Pets and Community Shape Long-Time Resident’s Path.

Even within an industry focused on animal care, Amber Selsor’s passion seems extraordinary. “I also have a small herd of dogs and cats at my house,” says the Registered Veterinary Technician proudly. “I took each of them in when their lives depended on it. That’s just who I am.”

Selsor’s lifelong love of animals goes back even further than the days of riding her horse along the Blue River in Martin City in the 1980s. More on that in a bit, but first, a little more about the work of one of the most experienced Vet Techs in the country who is now making a difference inside Martin City Animal Hospital.

Martin City Animal Hospital at 135th Street and Cherry Street.

A Quiet Star Among Hidden Heroes.

Martin City Animal Hospital is a business on the rise. It’s been in continuous operation for decades near the train tracks, and there have been plenty of ups and downs over all that time. These days, things are definitely looking up under new ownership.

“We’re really busy,” says Selsor, taking a few minutes to show us around. “But we have a good handle on the schedule and we’re always taking new patients. Access to good care is everything here. We make time for anyone who needs it.”

We visited the hospital during National Veterinary Technician Week in October, an annual recognition of the healthcare professionals. Vendors and other partners sent balloons, restaurant lunches, and other gestures of appreciation. Vet Techs certainly deserve the attention because they quietly do incredibly important work in supporting roles, from making suffering pets comfortable to organizing key resources for Veterinarians.

“I think we’re often seen as just the people you hand your pet to, and there’s so much more,” explains Selsor as her hands brush the wire doors on patient kennels. “We put Veterinarians in the best position to do their best work. What we do is never just a job. It’s an extremely difficult responsibility and we love it. You can’t do this work if you don’t love it.”

In the spirit of Vet Tech Week at Martin City Animal Hospital

The flair of Vet Tech Week was on display against a backdrop of a newly remodeled space. Martin City Animal Hospital has been reconfigured to give healthcare teams more room to work. There’s also fresh paint, stylish animal art, and high-tech equipment aimed at making this hospital more than it’s ever been before.

Martin City Animal Hospital

Martin City Animal Hospital

Martin City Animal Hospital

Martin City Animal Hospital

“I love my work as the Lead Tech here,” says Selsor, waving down the hall at staff members as they come and go. “Dr. Leanna Carpenter is our primary Veterinarian in Martin City. We just click, and I enjoy doing everything I can for her. And the owner, Dr. Aaron Stohs, really brings out the emergency side of my skills. They’re both just great and we’re doing high-quality work together.”

Martin City Animal Hospital Veterinarian Dr. Leanna Carpenter, DVM (left) and Lead Veterinary Technician Amber Selsor, RVT.

Martin City Animal Hospital owner Dr. Aaron Stohs, DVM, and his hand-picked animal imagery along the walls of his business.

Hard-Earned Experience Meets Labor of Love.

Amber Selsor is formally educated and highly trained, earning the advanced title of Registered Veterinary Technician and all the licensing that comes with it. She’s a graduate of Metropolitan Community College’s accredited Veterinary Technology Program at the Maple Woods campus, and continuing education commitments ensure she’s always refining and sharpening her skills.

Selsor’s training puts her in an elite group of Vet Techs, but ultimately, it’s her experience that seems to really set her apart. If she has a superpower, it’s channeling everything she’s learned over two decades into every pet in her care. She’s a classic example of someone who began at the bottom and clawed her way up.

“I started as a receptionist and then went to school while I held down many other jobs to pay the bills. It wasn’t easy. I was stretched very thin as my career took a few turns.”

That’s a bit of an understatement. Selsor’s career has taken many, significant turns. Her resume includes hard runs in emergency rooms, animal shelters, and relief organizations. She’s been under the gun in all kinds of challenging circumstances, and she’s been through countless heart-breaking situations involving illness and injury. Talk with her awhile and you get the feeling she’s seen it all, and now Martin City Animal Hospital is fetching her something especially meaningful.

“Lasting relationships,” says Selsor. “So much of my experience has been helping animals in crisis, and then they move on and I never see them again. At Martin City Animal Hospital, I’m getting the chance to bond with pets and their owners. I’m able to get to know their individual personalities and needs and support them in many different ways. It’s very rewarding.”

Amber Selsor RVT at Martin City Animal Hospital

Selsor came to Martin City Animal Hospital under the leadership of Dr. Libby Robertson just before ownership transferred to Dr. Stohs in late 2020. Now she’s considered the Veterinarian team’s right hand, managing just about everything on the medical side of the operation. Her work boils down to two major benefits for the Vets. “Anticipation and preparation. I know what the Vets need and when they need it.”

On any given day, you’ll find her ordering and organizing pharmaceutical supplies (only Registered Vet Techs are allowed), managing the flow of appointments, and cueing up resources for each one of them. “By the time the Vet walks into the room, they’re ready to go.”

She also gauges vital signs, supports surgeries, performs ultrasounds, and occasionally travels to Dr. Stohs’ other hospitals south of Kansas City to lend a hand with cows, horses, and sheep. That’s a lot of work and a lot of different patients. The hardest part?

“Avoiding burnout. You worry about these animals all the time and take it all home with you. Our oath is to do our best for animals and we live that oath. You know, the Veterinary profession has a very high suicide rate. I’ve lost friends. We take this much more seriously than I think people know.”

But nothing gives you balance, boosts your spirits, and keeps you going quite like a day filled with puppies and kittens. “Oh yeah,” says Selsor, scratching a little dog she’s grown attached to at the hospital. “These little faces go a very long way in making it all worthwhile. Everything we do is a labor of love. That’s what it’s all about.”

A Vet Tech’s labor of love.

“Martin City is My Hometown.”

Amber Selsor’s first few years of life were in the rural community of Great Bend, Kansas. Her family moved to Martin City sometime back in the 1980s when she was about five years old. It was love at first sight.

“I was coming from a farming community, so when I saw the open fields east of Holmes Road, I was so excited by the realization that we were still going to have horses and chickens at our farmhouse. It was on the same spot where the Fishtech campus is now.”

Selsor recalls hopping on her horse, time and time again, and riding down to the Blue River, stopping on Sunday mornings to show off at the church that’s now known as Anointed House of Glory. “All the Sunday school kids would come out of the church to see my horse. It made me feel pretty special.”

Selsor as a child with her horse on the family farm just east of Holmes Road north of 134th and Charlotte. Photo courtesy Amber Selsor.

View from Selsor’s house in the 1980s. The old Commerce Bank building to the left. Trains in the distance. The tree on the right still stands on the Fishtech campus. Photo courtesy Amber Selsor.

Selsor attended Martin City K-8 School and Grandview High School. Her first paying job was at Jack Stack Martin City where she walked to work as a teenager. She grew up in the same crowds with some of the Van Noys, and their culinary culture raised her well. “Oh give me chicken fried steak from Jess and Jim’s Steakhouse any day. I’ve been there more times than I can count. And there’s nothing like RC’s Restaurant, from that one-of-a-kind building to the fried chicken.”

These days, Selsor still lives in the heart of Martin City, not far from the animal hospital, and near the same yards she used to cut through for quick access to school. She’s especially impressed by Matt Moore’s Martin City Brewing Company and has watched it grow over the years into the dominating brand it is today.

“I love it. I mean I can walk up there and get water for my dog and get a drink for myself too. The beer is so good! And now there’s The Scoop right across the street, which is just adorable. And when they turn it into Santa’s Bakeshop in the winter, it’s just so cute. This is what Martin City does. It does its own thing in its own way.”

Martin City Brewing Company on 135th Street.

Dig a little deeper and Selsor has much more to say about what makes her ‘hometown’ special, and she seems to speak for all of us. “There’s a true sense of community here that people hang onto even if they move away. It’s part of their identity. There’s a lot of history and a strong connection to it. You can’t just copy this culture anyplace else.”

Selsor is happy to see the progress of revitalization, especially the push to turn eyesores into new opportunities. She likes how Martin City is shaping a future that’s more about walking and biking, and less about parking lots and heavy traffic. She appreciates how the west side along Highway 150 is growing up with useful big box retail stores that are easily accessible without threatening the hometown feeling in the heart of Martin City.

“I think we’re a well-kept secret,” says Selsor, looking out a window pointed at 135th and Cherry Streets. “Grandview and Leawood get a lot of attention and we’re just kind of here next to them doing our own thing in our own way in Martin City. That’s the way it’s always been and just how we like it.”

Martin City Animal Hospital

Thank you, Amber, for all you do to support pets, people, and the hometown you cherish. We also salute the rest of the Vet Tech team at Martin City Animal Hospital for their devotion to continuing the hospital’s tradition of providing the best care. We’re lucky to have all of you in Martin City.

Martin City Animal Hospital

Martin City Animal Hospital
13441 Cherry Street, Kansas City, MO 64145
(816) 941-0070
https://www.mcahvet.net