Dealing with Pet Owners
Pet owners can be very emotional when dealing with their pets. They want trainers, veterinarians, and others who care for their pets to be reliable, good at what they do, and to be caring. “I remember when my twenty-year-old cat got ill,” says Rachel Cohn. “I called my vet, who happened to be in his office on a Saturday evening. He told me to bring her right over. He gave me some medication for her, but told me that I needed to make a decision about putting her down. She lived a long and good life.
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“He told me to take my cat home and to think about it overnight. He would be in his office on Sunday, and he would euthanize her. That night she made the decision for us. She died in my arms. I brought her to my vet the next morning and he made arrangements to have her body cremated. He was so caring.”
A year later, Cohn got another cat, which she takes to the same vet for annual checkups. “I wouldn't think of going to another veterinarian,” she says. “He was there for me when I needed him. It's amazing that we often get abrupt service from our personal physicians, and we don't complain. However, when it comes to our pets, we expect veterinarians, the assistants, technicians, and office workers in the vet's office to be caring and nice. Medical schools are implementing good bedside manner courses for doctors. Veterinarians and others who work with animals usually have great people skills. I think that is why they go into this profession — because they are nurturing individuals.”
Loyalty, emotions, and the bonds of friendship are part of the patient/animal worker relationship. “Pet owners can easily get emotional,” says Dr. May. “The bonds we form with our pets are tight, and that is a good thing. It's important that we are kind and caring when we deal with pet owners.”
Susan Briggs, owner of Urban Tails, a pet daycare and overnight hotel in Houston, Texas, agrees. “When pet owners drop off their pets, they want to make sure that their pets are well treated. Actually, before they bring in their dogs or cats, they come in first to check out the place. They want to make sure that their dog or cat is not confined in a small cage all day long. Thankfully, that is a thing of the past. We have luxury suites here with daybeds and televisions. We also have open spaces in our fenced-in yard for doggie runs.
“The clients are a big part of the business, and my staff knows that they must have strong people skills. They trust us and we must prove that we are caring and responsible. While we have their pets' best interests in mind, we also have to be able to talk to and communicate with the pet owners; otherwise, we would be out of business.”