Vet Tech Students Make Valentine’s Day Cards for Vista Prairie

Senior living community residents receive 40 cards as random act of kindness

Students in the Veterinary Technician program at Dakota County Technical College created personalized Valentine’s Day cards for 40 residents at the Vista Prairie Senior Living Community at River Heights in South St. Paul, Minnesota.

A number of students involved in the project also belong to the college’s SCNAVTA Club, a student chapter of the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA).

Meri Durand, CVT, RLATG, an instructor in the Vet Tech program, reported that she was inspired to start the project over Christmas 2020 after she saw a Facebook post about her community donating holiday cards to local senior living homes.

“We had around fifteen students involved from various classes,” Meri said. “During short breaks, we encouraged students to make a valentine for a resident. We also had members of our SCNAVTA Club make valentines—and it was amazing!”

Meri added that she reached out to a friend who works at a senior home and asked if they would like Valentine’s Day donations.

“They were ecstatic!” Meri said. “I always want to encourage my students to do things in their community to support veterinary medicine, but I also want them to understand that simple random acts of kindness can make a world of difference for someone. During times of COVID, many senior facilities don’t get to see their loved ones and getting something simple as a valentine might just make their day.”

Meri Durand, CVT, RLTAG: Faculty perspective…

Meri DuRand, CVT, RLATG

“You never know when a simple random act of kindness can make someone’s day go from bad to good. When you can, go out of your way to make someone smile or make their day!”

Meri Durand, CVT, RLTAG
Veterinary Technician Faculty
Dakota County Technical College

Sarah Vinson: Vet Tech student perspective…

Age: 40
Hometown: Lakeville, Minnesota
Extracurricular activities: SCNAVTA Club treasurer
Career goals: To own my own boarding/daycare facility for dogs and provide some basic level of medical care at our facility to our clients as well as rescue organizations.

Sarah Vinson

Why do you wish to be a vet tech?

I want to learn to properly and expertly care for animals. I plan to share that knowledge with pet owners through client education, and hopefully enrich the lives of animals in doing so.

What is your takeaway from the Vista Prairie Valentine’s Day card project?

Our SCNAVTA Club not only wants to focus on education and involvement in our field of study, but also to reach out through volunteer projects in our local community.

The board members of SCNAVTA felt that through making these Valentine’s Day cards the vet tech students would feel involved in a purposeful activity while making a difference in someone else’s lives.

As a group, we hope the cards and their sentiments were able to bring joy, smiles, and have a meaningful impact during a time when, sadly, loneliness is prevalent.

Abigail Nelson: Vet Tech student perspective…

Age: 27
Hometown: Ellsworth, Wisconsin
Extracurricular activities: SCNAVTA Club member
Career goals: I hope to become a certified vet tech (CVT) and see where that takes me. I would love to work within a shelter or some kind of rehabilitation program, but we will see.

Abigail & Ava

Why you wish to be a vet tech?

I grew up on a farm and always had a soft spot for animals. In 2017, I got my first dog and became very interested in the medical side of things. I wanted to know how to take care of her and found a passion in it.

What is your takeaway from the Vista Prairie Valentine’s Day card project?

Even though I truly love animals more than people in most scenarios, I think that this Valentine’s Day it was more important than ever to remind our older community members that they are truly loved by others and they are not alone!

Valentine’s Day is not just a time to celebrate love to your significant other, it’s a time to reestablish a nurturing and loving environment for everyone around us—old, young or fluffy.

More about SCNAVTA Club at DCTC…

Alexis Odegaard

The purpose of the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) is:
  • To promote the professional and educational advancement of veterinary technicians.
  • To promote and maintain the professional image and high ethical standards of the veterinary technician.
  • To promote progressive and humane medical care for all creatures.
  • To promote and maintain a cooperative professional relationship with the veterinary medical profession.
  • To promote an interest in a National Association of veterinary technicians.
  • To further the social and scientific advancement of DCTC veterinary technology students.

More about the role of the vet tech…

As a key component of the animal healthcare team, veterinary technicians perform medical tests under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian to assist in diagnosing animal injuries and illnesses. Vet techs carry out vital tasks, including:

  • Evaluating an animal’s condition
  • Collecting and analyzing biological samples
  • Educating clients on nutrition and behavior
  • Administering and monitoring anesthesia

The Veterinary Technician program prepares you for a career caring for animals in veterinary clinics, animal research facilities or wildlife rescue centers. The program provides opportunities for hands-on learning required for work in pharmacology, surgical preparation and animal care. This practical, interactive approach gives you the skills, knowledge and expertise you need to launch your career in the veterinary field.

As a certified veterinary technician, you will have passed the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE) given by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB).

Accreditation Notice

The Veterinary Technician program at Dakota County Technical College is fully accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA) as a program for educating veterinary technicians.


A.A.S. Degree

DCTC offers a 60-credit Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Veterinary Technician.


Veterinary Technologists and Technicians

Perform medical tests under the supervision of a veterinarian.


Median: $18.22/hour
High: $21.46/hour

Seven-county Twin Cities metro

Median: $18.83/hour
High: $22.30/hour


In Minnesota, there are 3,000 workers employed in this small career. This career is currently in very high demand and seeing very high growth compared to other careers. Growth rate in Minnesota is 19 percent and well above the statewide average.

There will be a need for about 3,013 new Veterinary Technologists and Technicians to meet market demand between 2018–2028. This includes the demand due to replacement (workers leaving the occupation or retiring) as well as growth.

Where do Veterinary Technologists and Technicians most often work?
Minnesota State CAREERwise Education
Learn more about the Veterinary Technician program at DCTC by contacting:

Nicole Nieman, CVT
Vet Tech Program Director and Faculty

Jonathan O’Hara
Academic and Financial Aid Advisor