In July of 2001, Julie Shaw, Ginny Price and Donna Dyer (our founders) attended the American Veterinary Medical Association(AVMA) annual convention to propose the start of a “new group” to the veterinary behavior diplomats. In 2001 it was still unclear what the role of an “animal behavior technician” was to be and the concept was met with some skepticism and concern. Throughout the convention, Julie, Ginny, and Donna met with various convention attendees discussing the advantages of working with credentialed technicians in the behavioral consultation room. It was through this effort and extreme professionalism by Julie, Ginny, and Donna that our organization was to gain its first supporters within the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists (ACVB).
On September 11, 2001, the Society of Veterinary Technicians was officially established. With the guidance of an advisory panel of well known veterinarians (Dr. R.K. Anderson, Dr. Guy Hancock, Dr. Wayne Hunthausen, and Dr. Karen Overall) and an ACVB liaison (Dr. Andrew Leuscher), our founders were able to develop a code of conduct as well as the first of many society newsletters.
From the beginning, one of our goals was to establish behavior as a recognized specialty for technicians. This was a driving force behind our organizations emphasis on education as in the beginning, there were not many opportunities for veterinary technicians to learn behavioral medicine. As time progressed, we were able to influence the caliber of behavioral lectures offered to technicians at veterinary conferences. We were also influential in organizing and presenting the behavior program at the AVMA annual convention, a role that we continue to fill to this day.
2016 marked the 15 year anniversary of the Society of Veterinary Behavior Technicians. Since its creation in 2001, the SVBT has continued to empower technicians to increase their behavioral education through newsletters, member forums, and various educational opportunities. Our members were also an integral part in the creation of the Academy of Veterinary Behavior Technicians(AVBT) and its acceptance as a recognized veterinary technician specialty in 2008. Through the Faith Scholarship, the SVBT has awarded over 17 potential VTS candidates with the opportunity to further their training education by attending the Karen Pryor Academy. Most recently, the SVBT teamed with the AVBT and the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB) to create the Clinical Animal Behavior Conference, a joining of each organizations yearly educational meetings.
As we continue to grow and change from our humble beginnings, we want to be the number one supporter of behavioral education for veterinary technicians, staff, and other animal professionals. With the help of our members, we can certainly create positive change for ourselves, our colleagues, and our patients. We look forward to sharing our future with you!
Photo: Donna Dyer and Julie Shaw, Photo: Dr. Luescher and Donna Dyer