Greetings to all our Stonehenge Veterinary Hospital families! I hope that this letter finds you safe and healthy, and enjoying the hot weather. As we have entered Phase 3 in Virginia’s COVID plan, I thought that this would be a good time to update everyone on our plans here at the hospital.
These are definitely strange and different times in which we are living. Each of us have our own challenges to face as we try to navigate the health and safety protocols asked of us. Many of you have expressed concern that we are continuing our curbside service, despite reopening of many other businesses. Let me attempt to explain. Back in March, before we went to curbside service, we attempted to social distance inside our building. While we were able to provide that distance in our lobby, our exam rooms are very small, and quickly became a problem. Considering the continued recommendations for social distancing, we do not feel that opening our building to the public is our best choice right now. We continue to re-evaluate our protocols, almost daily sometimes, and we will certainly open our doors as soon as we feel that it is the best option for our clients, our patients, and our staff. With the welfare of so many on the line, we want to be as careful as we can!
While it is difficult not to be with your pet during their exam, please know that we are still treating your babies the way we always have: petting them, snuggling them, and speaking in our high-pitched baby voices. In the end, you may be happy you got to avoid our embarrassing behavior!
On another note, please take a moment to show your appreciation to our staff members. They are working extra hard, especially in this summer heat. Our call volume has increased at least threefold, since we rely on this method for checking in, checking out, doctors speaking to clients, as well as all our normal phone traffic. Our assistants are putting many more steps on their pedometers while they run back and forth to your cars with your pets, your medications, and any other needs you have. Many of our clients have been very sweet, offering words of encouragement and gratitude to our staff, both online and in person. We appreciate you so much! But with anxiety levels high for everyone during this time, many more clients than usual have been harsh. Staff members have received verbal abuse both on the phone and in person, many times a day. Please know that we are all doing our best to provide the high-quality service that we always have, and that this has been a struggle. No one on my staff deserves to be treated with anything less than the highest respect. This is also true for our clients—so please do not hesitate to let myself, or our practice manager Matt Anderson, know if you have any concerns or questions.
I think times like this, when the world is full of uncertainty and frustration, are a chance for us all to show each other grace. We should all try to be kinder than ever to each other, so that we can help each other through this really hard time. I am struggling, and I know that I am not alone. Please show us patience, through low-contact patient visits, longer wait times on the phone and in the parking lot, and overly packed schedules. We are doing our best for you. We ask that you do the same for us.
Thank you for your continued loyalty and support. We couldn’t do this without you!
Dr. Tori Smith