When Your Pet’s Doctor’s Office Makes You Jealous

Creating an exceptional pet/client experience has earned national
recognition for 1st Pet Veterinary Centers

Pet Veterinary Centers – Mesa
was named the 2016 Hospital of the
Year in the national
Veterinary Economics design competition
. When the award
was announced
, judges named new waiting room concepts, comfortable
aesthetics, and the use of natural light as design features that made 1st
Pet stand out from other contest entrants. We caught up with some busy
pet parents to find out what they thought about the award and were
surprised to hear how their veterinary experience at the award-winning
facility measured up to human healthcare facilities they have visited.

Audrey Parets, owner of Spiritude Restorative Therapies for Women, has
been putting off some routine healthcare for herself ever since her
doctor retired two years ago. Frustrated with the way she’s been treated
during her search for a new doctor, she half-jokingly suggests that 1st
Pet should expand their services to include human medicine – then her
problem would be solved. Other clients agreed, citing the office flow,
overall atmosphere, and personalized attention as reasons they feel
envious of their pets’ visits to the doctor.

Whether sitting next to another human who’s coughing up cooties, or
dealing with the chaos of having “everyone out in one waiting room,
barking and yelling at each other,” as Al Dreher describes some visits
to the vet, the clients we interviewed preferred 1st Pet’s
approach to the usual waiting room discomforts. Al, a retired engineer
and parent to felines Raisin and Razzy, notes that extra
exam rooms, called “pet care suites” at the new location, allow pets and
owners to be taken directly back to private rooms. In the event of a
delay, separate alcoves for waiting dogs and cats keep inter-species
tensions down. Witnessing traumatic cases can be another source of
stress, but Reannon Stewart says “taking triage right into a room” is
one of the “subtle touches” that help keep her frequent 1st
Pet visits comfortable.

The many visits (sometimes twice weekly) are to help prevent the need
for knee surgery for Halle Berry, Reannon’s three-year-old
Yorkie, through rehabilitation therapy (like physical therapy for
humans). She says the atmosphere at the new Mesa office is “wonderful”
and “a lot better” than her own doctor’s office, which makes all the
difference being there so often. The therapy sessions, which helped
Halle progress from not using her leg at all to now enjoy walking and
running, typically happen in the Sunrise Pet Care Suite. She contrasts
that setting to being told “you’ll be in exam room 8 . . . you’re
patient number 865” during her own health visits. Natalie Keierleber,
who found 1st Pet’s 24-hour emergency clinic during an
after-hours cat crisis, made a similar comparison saying “some human
hospitals . . . feel very clinical, but this feels exactly like a spa.”
Natalie listed a number of other features that made the hospital’s
ambiance soothing and relaxing: large windows that provide ample natural
light, comfortable seating, complementary food and beverage trays,
transparent fish aquariums in the suite walls that allow a view into the
hallway, and a computer screen photo reel of clients’ pets.

The clients we interviewed wish they had these best-in-class amenities
at their own doctors’ offices, but the thing they find most enviable is
the quality of staff at 1st Pet – something they rarely find
in human care. Reannon describes 1st Pet staff as having a
“level of calmness” that allows them to diffuse concerns and stressful
situations. Natalie tearfully describes the extra care given during the
final hours of her dog Ranger’s battle with cancer: staff members
answered all her questions, helped her be as involved in the process as
possible, did not hesitate to get down on the floor with dog and owner,
and gave her space and time for grieving and closure. She says “they
truly care and it shows. It’s not forced; it’s not fake.”

At the end of our interview, Audrey sums up what it is that she enjoys
so much about 1st Pet and has not been able to find as she
searches for a new doctor. She says “just feeling cared for” is all that
she really wants. Until she finds that for herself, she is happy that at
least her cats, Marceau and Mishka, have a welcoming care
facility where “walking in makes your stress drop down a notch.”

About 1st Pet Veterinary Centers:

Pet Veterinary Centers
– Mesa is one of three veterinary hospitals,
with additional locations in Chandler and Phoenix. All three are AHAA
accredited and provide 24/7 emergency, specialty, and general practice
veterinary care. Founded in 1989, 1st Pet continues to serve
veterinary needs across the Valley with nearly 150 caring team members.


1st Pet Veterinary Centers
Zac Washburn, 480-887-4820