How did you come by the veterinarian for your pet? Was it by a referral from family or friend or did you choose them because they were close to home? I hope you and your pet are very satisfied with your pet’s healthcare provider. If for any reason you are not, more than likely it is not due to something as arbitrary as the fee structure for services but because of a poor connection between pet and people. True, it is certainly difficult to foster a relationship with your local vet clinic if you have a reasonably healthy cat or dog that sees the vet perhaps once or twice a year. At some point in that pet’s life you are going to have an emergency or some sensitive issue to deal with and you don’t want the cheapest vet. You are going to want one that has a history of caring for your pet and one that has bonded with your family.
What makes a great veterinary clinic?
On a recent visit to The Pet Authority for Neko’s vaccinations we had a very pleasant visit with Dr. Hutchinson. The very essence of the visit I’m guessing should have been 20 minutes tops with just a quick checkup and a poke, however the extra time that was much needed was made available. Neko has several issues including difficulty with mobility due to a nerve condition and coupled with that is a fear of males – a fear which raised its ugly head soon after I brought him home as a puppy from the shelter. He also believes that every dog he sees is one that is his “friend” and should be sniffed and played with so he can be highly distracted in the confines of a clinic lobby.
A proactive staff
The staff at The Pet Authority welcomed us with a room close by to the lobby so he didn’t have so far to walk. Things were made much easier for Neko by the exam room floor being prepared using a yoga mat and soft blanket to help him with traction and a comfortable place to lay for his exam.
Hands off handling
To honor the signals that Neko was showing telling us he was not comfortable with hands or even a stethoscope getting near him, Dr. Hutchinson and I worked together by my placing the stethoscope on Neko’s chest myself while Dr. Hutchinson gingerly handled the earpiece. My hands made it ok and I was able to play a part in making him comfortable at his checkup.
The staff that were in the exam room made extra effort to keep the pressure off of Neko by using soft glances toward him, turning their bodies to the side and avoiding reaching toward or over him, and when appropriate would kneel down nearby vs. standing over him while he relaxing on the floor.
One way to win Neko over is through tasty treats. One of his favorites, Lean Treats, is sold at the clinic and there are always treats on hand in the exam rooms. Tossing treats toward Neko’s toes for him to pick up or handing them to me to feed to him was a gentle way to introduce a tasty reward. After a cursory sniff of Dr. Hutchinson, Neko was happy to get a tasty treat from his hand.
Do as you would do for yourself
The New Year is an excellent time to examine your commitments and your relationships. Since your pet doesn’t have the power to choose who is a partner to you in caring for them, they rely on you to be their protector, their advocate and their friend. Looking for a vet, a groomer, a dog walker or a pet trainer is a very personal choice. Follow your instincts and choose what is best for your forever friend.