This is going to be a long one so apologies in advance but it all needs to be said.
First off, for those who have stuck with us for the past three years of ups and downs, thank you. Your support means more to us than words can describe. The flowers, the cards, the snacks, the kind words, they all brighten up our days and help us to keep going when times are tough. This profession is never easy and the past three years have brought out a side of many people that I'd never expect to see, so I'm going to take a minute to address a few concerns.
The summer time is busy, period. COVID didn't help that when we had to push back two months of appointments into the summer. We went from a two doctor practice to just me, so now I'm running this ship while also carrying multiple doctor's worth of patient loads. We have made changes constantly to try and open up our schedule for our clients, we have stopped taking new wellness clients, we've added same day blocks for emergencies and sick patients. I hire relief as much as I possibly can, but again it's the summer so everyone is busy and taking vacations so they're busy too. We've got at least one staff member taking vacation almost every week throughout the summer too so the staff still here are taking on extra work to accommodate their colleagues getting the time off they need and deserve. Trust me, it's stresses me out too. I don't take long vacations in the summer because there just isn't time. I work until at least 7pm most nights and then go home and write records, then get up at 5am and do it all over again. Jeff and I were here until 10pm last night installing cabinets because when else would we have the time? Running a business is no joke, and it can be exhausting.
What point am I trying to make?
We may not be able to see you same day, we try our HARDEST to accommodate that. Often the phones are ringing right at 8am and we can fill up our sick slots in minutes. If you call us at 5:00pm there's not much we can do for you at that point as we're likely already booked up, and let's be honest double booked because I try and help as many pets that I possibly can. But I can only do so much, I am one person. If we are recommending your pet go to an urgent care or emergency hospital, it is likely for a very good reason. We don't want to see your pets wait for the care that they need, especially when it is something that could be life threatening or causing discomfort. I ask of you, if you were to break your leg, would you call your general practitioner and demand to be seen and have surgery the same day? If you were vomiting and needed IV fluids, would you expect your family doctor to hospitalize you? No, I'd expect you'd be going to a walk-in clinic or emergency hospital. Veterinary medicine is unique in that we can do most things in our general practice, we're the jack of all trades simultaneously dermatologists and endocrinologists and surgeons and much more. I cannot always, however, drop everything at once to clear my schedule of people and their pets who need to be seen, because of one patient. We are EXTREMELY lucky in this area to have so many local options available for pets that need help outside of what I can offer. We have Angelus in Kennebunk, and PetMedic in Portland for veterinary urgent care for those ear infections that are ever present in this damp summer, and for those surprise porcupines. We have Port City Veterinary Referral and Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care right in Portsmouth, Maine Veterinary Medical Center in Scarborough, and Portland Veterinary Specialists in Portland for the more urgent cases such as a foreign body surgery or a hit by car. I'm not saying don't call us if your pet needs help, but I am asking you to please give us some grace if we recommend your pet be seen elsewhere. We love you guys, we love your pets, we want to help. That's why we do what we do in the first place. It hurts, and it is emotionally draining, to be putting our all into our career every single day and to be told over and over again that is just not good enough.
So please, please do not yell at my staff, ever. Do not call us scum bags for not being able to accommodate a same day emergency. Do not make snarky remarks about how we must not care about your pet. I made a post the other day saying, "In a world where you can be anything, be kind." My staff deserve it, I deserve it, everyone does. We need this to be sustainable, we need to keep being here, we want to provide the best care and we will do all we can to continue to bring you the standards you've come to love from us- we just need your help.
All this being said, I am going to start posting when we don't have coverage so that it is hopefully less of a surprise though I'm sure if you have read this far you are not the person the post is directed at
I will be out of the office today after 12pm. This weekend I am going to Vermont from Saturday to Monday so I can spend some time off with friends and eat a lot of cheese. We will not have a doctor in the office those times but the ladies will be here holding down the fort, answering calls, filling meds and running nurse appointments.
Take care, and be kind,