I seem to be stuck on the subject of veterinarians lately! It must be because we’ve been spending a lot of time at the office of ours the last few months, so I thought I’d tell the story of how we found him and came to bring all of our animals to him for care.
Many years ago, almost 16 to be exact, we had a dog, Shelby, who was going through cancer treatment. The vet’s office we went to then was one we’d been with for quite a few years. We never really liked the doctor who ran the office (he got very impatient with our dog once, who was just scared), but there were other vets available there so we could usually avoid him. There weren’t a lot of vets in our rural area at that time so we had never really thought about switching.
In the middle of Shelby’s cancer treatment, the vet we were seeing left. We were switched to another vet, and it was someone we also liked when we met her. Shelby’s treatment only went for a few months, but towards the end of it, we heard this vet was leaving too. During that same time our cat Miss Bones got attacked by the neighbor’s police dog.
It was on a Sunday (Mother’s Day of all days), so we called our vet’s office emergency number, only to be told that none of the three vets there were on call and that we would have to take Bones to another vet many miles away. That was upsetting to say the least, but our neighbor offered to call his vet. Of course our neighbors felt awful about what had happened so wanted to do anything they could to help. So, on a Sunday afternoon, a vet we didn’t even know was willing to see our cat when our own was not even available to take a call. (That was really the last straw with them.)
Miss Bones didn’t make it, but during the few days that they treated and tried to save her, we came to be impressed with Dr. Hutchinson and his staff. As it turned out, his office was even closer to where we lived. We didn’t want to switch Shelby to a new vet in the middle of her cancer treatment, but we quickly moved all of our cats to his care, and have been with him ever since.
In all the subsequent years, he has always been available to take our calls and/or see our pets at any time, except for once when he actually took a vacation. He had another vet in the area available to help us when we needed it though (he has mostly been a one doctor practice over the years). I remember the time when Cricket fell off our deck when she was a puppy, and Dr. Hutchinson was out of town at some event and called me back from there. He reassured me that the fall probably didn’t do any serious damage and to let her rest for a while and then call him later when he’d be back in town.
He called me back as soon as he was back in town, before I even got a chance to call him and tell him that Cricket was OK after resting. Then there was the time just over a year ago when Luke came down with kennel cough on Christmas Eve. The office was closing early that day, but he still saw Luke, and also gave us a cell phone number to call if Luke got any worse. We could have called him even on Christmas if we’d needed to.
In my series on vaccines I’ve mentioned more than once that he and I don’t always agree on everything, but that he gives us his best advice but is never pushy and always lets us make the decisions. In the last few months he has had another vet join his practice. She is a young woman not long out of school, but when we have seen her we have been impressed with her knowledge and her manner. She was extremely patient with Luke’s fear issues when my hubby took him in for his annual exam. This is a very good thing since Dr. Hutchinson recently broke his leg when caring for a horse. He is not just a small animal vet, he also makes farm calls, and he’s going to be out of commission for quite a few weeks.
But when we just recently had an issue, we saw the new doctor and Dr. Hutchinson was also there, hobbling along on his crutches but offering his expertise and advice. Both doctors as well as a staff member were all there after their normal Saturday hours helping us out. Did I mention the staff there? He has a great staff who are always so helpful and caring as well, and this is also where I take Sheba for her grooming. My sister takes her dogs there for kenneling when they go away. They offer a lot of services, but for me the important thing is the level of proficiency and care. It’s tough when your animals are sick, but having them cared for by someone you trust and have confidence in makes it so much easier.
Do you have a vet that you trust and have confidence in?
2 Brown Dawgs says
It is wonderful that you found a vet that you can trust. Besides a good vet, a good vet hospital is also important. We are lucky to have both near us.
That is one thing we don’t have close by, is an animal hospital. We have an emergency clinic, which so far we don’t need since we have our great vet always available. Our vet does a lot of surgeries and diagnostics, but if we needed a specialist, we have to travel at least an hour away in most cases.
2 Brown Dawgs says
When Thunder bloated I wanted an ER vet that had done a ton of those kinds of surgeries so we went to the hospital (we had made that plan before we ever needed it). Plus Thunder needed plasma and that hospital is the blood bank for the area so I never even considered our vet and I doubt they would have done that kind of surgery anyway. Now if my dog was ever shot, there is a really good (different) ER clinic that I would go to because that is the one that treats all of the police dogs. It is worthwhile having an emergency plan.
Callie, Shadow, and Ducky's Mom says
Oh yes, a great vet is most definitely worth his/her weight in gold! All the times that I was dealing with one or more sick dogs at a time — last year — and he was available via text or phone, even the weekends when he was in the middle of cleaning out his mother’s house (some 100 miles away) to get it ready to put on the market.
Those weekends when I knew he was going to be gone, I hoped and prayed the girls would make it to Monday without needing more Metronaidozole because I didn’t want to have to call him, even though I knew I could. (I felt like he had enough to deal with as it was; he didn’t need me calling him about one of my dogs being sick.) A few times I just put them in the car and made the 15-minute trip to the emergency animal clinic. Then when he got back and I was in the office with the then-recovering dog, he’d say with a smile “you could have called me. That’s why I gave you my number.”
Your vet sounds great too! There have been many times I thought I was being a pain with phone calls over worries I had, sometimes after hours, but they never came across like I was annoying them. I guess it is true that they wouldn’t give us those phone numbers if they didn’t want us using them!
I’m so glad you found a great vet and they’re not too far from home. I feel sorry for people that live in areas where they might not have a lot of choices unless they drive a long distance. I love my AAHA vet and I’m so lucky they are located only minutes away from my home.
I guess I would travel if I had to, in order to have a good vet, but I’m sure glad I don’t have to! 🙂
I agree with you 100%! If you aren’t comfortable with your vet, if your vet doesn’t work towards making your animal comfortable, if you cannot question your vet…find a new one.
I absolutely ADORE my vet and the rest of the staff (with the exception being the one Dr. who told me Sampson had DM…although she was wonderful when we went through everything with Delilah.) My vet listens to me, she validates my concerns and gives me her advice. If I say, I want to do something different, she absolutely listens to me.
Two recent examples…my vet was not available when Sampson cracked his nail, but the vet that was made her suggestions and I asked her, “Would you mind consulting with Dr. Soutter and getting her opinion?” And she absolutely did, going so far as to tell me that she also had Dr. Soutter look at his nail while he was sedated and she agreed with the decision to remove it.
THEN yesterday I was talking to Dr. S about another issue and I mentioned the holistic vet was coming today. “Oh good” she responded, “He may be able to help with that as well.” How many vet’s encourage you to consult with others? I absolutely, totally adore my vet.
Your vet sounds absolutely wonderful, and so does the other vet there. It takes good doctors to admit they don’t know it all, and that getting another opinion is a good thing!
That reception area looks great! We like our vet, but the waiting area is tiny which can be tricky if there are other dogs there that are feeling stressed.
It is very nice there with all that space so you can get away from other animals (or with some of mine, keep them away from other animals!). This is their third location since we started seeing them and the first was in his home….there was no reception area at all, we had to wait outside! The second location had a small area, but nothing like this one.
Sand Spring Chesapeakes says
What a great post, I bet the vet clinic is very proud of this and the way you think of them. I’m so sorry about Miss Bones but glad you found a vet you can trust.
Thank you, that was a tough time because Miss Bones was such a great cat, and we were already stressed dealing with Shelby’s cancer. But at least something good came out of it in the long run.
I wholeheartedly agree that working with a vet you trust and respect is critical. I’ve been going to the same vet for almost 20 years. I’ve moved to two different cities in the area and have tried other vets, but ended up back with him despite it being a 25 minute drive past countless other vets to get there. He knows how I want my pets to be cared for, is open to my questions, calls specialists for more info, and he’s willing to discuss treatment options and help me decide what’s best for the pets. He’s also down to earth and is very compassionate. My nearly 17-year old Golden Retriever had a hard time walking on the slippery office floors, so he told us to wait outside and he’d come out to do the exam! We did have to go inside for some tests, but it was so thoughtful of him to do what he could where our dog was most comfortable. I literally trust my vet with my pets’ lives and I’m thankful to know that he will do everything he can to ensure their health and well being.
I am so glad you have found a great vet too, he sounds wonderful and so caring. I would travel further if I had to as well, but it is nice that ours is so close (especially when we have 5 pets and a lot of visits there!).
Jackie Bouchard says
We had a terrible vet once. And only once! We went to this guy who was just awful and terrified our poor beagle (who was already scared) by tying her to this stainless-steel table and then raising it up to his height. He was very annoyed when she was terrified. Our vet we have now is great – but he’s getting a lot older and is very close to retiring! Luckily we really like one of the other vets at his practice, so hopefully we’ll be able to switch to him once Dr. M retires.
Ugh, I hate those stainless steel, electric tables! I understand it’s hard to lift heavy dogs all day long, but it makes me really happy that my vet will often get down on the floor with Haley, rather than use the table.
Jackie Bouchard says
Our vet now (even though he’s getting really old!) just gets down on the floor with Rita too.
I’d never seen one of those electronic tables until we went to that vet. The silly thing was that our beagle only weighed 30lbs, and we’d have been happy to just pick her up and put her on the raised table for him.
Oh no, Jackie, that was awful! I’ve never seen electronic tables. Our vet just has ones that go up against the wall to get them out of the way. Cricket is the only one that gets put up there, they don’t do that with the big dogs, they also get right down on the floor.
I worry that our vet is going to move away…now that he has the second vet in the office, he’s been taking a lot of trips to SC to visit his son and has land down there. So I’m at least glad that we like the new doctor as well, just in case!
Hailey and Zaphod says
Sounds like you have found a wonderful vet. we are lucky to have an amazing one as well (who happens to also be a friend but I know he is amazing with everyone – and the vets that work with him are also amazing). There is nothing better than knowing your fur kid is getting the best treatment possible.
Pamela | Something Wagging This Way Comes says
A great vet is worth his or her weight in gold. We love Honey’s vet and the entire staff. I’m really going to miss them when we leave the area.
And a bad vet can be a horror. My first dogs, Agatha and Christie, had complications from spaying surgery and came home infested with fleas and covered in urine. It was the only time I ever considered suing someone.
Oh no, Pamela, that’s just awful. I don’t blame you for thinking about suing.
The Island Cats says
We agree, having a good vet is so important. We’re glad you have one who is so responsive. We like our vet, but if we have one complaint, it’s that if she is not in the office, the staff is reluctant to contact her for us and will let another vet speak with the mom. Fortunately, there is another vet in the office we like, too, so that helps.
In some ways, it is definitely good to have multiple vets in an office, but only if you like all of them if your favorite isn’t available! When we were still at that other place we did have to take our dog to the one we didn’t like at least once, we were headed on vacation so just couldn’t wait for the others to be available.
Tenacious Little Terrier says
A good vet is incredible! I like ours but they’re so busy, it’s hard to get in for anything without two weeks notice.
Jean Dion says
That looks like a beautiful office! And you’re right: It really is vital to have a professional you can really talk to about your pet and the care you want. I’ve left more than one “my-way-or-the-highway” offices, simply because I want my opinions to be at least considered. I am the one holding the checkbook, after all!
It sounds a lot like the vets in Germany, one man/ woman show with emergency numbers. We were spoiled with Mom’s friend being a vet. It took a few years to find a vet we could trust when we moved back, but we are so happy with our clinic. It really is important to be able to trust your vet.
M. K. Clinton says
We changed to an AAHA accredited clinic after BlogPaws last year. It has made such a difference in Bentley’s care. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE our veterinarian clinic. Your vet’s office is fantastic and I am so glad that you like them.
Christine & Riley says
I totally agree that a vet is worth their weight in gold. I have a vet who is incredible… I trust him completely and he values my opinion. There are times where we compromise, but always it is in the best interest of my pets. It’s amazing the piece of mind that comes with having a great vet.
Groovy Goldendoodles says
A good vet is worth their weight in gold and then some. I don’t know what I would do without Doodle Doc. When you have a good one, it’s such an amazing and comforting feeling. Your’s sounds incredible AND I might add very blessed to have you highlight him in this wonderful post!
Jenna,Mark “HuskyCrazed” Drady says
I couldn’t agree more!!! Good vets are hard to come by, and when you get them, STICK with them! haha!
ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!
Alix Mitchell says
Wow. He and the entire staff sound completely amazing. I’ve only ever worked with one doctor like that, but sadly, he’ll be leaving the practice within the next few months. Not only is it a fantastic thing to find someone like that as a pet parent, but working with someone like that really makes the day and the job so much better.
easy rider says
I’m with you… a good vet is like a lottery jackpot… We fortunately found such a vet…. he was there for us as we were in the deepest sh… with Frosty whose tumor bursted and we really thought, that’s the end. It was the night of the final of soccer worldcup and we couldn’t find a vet… till we found this doc who rescued our pup… And he was there on a sunday (noon) as Easy swallowed a kitchen sponge…. :o)
Easy, I am so glad that you also found a wonderful vet just when you needed him!!
Caren Gittleman says
This was a great post and you are blessed, and I agree that a “good vet is worth their weight in gold” You know I blogged about ours a few days ago, so won’t re-hash it all here, but one thing I wanted to mention is there have been NUMEROUS times when my vet has been on vacation, or out-of-town on the weekend, that he has responded to my text or phone call……….even from remote locations where he has had to wait til he reached an area with service!
To me, that is above and beyond the “call of duty!”
Have a great day and (((hugs)))) to you and your Vet!
Caren, your vet sounds wonderful too and I am so glad you’ve also found someone that goes above and beyond! I blew it not writing this post for Saturday, I didn’t know it was World Veterinary Day…but we did spend some time that day with our vet so that might count for something? 🙂