Usually this time of year equine veterinarians put out a newsletter to let you know about new things going on with their practice. I intended to write something like that because I AM excited about a lot of new things: some new equipment I've invested in, continuing education I've done this winter, the success of the monthly payment plan, a new vaccine, new educational handouts and website material, discount pricing on preventative care packages, and changes to after-hours services. It's too much to put in a blog article, newsletter, or the email to subscribers and overloading you breaks the few rules I know about marketing. So I ditched that idea...but please peruse the website, call, or email me if you want to know about those things.
Let me back up a little bit. Over the past year or so I had an online survey of horse owners in the Wisconsin Dells area to figure out how you decide which veterinarian to call to work on your horses. What are you looking for? Is it mostly about the lowest prices? Scheduling options? Lots of high-end (a.k.a. expensive) diagnostic and treatment options? What about a large facility and a lot of veterinarians and support staff? While all these things are good, they were not at all what was important in the responses. In a way, I was surprised, almost disappointed because the survey didn't indicate any big changes I should make.
It took awhile to grasp what this all meant: you like a lot of things about me and my services just the way they are. Over time I realized that I shouldn't be surprised--I'm just like you. For example, my accountant is a solo practitioner whom I have a great relationship with. He knows my business inside and out and I consult with him frequently. He's seen my ups and downs and I've even cried in his office which is weird. By this point I know I should take his advice even when I don't feel like it. My mechanic is a small business that I have gotten to know and trust well (especially in the Dodge Caravan days--I was at the mechanic a lot!). I prefer sticking with the same doctor and being a patient at small hospitals over big ones because of the personalized care and practical approach to my health. My main distributor knows my voice on the phone. Since she knows my history with the company, she often knows better than I do what product I am asking for. Frequently my order is basically "I need that surgical instrument I bought four years ago. I don't know what it is called or what size I was using but I need another one...um, tomorrow." The next day it's on my doorstep. I prefer small, local businesses because they are so easy to work with and the owners care about each and every customer.
In the survey, what came up strong for Dells Equine were intrinsic qualities that can't be learned at a conference or bought at a trade show. It was simple things like "I choose Dells Equine because I like how she handles my horses." And "I know if I have an emergency she will call back and come out." I was honestly shocked that things this fundamental and expected of vets actually set me apart. Consistency, continuity, customer service, honesty and integrity, thorough and high quality medical care, all while working with your desires and budget were qualities that came up again and again.
So, in 2019, the things that you care about are still going to be high priorities for me. I'll continue to bring you up-to-date, compassionate, high-quality veterinary care. I'll continue to treat each horse as an individual and only recommend vaccines, tests, and treatments that will actually help it. I'm still more concerned about the welfare of each horse than how much revenue I can get from it. Advocating and caring for rescue and neglected horses will remain a passion of mine. I'm still going to respect owners' budget constraints and help you make wise decisions about your horses' care. I will still value routine physical exams and the health binders as powerful tools to keeping your horses healthy and performing well. I'll continue to be honest if I don't know the answer or can't treat the problem and tell you if there's another veterinarian and facility who can. Earning and maintaining your trust will always be paramount to me. I will still consider it a privilege to take care of your horses and be grateful to you for choosing me so that I can keep being an equine veterinarian in Wisconsin Dells.
Thanks for reading and I look forward to seeing you this spring, and maybe even this summer at Devil's Hole Ranch (hint, hint!).
P.S. A big thanks to CMA Accounting, Wheel City Motors, Wisconsin Small Business Development Center, Midwest Veterinary Supply and Reedsburg Area Medical Center for keeping me going!