Volunteer veterinary technicians and assistants are essential to the success of the RAVS program. We depend on the many knowledgeable, compassionate professionals who generously contribute their time and expertise. We literally could not do it without your support.

There will be a staff Trip Lead in charge of the trip, and additional staff veterinarians and technicians supervising various areas of clinic operations. The knowledge and experience of our veterinary technicians is fully utilized to optimize clinic operations with staff technicians typically supervising all facets of anesthesia and anesthetic monitoring. As a volunteer veterinary technician or assistant you will work with RAVS staff and student volunteers in providing quality care to our animal patients and their families. Depending on your interests and experience, technicians are most frequently asked to assist with anesthesia and recovery but may rotate through other areas of the clinic as well and your experience may include, receiving and examinations, triage or critical care. There are opportunities for technicians and assistants of all backgrounds and experience levels.

The reasons for veterinarians to participate in RAVS are many and varied. They include a passion for increasing equitable access to veterinary care and an opportunity to practice medicine for the sole purpose of alleviating pain and suffering in animals who may otherwise go untreated. RAVS clinics also allow practitioners to share their skills and knowledge with students and many volunteer veterinarians find the teaching aspect of our clinics to be their favorite part. Even seasoned practitioners learn new tips and techniques while on field clinics. Certainly, the chance to travel and interact with people and animals in "out of the way" places is an attraction. A common highlight shared by past volunteers is the opportunity to connect with clients and community members in our partner communities. The places in which we work are interesting in their own right with a complex history. If you haven't experienced life on a reservation, seen the wide prairies of the Dakotas, or high desert of northern Arizona, RAVS is a great way to go there with a purpose. Of course, working on a RAVS trip will not be a restful vacation. The days start very early and often end late. Fourteen-hour workdays are not uncommon. Accommodations generally consist of such luxuries as camping out on the floor of a high school gym, often without the benefit of hot water or showers. There are often long travel times and meals can be sporadic.

All that said, living and working as part of a team of dedicated volunteers to provide care for the neediest of animals and their families can be an amazing opportunity and a life-changing experience. In many ways the physical hardships add to the shared challenge of the trip and a sense of camaraderie. Adventure and humor are definitely two very important “senses” in a RAVS experience.

The RAVS website contains a fairly detailed discussion of what is expected of all volunteers and the protocols used in the field. If there is something you have questions about or disagree with, you are strongly encouraged to contact us ahead of your scheduled trip. Our equipment and supplies are dictated by the areas we serve and ease of transport therefore they may not reflect the options available at your own clinic. Because of our high case load, the limited time for each clinic and our policy of providing the best and most consistent care possible it is important that all volunteers are familiar with RAVS protocols before the start of a trip. For these reasons we ask that all volunteers spend the time to read the website and volunteer training materials and take a brief training evaluation before coming on a RAVS clinic.

For volunteers who are motivated and prepared, the field clinic can provide an opportunity for significant responsibility. Many technicians find that their technical skills and judgment are utilized more in the field than in most other settings. Although participating in a RAVS field clinic can be extremely challenging, this amazing opportunity can be a life-changing experience. The support and hard work of volunteer veterinary technicians and assistants is crucial to the success of our field programs. I hope you will consider joining us!

Veterinarians and veterinary technicians are now eligible to receive RACE approved continuing education credit for their experience in RAVS field clinics.

Click here for more information.

Before applying to participate in a RAVS field clinic, please be sure to review ALL of the materials in the Volunteer Information section of the website. Also review the specific Trip Details for any clinic you are planning to apply for. There is a lot of information here, but it is all important. The Volunteer Checklist provides a very brief overview of the application process and pre-trip volunteer responsibilities. If you have any question regarding expectations or requirements, please contact us in advance for clarfication.

Thank you for your interest in RAVS volunteer programs. We look forward to working with you!