Preserve your relationship with the rescued pet generation

Preserve your relationship with the rescued pet generation

Don't let clients with older adopted pets feel lost at sea in your practice. Throw them a line and help them feel just as welcome as clients with younger pets do.
Jul 01, 2013

There's no denying the pleasure a baby animal brings. No matter what the mood in a veterinary practice on a given day, there's an immediate shift in energy when a new, furry bundle of joy comes in—from the receptionist to the veterinarian, everyone loves to greet the proud pet parents of a new puppy or kitten. But what about the client who brings in an older, newly adopted pet? Do they get the same warm welcome?

They should, says Dr. Shawn Finch, a Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member and associate veterinarian at Gentle Doctor Animal Hospitals in Omaha, Neb. "It has never occurred to me to like adult pets less than puppies or kittens," she says.

While most veterinarians will admit to liking adult dogs and cats as much as their younger counterparts, it couldn't hurt to make sure you're showing the same enthusiasm and attention to their human caretakers. Follow this expert advice to ensure you're building the strongest bond you can with all of your clients—no matter what age their pets are.

Build a bond on common ground

At Dr. Finch's practice, her team makes a point to do just as good a job building a bond with a client who comes in with an older adopted pet as they would with a client bringing in a new puppy or kitten. And it's not difficult to do.

"Many of our staff members have adopted adult and older pets," she says. "We come into the relationship with those clients with that in common—it sets us up for a strong bond."

Julie Mullins, staff training coordinator at Seaside Animal Care in Calabash, N.C., shares a similar sentiment. She's a proud parent of an adopted shelter dog herself and feels it can be easier to bond with clients who've also rescued a pet. "We have that passion of giving love to those pets that still have a lot of love to give in common," she says.

A few ways both Mullins and Dr. Finch establish a bond with these clients is to congratulate them on their new family member and ask specific questions about the pet. Simple ones, such as "What about the pet caught your eye?" or "How did you know this was the pet for you?" show genuine interest and are an easy way to engage clients in a heartfelt discussion about their newest addition. And don't hesitate to share your personal stories about your adopted pets if you have any, Mullins says.