Animal lover finds right occupation

Madison Long is a Veterinarian Assistant at DeKalb Animal Hospital in Fort Payne.

Madison Long is employed at DeKalb Animal Hospital and assists veterinarians Dr. McNew, Jones, and Galbraith. She is not currently a licensed, certified Veterinarian Technician, but is working toward that goal, her current position is Veterinarian Assistant.

Long graduated from Valley Head High School in 2020, while she was a senior she took part in a program where students do what is called “shadowing” at a business. “We did what are called clinicals,” said Long. “Myself and another student chose shadowing at the DeKalb Animal Hospital. We followed and watched a veterinarian once a month for ten months.”

This method of learning helps students decide what line of work they might be interested in after graduation. After Long finished her clinical course, she was encouraged to come back and put in an application for employment. While taking clinicals students are required to journal (write a report) on their experience while shadowing and part of their grade is derived from the report they submit.

During Long’s high school senior year she had already obtained employment at a fast-food restaurant, but changed her profession in January of this year to the animal hospital. Her current responsibilities include taking a history on each animal before the veterinarian sees the animal and assisting the doctor with handling the canine or feline during the exam and treatment.

Long says her favorite part is listening to the veterinarian diagnose the patient. “I have three dogs at home, but until I started working at the hospital I had no idea there were so many different problems a dog or cat could have,” said Long. “It is so interesting to learn something new each day.” Other responsibilities include the care of boarded animals. When it is her turn to check on the bordered animals she makes sure they are clean and well-fed and showing no signs of needing immediate or additional medical attention.

On one occasion Long was able to assist with the delivery of six puppies. “I was able to help revive two of the puppies,” said Long. “It was exciting to be able to help save their lives.”

Additionally, she also helps to bathe and shear animals when the groomer needs an assistant. Long said on one occasion she had to shear three Great Pyrenees. “It took me three and a half hours to get all three of them sheared,” said Long.

Currently, Long is looking into taking a four-semester online course to become a licensed vet tech. Part of the requirements in receiving a license is hands-on training which she is already obtaining in her current position. When Long receives a degree her responsibilities will increase to include more hands-on medical care when assisting a veterinarian.

Madison’s Motto: “If you are not covered in dog hair, your life is boring.” – Elayne Boosler

— Marla Ballard’s Who's Who appears in the Times-Journal Wednesday and weekend editions.

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