I had dinner with one of my favorite teachers last night. She’s a tireless career educator. A leader in her field. A textbook author. A real pro. The kind of teacher students remember forever.

Continuing education conferences are great. They bring us together with the people who played an important role in our development–the folks who helped mold us into the doctors we are today. And as much as I appreciate and respect all the great veterinarians who’ve contributed to my development, there’s an equally important group of people whose role is easily overlooked.

Danielle is a veterinary technician. A radiology technician, to be exact. She’s taught more than 20 classes of future veterinarians at the University of Florida–somewhere around 1800 of them–the art and science of taking X-rays and other medical imaging. More importantly, she’s taught them to bring passion to their work, to make learning a lifelong pursuit, to have fun even when they’re working hard, and not to take themselves so seriously even though they’re doing serious work.

Every veterinarian you meet has someone like Danielle in their past. So the next time you’re at the vet, don’t forget to thank their technicians. They help make us who we are.

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