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Hello! We have finalized on a puppy and will be getting him in 2 weeks! I am the in the process of researching veterinarians and would like some advice.

We have many in our area to pick from - some as close as 5-10 minutes away. I've heard great things about Banfield Pet Hospitals wellness program as well but a little further (15-20 minutes). The last option I am considering is a neighbor of ours. She is very passionate about her job (always working over time) and has great reviews online of her practice. However she is 35 minutes away. Not a deal breaker, but wondering if having a neighbor as a vet is too close for comfort or if it's a great option for someone we could ask a quick question on ('hey, what's this goop in his eye?') without having to drive 35 minutes if necessary.

My next door neighbor/friend uses our neighbor as her own vet for her cat and dog and says she is very flexible, answers questions all the time, and even offered to do their spaying/neutering at cost. I just don't want to take advantage of a delicate situation either.

Any advice here?
 

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I would chose the vet you are most comfortable within a limited distance from your home. Personally I wouldn't opt for a vet who is a 35 minute drive away, unless she is the only one you trust. I would interview several before you get your puppy.
 

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Big NO from me on Banfield's corporate model of vet care:
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2017-01-05/when-big-business-happens-to-your-pet

Those wellness plans are not a good investment IMHO. Instead, buy a real pet insurance plan (like Healthy Paws or Trupanion) that allows you to go ANY vet, and pays for big, expensive stuff (illness, injury). Cover the small stuff (wellness) on your own.

The biggest issue with a neighbor is self-restraint -- not wearing out your welcome when she's off duty. Unless she invites you to come by her house for goopy eyes, that's a big NO. However if your dog is choking and turning blue, she'll likely understand you interrupting her family barbeque to ask for help. The thing to remember is that their homes are their private spheres, and they deserve down time and boundaries, just as we all do from our jobs. Sometimes clients feel free to barge in on them at home for a "quick answer" free of charge....and that kind of sucks. They often work such long, stressful hours that they really need to be able to unplug and not be "on" -- it's one of the highest stress professions, with a massive depression and burn out rate, so making sure that you respect and value her down time, even though she might be right next door, is incredibly important.

If you like her and heard good things, then I would have an honest conversation about how she prefers to work, and how she sets her own boundaries with neighbors, so that you can be respectful of those. You'll stay good neighbors that way and convey that you appreciate her as a human, not just as a service provider.
 

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Big NO from me on Banfield's corporate model of vet care:
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2017-01-05/when-big-business-happens-to-your-pet

Those wellness plans are not a good investment IMHO. Instead, buy a real pet insurance plan (like Healthy Paws or Trupanion) that allows you to go ANY vet, and pays for big, expensive stuff (illness, injury). Cover the small stuff (wellness) on your own.

The biggest issue with a neighbor is self-restraint -- not wearing out your welcome when she's off duty. Unless she invites you to come by her house for goopy eyes, that's a big NO. However if your dog is choking and turning blue, she'll likely understand you interrupting her family barbeque to ask for help. The thing to remember is that their homes are their private spheres, and they deserve down time and boundaries, just as we all do from our jobs. Sometimes clients feel free to barge in on them at home for a "quick answer" free of charge....and that kind of sucks. They often work such long, stressful hours that they really need to be able to unplug and not be "on" -- it's one of the highest stress professions, with a massive depression and burn out rate, so making sure that you respect and value her down time, even though she might be right next door, is incredibly important.

If you like her and heard good things, then I would have an honest conversation about how she prefers to work, and how she sets her own boundaries with neighbors, so that you can be respectful of those. You'll stay good neighbors that way and convey that you appreciate her as a human, not just as a service provider.
Lol, okay sounds like Banfield is a no-go. Sounded liked the Kaiser of pet healthcare (nothing wrong with it, but I'm more of a PPO high maintenance health person myself.)

And I think you are right, it may get a little dicey... the drive is far. And as someone who is self employed myself (I'm a photographer) I actually prefer to NOT work with friends. Makes business tricky and I would never want to make someone feel uncomfortable. My neighbor is nice enough to where if my dog WAS blue in the middle of the night she'd help me anyway.

Thanks again!!
 

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I would personally go to the neighbor vet but would take extra care to not bother her about work related things unless you are actually at an appointment. 35 minutes is not that far and most vets are not available 24/7 anyways so chances are you'd need to be aware of the closest emergency vet regardless of how far away the vet is. The vet I use is sort of a neighbor, more of a family friend, and because of this has really done some great things for my dogs. When my rescue GSD needed to be PTS she came over to my house to do it even though she does not do house calls (did not ask her to do this she offered it). She also used to treat the same dog in my van because she was terrified at any vet office and was comfortable in the van. I always do my best to let the vet know I appreciate it, send thank you cards and give good reviews whenever I can.
I know of a few people that used Banfield and really like them but their prices seem high and I would never go with a big corporate company like that for a vet.
 

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I would personally recommend the neighbor as your vet. I've heard various things about Banfield but many weren't good, my sister uses them as her vet and she said the people there seemed unorganized and slightly rude. They took her kitten out of the room to do her vaccinations and returned her saying she was all set...I found it odd that they brought the cat into a different room when there was no reason for it. With that aside, a lot of the Banfield veterinarians are good, but fresh out of vet school. This causes a lack of experience and judgement which is nobody's fault, just more comforting knowing your vet has experience and really enjoys what she does.
I don't think this would be a "too close for comfort" deal, I feel like it would actually be more comforting knowing if you had a serious question or an emergency occurs, you'll have someone close who can provide answers/help if needed (not expecting that of your neighbor but she's passionate about her job, I'm guessing she would be willing to help)

I hope this helps and congrats on the new puppy! Enjoy!
 

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As someone who works at the grooming salon in a petsmart where a banfield is housed, I would not recommend them. Wellness plan is a load of crap. Find a good local vet you trust, not a chain vet practice. Sounds like the neighbor might be the way to go.

Best of luck with your new pup!
 

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When I was a kid our neighbor was also our vet and it was kind of cool. I played with his kids. We only called him once in an emergency (that was many years before after hours emergency care existed for dogs) and always went to his clinic for routine care.
 

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Thanks so much guys! Will consider the neighbor as an option! I do know she is passionate about her pets and may be nice to see her on walks regularly.
 

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Banfield is not known for it's quality of advanced care or diagonstics....I have a friend who is a vet who works for them...she does relief work and only works a few hours a week there....she is semi retired and it is good income for easy work for her....as a primary care vet? not a clinic/chain I would recommend.


It always makes me scratch my head when people say 20 miles, 30 miles too far to go to something....my repro vet is about an hour away....I probably bypass 20 or more vets when I go there....I used to drive to Cleveland 150 miles away to use Dr. Hutchinson and still would if I needed to....may still do so for OFAs in the future. The other clinic I use is at least the same distance in the opposite direction....I have been a client there since it opened in the mid 70's.....

Use your neighbor - don't abuse the professional relationship by badgering her for minor issues - but develop a relationship with her and she will be there if you really really need help in an emergency!


Lee
 

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Magwart that article was an eye opener. Thank you for posting it.

My vet is through VCA and a lot of what the article said answered a major question I had and one that at this point is probably moot to the op but worth considering when choosing a vet.

I choose to titter my boy for all except the 3yr Rabis so I am up to date with everything. However that choice and the results are not on the first page that come up when his file is opened. In his records, he is marked as late with all boosters except Rabis. Along with parasite preventatives. I have asked that this be changed but did not get a response.

This could be a deal breaker if one was trying to adopt through rescue and also if the breeder calls for a quick reference and just gets a clerk or tech who reads from the files first page.

I'm not bashing my vet but it is concerning and makes sense as to why my boy is marked late if they are filling out info via software which has specific peramiters. There is no option on the form for the vet or clerk to mark "tittered" as to an alternative and no option where they can mark "client confirms parasite prevention".

Just something to think about.
 

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Choose a vet that meshes with your personality and your approach to animal care.

Be open-minded. Even with careful consideration and excellent online reviews, the first vet you choose may not "click" with you but perhaps a partner or different doctor will. I've switched vets, with no hard feelings. :)

You might move. The neighboring vet might relocate. So many things can change.

Magwart's remarks about respecting personal space and sanctuary are spot on. Certain professions lend themselves to personal relationships that are so easy to overstep, and vets are definitely one of those. Unless it is an emergency, or you are invited, I would make a concerted effort not to ask random questions.

I work in a different field that tends to blur the professional/personal relationship line (architecture). I've done work for people in our neighborhood. Most of them are wonderful and have become friends. A select few of them show up unannounced, knock on my door, and burst into conversation about design ideas that suddenly struck them, or they want to ask questions about something I've done to my house. Evenings, Sunday mornings, all hours. It isn't that I don't want to help them, and we are fortunate to have so many good clients - BUT. I'd prefer not to talk to customers if I'm wearing old grubby clothes, listening to an audiobook doing yard work, tired and sweaty climbing off my bicycle, or just want to sit outside and have a glass of wine and think after a long day.

One client really pushed the line.... I was visiting a project site, and returned to my office to a voicemail: "Hi, I want to add XXX to my plans, I'm at your house right now and it doesn't look like you're home, but I see your dog is here! She's barking at me, HAHA! So I figured I'd call your office but you aren't there either, where are you today? I'm gonna leave your house now, give me a call..." --- This is a good person. We have a good business relationship. But that made me more than a little bit uncomfortable. After that happened and unnerved me, I've become a bit of a crusader for the personal/professional space boundary.
 

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My vet (one of them) lives down the road from me. I don't know which house, but I know she lives on my road, because sometimes she mentions something about our street. She rides a bike, sometimes into town for work. And they do offer a service, where they will make house calls. About 12 years ago, I called to ask about my first litter and she offered to stop by and check them out on her way home from work. That was nice.

And a few months ago I had her there on a house call to vaccinate 7 of my dogs. That went through the office and I made an appointment and she came on her way home, after her last appointment.

I have a lot of dogs. My vet's office is 4 miles away. I've gone there in an emergency once, and I called in on a day off, a Sunday, and the fellow -- not the lady who lives on my road, met me there to fix up a gal that had a c-section and was having a problem. The lady came in once for me, and I assisted doing the x-rays. But I have been customers over there for about 35 years. Most of the time an after-hours emergency means a 1 hour drive if it isn't too serious and a 2 hour drive if it is.

Bothering a vet for goopy eyes after hours would be out of bounds in my opinion. Calling your neighbor-vet, that you have been giving all your business to for years, because your dog has all the signs of bloat is, in my opinion, perfectly reasonable. The problem is that vet's have lives too. And they may be farther away than the far vet, and they may not be able to help any more than to say, rush him to whichever hospital is nearest. Even if he/she could perform the bloat surgery, they may not be able to get someone to assist, it may be a longer wait, and it may not be. I would definitely call them first and try to get a hold of them.
 
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