Happy Holidays, #CPHPhaithful! Normally, this end-of-the-year post would include things like "Schedule your New Year grooms!" and "Price updates are coming early next year!" While these things are still true, I wanted to make things a little more personal and have a heart-to-heart with you, our incredibly valued clients.
Throughout such an "unprecedented" year, I've seen many other clinics post their version of a "Be Kind to Our Staff" blogs - and while we've drafted two or three of these ourselves, our clients have generally been so supportive that they've drowned out the harsher voices.
It's an understatement to say this has been a hard year. I've had numerous conversations with clients who needed to cancel appointments due to COVID exposure. Even harder were the conversations with owners who needed their pet seen, but had recently lost their job due to the pandemic. The hardest conversations were with partners or children or neighbors who had inherited a pet from a client of ours that had passed.
Never before have I witnessed people so affected by the events of the city, nation, and world. These events have hit our staff just as intensely.
But through it all, we have not closed our doors for one unscheduled day.
I've watched, first hand, this team perform incredible feats under the most stressful circumstances. As a result of moving to curbside, the workload for our Technicians and Client Service Representatives has tripled - between the extra phone calls, running your pet in and out of the hospital (and then their medications), and tracking down owners, we're asking more of our staff than ever before.
All the while, we've been jumping over our own personal COVID hurdles (all of the same general anxieties we're hearing from our clients) while trying to keep a smile on our faces for our patients and clients. And I have an admission: we are tired.
One sizable difference between now and, say, April is how much more affected we are. Earlier in the year, we would have one or two staff members under quarantine at any one time - last week, we had five. Being this short staffed during a holiday season (a very busy time for us in non-pandemic years) is incredibly debilitating, particularly in providing our quality of care in a timely manner.
So this year - along with my normal, sincere wishes that everyone have a safe and happy holiday season - I offer this plea: please be kind and patient with this team.
The quality of our care will never change, but it may take an extra day to fill that medication or food request (to this point, we just received word that Royal Canin is experiencing some backorders - please give us 7-10 days for special food orders!). It might take a few more hours for our tech to answer your question. You might be on hold a few more minutes than you were last year. Your doctor may need a few more moments to chat with that earlier client before jumping into your pet's appointment.
I know, to the depths of my soul, that the only way I got through 2020 was with the support of my loved ones, some kind words from our loyal clients, and the tenacity of this CPH family. As we cross into 2021, and hopefully, the home stretch of this pandemic, please remember the person behind the mask (or phone, as the case may be), and extend to us the same kindness and patience you'll always receive from us.
With the warmest of holiday wishes,
Brad, and the team at Companion Pet Hospital
PS - In case one might be wondering, we're planning to remain curbside-only throughout the duration of COVID. In an effort to keep our clients and patients more comfortable through the winter, please drive (when possible) or make use of our new #CPHShanty to take shelter from the wind!
PPS - And wherever possible, please give us at least 24 hours notice for cancellations. Last minute cancellations or "no-show" appointments keeps a sick pet from being evaluated!
TL:DR - Mask up, be kind, be patient, and happy holidays!