Neel Veterinary Hospital, a 24/7 emergency vet center, said they don’t have a choice but to keep doors open during challenges caused by the pandemic.
Recently, other vet offices have temporarily closed at times due to COVID related issues. Katy Hawkins, Manager at Neel Veterinary Hospital, said this has caused them to have to take on the extra load.
"And that has increased our patient load pretty much every day for the past two years," said Hawkins.
Hawkins also said that things have really picked up in the last six months, with the Delta and Omicron variants infecting a lot of people.
That means they are also seeing some very long wait times.
Sometimes wait times lasting hours. Because of that issue, they have noticed an increase in unruly clients.
She said that she has had to refuse service multiple times because people were so rude.
They even had to hire a security guard because of some scary situations.
"I know that everyone is stressed out and there are higher stress levels, but you need to understand that we are working, and we are trying to save animals," said Hawkins
She asks pet owners to show kindness to the staff who are working hard for their pets.
The pet hospital has had a mask mandate consistently in place and has made some other changes to limit contact.
Pet owners wait in their cars when dropping off pets and no one is allowed in the building except for in rare cases.
These protocols help to protect staff and keep them healthy.
Hawkins said they have been able to stay open and keep things running.
But like so many other businesses, they are always hiring more veterinarians.
And to keep the morale up as they work through the pandemic, the pet hospital consistently caters in food for employees, which helps other local businesses as well.