Join Our Team
If you are looking for a career in veterinary care that is different from what you've experienced in the past, you've come to the right place.
At Home Veterinary Services has been growing since 2008, and we aren't done yet!
Join our family and experience how veterinary care is supposed to be.
Veterinary Assistant or CVT Job Information
AHVS provides exceptional, personal and compassionate in-home veterinary care for dogs and cats through all of their life stages; we honor and nurture the human-animal bond and enhance the quality of life of pets and their owners.
At Home Veterinary Services is a small animal house call practice serving the Portland Metro area. The practice was created in 2008 by Louise Mesher, DVM. It has grown from a home-based, single vet practice, providing part-time house calls to a full-time, multi-vet practice operating out of our current facility in Lake Oswego, Oregon.
In addition to Dr. Mesher, we have three associate veterinarians, Dr. Heather B. Dillon, Dr. Tisha Posey, and Dr. Jennifer Leddy. We have two CVTs, a veterinary assistant, two client liaisons. Each working day, one doctor and one technician or assistant travel together as a team. Some days we have two teams visiting patients.
We are open 6 days per week, Monday-Saturday, excluding 6 major holidays. Saturday appointments are generally reserved for sick, hospice and euthanasia care. Most of our clients are within the core Portland metro area, but we do have some clients that live further out.
Our Typical Clients
We have amazing, devoted clients. Our clients are great owners – very dedicated and compassionate. They make it a pleasure to visit them. Our clients want the best and most personal service possible for their pets, with an emphasis on comfort and quality of life.
Our Typical Patients
Generally speaking, about 50% of our patients are senior/geriatric or have high maintenance, chronic diseases (some of which are in hospice care). About 25% of our visits are with younger/middle-aged pets or multiple pet households (whose owners really love the convenience of house calls), and 25% are in-home euthanasia visits. It varies from week to week.
We love senior pets! We see disproportionately more geriatric patients than an average brick and mortar practice. Generally, these patients are animals that the owners have difficulty getting into a vehicle or that the owners worry about exposing to the stress or potential infectious disease risks of a clinic. We see many animals that are palliative and a growing number of animals whose owners are interested in help determining what their pet’s quality of life might be.
We also see a higher percentage of cats than a traditional clinic (about 70% of our patients are cats, so having very confident, yet gentle, cat restraint skills is a must). For obvious reasons, clients love the fact they do not have to load their cat into a carrier and transport them to a clinic. While we do still encounter cats who are fractious and hard to handle (sometimes requiring chemical restraint), often seeing cats in their home environment carries a much lower stress level for them, their owner and the care providers than in a clinic. Similar situations may also arise with fractious dogs, but it is not as common.
We do a fair number of euthanasia appointments – sometimes several per week. Some of those euthanasia patients are pets we’ve seen before, but we do see a few each week usually that we have never seen before that are just euthanasia requests. Euthanasia requests are pre-screened by our client service representative, and occasionally by a technician or DVM prior to scheduling. We do not perform “convenience” euthanasia.
Occasionally we expect to be euthanizing an animal and show up only to find that the pet has an ailment that is simple to treat, and we usually treat those conditions, or, if the owner refuses, then we elect to not euthanize. This doesn’t happen often due to the sometimes lengthy conversations the owners have had with our client service representative, technician or doctor before our arrival.
A Typical Day of House Calls
Technicians arrive at the office at 8:30 am, and clock in, check the appointment schedule and their e-mail. Getting ready for the day includes printing the day's schedule (after any last minute changes by the client liaison, who maintains the schedule), organizing the inventory and equipment and ensuring it is loaded into the vans. Other duties during this time may include recalls, ordering supplies, special projects, and other duties.
We try to book appointments that are close together geographically on the same day, if possible. Appointment lengths vary depending on the nature of the appointment – we see sick animals, annual exam appointments, quality of life consultations, and euthanasia appointments. We do not do any dentistry or surgery. Pets requiring anesthesia or hospitalization are referred to recommended clinics and hospitals. We do have the means to administer sedation, if necessary, for restraint or comfort of the animal.
We use eVetPractice, a cloud-based veterinary practice software. The doctors and technicians use laptops at appointments to record medical records and create/print invoices, rabies certificates, educational printouts, etc. for clients. We have mobile Internet access and smartphones that are used to e-mail, call and/or text with the home office during the day. The laptops also have reference materials for the doctors and educational material for clients.
We carry a small inventory of items in the vans with our most commonly used medications and a variety of analgesics, sedatives, and narcotics. The van's inventory is supplied from the main stock at the office. We have an Internet pharmacy, Vetsource, which some clients use to order chronically used medication. We rely more heavily on outside pharmacies and compounding pharmacies than most practices do.
Usually, we will make 4 to 5 house calls a day depending on how involved they are and how many animals we see at each appointment. Multiple animal appointments are common. Most of the time we are done with the last appointment between 5:30 and 6:30, but occasionally we may fit in an urgent visit, or a visit may extend longer than expected, which may result in a long day with a return time between 7 pm and 8 pm. Traffic issues can also create a long day.
At the end of the day, the techs will review the visit records to make sure nothing is missing or in need of updating, prepare any laboratory specimens for pick up, make recalls, and wrap up any other outstanding business for the end of the day. Blood work is placed outside for the lab courier and any animal remains are placed in refrigeration for Family Animal Services to pick up later for cremation.
Who We Are Looking For
We are looking for someone with some experience, however, finding a person with the right drive and fit in our team is more important. The ideal candidate should have a passion for helping geriatric pets and their people enjoy their lives together in the best way possible. There is a heavy emphasis on client communication and education. We try to be thorough, compassionate, personable and efficient. We extend ourselves to give good client service and personal attention, and the successful candidate will enjoy developing these relationships with these exceptional owners.
We are looking for someone who enjoys creative problem solving and is okay with the occasional curveball. The days are rarely boring, and the continued change of scenery is interesting. The environment is sometimes challenging with respect to lighting, examination surfaces, etc., but most of the time it is workable – but we need someone who has a flexible, easy going nature.
A compassionate manner is of utmost importance. We need someone who is thorough and explains all the options to the owners. These are educated, involved owners who are often willing to do a greater degree of nursing care than many owners would be. We support them in any way we can.
You will need to have a good sense of humor – both to get along with the witty staff and to appreciate the strange and funny things you will sometimes see. Good stories are to be had here!
Excellent driving skills are also required. Our technicians and assistants need to be able to drive confidently and safely in all weather and traffic conditions, have an excellent sense of direction, and be able to use a GPS system and follow directions.
Weekend shifts (day time) will be required. We would appreciate someone who is willing to work at least one if not two days on the weekends with some of the days rotating with other assistants. A weekday (preferably Thursday) would also be available.
What You Can Expect From AHVS
For the right person, this will probably be the best job you’ve ever had in the vet industry. Our employee's call it "the unicorn of jobs." It brings that relationship with the client and patient down to a very simple level without all the distractions of a clinic. There will not be as many opportunities to use technical skills specifically, but you are given the freedom to develop a relationship and rapport with the client that can be truly rewarding every day.
Many animals are completely different in their own home. Most of us got into this industry for a love of animals, but we see them faced with an inherently stressful situation when they are brought into a clinic. In the client's home, you will get to appreciate their unique personalities as they bring you their favorite ball or rub up against the catnip pocket in our treatment bag.
Compensation, Benefits & Work Schedule
Compensation will be based on experience and areas of expertise. Employees who work at least 32 hours per week are eligible for an excellent benefits package including employer paid medical and other benefits.
Each work day will generally be from 8 to 12 hours long. New employees will be expected to work part or full weekends. We will consider applicants interested in full-time or part-time work.
We are confident that for the right candidate, this will be a rewarding, fun, and interesting position. We wrote this extensive description because we knew that many technicians have never done house calls before, and we wanted you to be able to imagine your day. We hope that many of your questions are answered here and that people who are truly intrigued by the prospect of this unique opportunity will inquire and apply.
If, after all this, you are still interested, please complete our online application.
Thank you! We look forward to hearing from you!