Dear Future Client,
I wanted to take a moment of your time to introduce myself, so that you can get to know a little more about me. I truly believe you want to be the best pet owner you can be. I understand that you know your pet better than anyone else and I respect that expertise. I believe that with mutual respect, and good communication we can be the best possible team for your pet’s health and wellness; I want to be partners when it comes to caring for your pet. I have found that good communication is key to practicing good veterinary medicine and good pet ownership. I would also like to share my beliefs on what it takes to be a good pet owner. I want you to feel comfortable and confident with what we are doing for your pet and with why we are doing it.
First let me say, if you haven’t stopped in to my clinic to introduce yourself and meet me in person, please do so. The staff and myself would love a chance to say hello and show you around our practice at a time when you do not have your pet with you. Please give us a call to set up a time; this will allow us to answer any questions you might have about our faculty, services and facility without distractions.
You spend more time with your pet than anyone, and therefore you know all of his/her idiosyncrasies. I value any input you have pertaining to strange or unusual changes in your pet. I am open to hearing any ideas you might have when it comes to your pet’s health and well-being. It is easiest for us to focus on your pet and the exam if we communicate with one another during the exam. I would appreciate it if you left your cell phone off during your pet’s exam so that important information you need to convey to me is not lost, or forgotten. I honor your insights when it comes to your pet, but please recognize that I am a trained expert when it comes to the medical and surgical care of animals.
As your veterinarian, you are employing me to be your expert when it comes to your pet’s health. We need to be upfront and honest with one another in all areas regarding your pet. Please feel free to bring a list of questions with you to each exam, so that we can address all of your pets needs. The safety of your pet is important to me, as I’m sure it is to you. When you are coming into the clinic please have your dog on a leash, or your small pet in a carrying kennel. Please do not send a sick pet in with someone who is not the caregiver. It is very hard for me, and frustrating for the messenger, when I am asking questions about the pet’s symptoms and they do not know the answer. As your pets guardian it is important for you to be present at examinations. Your presence will also help when it comes to financial decisions. At anytime, if I do not offer an estimate of cost, please feel free to request one; I do not want you to be surprised when you go to pay the bill. It is also important that you be upfront and honest with me about what you are willing and not willing to do for your pet. There is no shame in admitting that you cannot perform certain tasks at home, or afford certain treatments. I have pets too, and I understand these challenges. I have plenty of alternatives to offer, but I need you to tell me if something is not plausible. Denial of the problem is not fair to your pet, so please just communicate your concerns with me; I care and I’m here to help.
Owning a pet is not just a privilege, it’s a responsibility. In order to be a good owner, you need to be a responsible one. Your pet depends on you for food and water, shelter, exercise and training, grooming, companionship and so much more. A good owner researches about their pet to ensure all their needs are being met. Fresh food and water are daily requirements for any living animal. A pet needs to have a clean safe place to live; ensure your home is safe. Dogs thrive with exercise and consistent training; bored dogs get into trouble. Proper grooming is essential for every pet; some need regular brushing and baths, others just need the occasional clean up. If recommended by a veterinarian the pet should be vaccinated, sterilized, and have routine wellness exams. Vaccinations are important for your pets’ health and your safety. Rabies vaccinations are a legal requirement, while other vaccinations can be tailored to your pets needs. Sterilizing your pet not only helps to control unwanted breeding, but also has medical benefits. Pets that are not sterilized are at higher risk for certain types of cancer, infections, and can be harder to train. Routine exams help to keep your pet healthy by monitoring weight, teeth, nails, hair coat, and catching early warning signs of progressing illness, but you should also monitor these things at home. Remember, you are everything to your pet and they rely on you to provide everything for them.
In closing, I want to make certain that you understand that my first priority is your pet’s health and well-being. If you are made to feel otherwise by my staff, or myself please do not hesitate to bring it to my attention. One last important point, remember to take time each day to play with and enjoy the unconditional love and companionship from your pet; after all that’s why you brought them into your life in the first place!
I look forward to many years of a great partnership.
Carrie V. Howe, Future D.V.M