Volunteer Spotlight: Tracy Darling, RVT, VTS (SAIM)

The many veterinary technicians who regularly volunteer with HSVMA's Rural Area Veterinary Services (HSVMA-RAVS) are the best of the best, coming from all over the globe to serve communities in need, educate students, and ensure that every patient receives the best care from a gentle hand.

Tracy Darling and Dachshund
Tracy Darling with a patient at the RAVS clinic on the Quinault reservation in Washington State, August 2011.

Tracy Darling, a registered veterinary technician (RVT) from Anacapa Animal Hospital in Ventura, Calif., is one of these technicians. Tracy has volunteered with HSVMA-RAVS for the last eight years, spending most of that time educating veterinary students on the intricacies of small animal anesthesia. Accomplished in her career, Tracy is certified in veterinary ultrasound and was one of the first veterinary technicians in the nation to earn her Veterinary Technician Specialist (VTS) distinction in the area of small animal internal medicine (SAIM). In 2005, she received the Outstanding RVT of the Year award from the California Veterinary Medical Association. A member of the National Veterinary Response Team, Tracy also gives her time responding to national disasters and providing animal care, from rescue to medical attention.

Despite her many achievements, Tracy remains a modest spirit, summing up her HSVMA-RAVS experience with a simple, “I can’t effectively describe how RAVS has impacted my life….I am really at a loss for words.”

Tracy recounts the day that she witnessed the effect HSVMA-RAVS has had on one community in particular, “South Dakota, 2009. This was one year that I will never forget. It was Susan Monger’s (DVM, HSVMA-RAVS International Director) last trip to the Cheyenne River Reservation after many years of providing RAVS services to this area. The tribal elders came to say goodbye to Dr. Monger with a farewell ceremony. They gave her some amazing gifts, and expressed how much they appreciated her service to their community. There was not a dry eye in the crowd. I realized how much RAVS really means to these communities on this day.” She continued to say, “RAVS changes lives. It definitely changes the lives of the animals that receive care. All pets that arrive at these field clinics get the same care regardless of breed, temperament, or economic status of families.”

With a busy and demanding career, Tracy still manages to find the time to enjoy her favorite recreational activity: outrigger canoe racing. And, spoken like a true technician, she admits, “Lately I’ve been geeking out with veterinary medicine, studying canine sports medicine and physical rehabilitation. I enjoy researching and learning new ways to keep our urban search and rescue dog, Ben, in top shape as well as keeping our pair of geriatrics mobile and happy. Our backyard is like a doggie playground with ladders, cavaletti rails, tunnels, and teeter-totters.”

HSVMA-RAVS would like to recognize Tracy for her years of service and express our gratitude to have such an amazing professional on the team.