Student trades leash for stethoscope

IUS Horizon

College is a time when most students discover who they are and who they want to become. Through classes and friendships, many suddenly find the key to their futures.

Emily Sault, biology sophomore, found her calling in a veterinary clinic.
Sault is a native of Sacramento, Calif. She moved to Louisville with her boyfriend Scott Bryant five years ago. Since then, she has been giving up her Saturdays to work at Barbour Lane Animal Hospital as a veterinary technician.

Emily Sault, biology sophomore, has her dog Muppet in a Baby Bjorn at home. An animal lover, Sault has worked as a vet tech at a local veterinary clinic for the past four years. Recently, though, she decided to move from animals to humans and go to medical school with the aspiration of becoming a nurse.

At Barbour Lane, Sault said she has many responsibilities throughout the work day.

“There are usually four technicians,” Sault said. “We walk the dogs, feed the dogs, medicate them, and, if they have had any accidents overnight, we clean their runs [cages]. If we have any hospitalized patients we check to make sure their IV catheters are still flowing and take their weights and temperatures and make sure everyone is doing OK.”

Sault said once the routine morning checkups are done, a normal day consists of many appointments.

“If it’s routine stuff, we have 15-minute appointments, because we’re really busy,” Sault said. “I will check an animal in, take a brief history, pull up vaccines and then the doctor will come in and if everything is healthy. Then we vaccinate the animal and send them on their way.”

Sault said if an animal is not acting normal, then they will do diagnostics, take blood and analyze the blood at the clinic.

While Sault had planned to work with animals for a career, she recently had a change of heart.

“I originally came back to school to do nursing school, but I am actually going pre-med,” Sault said. “I am going to be a doctor. I am changing from animal to human medicine. There are just so many vets coming out of school every day. Whenever you are in a recession, one of the first things to go is maintenance pet care.”

Sault said there are not many opportunities to move up as a vet tech.

“Being a tech, there’s definitely a cap,” Sault said. “I wouldn’t consider a vet tech as being my ideal career, because I would like to be able to move forward more.”

Bryant said he thought the career change was great.

“I encourage her as much as I can to better herself,” Bryant said. “She has a very strong work ethic, and she is really generous. She strives for perfection and really loves helping people, and this is re-enforcing everything she is learning and doing.”

In addition to being inspired by her boyfriend, Sault said she has two very important women in her life whom she admires.

“I want my mom’s positive outlook, my Great Aunt Ruth’s work ethic and her infallible need to help others,” Sault said. “She was a RN. She did a couple of tours in different wars. She went from taking care of her own family and then took care of her parents. When my grandfather died, she took care of my grandmother. She lived a life of service, and it was powerful. She was fantastic.”

For Sault, the transition between animal and human medicine has not been an easy one.

“It’s kind of heartbreaking,” Sault said. “I love the thought of helping animals, but I don’t want to own my own clinic, and it’s really hard to get a good job at a really good clinic.”

While the transition may be hard for her, Sault is sure she has made the right decision.

“I know I want to be in the medical field, and I know that I love helping people, and after medical school I will probably volunteer at an animal clinic,” Sault said.

“I either want to go into infectious diseases or oncology. I would love to work in a lab all day and get to play with bugs. It just seems awesome.”