From the desk of the Executive Director, Emily Stuart

Last week, staff had lunch to celebrate National Vet Tech Week, while the guests of honor were delayed by an amputation – a pretty classic representation of the work life of a tech. Our clinic team is non-stop from sunrise to sunset, performing examinations, preparing animals for surgery, administering medications and vaccines, guiding stressed pet parents, cleaning, wrangling, and life-saving. This ain’t no disco, this is shelter medicine and the hours are long, grueling, and chock full of surprises. In 2021, this skilled team has already provided basic vet care to over 1,000 animals, microchipped more than 500 pets, spayed/neutered 277 community-owned pets, and provided care for countless sick and injured animals. If we weren’t able to offer heavily subsidized veterinary services on-site, many families would have to give up their beloved pets due to the expense of care and animals would needlessly suffer. Our veterinary clinic is core to our mission, and our clinic team is transforming the landscape of animal welfare in our community.

Shaun Case was the first animal care attendant hired when Gateway Pet Guardians moved into its first shelter in St. Louis in 2012. As our longest tenured employee, and the “father” of GPG, Shaun is an oracle of institutional knowledge and a calming presence for people and pets alike. The best Shaun moments are when I catch him and Anna giggling during team meetings, or when he always manages to walk in on me saying embarrassing things to dogs. Shaun, I know I’ll never be your favorite Executive Director (the competition is rigged!), but I am so glad we are able to work together.

Rin Robinson is our first ever Clinic Manager, pioneering a brand new position, in the middle of a pandemic, in a clinic that just launched a year ago. To say Rin is brave is an understatement. Rin brings years of experience to GPG and gracefully balances both hands-on vet care and clinic administration. No matter how stressful things get, Rin is a true professional – always advocating for her team and the families we serve. I admire her ability to confront tough conversations head-on – that’s what makes a great leader!

Rhianna Louis is our lead vet tech and actual badass (sorry mom, there is no other way to describe her). Voted most likely to join the Avengers, Rhianna is strong, witty, and smart as hell (sorry again). Rhianna and I have a record for the most awkward encounters in the GPG kitchen. She’s usually plowing through the room on the way to do something important and I’m filling up my third cup of coffee and humming a dumb little song. My internal monologue is usually “Rhianna is so cool, don’t do anything weird, oh no she’s walking away, say words – any words will do, oh she’s gone now.”

Dearest clinic team, you are heroes and I can’t imagine GPG without you.

Please contact Emily Stuart | emily@gatewaypets.org