Part of the Family
The Watkins Veterinary Clinic sign greeted me as I pulled up in front of the small, smart-looking building. The remembrance of my first experience at this vet clinic warmed my heart. My dog had been in labor and needed a Caesarean section ASAP. One vet clinic we had called became very nosy when they found out we had bred our dog. Another couldn’t possibly fit us into their terribly tight schedule. When we called the Watkins Clinic, we were immediately impressed when their kind and understanding receptionist reassured us that they no matter what happened they would delivery our puppies—even if they had to come to our house! During the C-section, we were even more surprised when we were told that, rather than sitting in a waiting room or watching anxiously from behind a glass window, we would actually be helping clean and dry off the puppies as they were delivered. The vet and his assistant stayed at the clinic long after business hours for the C-section. All-in-all, the Watkins Veterinary Clinic treated us with the utmost care and respect—just as if we were family.
It is nice to find a veterinary clinic where the owners and pets are valued and respected. Many vets only seem to only care about raking as much money out of you and your pet as possible. However, the Watkins Veterinary Clinic’s policy is different. Their website states, “Our goal and policy is to treat our clients as we would treat our families, and to treat our client’s animals as though they were our own.”
Cool, invigorating air washed over me as I stepped into their lobby. I could hear faint radio music mixed with the annoying yap of a small dog in some back room. I nervously told the receptionist that I had come for my interview with the veterinarian. Soon a short, stout man welcomed me and introduced himself as the veterinarian, Dean. “Clinic’s been here since around 1980,” he informed me in his hesitant, high-pitched voice. I asked him if he thought that their customer treatment policy had helped their business at all. “Everyone’s different, so we appeal to certain people. We’re a little more homey.
By now I had forgotten my nervousness, and was feeling quite at ease. Dr. Dean invited me into the little surgery room. A stocky lady with a laughing smile was giving a hysterectomy to an anesthetized Dachshund. She assured me that she was used to having people watch her in surgery. I asked Dr. Dean why their clinic allowed people to freely view surgeries and why other clinics often don’t. He explained that the bigger clinics might have more liability issues. “Suppose you fell and hit your head and fainted!” he said. “They would say, ‘Why did you have her in there?’ We take some liberties. If you feel faint, sit down please!
Having other duties to finish, Dr. Dean left me watching the surgeon, Miranda, at work. I questioned her as to what was different about this clinic versus other clinics. She answered that she enjoyed having multiple vets and technicians working together to bounce ideas off of and to create a more flexible schedule. “It’s a good working environment here!” she informed to me in her bright voice. “Most employees have worked here for at least a couple of years, which, for me, was also appealing. There must be a reason for sticking around at this clinic.”
Miranda announced that she and the other staff all got along pretty well. “We try to be one big, happy family.” Miranda and the other workers who were next door in the treatment room talked and laughed with each other as they worked. An appointment for a cat named “Kitty #6” gave the staff a few chuckles. When I asked Jen, a vet tech, what she liked best about working at this clinic, she stated emphatically that “I like everything!”
The treatment room, cluttered with papers and equipment, contrasted distinctly with the neatness of the rest of the building. Still, I felt a certain relaxed and informal appeal to it—not the typical sterilized, “don’t-touch-anything” feel that many clinics have. A white board on the wall by the door asked in orange marker, “Techs: would anyone be able to work Sat. June 2nd? Please let me know. Thanks!” A computer listing upcoming appointments sat on a desk amid jumbled files and papers.
I left the staff to their tasks, and headed back into the lobby. A stuffed, cloth tick hanging from the ceiling caught my eye. Colorful advertisements were taped to the front of the receptionist’s desk. Treats that would make any dog’s mouth water sat on the desk in a jar painted with colorful paw prints. A placid dog on a leash poked his head lazily out of the office doorway.
A bell toned as the front door opened. A customer entered and immediately went over to pet the dog on the leash. Instead of a formal greeting, the receptionist gave the lady a big hug! After finishing her business, the customer turned to leave. I intercepted her and politely asked what her experience at the Watkins Clinic had been. In a soft, almost loving tone, she remarked, “The vets have done a lot of surgery on three of my cats. They really care. It’s about what’s in their hearts that makes them beautiful,” she mused. “They were very understanding when I had to put a cat to sleep. I can say nothing bad about them!
I left the Watkins Veterinary Clinic that day fully convinced that this was a place where I and my pets would be respected and well cared for. I could tell that they cared about their customers, that they cared about each other, and that they cared about the animals. Vet clinics where you can feel right at home are quite rare, but at the Watkins Veterinary Clinic, I feel like part of the family!