Meet the Veterinary Teaching Hospital team: Holly Cummings

Holly Cummings is a technician in the Veterinary Teaching Hospital’s Diagnostic Imaging service, where she helps to support nearly every service in the hospital to diagnose patients and develop the best treatment plans.

Prior to joining the teaching hospital’s team in 2017, Holly earned a Veterinary Technology Degree from Globe University in Minnesota. While she was born in Texas, she considers herself to be from Wisconsin, where she spent most of her childhood. She has also lived in Minnesota, Virginia, Utah, Washington, and Idaho.

She recently took the time to discuss her experiences at the hospital and other thoughts.

What is your typical day like at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital?

My main job in Diagnostic Imaging is to run our new 3T MRI, but I also spend time running CTs, taking radiographs, and helping out anywhere I can in the department.

What made you want to work in veterinary medicine and at the teaching hospital?

I chose to work in veterinary medicine because I love biology and mysteries! I grew up reading “Agatha Christie” and “Nancy Drew” and being enraptured by the natural world. Veterinary medicine is the perfect combination of detective work and science! I really enjoy the variety of cases and diversity of people here in the VTH. Sometimes it’s a little sad to see students, residents, and interns move on, but it’s also fun to get to know the incoming fourth-year veterinary students and the new house officers each year.

What is your favorite thing about your job? What are the most rewarding aspects?

One of my favorite things about my job is that I learn something new every day. The Diagnostic Imaging service sees patients from every other service in the hospital. We get to experience such a huge variety of cases it keeps things very interesting! I also love to poke things with needles, so anytime I get to draw blood or administer IV medications it makes my day!

What do you like to do outside of work?

Outside of work I spend my time doing other work or recreating in the great outdoors. I still work part-time at the Lewiston Veterinary Clinic, a mixed animal practice in Lewiston, Idaho, where I live. I am a board member of the nonprofit Companion Animal Parasite Council, which is one of my favorite things to contribute to professionally. I do a lot of public speaking to provide continuing education to veterinary technicians across the country, and I regularly write and edit for “Today’s Veterinary Nurse,” a peer-reviewed professional journal.

The rest of my free time is spent adventuring with my wirehaired pointing griffon, Oddly Bee. We spend most weekends having outdoor adventures somewhere in Idaho, Washington, Oregon, or Montana. He loves to hike, hunt birds, go backpacking, camping, and fly-fishing – which is handy because those are all the things I love to do too! And yes, Oddly packs his own food, ball, and a comb (for his glorious beard) in his own little backpack! If you ask me about my dog, be prepared for a lot of pictures and a couple of songs about him that you won’t be able to get out of your head.

What advice would you give to pet owners?

I have two pieces of advice for pet owners. First, remember that pet lives are short. Do what you can to prevent parasites and disease that can make that time even shorter. Second, if you get a puppy or a kitten, take the time for handling, desensitization, and socialization of your young pet. It will make your, and your pet’s life less stressful and a lot easier when you have to take them to the vet, give medications, trim nails, clean ears, or change bandages at home.