Veterinary Paraprofessionals Assist the LEAP Program

Veterinary paraprofessionals contribute so much to the veterinary health care team and make up such an important part of the staff at every veterinary clinic. At the Texas Veterinary Medical Foundation, we are especially thankful for the veterinary support staff who participate in the LEAP (Lending Economic Assistance for Pets) program, our partnership with Meals on Wheels (MOW) to provide veterinary care free of charge to the pets of Meals on Wheels clients in Austin, Dallas, Houston, Bryan/College Station, Abilene, Lubbock, Montgomery County and Collin County. These staff members work with their veterinarians and MOW transport volunteers to ensure that each pet in the LEAP program has a positive experience at their veterinary appointment and receives top-quality care. 

Jason Strickland is a kennel assistant who has been with VCA Ben White Animal Hospital in Austin since 2010. Over his impressive 15-year career, Strickland has seen and cared for many of animals. Recently, Strickland has developed quite a fondness for LEAP patient Tigressa. 

“In five months, she has gone from being scared and nervous to happy and excited, wagging her tail when she sees me” Strickland said. “You can really see her personality come out now. She used to hate having her medicated bath, but now she jumps into the tub ready to go. It’s like she really enjoys her medicated spa. Tigressa has become one of my all-time favorite clients”.

Strickland’s supervisors at VCA Ben White Animal Hospital praised his work.

“Jason has a heart of gold and truly loves working with the dogs and cats at VCA,” Hospital Manager Sharon Hicks said. “He is nicknamed the ‘Dog Whisperer’ as Jason has a talent of making all pets like him. He is a real treasure, and we are very glad he is part of our team”

At North Austin Animal Hospital, Tiffany Miranda has been providing smiles and snuggles to pets for five years now. 

“I really enjoy the LEAP program because, for most of the clients, these pets are their family and best friends,” Miranda said. “Our helping the pets in turn helps out the owners. It is a win/win.” 

Pablo Benitez, a Certified Veterinary Assistant, who keeps his schedule full with four kids and four pets, has been a member of the Holt Veterinary Clinic team in Dallas since 1999.

“Becoming a [Certified Veterinary Assistant] and working at Holt Veterinary Clinic are the best decisions I have made,” he said. “Being a part of the team here has brought me joy. I’m glad I’m able to demonstrate my love, compassion and respect for pets and their owners. I’m very happy to help with the Meals on Wheels program.”At TVMF, we are so grateful for the staff members at all of our participating LEAP program clinics. Their friendliness, dedication and care for the LEAP patients helps ensure the ongoing success of the LEAP program.