Should Veterinary Clinics be involved in Pet Aftercare?
A few weeks ago a very disturbing video was posted on you tube. This video shows practices that were carried out in Jan 2017. It has since been taken down due to a defamation claim. This not the first time this specific pet aftercare service was in news. Back in 2014 one of their vans was stolen while picking up pets at Veterinary Clinics (http://www.thespec.com/news-story/4634325-stolen-van-full-of-dead-pets-found-in-city-alleyway/). They joined a conglomerate named VCA Canada (https://vcacanada.com/) which is part of the larger family of VCA Inc. trading under the NASDAC Symbol WOOF. Several Veterinary Clinics in the Ottawa area were bought out by that same conglomerate and that means that these clinics very forcefully push the use of GATEWAY for aftercare. Within the last 12 month GATEWAY has been bought by a Conglomerate (Imperial Capitals) which also owns several Veterinary Clinics http://www.vetstrategy.com/ in Canada. These recent acquisitions/changes are a clear indication that pet aftercare services are quickly turning into an industrial process and that the personal touch is pretty much non-existent.
Business to Business (B2B) relationships are part of everyday life and relations are usually well established and documented and have control measures in place to ensure the practices agreed to are performed to a high standard. Many industries thrive on these B2B relationships as they remove the middle man and allow for flexible pricing scheme (COSTCO, WALMART). But should this be allowed for aftercare? After all, your pet is not a product or a disposable item!!! When a business hinges on volume, the first thing to go is usually the personal touch, then comes streamlining the procedures ,then passing along a level of responsibility to the business (Veterinary Clinic) and then eventually employees become disconnected and you get into a situation that you can’t control.
This begs the question if Veterinary Clinics should have contracts with a specific aftercare service provider or if they should only provide the pet owners with the information about several aftercare service providers and let them make their own arrangements. Ask yourself this question, if a loved one passes in a hospital setting, can the hospital staff take care of all the aftercare arrangement for you?
If a Veterinary Clinic has a contract with a specific aftercare service provider don’t you think it also shares the responsibility that the service is provided properly? After all, they likely influenced your decision and you trusted their judgment. We know that some pet owners find it difficult to arrange the aftercare themselves and find it easier to just answer a few questions at the Clinic and have the Vet look after everything. There should be nothing wrong with that as long as you were properly informed of the processes used which is clearly not the case.
There are other aftercare providers out there that act as brokers for Gateway or other service providers, one in the Toronto area http://www.petsatpeace.ca/ was a well-respected broker with excellent front end services, however, they now find themselves guilty by association after this video emerged. The clients that used this service paid premium for a premium service just to be let down.
What are the advantages when you arrange the aftercare yourself? (the following points are based on the way Resting Paws provides the service)
- Nothing happens without your input. You are in control.
- No pressure tactics.
- There is no rush..we can pick up your pet at home or at a clinic and keep it safe until the arrangements are finalized. For transport small pets are wrapped in a blanket and placed in a wicker basket, larger pets are placed on a stretcher and wrapped in a blanket. Alternately you can bring your pet to us.
- You can choose from 4 different services
- Communal Cremation
- Semi- Private Cremation a.k.a. Individual Cremation
- Private Cremation
- Nice selection of handmade urns included in the cost of the service
- You can witness for both the semi-private and private cremation and take the urn home right after –no extra charge
- If you choose the communal cremation you can be present when we spread the ashes.
- Your pet never leaves the Ottawa area.
Pet Owners have the power to affect change. No Veterinary Clinic has the right to force you to use a specific aftercare service provider. Remember it is your pet and you are the only one who can decide what aftercare service is right for you, your family and your pet.