Tuesday, December 30, 2014


With New Year fast approaching, we all often fall into the trap of making resolutions.  Sometimes we dream big, sometimes we set smaller short term goals, and sometimes we do a bit of both.  It occurred to me that every year my resolutions fall under the same general categories-

1.  how to be better to my family and friends (listen more, be more patient, keep in touch better...)
2.  how to treat myself better (more organic food, meditation, sleep, exercise, reading a good book...)
3.  how to be better in my profession (take more continuing education, hone communication skills, client education...)

And that is pretty much where it ends.  I set small goals in each category (read a book every night to the kids, take 5 cleansing breaths every morning, create a more comprehensive set of surgery discharge instructions for my patients...)  so at the end of the year, I know I've made small changes that improved myself and helped reach my goals.  Then I realized something-not once have my pets made the cut.

I have never once resolved to be a better pet owner.  All of a sudden I am very disappointed with myself.  It's as if being a veterinarian has given me a free pass.  I'm a vet, so of course I'm a wonderful pet owner.  Guess what?  I'm far from it.  Veterinarians are actually notoriously bad pet owners.  We spend all day caring for other people's pets.  And then we come home to everything else life throws at us.  And unless there is dog vomit on the floor or the cat has chosen not to use the litter box, we are also sometimes guilty of giving them a quick pat on the back, a bowl of food, then moving on with our busy lives.

Don't get me wrong- my pets have it good.  They are up to date on their immunizations and geriatric blood work.  They are within a healthy body weight (give or take 10% of their mass-it's winter, people!).  My lovely cat Ricky sits on me whenever he wants...I stay up late sometimes at night watching TV so he doesn't have to get up.  My other cat Zoe, who is a bit of a nightmare behaviorally, has the outdoors at her feet by day (with her own kitty door) and free run of the house at night.  My pets have it good.  But I never once thought about how I can make their lives even better.

We all strive to be better spouses, moms, dads, daughters, sons, and friends...how about we resolve to be better pet owners too?  It could be getting your pet to a healthier weight, or taking her in to check out a lump that you've been ignoring.   It could be getting her spayed (subliminal marketing). It could be playing more with her or taking her for an extra walk.  A little change can make a big difference to your companion's life.  And if your pet is happier, you will be too.

So this year, I resolve to be a better pet owner.  Ricky and Zoe:  I promise to replace your cardboard cat scratchers once they look worn down, instead of after they have collected dust for 3 months.  I will even throw in a catnip refill for your enjoyment.

Happy New Year and we look forward to a bright 2015 together!

Dr. Hancock

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Life of a Tech

Being a veterinary technician is an extremely rewarding but challenging labor of love.  I never really planned on doing this as my chosen profession, I happened to just naturally fall into it.  As a child I always loved animals, especially my first dog, a super affectionate Collie/Shepherd mix named Princess Pup Pup.  As a teenager, I began volunteering my time with an animal rescue organization and became actively involved in rescuing and rehabilitating homeless animals.

When I eventually got my first job at a veterinary hospital I had no idea I was in for such an exciting experience!  Dealing with life, death, and everything in between was fascinating and I couldn’t wait to learn and do more!  Vet techs perform a wide variety of duties and we perform some of the same duties as nurses, anesthetists, radiology technicians, dental hygienists, laboratory technicians, pharmacists, surgical assistants, and janitors!  Even with all of that responsibility, almost every technician I know loves their job even when it gets difficult.

In the past 9 years I have worked in general practice, emergency and referral, management, and now at The Spay and Neuter Center of New Jersey!  I can't express how happy I am to be working for such a wonderful clinic that is providing such an important service for a cause that is so near to my heart.  Over 3 million pets are euthanized each year in shelters across the US.  Many of these pets are healthy and well-tempered, however, there are simply too many of them to find loving homes for them all.  The first step in solving this heartbreaking problem is spay and neuter!  By preventing litters we can decrease the number of animals that enter the overcrowded shelter system and prevent unneeded suffering and euthanasia of loving pets.  It’s my hope that we can make a difference in the lives of people and animals.

Stephanie Mulligan, Certified Veterinary Technician

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Mission

Every business is meant to have a mission statement.  It's in business planning 101.  But now that we have opened and the ball is rolling, I thought it would be a great time to really evaluate the mission of our business. Is it accurate?  Does it reflect what we are really trying to do?  Are we being true to it?

Our mission is to provide a high quality low cost service to the community, namely spay and neuter.  Simple enough.  That's our mission.  That is what we are doing.  But to fully understand the mission, we need to get into the how and the why- anyone can come up with a what, but the how and the why are the meat and bones of it.

How can we do this?  How can we give the same quality and charge less?  We have been asked this question numerous times by other veterinarians and clients alike.  It's quite simple- repetition leads to efficiency and perfection.  When you do one specific thing (spay and neuter surgery) for as long as my partner and I have, and you hire a staff that has been involved in this one thing (operating a spay/neuter clinic) for as long as they have, you end up with a clinic that moves fluidly in all aspects of our day- from the paperwork and admissions, to the animal care, to sending every pet home to their family safely at the end of the day.  When you have a staff with that much experience, we know what works best- from scheduling and software, to anesthetics and surgical techniques.   When you dedicate yourself to one thing (spaying and neutering) you take the other overhead (xray/ultrasound/in house labs etc) out of the equation, this allows you to charge more competitively for your services.  It's simple economics.   With experience comes efficiency and perfection.

Now the really nitty gritty stuff...the why.  Why do we do what we do?  To make money?  Because animals are cute and cuddly?  Well... yes, and yes.  We all need money to live and to eat, and if you are in animal care of course you think animals are cute.  The real why?  Millions of animals are euthanized every year in the United States.  Countless cats are dumped into feral colonies, and thousands of pets are surrendered to shelters everyday.  These shelters are already inundated with homeless animals.  If more people spayed and neutered their pets, less animals would die in shelters.  Spay and neuter needs to be on the front lines of the battle to curb pet overpopulation.  Spay and neuter services should be accessible to everyone.  Spay and neuter services should be convenient and affordable.  And spay and neuter services should always be high quality.  That's the why.  Also, animals are cute and cuddly.

We are truly happy to finally be open and offer our services to you.

We hope to see you soon!

Dr. Hancock