Tammy Johnson, CVT

I fell in love with the field of Veterinary Medicine at the age of 11 when my Wire Fox Terrier had an anaphylactic reaction to a vaccine. I stood in the clinic lobby and watched as the doctors and techs whisked her away to the back. I had no idea they were saving a life that day. I called the clinic the next day to ask if I could come in and shadow; I knew this was my calling!

I worked at that same day practice through high school and college. After I graduated from Arogsy University Twin Cities in 2004 with my Vet Tech degree I moved to Wisconsin and joined the Wisconsin Veterinary Referral Center (WVRC) in their ER/ICU. I was brand new out of school, and TERRIFIED! Lucky for me, I had great mentors who helped me hone the skills I learned in school (and then some!). Like many, I knew my body and heart wouldn’t let me do ER work for my entire career. It was exhausting and I quickly learned how real compassion fatigue was in this career.

Queue SafetyCall and Pet Poison Helpline! I joined the team in 2007 answering incoming calls on the Pet Poison Helpline and various client industry lines getting to use my ER experience. The learning curve was steep, but again, I was lucky to have fantastic mentors (who are now lifelong friends) and I was fascinated by the new world of toxicology I found myself immersed in. I didn’t even know a career in toxicology was an option as a vet tech! Over the next several years I began coordinating training for new hires and developing training materials. I quickly found a passion in teaching, and I finally felt like I belonged in the workplace. I was able to use my vet tech knowledge, come to work passionate about what I was doing every day, constantly learning, and no longer facing the physical or emotional challenges of the ER. Was this it? Did I find my ‘forever home’ in a workplace in my early 20’s?

As our training team began to grow, I moved into a training management role continuing to develop and oversee our new hire and internal training processes. My passion for helping people continued to flourish and led me to seek new ways to develop our current team members by introducing career development pathways, mentoring, and specialized CE. In 2024, I’ll be focused in this new area as the Director of Training and Development for SafetyCall and Pet Poison Helpline!

To say that I’ve been challenged by this job is an understatement. It has been a huge learning curve but the support, camaraderie, and safe work environment made that scary jump from ER to toxicology way back in 2007 a little less frightening. As I embark on my 17th year with the company, I’m so thankful I took that leap of faith to challenge myself and grow. I love working for a company whose mission and vision are the core of everything we do. We make the world a safer place, how cool that I get to be a part of that legacy?

Spoiler alert! It turns out, I DID find my ‘forever home’ in a workplace and I’m so thankful.