Kristine Ibis, B.S., A.A.S.
Veterinary Technician, Oncology
“I want to help animals!” This was my answer to the age-old question, “What do you want to do when you grow up?”
I grew up in the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago, cheered for the Cubs (and the Bears – they’ll be good again someday, really), and literally wished on a star every night, begging for my parents to get us a dog. Eventually they caved and we did indeed get a very cute Carin Terrier…and some fish, a couple birds, hamsters, gerbils, and a lizard. I was obsessed with animals and decided I wanted to become a veterinarian, that is, until I spent some time with our family veterinarian who drove home the point that being a vet meant helping people say good-bye to their animals. You cannot in fact save them all. So, psychology major it was!
I graduated from Western Michigan University, a double major in Psychology and Exercise Science with dreams of becoming a sport psychologist, a field that interested me after being involved for years in competitive figure skating, including skating for the WMU varsity figure skating team. Although my childhood desire to be a vet was a distant memory by this time, I still managed to rescue a stray cat from my college apartment parking lot, bandage its hurt paw, and find him a new home – I guess old passions never really go away.
A few years into post-college life, I went back to the drawing board and moved to Denver to earn an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Veterinary Technology at the Bel-Rea Institute of Animal Technology. One of my favorite classes at Bel-Rae was Hematology, a class that not only focused on blood cells, but also cancer cells. I created and achieved the goal of getting an internship at CSU’s Flint Animal Cancer Center. Interning here was a truly rewarding and amazing experience. While I enjoyed the small animal practice where I worked while in school in Denver, the vast pool of knowledge that I was surrounded by at CSU was incomparable.
Upon graduating from Bel-Rea, I secured a job in Loveland at VCA-Veterinary Specialists of Northern Colorado as a neurology tech. When the neuro service was slow, I often helped out with the oncology patients, giving chemo and utilizing a lot of what I had learned at CSU, and as soon as a job opened up at the Flint Animal Cancer Center, I jumped at the chance to come back as an employee.
Being a part of this team of amazing individuals is an ineffable experience. There is so much more to this family than meets the eye – they are teachers and researchers, ground breakers and risk takers, intelligent beyond belief, and filled to the brim with compassion. At the Flint Animal Cancer Center, we love our patients and their families. We celebrate the successes and mourn the defeats right alongside our clients. I find it gratifying that part of my job is trying to calm a scared patient and earn their trust, or grant an owner some reassurance and empathy, because I’ve sat where they have sat.
The Flint Animal Cancer Center is a unique and inspiring environment in which to work. The days may not always be easy, in fact, they sometimes involve a lot of crying, but nothing gives me more pride in my job than knowing that even the difficult moments are leading to advancements in cancer treatments for both animals and humans.
When I’m not “helping animals”, you may find me practicing Bikram Yoga, doing the singer-songwriter thing at an open-mic, or trying not to hurt myself on a snowboard, paddleboard, or skateboard. I am mom to a kinetically powered little boy, a wife to Dave who is constantly on the lookout for the next adventure, and pack leader to a dog who thinks he is a pig – our sweet mutt Piggy. We also have an angel dog, Mason, my “forever dog” who left us in 2016 after a battle with hemangiosarcoma.