Welcome to the Blog of Back Bay Veterinary Clinic. Check in monthly to read our latest educational or interest piece all written by our very own doctors. We hope you enjoy reading and welcome input and feedback!! The first entry below is based on my own experiences this past year at major referral centers. Only this time, I was the pet owner.
Perspective is everything and the best lessons often learned when least expected. Recently, two of my own pets had some pretty serious health concerns and quicker than I could imagine, I was thrust into the role of a client. As we journeyed through experiences at two large veterinary centers, it was interesting was mattered to me when I was on the other end of the leash and carrier and how all this shaped my impression of the facility that cared for my pet.
I wanted my pets to be understood and treated like the special souls they were. In unfamiliar environments, we all act a little differently, so I hoped and prayed that Baker and Dolly were seen for who they really were, and not whom they might seem to be when they were in a scary place. Please don’t get frustrated if my creatures behave in a less than perfect way (barking, scratching, pulling out catheters).
I wanted to know how things went and how my beloved dog and rabbit were doing, in the time frame you specified. Pet parents worry. A lot. Left to their own accord, they often fear the worst. Please keep your word and call when you say you will!
I so appreciated compassion. For my pet and for me. Understanding how tough this time was for both of us, really made a difference, and addressing and referring to us by our names was great too. It’s without a doubt that this made the experience easier for Baker and Dolly.
A call within the first few days of discharge was so meaningful. It gave me a chance to ask questions and to share what I was seeing. It felt good to hear that everything was going as expected. Huge sigh of relief. Somehow my own veterinary skills and intuition were not quite as good, when the creatures were my own.
Please respect the value of my time. I arrived well before my scheduled appointment and was understanding that delays can happen in medical environments. I was, however, frustrated, when 45 minutes after my scheduled appointment time, I was still waiting, without acknowledgement. Had I been 45 minutes late without a phone call, I’m not sure I would have been seen. Life is a juggling act. For all of us. It felt good when my time was respected as well.
It’s more than just the veterinarian. I interacted with 6-8 staff members during each visit. Their approach and knowledge mattered. In fact, the person with the most impact was the client service associate who checked me in at the front desk. And the terrific technicians and vet student who fawned all over Baker and Dolly made us all feel really good too.
In the waiting rooms at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine and Angell Animal Medical Center I was a parent, sharing fears and stories and hopes for cures. I watched as others stroked or spoke to their pets, many of whom took precious days off from work to be there. I heard cell phone conversations that included “I’m not exactly sure what the doctor is trying to rule out, but it’s something about a tumor, or disease in the brain. I’m scared.” I watched how humans held their non-human companions and their human companions at the same time. I witnessed interactions between vet students, residents, doctors and owners. I saw what worked and what didn’t. I saw disappointment in faces when “we’ll have those results in a few days” passed the lips of a vet student and the sparkle in an eye, when another said, “those results typically take a few days, but I’m going to see if I can speed things up, because I can tell you’re worried.” I saw humanity at its best, with total strangers caring for one another, because they shared the commonality of extraordinary love for a creature whose well-being rested in their hands.
Yes, we’re in the business of caring for pets. But caring for pets is more than that. It’s also caring for people. We try and hope that we do that here.
Thank you for allowing us to be part of your life. It’s a an honor that we work hard to earn.