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Going corporate but maintaining personality

Denver clinic keeps its local flavor 

Not much has changed at the former Firehouse Park Hill Animal Health Center since becoming a Vet Center of America (VCA) owned and operated practice. And that’s a good thing.

Many staff and clients were concerned that the Denver-based clinic would be drastically altered when VCA, which owns more than 520 animal hospitals across the nation, took it over in May 2010. But more than a year later, most have been pleasantly surprised with the outcome. Much of VCA’s success stems from their adopting an individualized business plan for each practice they own. So even though new standards are implemented, each clinic’s personal style still shines through.

“We’re the same hospital, just part of something bigger,” says Jennifer Fulton, manager of the VCA Park Hill Hospital.

A quick walk through the hospital showcases VCA Park Hill’s unique personality. From paw prints in the ceiling panels and colorful pet pictures hanging on the walls to leash carabineers on exam tables and waiting room snacks for both animals and their owners, Park Hill’s ambience is not what you would expect from a corporate clinic. And it’s not only the atmosphere that has remained the same. Dedicated veterinarians like Dr. Susan Barden and most of the hospital’s staff, including Muffy, the hospital cat, stayed on board through the transition.

The clinic is also able to continue participating in an important service: Morris Animal Foundation’s consoling Veterinary Memorial Card Program. Through the program, the Park Hill staff sends cards to memorialize their clients’ pets for a small donation. The donation funds animal health research that will help animals lead longer, healthier lives. In 2010, VCA Park Hill was one of the top 10 clinics to participate in the memorial program, a testament of their commitment to advancing animal health.

“A huge part of working in this industry is having respect for the animals. It’s just something that’s understood around here,” Fulton says. “We all understand how important pets are.”

Working at a practice owned by VCA allows veterinarians the joy of practicing medicine without the personal stress or financial pressure of running one’s own practice. VCA also provides its veterinarians and staff with the newest medical information, technology and equipment. The best part, though, is that it’s still all about the animals.

“The best part about my job is meeting all of the animals. I get to poke my head out of my office and visit with all of the cute puppies and kittens that come through the door. It’s definitely rewarding to stop and focus on the pets,” Fulton says.

Posted by MAFon December 9, 2011.

Categories: Animal health, Veterinary news, Veterinary research


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