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Now Krystin Smith is a registered veterinary tech with The Wilds

CUMBERLAND – She turned her dream into a rewarding career.

“When I was growing up,” Krystin Smith remembers, “I thought it would be so cool to work with animals at the zoo or aquarium. I remember going on field trips to the zoo and thinking that it must be so cool to work with the animals and that I wanted to do that.”

Well, her dream came true. Today, Smith is a registered veterinary technician at The Wilds, part of the naturopathic department.

“Some of my responsibilities,” she explained, “include collecting blood samples, supervising anesthesia, administering medications, processing laboratory samples, taking x-rays, maintaining medical records, cleaning after procedures and stocking our clinic.”

Krystin Smith is a Registered Veterinary Technician with The Wilds.  Her work includes taking blood samples, monitoring anesthesia and administering medications.Krystin Smith is a Registered Veterinary Technician with The Wilds.  Her work includes taking blood samples, monitoring anesthesia and administering medications.

Krystin Smith is a Registered Veterinary Technician with The Wilds. Her work includes taking blood samples, monitoring anesthesia and administering medications.

Smith, 34, grew up in the Chicagoland area, graduating from Minooka Community High School in 2008 and then from Joliet Junior College with a degree in veterinary medical technology in 2013.

“I’ve always loved animals,” she says. “In high school, I got a job at an animal hospital and learned about a career path as a veterinary technician.

“I started my veterinary career at a small animal and exotic animal hospital in Illinois,” she added. “I started as a kennel attendant and ended my time there as a certified veterinary technician after graduating from veterinary technology school. During college, I was able to get an internship at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo in Indiana and that solidified my interest in working in this field. Before coming to The Wilds, I worked in the surgical department at a specialty animal hospital in Chicago.

“I came to The Wilds in the summer of 2015 to fill in for the three months they needed a veterinary technician,” she continued. “My goal at the time was to gain experience and break through in the field. I didn’t even know The Wilds before that job posting, but I absolutely loved it here. The people, animals and atmosphere make it such a unique and rewarding job. When a full-time position opened up in the summer of 2016, I applied and was fortunate to be selected, and I have been working here ever since.”

Dr. Priscilla Joyner is director of conservation medicine at The Wilds.

“Krystin is an important member of The Wilds’ veterinary team,” said Dr. Joyner. “Her years of experience as a veterinary technician, combined with her compassion for animals and people, has made her invaluable in providing the highest level of care for animals in The Wilds.”

“My work is extremely satisfying,” Smith responded. “I enjoy using my skills as a technician to participate in animal health care.

“I am proud of the hard work of the animal management and veterinary teams during the voluntary medical behavior training,” she concluded. “For example, we have giraffes, rhinos and cheetahs that voluntarily give us blood samples. It’s so rewarding to build those relationships with the animals and have success. We also work with research projects that help conserve the species in our care and it’s great to be able to contribute to that.”

The Wilds is located at 14000 International Road in Cumberland. For more information, please call 740-638-5030 or log in www.thewilds.org.

Aces of Trades is a weekly series that focuses on people and their jobs – whether they’re unusual jobs, fun jobs, or people who take ordinary jobs and make them extraordinary. If you have a suggestion for a future profile, please let us know at [email protected].

This article originally appeared on Zanesville Times Recorder: Krystin Smith says her work with The Wilds is ‘extremely satisfying’