Welcome to November, a month where the sun shines less, but we give thanks for what we have. Most people reflect upon the past year in December or January—I choose November. When the light begins to fade and cool weather sets in, the warmth of the preceding months reminds me of why we are here.
It has been another year under the shadow of COVID, albeit more manageable than the prior two years. Face-masking is still required in all medical and veterinary facilities for staff and visitors by order of the Department of Health. We ask that all clients and friends respect our adherence to this directive. The Omicron variant has come and waned, but we must remain vigilant as pets (and still humans) can get COVID – including dogs and cats.
I am thankful that all of the doctors and staff with which I work are healthy and have weathered this year. But it has not been easy. With the emergence from COVID, we have noted a change in people overall, and one that is concerning. During the first year of the pandemic, people were appreciative that we worked every day to provide the best healthcare possible for their pets. It was heartwarming. Casual observations have noted people are now overall less courteous to the staff and are not as respectful of our time as previous. The vet industry is not alone in this experience, but we are a caring profession, so it is noticed with a greater affinity.
We run twelve hour days providing care. Much of it scheduled, some unexpected. When a client fails to show for an appointment, they occupy a spot where another patient is waiting to see us. This denies the other patient the opportunity to be seen and causes our overall cost of providing services to increase. During this inflationary period, we are doing all we can to contain costs for you, the client, and ask for your help. Should a client need to cancel an appointment, it is our policy that this be done with at least 24-hour’s notice with a call or email to the office. This permits patients awaiting care to be seen in a timely manner, and for the client to avoid a cancellation fee. As a business we understand that some circumstances are beyond a client’s control, we ask for your common courtesy when making, changing, or cancelling an appointment.
But what makes it all worth it is that we have such a great community of pet parents here on the Hill, in Navy Yard, and Brookland. To all who have shown their appreciation, I can assure you that it warms our hearts and keeps us going. The smile. The box of donuts. The card when my dog passed a few months ago. The new puppy exam. The greeting on the street. The last pets given to a senior friend. The street cat brought into the home. The wonderful people I work with every day. For all of this I am thankful.
As we head into Thanksgiving and this holiday season, with all of its joy and reflection, we should all pledge to do one thing for each other: Be nice. It goes such a long way.
Dr. Teich is the medical director for District Veterinary Hospitals in Navy Yard, Eastern Market and Brookland. Visit www.districtvet.com for more information.