I kind of know what Daisy meant in The Great Gatsby. After months of construction and years of planning, the new Humane Veterinary Hospitals Reading opened for business. We got so busy with all of the new capabilities and resources it offered the animals of our shelter and our community that the event itself essentially pass us by.
I went right from the last post, with pictures of concrete and wall studs, to working on the next round of priorities. A little like waiting for the longest day of the year then realizing you missed it!
The opening of this hospital deserves proper recognition, and I’m going to give it to you. Our new hospital is part of a 9,000 square foot DOUBLING of our animal services space in Reading, PA. It expanded our vet services space and capacity by 150%, taking us from two exam rooms to five. It provides individual radiology and dental suites, with a state-of-the-art digital X-ray unit which is higher resolution and quality and safer for pets and staff, and brand new dental treatment equipment. Plus, we doubled the space for surgery and treatment. It also has a gorgeous, comfy, and spacious reception and waiting area, with plenty of room for people and pets (and to spread out people and rambunctious pets).
A little less “sexy” for the public, but it has secure records space, a secure pharmacy and supplies area, and our three full time vets and their support staff actually have a dedicated administrative office- you’d appreciate that as much as they do if you ever say the 24 inch desk they all had to share in the old hospital.
Why does this matter? First, we were literally prevented from providing the care we knew we could and in the quantity we were capable of in our old hospital simply because it was too small and lacked some of our new equipment. We were maxed out. By increasing and improving upon our space we have increased our capacity and efficiency without having to add addition staff (yet). In fact, even with the learning curve of a new hospital (where are those sutures over here again?) and intentionally light starter schedule, we had one of our most productive months in our hospital’s history in our very first month. More productive means more animals helped!
Second, let’s be honest, our old building was not what we wanted it to be and what the public always wanted it to be. Let’s be really honest, it was a little skeevy. Our goal is not merely to provide great care. We want to give everyone who uses our services- from the adopters, to those on limited incomes, to just the general public who want to put their healthcare dollars in the place which will help even more animals- to have a great, pleasant, top notch experience. Now they do.
I used to be able to say we had the best staff in Berks County working at our hospital. I couldn’t say we had the best hospital facility. That’s all changed now. We have, hands down, the best staff, the best programs and mission, and the best damn hospital facility in the County (in my humble opinion). And since we are in the process of getting our accreditation from the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), the quality of our care won’t ever be up for debate.
Why does accreditation matter? Because only between 12% and 15% of America’s 35,000 or so veterinary practices are accredited using the 900 point set of AAHA standards. Among non-profit hospitals, and Humane Pennsylvania and Humane Society of Berks County have been nationally recognized pioneers in non-profit community veterinary services, that number is even shockingly smaller: only 19 AAHA accredited non-profit hospitals in the entire US and only one in Pennsylvania! Guess who operates that one? We do! Our Humane Veterinary Hospitals Lancaster facility is already AAHA accredited and Reading will be the 20th in the entire nation!
Having our new hospital open and accredited, with it’s high standards and mission to serve the entire community is like having the veterinary equivalent of Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania right here in Reading. It’s that big a deal. People shouldn’t have to give up or kill pets just because they don’t have access to vet care. By showing that it can be done in our community we are also leading the way in helping other communities around the country to do the same.
This is cutting edge animal welfare and it is helping to make what was formerly considered impossible- ending needless euthanasia in our shelters- a reality in our lifetimes.
I invite you to help us in our fight to bring about this reality. If you are looking for a vet, give us a try. We are just like the best vets and hospitals around- because we are the best vets and hospitals around! The only difference is the dollar you spend at our hospitals in Reading and Lancaster are reinvested in local animals. Our hospitals provide nearly a million dollars in care value each year to animals in our two adoption shelters, our adopted pets through our health care follow up programs, and to those in financial need. Use your vet health care dollars to make a difference in your community (and we even have New Client discounts and referral benefit programs to make it even more enticing!)
We still have a few odds and ends to finish- such as waiting for our awesome signs so we can put away our sad little banner- but it’s here, it’s open, and it’s waiting for you and your pet. Don’t let this pass you by.