Letter to Our Clients
THANK YOU for your continued understanding through this COVID-crisis! In this topsy-turvy world, our goal remains the same: to be here when your pet needs us while protecting the health and well-being of pet owners and our staff. We wanted to take some time to better explain our policies and what we are doing to continue to provide the care your pet’s need.
Unfortunately, a LOT of pets have been needing us these last weeks and months, and the numbers just keep increasing. Many people decided that sheltering in place was a great time to add that pet they had been thinking about to their family, which is great! Spring is always a busy time for us to be seeing new puppies and kittens anyway, so the slew of new pets has made things extra crazy. With everyone getting outside more with their pets, we also have started to see more emergencies, like dog fights and auto accidents, and seasonal allergies, which has made our sick patient slots also fill up quickly. In fact, we had almost 40 sick patients in one day last week, on top of our already full appointment schedule and surgery schedule. And that doesn’t take into account the many phone calls and e-mails we receive on a daily basis. We are incredibly grateful to be able to care for so many amazing pets and owners.
We are also struggling with loss of some key support staff members due to health issues during this busy time. To help provide the best care, we have expanded our veterinary staff. We are excited to announce that Dr. Clare Slagel has joined our team. She is a Dubuque native that recently graduated from Iowa State Veterinary School, and we feel fortunate to have her. We have also had been able to have experienced relief veterinary help from Dr. MacKenzie Hellert and Dr. Mary Wagner. In addition, we have hired two new veterinary assistants (Sara and Sarah), and several additional assistants to help escort patients in the parking lot and help with running food and medications outside.
COVID is going to be part of our “normal” for a long time. This means that these changes to our protocols will be in place for a long time. We are changing them as we try things and find what works and what doesn’t, but several things are going to be in effect for a long time:
- The lobby is staying closed. This is because it is virtually impossible to socially distance once more than two people are in the lobby
- If you are experiencing any respiratory illness, especially with a fever, or have been exposed to a person diagnosed with COVID-19, or have been recently diagnosed with COVID-19 yourself, we ask that you have someone else bring your pet in for you. If this is not possible, we are asking you to let us know, please stay in your car with a mask, and allow us to escort your pet inside for treatment. We can then allow our staff to take extra necessary precautions when handling your pet.
- When you arrive at the clinic for any reason– be that for an appointment, to drop your pet off, to pick up medication – we ask that you stay in your vehicle and call the clinic. Our staff will assist you as soon as they can
- We are allowing one family member into the clinic per pet for scheduled outpatient appointments. We will escort you directly into an exam room when one is available
- We require everyone in the clinic to wear a mask
- Curbside service is always available for appointments if you would rather stay in your vehicle
- We are prioritizing medically necessary appointments and are not scheduling “nail trim only” appointments for the foreseeable future
- Our wellness appointments are scheduling out about 4 weeks, and our surgeries are scheduling out about 8 weeks. If you know you would like to get your pet in for a wellness visit or elective surgery (such as spay, neuter, dental), please keep this in mind and try to schedule it out as early as you can.
Please understand that we hate having people wait as much as you do. We, too, miss the convenience of how we were able to do things pre-pandemic. But there are only so many hours in the day and so many tasks our staff can do at once. We prioritize life-threatening emergencies and urgent calls and concerns. That means that it may take longer to get your pet’s nonurgent needs met. It doesn’t mean we don’t care. It means we have a lot of animals that need our care.
Our staff is extremely dedicated and has been working overtime and at a high pace these last months to keep up with the needs of our patients. We appreciate the understanding and patience of our clients and we hope you will continue to practice kindness with our staff as they do their best to provide the veterinary care your pet deserves.