INDIANAPOLIS — No doubt, over the course of the pandemic, with all of us spending more time at home, we've bonded closely with our pets.
And vice versa.
The change in our daily routine and work-life setups have led to a demand for additional services at animal clinics.
For Nate Swegman, it's another day on the job in the busy operating room at Noah's Animal Hospital on the northeast side of Indianapolis.
The veterinary technician admits not every day is easy on the job, but every day Swegman does go home feeling like he made a difference.
"It's not playing with puppies and kitties," Swegman said, "Unfortunately most of the time they are sick here, and you have to have that mindset like I want to help them get better."
Swegman assists veterinarians with surgeries.
On the day WRTV visited the clinic, he was running anesthesia on the pets for different procedures.
He's been in the field for seven years and spent the last two years working for Noah's Animal Hospitals.
At the same time, Swegman is finishing his bachelor's degree in veterinary nursing, thanks to the support of managers at Noah's, allowing him to take his career to the next level.
"She kind of pushed me to better myself to get more education in the veterinary field," he said.
Noah's Animal Hospitals is a family-run business with nine locations across Central Indiana. It has been around for 35 years.
While the COVID-19 pandemic forced many businesses to downsize or even close, that was not the case for the veterinarian medicine industry.
"We have absolutely exploded with business," said Stephen Phillips, the human resources coordinator for Noah's. "Our business grew exponentially. People were coming in right and left. A lot of that may have been because they were home more and noticed that something with Fluffy or Fido was wrong, and maybe they didn't notice before."
Phillips says now the company needs to add more workers to its team of roughly 250 employees.
Noah's Animal Hospitals is looking for all types of experience levels for a number of open positions.
Those include entry-level pet care specialists, client service representatives, veterinary technicians and veterinary assistants.
The pay rate for entry level positions with Noah's Animal Hospitals starts around $10.00 per hour. Pay ranges vary depending on the position and experience.
At another clinic across town on West Washington Street, Scarlett West works as a client service representative, while cross-training to become a veterinary assistant/tech.
She came to Noah's with no experience, but a love for animals.
While West is excelling at one job — greeting clients, scheduling appointments and answering phones — she is training for another to work more closely with the animals.
"So, they do very well with training and being super supportive and push me to be the best that I can be," West said. "They have known since I started that I wanted to be a technician."
She's on the right path.
And thanks to a local Hoosier business surviving the pandemic, she can remain true to her childhood passion.
"Ever since I was little, I've always loved animals. I've never pictured myself working in anything other than veterinary medicine."