An open letter from the Doctors and Staff
Dear customers of Milford Animal Hospital,
We don’t have to tell you this past year and a half was unprecedented and unpredictable. Though each of our situations were unique, we all struggled – in our personal and professional lives, and to stay safe in the midst of a global pandemic.
What we want to share is that a serious problem began to develop within the veterinary community. During this time, and more than ever before, people became pet owners for the very first time. Families added new four-legged members, and the veterinary industry was dramatically turned upside down, with the demand for our care increasing two to three times our normal rate, seemingly overnight.
Then, just when we were finally starting to catch our breaths and the world was beginning to reopen, new hospital protocols needed to be put in place and sadly, some angry clients started to emerge.
The pandemic brought us frustrated clients (we were all frustrated) but now some are angry. Clients dealt with the inconvenience of wait times, new policies, and the pandemic itself for over a year, but now some are just tired of it. Their regular vet can’t get them in for weeks, they’re tired of long wait times, they’re tired of the protocols set in place to keep our staff safe while we stand in a 6-foot room.
We get it; we’re all tired! But now some clients that are angry are also being downright mean. And while the majority of clients are nice, the mean ones stick with us and bring everyone down.
Let’s add a third problem to the mix. The veterinary profession. Veterinarians carry the highest suicide rate. The highest. For decades we’ve dealt with large school debt, long hours and low pay. We’re afraid to raise prices because we hear daily how expensive veterinary care is and that we’re “only in it for the money.” So instead, we suffer making half of what we should be, miss time with our family, and deal with the mental toll the ups and downs this profession brings.
Here’s the biggest problem. The veterinary industry is crumbling. Technicians are quitting at an astounding rate. While they’re in this business for the animals and for years have put up with the physical toll and low wages this industry brings, they’re no longer tolerating the verbal abuse and mental anguish they’ve been receiving over the past year. And we don’t blame them; no one should put up with it. Receptionists are tired of being yelled at and are finding other jobs. Vet students don’t want to enter private practice upon graduation. Vets are burnt out and leaving the profession.
Across America clinics are currently booked 2-3 weeks out, they’re shortening their hours because they don’t have the adequate staff, vet schools are no longer accepting new patients, and sadly, clients are having to be turned away. True emergencies are being turned away and pets are dying because there is literally no one to help them. And that breaks our hearts for those animals and those clients who feel helpless and have nowhere to go.
So, this is where we are. And until the public realizes this and realizes that some things must change, it’s only going to get worse. Prices must go up; we must adequately pay our staff to entice them to stay.
Please do not comment on this; owning an animal is a privilege and expensive. At this point it may take weeks to see your vet, please be patient. Do not get mad at your vet for not being able to “fit you in.” Most are double and triple booked all day already. Please do not go to the emergency clinic unless it truly is an emergency.
Be nice! To everyone; not just the vet. This industry is so incredibly hard to work in. You have no idea how much a snarky comment or a nice one will affect someone’s day. I know you’re frustrated and tired, but so are we. All we want to do is be there for you and your pet, but we can’t do that if this trend continues.
The Doctors and Staff of Milford Animal Hospital