Employee of The Month

Congratulations to the NorthStar VETS Employee of the Month!

Heather Breining is our NorthStar VETS employee of the month. She was nominated by her teammates for regularly going above and beyond to provide the best care for patients. Congratulations!

Here are some things her coworkers said about her:
"Heather has been a life-saver these last few months. She has covered so many shifts, day, overnight, and mid-shifts to cover teammates. She is also very talented. She can do anything asked of her."

"Heather has been a real team player. Fills in wherever needed, and is always willing to help."

"The overnight staff has appreciated Heather coming in and helping out. She has made a huge difference!"

A few words with our EOM

When did you join NorthStar VETS?
"Oct 2011. Mostly in ICU/Surgery before I moved into Oncology."

What attracted you to veterinary medicine?
"It was the love of medicine and animals. I was a huge fan of watching medical drama shows and reading/watching about animals, Jack London's Call of the Wild... Iron Will, K-9, Turner & Hooch... Jane Goodall was a childhood hero for me... I was working as a bartender when 9-11 occurred and answered an ad in the newspaper for a veterinary technician at a general practice and was hired. Later, I pursued veterinary medicine based on how much I enjoyed learning about it."

What do you love about what you do?
"I always enjoy learning new things, methods, and medicine. Plus, I enjoy interaction with the patients and owners. It is rewarding to see how medicine has evolved over the years for companion animals as well as the changing human perception of animals. The amount of amazing experiences I have had over the years is a direct result of what I do. From treating Siberian tigers with chemotherapy, seeing chew toys scoped out of the stomach of a dog, meeting a puppy and after working 15 years in the field, seeing it grow into a senior pet and helping the owners come to terms with end of life care/decisions. The people I work with have the ability to be extremely compassionate and scientific, and realistic with outcomes of diseases. I have friends who work in the human health field and are amazed at what we do on a daily basis."

Tell us about your own pets?
"Allagash, the dog with the missing cerebellum. He is so very heart-stopping when he falls at home. He has a helmet that I am trying to get him to wear regularly. He goes swimming, he's goofy, and has reached so many more milestones than we ever imagined. He can climb steps, stand and walk. There is so much to say about him, but this video does a good job of telling his story."

Watch Allagash's story

What would people be surprised to know about you?
"I am a complete foodie (I have eaten some weird things in my travels) and I keep a list of 100 restaurants at which to eat before I die.
Jeopardy - I love to watch it.
I wanted to be a photographer when I was a kid, and so I collected every National Geographic Magazine from 1982 (the year I was born) until I was an early teen. I took all the covers and wallpapered my room with them.
I also love to run and want to run a race on every continent. I have 4 more to go."

Heather Breining, CVT, VTS (Oncology)Heather Breining, CVT, VTS (Oncology)
As a lifelong resident of New Jersey, Breining grew up in Mercer County and attended schools in the state. While in college, she worked as a veterinary technician in general practice. Breining obtained her CVT in 2005 and in 2008 transitioned into a management role. Wanting to stay more hands-on with patients, Breining came to NorthStar VETS where she worked in Critical Care and Surgery before finding her niche in Oncology. In 2015, Breining earned her VTS in Oncology.

With a lot of great Oncology experience under her belt, Breining has been an award-winning speaker at International Conferences such as ACVIM, VCS and the Ontario Association of Veterinary Technicians since 2013.

When not at work, Breining enjoys traveling, playing sports, and taking care of her black Labrador Retreiver, Allagash, a dog with Cerebellar Hypoplasia Vermis.