Heidi Miller, Vet Tech


Growing up on the East Coast, I often daydreamed of one day living in Sunny California. I was fortunate enough to visit the Monterey Bay on a cross-country tour in the late 1980s. When I met my husband in college we discovered that we shared a similar sense of adventure, and in his travels he too had fallen in love with the West Coast. Finally, in 1991, we picked up and moved to Santa Cruz and we have lived here ever since! We both love the beaches and the accessibility of great hiking and mountain biking trails. With the Sierras a short distance away, we sure have it all! one of my favorite pastimes is walking the beaches and collecting sea glass, stones, driftwood and other treasures to make gifts out of them for family and friends. Our dog LOVES to comb the beaches with me, but we are certainly looking for different treasures.

One of the other dogs in my life loved to swim at the beach and can be credited with my interest in the Veterinary field. He had many health issues and ended up paralyzed in the rear after a long and happy life, and was swimming (literally) until his last day with us. As a later-in-life career change, I decided to attend Hartnell College for the Animal Health program, and became a Registered Veterinary Nurse in 2002. It has been a very rewarding career helping animals and the people who care for them. While I respect and admire all animals, I admittedly feel the strongest connection to dogs, and continue to be in awe of the relationships we are able to form with creatures so different from us. I do enjoy working with a variety of species to keep work exciting, and we are fortunate to work with “exotics” here at Felton veterinary Hospital. On any given day, we can hear Parrots squaking, and guinea pigs squeeking in the exam room. Although the reptiles and snakes are quieter, they are a thrill to work with as well.

I’m very fond of rats and the unbelievably cute paws they hold their food in while eating. We used to have a pet rat that we rescued from a hard life on the streets living with a homeless man. He could not care for the rat and was going to release him in Golden Gate Park. The rat was a very shy boy that my husband was not very excited about adopting, but we came to an agreement that I would do all of his care, and my husband could name him. He hoped calling him “The Hoff” after David Hasselhoff would help him come out of his shell. I even put a picture of the Nightrider car in the cage with him, but ultimately he remained a shy guy. Maybe he would have liked a picture of “Baywatch” instead. I also kept a few hens for a while. They are lovely creatures and I was excited to have a pet that could make me breakfast!

In 2013 we adopted an amazing, sweet and smart 6 year old Labrador mix named Jack. He rides well in the car and is always up for an adventure –we all love camping in the Volkswagen van! Although he didn’t inherit the “retrieve” gene from his ancestors and tires of balls or frisbees very quickly, he is happy and proud to bring me some slimy dead thing he found on the beach. Thanks! He loves the ocean and will just swim around in circles for so long that he has been mistaken for a seal on more than one occasion! We also currently have a sweet tabby and white princess, that rules the household and a black male cat that rules the neighborhood.

When I’m not spending quality time with my own pets, I’m happy to be caring for yours at Felton Veterinary Hospital. I love the small-town feel of Felton, where everyone knows everyone else and Henry Cowell park, where we love to walk on our lunch breaks. While it was hard leaving my hometown all those years ago, I have made a new home for myself here in Santa Cruz, and I’m grateful for all the forks in the road that have led me down this path today.