public, I would enlighten them about what we actually do at the shelter. It proved to be a really eye-opening moment for them.
I would also encourage people to visit our shelter to adopt rather than shop. That for me is really powerful and impactful. Any chance I get, I promote our shelter in a positive light to encourage adoption and volunteering as well. This chapter in my work experience was very near and dear to me.