It’s a situation many veterinarians have been in. A client brings her newly adopted dog to your clinic and tells you the shelter said she didn’t need to see a veterinarian—the pup was all set on vaccines, neutered, and ready to go. Sounds like the shelter’s taking you out of the equation, doesn’t it?
Before jumping to conclusions and assuming that the shelter is intentionally keeping business from you, Dr. Alexis Nahama, vice president of marketing at VCA Antech and past chairman of the CATalyst Council board, recommends contacting the shelter and asking them to clarify what they’re telling new pet owners. “Nine times out of ten, it’s just a mistake.”
Speaking to a group of attendees at the 2013 North American Veterinary Conference (NAVC) in Orlando, Fla., Dr. Nahama stated that often a volunteer or shelter staff member will make a comment that is easily misinterpreted by the pet owner and, in turn, perpetuate concerns that shelters aren’t interested in working with veterinarians.
By taking the time to call the shelter and voice your concerns in a calm, professional manner, you’ve started a dialogue and possibly created a new working relationship with the organization. Even better, you’ve done your part to help bridge the long-standing communication gap between the veterinary profession and animal shelters.