Connie Croak

Connie CroakConnie Croak

Oncology Clinic Coordinator

I’m originally from Upstate New York, but I spent my childhood in Florida and Alaska. My family moved to Colorado when I was 16, and I have been here ever since. During high school, I struggled with what I wanted to do after graduation, and my counselor helped guide me to veterinary technology because I enjoyed animals and medicine.  I completed my AAS in Veterinary Technology and became a Certified Veterinary Technician in 1990.  After approximately eight years of working as a CVT, I took some time off work to raise my two boys. During that time, I earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Colorado State University with the thought of working in research.
 
After five years at home with my kids and completing my degree, it was time to get back to work.  I found myself wanting to get back into a veterinary hospital, and my journey into veterinary practice management began.  With the guidance of amazing mentors, I became a Certified Veterinary Practice Manager. After some time in practice management, I began looking at additional ways to contribute to the veterinary field. In 2016, I started teaching in the Veterinary Technology Program at Front Range Community College and found something that I enjoy.  Sharing what I have learned in this field with students that are just beginning their careers in veterinary medicine is an amazing experience.
 
In 2018, I reunited with a former colleague who worked at the Flint Animal Cancer Center.  We were friends on Facebook, and I had been following the One Cure posts and the fantastic things that were happening.  What struck me was the PBS special “The Answer to Cancer May Be Walking Right Beside Us.”  I was hooked. I knew I wanted to be part of something bigger than me and expressed my interest in joining the team at the FACC. I am so thankful that an opportunity opened up.
 
Like many, cancer has personally affected me. My father passed away from kidney cancer, and my mother in law lost her life to uterine cancer. We learned through the loss of my mother in law that my husband has the same genetic mutation, and with that knowledge, we can be proactive with his healthcare and the health of our boys. My first exposure to animal cancer was with my lab, Walker.  He had a mast cell tumor that I initially thought was a bug bite.  Thankfully we were able to have it completely removed through surgery.  Although it was a scary process, and we are very grateful for the guidance and compassion of his care team.  He was able to continue raising our boys for many years to follow.
 
Working at the FACC means I have the privilege to be a part of a team on the frontlines of fighting cancer. Over my career, I have watched the human-animal bond grow as our pets become such an essential part of our lives. Their wellbeing affects our wellbeing.  At the FACC, we help animals remain with their families in comfort and for as long as we can. In addition to our commitment to compassionate patient care,  I’m proud of the work we’re doing to help advance research to find a cure for both our four-legged and two-legged loved ones. 
 
Aware from work, my husband and I share our home with two dogs (Taryn - a Welch Springer Spaniel and Mitzi – a Lab mix) and three cats (Roada, Velcro, and Scotch). Our kids are grown, and so I take any chance I can to hang out with them.  In my free time, I teach at Front Range Community College, enjoy checking out Colorado’s craft beer, hiking, reading, and camping. them feel informed and safer while they are trying to do the right thing for their pet is key.