Inara has been going to the same vet for her entire life, since January of 2006. We’d always been happy with her. She wasn’t warm and fuzzy, but she and her staff were competent, inexpensive and had good hours. They also seemed to truly enjoy Inara. So I was devastated when in the past several weeks many of my friends had awful experiences there. Truly awful, to the point where I couldn’t bring myself to take Inara back there. So I was stuck with the horrible Changing of the Vet.
Finding vets SUCKS. Everybody has their favorite, and very few people can agree on one. You need to figure out what’s most important to you – cheap prices, good hours, bedside manner, etc. For me, I really wanted a vet that wouldn’t give me a hard time about doing minimal vaccinations and feeding raw. Inexpensive would have been great as I’d been spoiled at my old vet ($12 office vet? Oh yeah.), but I knew I was going to have to suck it up on that end. Hours were kind of important. As long as I could get something near the end of the day, after 3 or so, I could easily get out of work to get home. So what was important for me was somebody who was a bit more natural and didn’t push drugs/shots/meds.
Well, I lucked out. A few of my friends use Dr. B., who does home visits. I was afraid I’d never be able to afford such a luxury, but she’s remarkably affordable (at least if you have only one or two animals!). And she was wonderful. She came with freeze-dried liver in her pockets and an assistant. She was here for probably an hour. She talked to me about Inara’s history, and then we spoke at length about best practices for vaccinations, food, HW/flea meds, etc. She gave Inara a thorough checkup, at one point exclaiming how slow Inara’s heart was beating considering how worked up she was (two visitors just for HER! She was pretty wired, LOL). I panicked and asked if that was bad (me, panic? Nooooo) and she laughed and said it was wonderful because it shows she’s an athlete and in good shape. Rock on. She gave me a couple other suggestions if I want to get Inara off her Prozac and on to something more natural. She said her teeth are lovely, slight bit of tartar but excellent overall. They drew blood for her heartworm test (negative!) and tested it right in my living room. Kind of cool.
So yeah, I’m a convert. I was fortunate and got a great vet on my first try. Not everybody gets so lucky. If you need to change vets, don’t be afraid to schedule an appointment without your dog, so you can “interview” your potential vet. You’re entrusting your beloved dog’s life to this person, so it doesn’t make you crazy to want to make sure they’re the best they can be. And hopefully your transition will go as smoothly as mine did.