Ask Dr. B
Why did you start SagePet?
“We are responsible for what we have tamed.” — Antoine de Saint-Exupery (“The Little Prince”)
House calls? For pets? Wait, for senior pets?
Since starting SagePet, I have had several folks ask about the origin of this unique business. While house calls have been a part of veterinary medicine since the beginning, there are very few practices that focus on senior pets. Due to their short life spans, our pets age at a much faster rate than we humans. As they age, they have special needs and requirements to keep them happy and healthy. So, I created SagePet to cater to our beautiful gray-muzzled companions and specifically so that I could:
1. Slow Down
Your typical veterinary clinic is a fast paced machine. It has to be to meet the demands of the many pets it cares for in a day. When I was working in a clinic, it was normal for me to see a new patient every 20 minutes. In between patients I would answer questions via email and phone. This is a model of providing medical care that does work to address immediate concerns, but doesn’t allow for a deeper understanding of patients, time to puzzle through complicated issues, or time for pet owners to ask questions and come to a complete understanding of the disease their companion faces.
I want SagePet to be a place where I take the time and space to listen to and observe my patients and clients. Really listen. Really understand my patient’s needs and their guardian’s concerns. This time also allows me to fully examine a patient’s history, think through their issues, and make sure nothing is getting missed. It also allows for pet parents to ask the questions that plague them and come to a full understanding. This time also allows me to focus on one patient at a time without interruptions of client phone calls and staff requests. In short, allows me to be a better doctor.
2. Reduce stress for my patients
Veterinary clinics are filled with sights, sounds, and smells that can trigger stress, fear, and anxiety in our pets. This is especially true of our vulnerable senior pets as anxiety worsens with age. In addition, our older pets are often painful and car rides can be difficult and stressful. In this way, there really is no place like home. Being in a the home environment removes this source of stress for pets and allows me a glimpse into their normal, relaxed behavior. Instead of a scary veterinarian, I become just another friendly visitor, and I arrive treats in hand!
3. Improve access to care for a population often neglected
Senior pets need more care. Period. This can mean more frequent evaluations by a veterinarian, regular blood work, and screening for chronic diseases that become more likely as pets age. A 20 minute yearly evaluation is simply not sufficient to address and manage the many medical concerns these pets face. In future posts, I will provide more details on specific guidelines for senior pet care.
4. To improve quality of life and defend the human-animal bond
In my work providing in-home euthanasia, I have seen many pets who have been suffering from painful or debilitating conditions without the benefit of veterinary care. This can be for a variety of reasons. It may be difficult to get the pet to the vet or the pet parent may fear there are no solutions other than euthanasia. While euthanasia can be a wonderful gift to a suffering pet, it is not always the only or best option. It is my hope that I can provide options to pet parents (including hospice and palliative care) to help their pets maintain both quality and quantity of life. I can also be a resource and sounding board for pet parents considering when might be the right time for euthanasia. When that time comes, euthanasia services can be provided in the calm and comfort of the pet’s home.
In short, I created SagePet to provide our most sage companions with the time, attention and care they deserve.