by: Katie McCarthy
Veterinary clinics are an essential business. The care and support that we provide to our beloved furry companions is unwavering even in the midst of a global pandemic. Every single day, veterinarians and veterinary staff show up and work hard to meet the needs of the pets we all know and love as our very own.
We are exhausted.
COVID-19 has become part of our everyday lives, and even before the pandemic hit us hard last spring, our staff have been pushing themselves to the limit of greatness and beyond. Getting up each morning (or evening, for those working night shifts) ready to take on whatever comes with a gracious heart and exhausted eyes.
“There is not enough coffee to get me through this day.”
The range of duties and personnel for all veterinary staff run from DVM’s rushing from patient to surgery, to an emergency, back to more patients and perhaps another surgery at the end of the day. This does not include copious amounts of notes and phone calls. Veterinary technicians who see a multitude of pets every day, triage urgent cases, administer injections and medications, provide comfort, and assist in life-saving surgeries, caring for hospitalized pets, maintaining hospital inventory, and serving as a shoulder to lean on when clients are just at their breaking point. Kennel staff who comfort scared or sad pets whose families went away for a few days, cleaning up after their accidents and ensuring their meals are hearty and warm, giving hours of playtime to excited dogs and extra snuggles to the tiniest of kittens, serving as the clinic janitors and making sure clean laundry is ready at all hours of the day. Receptionists who make sure every employee has a patient to be seen and stands by as the first and last point of assurance during a heartbreaking euthanasia, to scary vet visits where the unknown is often worse than the results, scheduling hundreds if not thousands of appointments in a given day or week and struggling with endless phone calls. Dog bathers and groomers who are always at the ready to provide medicated baths and haircuts for pets that may have found themselves in an unfortunate situation, newly adopted dogs that might need a shave down in order to feel brand new again, and providing plenty of baths to help owners maintain a small semblance of normalcy in their otherwise upside-down pandemic-filled lives even if it just means having their dog smell like flowers and wearing a bandana. Veterinary staff do all of this and more, but now we are dealing with the effects of COVID-19 as well.
“Let’s just hope we still have a job.”
The staff at Anaheim Hills Pet Clinic have adapted to days where we may be short-staffed due to extreme precaution. Employees may choose to stay home if they feel they might be ill in an effort to not get the rest of their team sick. Moreover, we are finding it difficult to maintain stock of PPE items such as gloves and masks, and for a long time our staff members were finding creative ways to make their own masks. On any given day you can walk into Anaheim Hills Pet Clinic and you will see extra cleaning protocols in effect. Hourly sanitization practices have become part of our daily tasks on top of everything else that we do as a whole, as a clinic, as a family. The safety of ourselves, our families, and our clients is a priority, and it has been our duty for the past nine months to make sure everyone is as safe and healthy as possible. On top of all of this is the added stress of not knowing if we will have a job to go to the next day, or the next week, or month. Nothing in life is certain right now and the “bonus stress” we receive from that is causing backs to break and hearts to harden. Our smiles and dedication remain for our job and the patients we love seeing, but as soon as we are in our cars at the end of the day there is no guarantee that we will not drive home in tears.
Prioritizing your pet’s health.
Anaheim Hills Pet Clinic has not wavered on the pets we have seen and the cases we have took on. Everything from ear infections and toenail trims to life-saving surgeries and emergency resuscitations that do not always go how we wish they could. It is important to understand that aside from scheduled appointments, our walk-ins are seen on an urgent basis. Some pets may have to wait for a long time with their owners while other pets, who may have arrived after them, are seen first for a more urgent matter. It is with the humblest of hearts that we ask for your understanding, we do not care about some pets more than others, we are simply doing our duty to treat the cases that need our help the most first. If the tables were turned, and you were the terrified client waiting outside holding your small dog in the pouring rain while he or she is not breathing, you may better understand why we rushed your dog in right away instead of a pet that needs a nail trim. It is in the soul of Anaheim Hills Pet Clinic to do right by every pet, and we hope that all of our clients can see this with the same heart, and practice patience if your pet needs to wait a little longer than you hoped.
Try to be more kind.
“I can’t do this anymore, I don’t know what I did wrong, I was just trying to help.”
As much as veterinary staff fancy ourselves to be superheroes, and who are we kidding, we really are; we are not perfect at being said superheroes. Perhaps many of us have become immune to the daily rigors that we all face in different ways, being exhausted, sore, and stressed out has become the new normal. Yet here we stand, one day after the other, and we will greet you with a smile on our faces and a warm disposition to help you know that your pet is in the best hands with us. Every single employee at Anaheim Hills Pet Clinic, in every role that he or she plays, has the best intentions, and will always go above and beyond for the patient in their care. It is with that being said that we ask one thing out of everyone; please be more kind.
Given the state of our world it is only natural for society to be on edge, to face new problems every day and to be in a seemingly constant state of panic and worry. That can easily be transmitted to those we are in contact with every day in our daily comings and goings, especially if something does not go according to plan or we feel slighted in some way, we take it out on others. Now this is not to say that veterinary professionals are coated in armor and can take anything, uh uh, but our staff is full of heart and we are emotional and kind people which is why we have chosen to work with animals. It is our wish to let everyone know, we appreciate and thrive on the kindness we receive from you. The smallest compliment, a kind smile, even a simple “Thank you” can make our day. Sometimes it can even bring tears to our eyes much as it brings tears to my eyes as I write this.
We are here for you.
Anaheim Hills Pet Clinic has been here for you and the community since day one. When COVID-19 hit last March, we began taking on even more pets than we normally see. Not once have we stopped seeing the pets that we have cared for. We have taken on more cases and have had to hire more staff as a result, and we are entirely thankful for that. The care that we provide never becomes half-hearted, if anything our staff strives to do better every single day. Every day is the chance to do better and be better at our jobs. If we made three clients happy on Monday, then we are going to make six happier by Tuesday. Anaheim Hills Pet Clinic is here for you and your pets needs 365 days a year with not just clinic options but boarding and grooming as well. Our lives are collectively different right now, but that does not mean the lives of our pets have to be different too.
“Did you see how happy they were to see their dog?!”
As I sit here an write this blog for you today, I am reminded of how thankful I am for all of my co-workers, and all of the clients that make all of us feel like a family. I hear the sounds of pets being treated, I see a kennel attendant lovingly carry a puppy outside to play, it is the normal hustle and bustle in a day at Anaheim Hills Pet Clinic. It is a different environment these days, that is for sure. I do know that one thing is certain, and that is every employee at Anaheim Hills Pet Clinic serves their purpose well and their value is not unseen. It is my hope, it is our wish as a clinic, that our community and our clients get a glimpse at the challenges from our side and really remember that we are here now and always to serve your pets, as they are our passion.