Kara Brand joined PawSquad in January this year. Here she talks about her week, delivering convenient and stress-free home visits to pet owners in Devon
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Routine check ups today, starting with flea and worming visits – these tend to be early before the cats vanish for the day (or late, when they are in for the night). At least there is no basket to scare them away; I just have to remind people to lock the cat flap!
On Monday afternoon I try to have some down time; both my other half and I are vets so schedules can be a little hectic. Although I have my phone with me to talk to clients, I try not to book any routine appointments in the afternoon (unless a sick animal changes that) so we make sure we get a seaside trip in at least once a week. The dogs love the water and there is something very calming about getting out and sitting on the beach.
My afternoon call is to an itchy dog. It’s owners have been taking it to a vet but are confused by the options. We sit down with a cup of coffee and talk it through. Parasites have been ruled out and there seems to be a seasonality to it. After half an hour of talking, the owners decide to go for allergy bloods. They appreciate the time to discuss the options and finally understand there’s no quick fix.
Some days it’s preventative health care, other days it’s about taking the time to guide clients through choices, which always reminds me how important communication is in our profession.
‘We have limited diagnostic equipment and no fancy technology; however, in a 40-minute consultation I can get far more out of a history and have time to fully dicuss options with an owner’
In people’s homes we have limited diagnostic equipment and no fancy technology; however, with a 40-minute consultation I can get far more out of a history and have the time to fully discuss options with an owner.
I’m a people person at heart, and working for PawSquad gives me the time to build relationships with my clients and help them to give the best care to their pets.
Unfortunately the time has come to put to sleep one of my ongoing renal cases. He had been getting worse over the past few weeks but has really taken a turn today.
I have been visiting the house a couple of times a week so when I arrive it’s like going to see an old friend. The cat is curled up asleep in his favourite chair in the sun, and isn’t worried by my visit.
After a head rub and a welcoming purr, I talk it through with the owner who is understandably upset but comfortable in her own surroundings. Luckily everything goes smoothly, he (and I) was having a good vein day and he passed away peacefully not even moving from his spot.
Like every other vet I need to set aside time for some paperwork and for me this is Thursday afternoon’s ‘treat’. I must admit I much prefer tackling paperwork now – sitting in my arm chair with the dog resting his head on the keyboard instead of stuck in an office. But, like a normal practice, the phonerings just as I get settled and off I pop to see a lame dog that doesn’t like travelling in the car. Luckily, it’s nothing too serious, so I can get everything sorted and still have dinner at a reasonable hour.
Friday begins with a quick phone call to last night’s lame dog to make sure there haven’t been any hiccups or problems with the medications prescribed. Then it’s on to see a dog with sore eyes. He’s one of those dogs on the consult list that used to make me shudder; the one with ‘care’ plastered over his records.
Over the past six months he’s become a different character. Seeing him in his home has allowed me to slow everything down; he’s no longer shoehorned into the consult list – between not-quite-right cat and inappetent rabbit – with time to get wound up in the waiting area.
Having control over the diary and talking directly to the client enables me to provide the service that each pet needs.
Saturdays tend to be very busy since owners appreciate the convenience of being able to book routine appointments on a day when they are not at work themselves.
Cases can be as varied as general practice, with the likes of lameness, hyperthyroid cats or atopy, all easily managed in the home, but with the advantage of long consultations.
I love the flexibility of working for PawSquad. I have full control over my diary and when I work, so if the sun is shining and nothing is booked, I can set aside some time to enjoy it.
In my area, owners tend to want to keep Sunday as a family day rather than schedule a visit from the vet, so I take the opportunity to do the same.
It’s great to have a day every weekend to visit family and meet friends, even if my partner is at work.
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