This is a common scenario we see in practice every day. New puppies and kittens come in for their first visit and they think we are the greatest! We shower them with positive attention and lavish them with all different types of tasty treats. Then they start learning from their experiences. They may get some vaccinations, they may get their blood drawn, they may even have surgery. And even though we make a concerted effort to distract our patients and to make them as comfortable as possible, these events will still imprint in their memory. This can lead to increasing fear, anxiety, and stress with each subsequent visit to our practice. Because of this we believe in what are called “Happy Visits”. This means bringing your pet into the clinic just for positive attention and some tasty treats, nothing else. No needles, no poking, no prodding. We do not require appointments for these visits. You stop by at your convenience during our office hours. Just tell our front desk staff what your intentions are and we will take care of the rest. Now it must be said, this will be logistically easier for most dogs compared to cats. Cats are not excluded from this opportunity but for cats this could be counterproductive to what we are trying to accomplish. Coming in for a “Happy Visit” is not just a one-time thing. In order for it to be effective, an animal will need to have repeated positive experiences at our clinic to overcome their feelings of fear and anxiety. Since we see most of our patients routinely only once or twice a year, there is ample time to come in for a “Happy Visit”.
Contributed by Dr. Jen Seidl
Grand Avenue Veterinary Center