Embarking on 2022: A Message from Our Owners
As we begin our second winter and third year of the pandemic, we wanted to take a moment to express our gratitude to all of you for your kindness and patience, while giving you insight into the multiple “pivots” and challenges that Harmony — and veterinary medicine in general — is facing.
Going on being short-staffed now for 24 months, each of your kind words and patience has been a blessing in our lives. Many may not realize that in 2020, staffing was already short in the veterinary field. Combined with COVID-19, staffing became very short in 2020, a trend that continued in 2021. We were not spared from the “great resignation,” nor from the mental and physical exhaustion that crept through our staff.
While we continue to be actively hiring, wages have jumped 30-40% 2021 industry-wide for veterinary nursing staff. We foresee this wage jump combining with supply shortages and inflation to significantly raise prices in veterinary medicine in 2022. We are committed to working with each of you to help you afford veterinary care, and we highly recommend starting a pet health savings account or looking into insurance for your pet.
With the continuation of the pandemic, we will continue allowing limited public access into our building with masks as long as the infection rate remains under 10% in our local area. For your safety, we will continue to ask contact tracing questions prior to entry and to follow all CDC guidelines. Several veterinary clinics in our area were shut down for several weeks in 2021 due to untraceable, wide spread COVID-19 outbreaks among staff and clients. We prefer to be abundantly cautious and remain open to care for your pets, rather than risk your health and the health of your pet by having to close for three weeks. We watch the infection rate for our area daily, and will move back to full curbside service should it exceed 10% with the new Omicron variant. We are also very able to see your pet outside in our backyard if you prefer.
With staff shortages, we have had to adapt our scheduling. You may be asked to schedule your well pet visits several months to a year in advance. This helps us make room for pets that have medically urgent conditions, and relieves case load pressure on our local emergency clinics. Just as in human medicine, veterinary emergency and referral specialists are in high demand and have long waitlists to get in for care. Scheduling well visits early, and not waiting until your pet is in crisis with medically urgent needs, is the best thing you can do for your pet in 2022.
We appreciate your understanding of the main economic pressures affecting our clinic and veterinary medicine as a whole. We know that pets do better with you coming inside with them, and we will do all we can to safely keep that going. Seeing pets early prevents health conditions from becoming emergencies, and we will continue to adapt our schedule to be able to accommodate this. We will also continue to hire new staff and expand our services to better serve your pet’s health.
Committed to Our Community
We have been truly blessed over the last two years to have hired two fabulous associate veterinarians, Dr. Christine Miller and Dr. Carly Stephens. They are being supported by a fabulous nursing and nursing assistant staff as well as reception team. They have created a warm and welcoming culture and are dedicated to serving the Arvada community while caring for your pets.
As owners of Harmony Veterinary Center, we are continually and ever grateful to our staff and our wonderful clientele who show them appreciation with a kind word, patience and understanding. While it has been a taxing last 24 months, it is also so very rewarding to see clients in the building, the joy of the bond you have with our pet, and the laughter we can share. We may have another year of getting this pandemic and its economic effects worked out of our society, but together with care and compassion we will get to the other side.
May your family be blessed with good health and prosperity now and in the coming year.
With deep gratitude,
Dr. Shelley Brown and Julia McPeek
Co-owners, Harmony Veterinary Center