You may have recently heard the term Fear Free from a friend or seen it advertised. Founded in 2016 by Dr. Marty Becker, it comprises a group of different veterinarian professionals and pet experts gathered together for the single purpose of preventing and alleviating fear, anxiety, and stress in pets by inspiring and educating the veterinary professionals and people who care for them. Since its inception, over 30,000 veterinary and pet professionals have committed to becoming Fear Free certified.
In 2019, Passionate Paws Animal Hospital proudly joined an elite group of practices to attain the honored distinction of becoming a Fear Free Certified Practice. This certification means that all our doctors and team members on staff, including our groomers, are all individually trained as Fear Free professionals. Being Fear Free certified validates much of what we have already practiced since opening over three years ago. Fear Free certified practices will have successfully implemented Fear Free into all aspects of their business: culture and leadership, client education, staff training, the facility, and most importantly, patient visits.
My husband and I built our hospital for pet parents because we are pet parents and so is everyone of our team. We set out to create a unique experience for both pets and pet parents that put your furbaby at the center, promoted and delivered a Fear Free experience, provided integrative pet healthcare, and partnered with you as the primary caregiver in developing customized treatment plans. When we started our design, we knew nothing of the Fear Free program, we just knew there had to be a better experience for pets and pet parents than the traditional vet visit so many of us have experienced in the past.
A visit to the vet should be pleasant and fun, not stressful and fearful. In order to do this we completely reinvented the look, feel, and even smell that has long been associated with a typical animal hospital. But, we didn’t stop at design. We also reexamined our approach to patient care and pet parent service to ensure a calm, pleasant, and fun experience for pet and pet parent alike.
At Passionate Paws, we strive to make every patient visit a Fear Free experience as every team member wants your pet to be happy when he or she walks through the door of our animal hospital. Free Free doesn’t mean that your pet will never experience anything uncomfortable at our hospital—he or she may be injured or ill, after all—but it does mean that we make every effort to reduce any fear, anxiety, and stress related to examinations, procedures, and grooming. Here are a few of the ways we help your pet stay comfortable and relaxed from arrival to departure.
When you first arrive at our hospital your senses and your pet’s will be greeted with pleasing smells from our aromatherapy diffuser, designed to calm and relieve anxiety. No hospital should smell like an animal hospital, and ours never does. To ease our patients even more, we have designed our waiting area to be species specific, with cats and dogs on opposite sides. Taking it one step further, we built a cat-only exam room (no dogs allowed) to provide an added layer of calmness for our feline friends. For those dogs that are a bit more nervous, we can bring you right away into our side door that leads directly into an exam room. For our anxious cats, we can bring them directly into the cat-only exam room upon arrival.
Upon entering the exam room, you and your pet will notice that performing exams on a cold, slick table are a thing of the past. For our dog patients, we provide comfortable bedding on the floor, where our medical team conducts the majority of their examinations and procedures. For our cat patients, we offer a cat tree as well as warm bedding to perform the majority of the examinations and procedures. Each room is equipped with natural pheromone diffusers that emit calming substances into the air that are specific to dogs and cats, and play species-specific music bioacoustically engineered to calm your pet (and maybe even you.)
These examples and more await each and everyone of our patients and pet parents at Passionate Paws, providing a very unique one-of-a-kind experience. Our hospital becoming a Fear Free Certified Practice is just the natural progression from what my husband and I envisioned from the start. We are so excited to continue to improve the experience for our existing pets and pet parents and for those that are still to come.