Effects of COVID: Pandemic leads to increased demand for pets
Anna Dunton-Gallagher couldn't sleep in the early weeks of the COVID-19 outbreak nearly two years ago, due to the stress of a slew of impending changes in her life and job.
She was concerned about her 1-year-old child's safety, the impact of the pandemic on her employees and clients, and the numerous unknowns that come with running a veterinary clinic in the midst of a global health catastrophe.
Dunton-Gallagher, a veterinarian at All Points Animal Care in Rutland, started her career as a practicing veterinarian there around ten years ago, and she's loved it ever since.
Her job has not been without its difficulties, especially the pandemic's tremendous changes and concerns.
It's not only thinking out what you need to modify and what you'll have to do in this pandemic. It's determining what you'll have to do to keep yourself and everyone else alive. According to Dunton-Gallagher.
Dunton-clinic Gallagher's has stayed operational since the outbreak began, and it was the first veterinarian practice in the area to relocate client activities to the curbside.
We had to figure out a new manner of practicing quickly because there were no clients in the building, according to Dunton-Gallagher. (Switching to) obtaining entire client history over the phone or from the outside. Completing the exam and either going outside or calling someone to obtain permission to conduct the necessary tests. Discussing all of our results, returning to the lab to conduct the testing, and then returning to the lab to explain everything.
A sharp increase in pet adoptions during self-isolation had an impact on operations at All Points, on top of completely modifying the way her clinic practiced and always keeping up with fast changing Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations.
According to The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, about one in every five American homes acquired a pet during the epidemic, resulting in a large influx of new clients for vets across the country – including Dunton-business. Gallagher's
At this time, we are only accepting a small number of new clients. We got to the point where we had to conserve space to see current clients in case one got sick, because we were completely booked all of the time, according to Dunton-Gallagher. All of the new clients make it more difficult for veterinarians to find room for them.
Though Dunton-clinic Gallagher's has been fortunate in terms of overbooking, other facilities, particularly emergency services, are continuously encountering these challenges.
While Dunton-Gallagher anticipates most of the pandemic-related concerns and new rules to fade away after the epidemic is over, she hopes to see the mask requirement for pet owners in the facility relaxed shortly.
It's quite difficult to ask people to keep their masks on during euthanasia, Dunton-Gallagher added. When they're crying or want to kiss their pets." All of it is exhausting, and it would be wonderful to no longer have to do or worry about it."
Despite the worry Dunton-Gallagher, her clients, and her faculty have experienced, she is happy that no one has acquired COVID-19 in her workplace to date, and that she and her son have remained safe.
Though her emotions have calmed a little since the first year of the pandemic, fears of disease remain a constant in her mind because her now 3-year-old is still unable to get vaccinated and she is on immunosuppressant medicine.
I'm terrified he'll get it. He hasn't, and I haven't, but it's like a continual terror in the back of my mind, according to Dunton-Gallagher. Many people say, Well, it's this tiny proportion, but I've been on the receiving end of a lot of low percentages in my life.
Dunton-Gallagher said she has been most uplifted by her clients' care and consideration at a time when fears of the worse are ever-present. While many veterinarians she knows have dealt with irate pet owners, the grace she's received from her clients has been a refreshing contrast to the day-to-day stresses.
Very many of my clients were so supportive of whatever we had to do when we had to go curbside — so willing to phone us and say, 'What do you guys need to make your day easier?' According to Dunton-Gallagher. Thankfully, we have some wonderful, pleasant patients. And, for the most part, our clients have been understanding of the changes and willing to move with the flow as we update rules.