An open letter from the Director of the Animal Hospital

By November 25, 2012Uncategorized

Dear Pet Owners,

Choosing a veterinarian is a difficult decision. You want a vet that is competent, has the equipment needed to take good care of your pet, who is available when you need them, and first and foremost, who cares about you and your pet with an open heart, who is compassionate, who loves your pet and where you and your pet like to go to. In short, you’ll want a veterinarian whom you can trust. You’ll want to feel good that your furry family member receives good care from you and from your veterinarian.

I’ve been the director of this Animal Hospital for over 20 years and in this time I listened and learned a lot from clients just like you. Trust is earned over time. It isn’t anything you give or receive in one appointment. A website, a letter like this one, a friendly smile, a recommendation from your friends, a online review, a friendly voice on the phone, a clean and modern office are all just little ingredients that help building trust, but let’s not fool ourselves. These things are expected. Only when you consistently deliver, they will build trust over time.

Gone are the days when life was seemingly simple. Modern veterinary medicine is complex. There is a huge amount of new scientific information, there are very new treatments and medications, there is the latest diagnostic technology (with high acquisition costs), there is increasing specialization within the profession, there is “Dr. Google” with unlimited and often confusing information, and so forth. No single veterinarian or veterinary clinic can be perfect in everything. We fully realize this. The goal is to recognize the areas where we excel and where we need to improve or refer to someone better suited.

Few things however didn’t change: Pets are still the most loyal, most consistent, most loveable member of any family. We love pets because they are always here for us. They greet us when we come home, they are always in a good mood, they make us get up and give them food in the morning, or request their walk in the evening. Pets are for all life stages. Personally, I am currently in the “raise five children, look after aging parents, be a good husband” life stage. I’ve gone through the entire first half of my life with animals in the family. Having had a hamster, a dog, a cat as a child, to see them come and then sadly go, I could not imagine life without a few animals around. Just last night I looked out the window and saw my border collie stand in the middle of my yard wagging his tail, while both cats came up to him and all sniffed each other, the pony close buy trimming the back lawn. I thought to myself: this is why animals were created: They make us feel good. You probably share this feeling with me. Whether you are living on your own and you have a budgie or a dog, whether you are starting a family, if you are buying a pet for your children, if you are married, or if you are alone again, a pet gives us love, companionship, and purpose. This will never change.

You and us, we all want our pets to live as long as possible (forever?) with the best possible quality of life.

All families are unique. All our team members are animal lovers and in different life stages. So, we understand the different needs of different families. In my 20 years I have learned that there is no “one size fits all” approach to optimal health care. For some pets, only the best is good enough, for other pets we’ll have to figure out how we can achieve optimal results within the means. Some pets can be cured, others have conditions that can only be managed. Some pets are too old to do heroic surgeries, others need quick and decisive action to save their life or to correct a serious condition before it is too late. Some owners are financially less fortunate, others don’t have to worry about costs. But all pets deserve the best possible health care within their means. This is why we see our role as your partners in helping you make the best decisions for your pet.

When you come to our hospital you will sense that everyone is genuinely interested in the best well-being for your pet within the particular circumstances of your family. Now this is a personal promise from me to you. And it is a dangerous promise, dangerous for me, because I really can only promise for my own actions, not for every team member. So, if you feel that I, or any team member, are falling short on my promise, please let me personally know, because this is really a personal matter of my integrity to you.

It would be foolish to assume that after decades as a clinical veterinarian, after seeing many, many thousands of pets and their owners, that every one was completely happy. I don’t even want to create this illusion. In fact, anyone pretending that everything is always perfect is just a pretender. But all mistakes serve a purpose and it is up to us to analyze them and learn from them. I have created the blog on this website, where I list some of the mistakes that happened. This is a bit like “hanging the dirty laundry out” for everyone to see, but in our family we teach our kids that healthy relationships are being built if you bring the issues on the table and resolve them.

I invite you to check out our blog, and have a look at our website. Of course no amount of media can replace the real feel you’ll get when you meet someone in person. Please call us and make arrangements for a visit or a hospital tour. We all like to welcome new and returning clients alike.

And, although I may be very busy at times, I am not unreachable and I’d love to talk to you personally. Just give us a call.

Thank you,

Sincerely,

Dr. Ernst Marsig

Director

Animal Hospital of Unionville

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