MVP celebrates their second anniversary

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One of the toughest parts of pet ownership is getting an unwilling animal to enter the veterinary office. Walking into a sterile building filled with strange people who poke and prod is a pet’s worst nightmare, and by the time the cost of the visit is tallied up it’s usually no cakewalk for the owner either. Monticello Veterinary Practice (MVP) is trying to put an end to both pets’ and owners’ concerns. Gale Briles, the MVP office manager, explained what that means at the relatively new veterinary practice. “We try to keep our prices competitive,” Briles says. They are committed to serving the community they work in, but they have become so well regarded for their services and their prices that some pet owners travel from Davis, Dixon and Sacramento to have their animals treated at MVP. “I find that to be a huge compliment,” says Sara Ogren, DMV, one of the founding vets at the clinic. Orgen, along with Jeannine Berger, DMV, is one of the owners of the practice. Berger is a veterinary behaviorist and a diplomate for animal welfare. These veterinarians are dedicated to turning the clinic into an official “Fear Free” establishment. Soon all of the staff members will have gone through special training, provided by the Fear Free certificate program, to reduce the amount of anxiety that animals feel at the vet’s office. From the moment that a dog or cat walks through the front door of the MVP clinic, they are stepping into a space that has been designed with them in mind. Briles points out the comfortable chairs in the front room, setup as if it were a living room and not a waiting area. “We want it to be a low stress environment,” says Ogren. Two diffusers are wafting calming pheromones into the air. One is formulated for dogs, the other for cats. “I really rolled my eyes,” Briles says about the first time she heard about these over the counter pheremones, Adaptil and Feliway. Her skepticism was reversed when they used the Feliway on a batch of feral cats in their office. MVP partners with Creek Cats, a non-profit organization that works to humanely capture, sterilize and release cats living on Putah Creek. The clinic spays and neuters the cats at a low price, before marking the cats’ ears so that future vets will know they have been sterilized. On one of the days that the clinic had a new batch of frightened, feral cats to operate on, the staff dosed a few towels with the calming Feliway pheromone. Briles became a believer when she saw a room of hissing cats calm down. Pheromones are only one of the options that MVP offers owners looking to calm their pet. The staff also encourages people to visit the clinic with their pet even when they don’t have an appointment. That way the animal can walk in, meet the friendly staff and get a treat on a day that doesn’t involve any other stress. Briles says that the staff are trained to recognize an animal’s emotional state when they walk through the door. That way, the staff knows how to approach the animal, and can make a note of what might work in the future. “We’re going to try to do everything with positive reinforcement,” Briles says of the staff’s approach. They don’t want to use discipline or prong collars when it comes to working with a frightened animal. “It’s really to the animals’ benefit,” she says. The animals also benefit from the wide variety of services that the office performs. “There’s not a typical day,”Ogren says with a laugh when asked. Since opening two years ago they have more than doubled the amount of service they are able to provide, and they need it on a weekly basis. From surgeries to rattlesnake bites, the clinic has to be able to adapt. For the crises and procedures they can’t cover, they contract out to specialists. As the practice grows, they are able to provide more time and services to their clients. When they started out they were only open four days a week, with only one vet to take appointments in four shits. Now they have nearly doubled their available appointment time, with two vets, seven shifts and new support staff coming soon. Chelsea Fierro is the lead technician, and has been a part of the clinic practically since the beginning. She enjoys not just the clients, but the bonds that the staff have formed. She says that all of the staff members are passionate about the work they are doing, and that they act like a kind of family. After two years of growing this community, MVP has decided to throw a party to celebrate their second anniversary. Ogren says that last year they were just so happy to have made it a year. This year, they’re ready to party. On Saturday, Aug. 11, MVP will celebrate their second anniversary with an open house. The event will take place at 9253 Johnson Road, from 12-2 p.m. Along with games and water slides there will be tours through the vet practice, with mock surgeries setup with stuffed animals. El Pueblo will cater, and there will be cold treats available. The entire event is free. For more information about the event, call 530-212-5161. To learn about the clinic, visit http://monticelloveterinary.com. ]]>

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