By Vickie Byard, CVT, VTS (Dentistry), CVJ

When I am asked, why I work in veterinary medicine….and dentistry, specifically, I have often responded like this; “I love having the opportunity to help those that can not help themselves.”  While it is true, to laser into that statement further, I love being a part of the process to alleviate pet pain.

I am lucky enough to work for a man, Mark Fox, VMD, that had the vision in the late 1980’s to see that dentistry was a much needed service for the general veterinary practice.  He felt that many of his patients were suffering silently and that if we, at Rau Animal Hospital, were to be providing full service pet health care, we could not ignore the mouths of our patients.  Fortunately, he invited me to join him on this journey.  I thought I was just learning a new skill.  Little did I know, my work life was about to launch to heights I had no way of predicting.

As we learned more about dentistry and honed our skills, a pattern became evident in my interactions with our clients.  Whenever a pet had to have extractions, I was the individual that did the post operative recheck appointment to insure that they are healing as expected.  Commonly, these pet parents shared that after a number of extractions or even a deep cleaning, their pets were more like they were when they were puppies or kittens. Some told me how their pet found toys that they had enjoyed at one time but hadn’t touched in years. This pattern repeated day after day, week after week, year after year.  Those unsolicited testimonials touched a special place in my heart.

At Rau Animal Hospital, I have created a seminar designed to teach pet parents all of the information and skills they need to know to maintain optimum oral health for their pets.  I have been doing this monthly for the last 7 years. A few months ago, two sisters approached me after the seminar and they told a story that took by breath away.

At first they alarmed me.  They had attended the seminar after they had recently provided extensive oral care for a cat they had recently adopted as an adult.  I recognized the two of them from the admission interview the morning of the procedure.  They both approached me after the seminar.  They stated clearly that when they came to pick up their cat, I had discharged a different cat.  Startled at that statement, I thought back to the day.  Could I have given these lovely ladies the wrong pet?  No, that wasn’t possible.  We have protocols in place to safeguard against such an error.  When I nervously explained that we have prepared neck bands, cage cards, et cetera…they insisted that I discharged a different pet.

I think you can imagine where I am going with this story.  When they were done, I had a tear in my eye and I asked them if I could videotape their story.  I told them that when I relate these stories to clients it may come off as persuasion techniques and marketing.  If they told the story it may help more pets than I may ever be able to do.  Helen and Martha Hohnstock were kind enough to repeat the story on camera so that we could share their experience with you.  I ask that you forgive the amateur videotaping skills. It is my first attempt at such a thing without a professional videographer. This is their gift to dogs and cats within the scope of our practice and wider if you share this story.

I am honored to introduce; Helen and Martha Hohnstock!

I would like to publicly thank these lovely, loving ladies from the depths of my Soul.

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