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Tamara Argabright – U of Indianapolis Biology Major

Tamara Argabright

Tamara Argabright began working at Leo’s Pet Care in August 2016, after having spent one year each at two of Indy’s other small animal hospitals. Tamara has just under two years left on her biology degree, and then plans to get accepted into and begin studies at the Purdue College of Veterinary Medicine in August 2018.

Tamara hopes some day to run her own little clinic in small town Indiana, and help all the pets.

We asked Tamara to write about her experience so far during her first three months at Leo’s, and this is what she had to say:

Tamara Argabright writes about her first three months at Leo’s, October 2016

When I was invited to join the Leo’s Pet Care family, I was incredibly grateful. They came into my life when I needed them the most and I really was not aware of how badly I needed them. I knew for quite some time that I wanted to be a part of the Veterinary Medicine world, but my experiences leading up to LPC were definitely a deterrent. My heart was growing weak and I was breaking. The veterinary field is such a difficult, yet rewarding, world. Working with people that do not care about your professional and personal growth is heart wrenching. The type of person I am, compared to the type of people I was working with, were not a good match. I was not in a place that would help me grow and I knew that I was feeling stagnant. I also knew that I needed to work with animals, it is all I think about. I care so much for the love people have for their animals and vice versa and I knew I wanted to be a part of that, and thought that where I was was the norm.

Then LPC came along.

When I first started at LPC I was nervous and almost out of my comfort zone. I was at a place where my questions and opinions mattered. I felt valued and cared for. I felt safe. LPC is so different compared to the other places I have been. When did being miserable become the norm? Who knows, but I do know that LPC wants to break the barriers. I was so confused when I first started. Why did all of these people care so much about my education? Why did all of these people, people I barely know, want to make me the best Tamara I could be? I was astounded by the care that was gushing out of this place.

When you are at a job that makes your miserable, you should really rethink it. The thing is, I do not even think of LPC as a job. I do not think about this incredible opportunity and family I have gained the same way other people look at their jobs.

Dr. Magnusson is such an insightful and observant man. He has not once thought, “oh, I should not ask her that because it might make her uncomfortable.” Who cares right? He is trying to prepare me to become the incredible doctor I strive to be some day and I strongly feel as if a doctor would not become a doctor without an abundance of uncomfortable positions. Dr. Magnusson has taken such an interest in my learning abilities. He observes how I act in situations and how I learn from mistakes. Everyone should learn from their mistakes, and Dr. Magnusson makes sure to point out that you are learning. He points out my mistakes, from leaving my hair in the sink after my run and not noticing that piece of trash outside of the clinic. He is making me more observant, because you should know every last inch of something you care about. I care deeply for LPC.

This is just the beginning for me. Dr. Magnusson has been gracious enough to let me work with him and the rest of the team for the next two years. They continue to tell me they are going to “teach me all the things.” I have already learned so much just being here a few months, I cannot even begin to imagine what I will learn and be 2 years from now, but I am more than excited. I only imagine my gratitude growing.

Thank you LPC. You have made me step out of my comfort zone. I will ask questions. I will say what I feel. I will make you all proud, because that is the least you deserve.

Dr. Magnusson Responds, October 31, 2016

We have a lot of powerful souls come through our little hospital, and Tamara is has shown her healing powers to be pretty unique.

For one thing, Tamara’s ability to strike up a conversation with essentially anyone is unmatched. And not only will she get you talking, she’ll get you smiling, and soon you’ll be laughing together! Tamara is a walking talking ice breaker.

A working relationship begins when someone is brave enough to take the first step to say something, and Tamara says all the things folks are too scared to be the first one to say, even when she’s not a hundred percent sure if it’s exactly the right thing. She values the relationship over perfection, a beautiful and rare trait in veterinary students, who are often perfectionists, even at the cost of healthy relating.

Not so Tamara, who thrives on creating and nurturing healthy relationships, and laughs at her very human imperfection.

Taking full responsibility for any errors she may make throughout her day, Tamara never lets little hiccups or speed bumps slow her down or break her smile. Whether she’s laughing at herself, or laughing at life, you know Tamara is going to see the positive side of any situation and learn something from it.

Tamara comes in gentle and easy with cookies and a warm fire, and makes you feel genuinely, truly listened to. She seems to get real heartfelt joy out of listening to people talk about their passions, and tell their unique stories. In fact, I think watching people light up while she listens to their story is one of those things that helps Tamara feel fulfilled and find meaning in life, and what a fantastic trait for a doctor.

Her ability to intelligently and thoughtfully reflect back what she is hearing and absorb material she is being taught is exceptional. As a teacher, what a joy it is to see Tamara assimilating the material she learns here every day into her permanent behavior. Tamara is changing, and growing, and developing her beautiful personality every day she works here. And oh, how much fun it’s been to watch her begin to blossom even after only a few short months.

One has only to look at Tamara’s academic and work schedule to understand this young woman’s ability to absorb and apply knowledge. Cramming an entire Biology degree into a single Monday of studies every week, Tamara manages to maintain an excellent GPA while simultaneously working full time at our clinics, an achievement unmatched by any other student who has come through here so far.

She works twice as hard as anyone else around her, trips a couple times, lands on her feet, learns something from the fall, and still keeps laughing. That’s our Tamara.

I look forward to seeing just how far this proud young woman’s future takes her. Stay tuned!

THREE MONTHS LATER – Tamara writes about her first six months at Leo’s Pet Care, January 2017

158 days ago I began my journey with Leo’s Pet Care. I wish there was a way to thank my family for everything they do for me. I can say thank you a million times, do my part, and try to be there for them as much as possible, and it is still not enough in my eyes.

Jen and Angel are the managers of our two wonderful locations. Oh, what to say about Jen and Angel. They both hold themselves so highly. I have never seen two women who are more dedicated and strong willed. They hold the places we call home up so well.

Jen fights so strongly for the people she loves. A complete stranger may or may not have talked poorly of the car I had when I first started at Leo’s and she was ready to defend me to the death.

Angel is the hardest worker I have ever met. I strive to be as dedicated as her. She will do so much to make sure her family is provided for. Bend over backwards and side to side. The work ethic this woman has is unmatched.

Dr. Gilliam is the only person I have met that can change everything we talk about into her passion somehow. If you look up passion in the dictionary, you’ll see a picture of her and her horse. Passion is such a strong quality. As someone who hides her passions sometimes, Dr. Gilliam has taught me to not care about it. Tell the world about your passions. Let everyone know exactly what you want to do and how you’re going to do it. Let everyone know and if you start to feel bad for sharing too much, suck it up, because you want to be as passionate as Dr. Gilliam. Trust me.

Our family does not end there, I may be a college student at Leo’s but I am not the only one by any means. I have had the pleasure of being family with Maddie, Brooke, Abby, Kristen, and Danielle. Students in their undergrad or in the School of Veterinary Medicine at Purdue and Ohio. We all are on the wonderful path to Veterinary Medicine. I cannot begin to fathom how thankful I am for my fellow students. The little time that I have been able to work with them has taught me so much. It will always baffle me how much you can learn from just one person if you listen. I have so many learning opportunities at Leo’s. I can learn from 5 very different students that all strive to get to the same place.

Maddie has taught me poise. She has an answer for everything even if she wasn’t prepared for the question. She takes a moment, calmly thinks, and comes up with an answer that floors you almost every time.

Brooke has taught me to live my life and do not stop. She has already experienced so much and we are the same age. I was never one to think about traveling as a passion, but my goodness this woman is inspiring. And encouraging. I saw her for about 2 weeks over winter break. I had no clue how to throw this fancy veterinary knot until Brooke. Dr. Magnusson walked me through it but Brooke had this handy dandy contraption that lets you practice. She motivated me so much. I wanted to be just like Brooke so I tried incredibly hard, I am still not as good, but boy did it feel good to get a “Good job Tamara” from her.

Abby is such a loving soul. She has love to give to everyone. She comes in smiling and leaves smiling, every single day. I was nervous about fitting into veterinary school because of the stereotypes Veterinary School has. Well, Abby sure did change my mind. She and I think in a similar way. We both want to see people smile and smile watching. It’s a great way to live life. She made me feel normal. What a doll that Abby is.

Kristen has taught me to ask questions. I think a lot of people are afraid to ask questions. Sadly, people make others feel as if you’re not as smart if you have questions. You should be embarrassed if you have questions and you will be looked down upon. Not at Leo’s! I had to get out of the mindset though. It was hard to break me of this habit. I did not want to ask questions. One day Kristen brought me this little journal (with her artwork right on front just for me) and told me to write all of the things. My questions, my feelings, anything and everything. So I did. Once I got in the habit the journal had less questions and more of the things I have learned from asking my questions.

Danielle came in for a single day and I was astonished by how much she could ask and how opinionated she was. She asked Dr. Magnusson so many questions and wanted real answers. And when she asked the question and got an answer, she gave herself time to take in the answer, think about it, and have more questions. This girl is on a path that is hard, and is going to take time and a lot of effort. She loves people as much as I do, and she loves animals. Sometimes that’s hard to come across in Veterinary Medicine. And she showed me that you can do both. And I love how she does not plan to give up her dreams. One day and I was ready to root and holler for her. Stand at the finish line and give her a big ol Leo’s hug.

I also have Sara. Sara just graduated from school to be a Registered Veterinary Technician. She is like a little veterinary textbook with tons of little fun facts to teach me about veterinary medicine. Yes, I have been an assistant for a few years but I haven’t learned half of the stuff I know now until I got to Leo’s. Sara and I are very similar in a lot of ways. We both have so much to learn. We are trying to “adult” as we say together. We are learning about how to budget, pay bills, grow, and have a social life all at the same time. Without Leo’s who knows how much money we would be wasting on tacos and holiday décor. Sara has taught me to open up. I feel as if I have taught her the same thing. Tell people how you feel and be there for others. We also are each other’s check points in a way. If Sara thinks I need to change something I have done or fix it, she will tell me with no hesitation. I do the same for her.

Rob has been in the veterinary field for a while now. I have no idea how he can find every mistake, fix it, and still not get annoyed by all of my questions. I am incredibly thankful for it though. Technology has never been my forte. Rob’s forte is technology. I wish I had the exact number of times I have called Rob asking for technical assistance. He’s basically a computer. I think he is so tech savvy because he is so detail orientated. Computers even see your grammatical errors. Rob sees all and tells you to fix it. I need to be more detail orientated. Doctors are detail orientated. I still have ways to go with this but I can credit Rob with the growth I have had with this matter.

What can we say about Dr. Magnusson? How does one man juggle owning two successful businesses, veterinary medicine, a wife and son, and all of us students juicing him for as much advice and life information as possible? Well, we have no clue. He does it though, and he does it with a smile. I tease him about haunting him in his dreams because I probably yell for his help or advice AT LEAST twenty times a day. He wants all of us to become the best person we can be. He encourages us to do whatever we want and will find a way to get us there if he can. I think we all strive to be like Dr. Magnusson someday. We want to be the “cool” boss. We want to be the boss that is supportive and encouraging. Dr. Magnusson has taught me so much I really do not know where to start. If you have not heard of the 80/20 rule, look it up, apply it to every aspect in life, and you will realize just how intuitive and intelligent this man really is. Really, it should not even be a question to begin with though. I always tell him how awesome Leo is going to continue to be having parents like him and his wife.

I wish I could begin to thank my family for what they do for me. I do not think the copious amount of thanks even begins to do justice. I plan to work towards it every day though. I’ve had 158 days to give thanks to my family and the rest of a lifetime to continue.