Vets to Go: Disrupting the Animal Care Industry!Posted by Office Guardians / September 2nd, 2016 / No responses
Dr. Wendy McClelland, DVM
Vets To Go
Chief Medical Director
Office Guardians: Can you tell us about what Vets To Go does and why it is different then other traditional veterinarian hospitals?
Vets To Go: Vets To Go is a mobile veterinary practice specializing in providing non-emergency care for dogs and cats in Calgary, Edmonton and surrounding communities. We can do almost everything that a ‘traditional’ vet clinic can do including wellness exams, vaccinations, micro chipping, routine blood work, sick pet visits and stitches, but our model focuses on providing care for your pet at home, where they are comfortable. Anything that we can’t do in the home (like major surgery, dental cleanings or diagnostics) can be handled in our surgery centre, as needed.
Office Guardians: Our team at Office Guardians noticed that Vets To Go is doing something very different in the animal care market. What gave you the idea to strategically create your company in the way you have?
Vets To Go: After having my second child, I was dreading the idea of going back to work in a traditional Vet clinic where long hours and shift work is the norm. As a working mom, I wanted to create a lifestyle company that would allow me to not only provide exceptional care to animals, but would also allow me to put my family first and never have to choose between the two. It came down to “quality of life” for me and that has been a guiding principle as we continue to build and shape the culture of the company.
Office Guardians: It is very obvious that Vets To Go has a very interesting company; can you share some stories about that most interesting cases you have had to deal with, that you think a traditional Animal Clinic would never see?
Vets To Go: Being able to see an animal at home gives me a completely different perspective on what could be going on not just from a medical perspective, but also from an environmental one. One case I will always remember is of a middle-aged cat that had been peeing outside her litter box for years and the owners were ready to put her down after trying every medical option available at their regular vet clinic.
I convinced them to let me first do an assessment in their home to see if we could make some changes that could help before considering euthanasia. After doing an exam and looking around their home, I noticed the type of cat litter was potentially a problem and the letterbox was also located near a noisy entrance. After adjusting the location and type of litter this sweet death-row kitty began using her litter box for the first time in years! Sometimes, what may come across as a medical problem to a doctor in a clinic can be seen from a totally different perspective as an in-home Vet.
Office Guardians: In reviewing your website we came across some interesting things that you are doing. Can you tell us more about Paws To Rest, where did this idea come from?
Vets To Go: Losing a beloved pet is never an easy decision for any pet parent. I wanted to offer a way for pet owners to say goodbye in the comfort of their own home, where they could be surrounded by friends and family, to make their pet’s final moments as peaceful and personal as possible. Adding our Paws To Rest Aftercare and Cremation Services to our business model was a natural fit for the in-home euthanasia services we were already doing with Vets To Go. Helping our clients say goodbye with such dignity and compassion is one of the most rewarding aspects of what we do every day.
Office Guardians: Your story is very inspiring! You have said “As a working mom, you wanted to create a lifestyle company that would allow you to not only provide care to animals, but to put your family first and never have to choose between the two. It came down to “quality of life”. This must have been a long, hard journey for you, how was it when you first started Vets To Go? What sort of challenges did you come across? And now that your company is thriving would you say that you were able to stay true to this goal of “quality of life” or were there times where you had to sacrifice this for a short term because of the long term reward?
Vets To Go: When I first started out, I had no idea what I was doing from a marketing or business perspective and it was really frustrating in the beginning. I hired a business coach to help me flesh out my ideas and formulate a plan, and that business coach, Greg Habstritt, believed so much in my vision that we joined forces and he’s now our company President! As we’ve grown, we’ve made “Quality of Life” one of our core values by trying to make Vets To Go a fun place to work and give our team a chance to do what they love without sacrificing personal or family time. As with any other burgeoning business we’ve had some growing pains that have been tough in the short-term, but making changes to streamline and implement solid processes has really paid off in the long-term success of our business. There were times when extra hours were needed, but I was always back in time to get the kids off the bus and be there for them.
Office Guardians: Its seems like you have the disruptive vision, from pet care to pet memorials. Was that always your goal? Or did something along the way change that for you?
Vets To Go: The Veterinary industry is quite traditional, and while we didn’t set out to be a market disrupter, our approach to Vet care and how we market our services has really shaken things up since the beginning. Once I started doing house calls I saw how different veterinary care could be and new ideas started flowing. We could envision more changes that could be done to make the experience even better.
Office Guardians: At Office Guardians we help start-ups to medium sized companies with their business services in a disruptive way; but when we started, in 2014, that was not what we thought we would end up becoming. Can you tell us more about what has worked for Vets To Go and what hasn’t since you created Vets To Go?
Vets To Go: The one thing that has worked for us as we’ve grown is to always provide an exceptional experience from start to finish. No matter what industry or business you’re in, if you hire great people that share your passion and vision to create an amazing experience for clients, your business will flourish through word of mouth and referrals.
Office Guardians: Working in an area that you are clearly passionate about, what have been some of your fondest memories working with your clients?
Vets To Go: I think just by the nature of being in someone’s home you create a different bond not only with the pet but the client as well. You get to know them on a deeper level and the appreciation for our service is humbling.
It sounds strange to most but some of my best memories include the most difficult time- saying goodbye. Being part of this experience and helping provide a beloved pet with a peaceful passing is very fulfilling. Sometimes it is in a beautiful backyard with peaceful music playing or in front of a cozy fireplace.
The Collaboration Section
We like to ask all of the companies we profile for some insight into what they use to stay on top of what the latest trends are. Here is what Dr. Wendy from Vets To Go shared with us:
Calgary Chamber of Commerce – https://www.calgarychamber.com/
Calgary Economic Development – http://www.calgaryeconomicdevelopment.com