When pigs fly

Growing up on a farm, Carolyn Cartwright, a registered veterinary technologist and lead hand of specialties at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM), spent a lot of time around animals, especially horses.

But it was one little pig that captured her heart about 10 years ago.

“He was running at large on campus one Halloween,” she recalled, allegedly part of a prank between two rival colleges. Young, small and hungry—no more than two pounds—the pig was captured and brought to the WCVM Veterinary Medical Centre for examination.

Nobody claimed ownership of the pig, so Cartwright adopted it. He now lives the sweet life at her family farm just outside the city, alongside many horses, cats and dogs.

It is that love of animals that piqued Cartwright’s interest in working with them. She completed her training as a registered veterinary technologist (RVT) at the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology (SIAST, now known as Saskatchewan Polytechnic) in 1985 and started at the WCVM that same year.

Cartwright is the only technologist in the province who is certified as a veterinary technician specialist (VTS) in anesthesia/analgesia. But besides working in that specialty, her 30 years on campus have given her the opportunity to cross-train in many areas including the small and large animal clinics, field service, veterinary pharmacy and lead hand of specialties.

She teaches third-year clinical components for WCVM veterinary students as well as college-based courses for students enrolled in the Saskatchewan Polytechnic veterinary technology program.

Cartwright was recently awarded the national Registered Veterinary Technologists and Technicians of Canada Sandy Hass Appreciation Award. The award honours Cartwright’s contributions toward her field, her extended performance and participation, and her contributions toward the profession of animal health technologists and veterinary technologists in Canada.  

And as for that little pig? She named him Curtis, after the veterinary student who first told her about the situation all those years ago. “He thought it was an honour,” she said.

By U of S Communications.

Above image: Carolyn Cartwright with her dog Murphy. Photo by Christina Weese.