For the most part, veterinary clinics do not advertise. When my father and brother went to vet school, they were pointedly told that advertising was bad, a form of ambulance chasing, and that good, ethical veterinarians depended on their skill and the quality of their work to serve as their advertising. And while part of me agrees with this philosophy, the other part of me knew we were in something of a pickle. My father had two strokes in January, many people and longtime clients thought that we’d closed the practice altogether, and we did have to turn a large portion of our business away for a bit simply because we didn’t have the help on hand to do what my father had done for so many years. For our vet clinic to succeed, we need to adapt in a ethical, thoughtful manner to the world around us.
What to do, what to do.
I went the easy route and started this blog and put up a Facebook page (for those of you that blog regularly, please stop laughing over the whole-good-and-thoughtful-and-regular-posts-are-easy notion). Now, for many of you, these are kind of no-brainer options, and I get that. But you should also know that Bridger is a very tiny town, about 700 people, in a very big part of the country. Not everyone checks their email account regularly or even has an email account, and Facebook isn’t in wide use for those older than 17. knows that the world has changed. People now live a substantial part of their lives online, and that is only going to grow. A blog with a web identity and Facebook seemed the best, most obvious way to bridge the distrust of advertising while start talking to our community.
I started this blog in order to give the clinic an identity, to make our work more visible, to draw some attention to it. I didn’t know what the future would hold, but I did know that regardless of what was ahead, having more people watching and interested would give us more options (or in my less optimistic moments, perhaps a wider view of our failure). And yes, I know that it’s a bit odd that we have a vet-clinic blog that has recipes, obituaries, and ranching histories in addition to veterinary advice, in-depth explanations of certain types of veterinary exams, and even humor, but I am to blame there. A lot of time we have to go with what amuses me or whatever I’m working on at that moment, and I have a slightly odd sense of what will work. True, you might finally understand why a prepurchase exam is important, but I also make a mean rhubarb crisp. What started as a vet clinic blog now has touch of community to it.
I also put together a Facebook page for the clinic. Easy to do, but harder to do well. I’ve gone from the sporadic posts to posting every few days to daily posts, using my own photos as well as those that clinic customers send to me. And I have to say, I love making these posts. I love seeing the joy that animals bring to children and families. I love the laughs that I get from people, and I love knowing that in some small way, that I’m sharing the work that goes on at Bridger Vet every single day. We do important, necessary work, and it’s nice to be able to share something good.
All of this is a long-winded way of wanting to share some of my favorite Facebook photos with this audience. And if I didn’t post your dog or cat or cow, it doesn’t mean that I don’t love your animal or the photo that you sent, it simply means that I couldn’t find it in this giant file I have labeled “Vet Clinic Photos”–you wouldn’t believe the size to which that thing has grown!
They Come in Tiny, Too?
This is the tiny goat belonging to Doug Young. When I posted this photo, I spent an absurdly large amount of my day dancing around, saying “tinygoat tinygoat tinygoat tinygoat.” Seriously, a tiny goat on a scale–how could this not make you joyous! Even better, other people started sharing this photo on their own pages. I know for a fact that several people in New York woke up to tiny-goat Friday!
This is Ellie, hanging out in the waiting area until Dr. Chris was ready to see her. The only thing missing is the three-year-old issue of Reader’s Digest or Western Horseman. Oh wait, we do have those in the magazine rack…
This is Gwynn’s daughter, feeding bread to the cows. Apparently these old girls were bucket calves, now all grown up. They love white sandwich bread though, coming right up close for that.
This lovely grey tabby thinks that she’ll grow cat tails simply by hanging out in the planter.
It’s Hard to Find Good Help
It’s impossible to not love a bulldog puppy, especially one that hangs out at the front desk and helps. This little one, the last of a batch of four, belongs to Una Baxter. I love that she is nearly worse herself out just getting up to the front desk here!
And lastly, here is Jeni, who apparently has skills as the pup whisperer. I cannot help but love how relaxed animals are at the vet clinic. True, we get some that aren’t so happy to see us (perhaps they’re afraid of being tutored), but by and large, most dogs and cats are happy for someone new to love on them.