Reflections – NVTW 2023

Blog Author: Harold Davis, BA, RVT, VTS (ECC) (Anesth & Analgesia)

NAVTA Treasurer

This picture of me was taken sometime between 1976 and 1978, very early in my career.  Upon reflection, if you told that young man where his career or this profession would take him, he would not have believed you. During my senior year in high school, I had the opportunity to work in a veterinary hospital.  That is where I became exposed to animal health technology (now veterinary technology).  I intended to become a veterinarian, but the more time I spent gaining on the job experience I realized I wanted to be an Animal Health Technician (now referred to as veterinary technician), and I made the shift.  Ultimately, I took and passed the California AHT (now RVT) exam. My path has taken me from general practice to emergency practice to academic emergency and to critical care practice, clinical coordinator and instructor for veterinary students, and finally, manager of emergency and critical care service at UC Davis. In addition, I co-founded the first veterinary technician specialty academy and was the charter member of another.  I have served as a board member and board president of professional organizations and conference committees, and I’m an internationally known lecturer; I have published journal articles, book chapters, and edited books.  Whew!

I can honestly say that my time in this profession has been nothing short of amazing and rewarding; I would not trade it for anything. My experiences, the people I have met, and the lifelong connections I have made keep me engaged in veterinary medicine.  I am a proud member of this profession, and it saddens me when I see the statistics that attrition rates increase exponentially on average at the 7.5-year mark for credentialed veterinary technicians.  I believe that veterinary technology is a rich, satisfying, and rewarding profession, and I’m living proof. The old adage rings true, “You get out of it what you put into it,” which holds true for our profession.

I hope my professional life can serve as an example and motivator for others because If I can do it, so can others. In February of 2026, I will have been an active participant in veterinary medicine for 50 years.  If my mind and body are able, I will continue to contribute as I move towards that golden milestone.  In closing, I hope you find this profession as rich, satisfying, and rewarding as I do.  It is my dream that this profession sees an exponential decrease in the attrition rate for credentialed veterinary technicians, and the profession I love thrives. Peace, HD