The local animal hospital faces the difficulties caused by the pandemic

Neel Veterinary Hospital, a 24/7 emergency veterinary center, said it had no choice but to keep the doors open during the challenges caused by the pandemic.

Recently, other vet offices have occasionally closed temporarily due to COVID-related issues. Katy Hawkins, director of Neel Veterinary Hospital, said this has left them with an extra burden.

“And it’s increased our patient load pretty much every day for the past two years,” Hawkins said.

Hawkins also said things have really accelerated over the past six months, with the Delta and Omicron variants infecting many people.

This means that they are also seeing very long wait times.

Sometimes waiting times of several hours. Due to this problem, they have noticed an increase in the number of unruly customers.

She said she had to turn down service several times because people were so rude.

They even had to hire a security guard because of some scary situations.

“I know everyone is stressed and there are higher stress levels, but you have to understand that we are working and trying to save animals,” Hawkins said.

She asks pet owners to show kindness to staff who work hard for their pets.

The pet hospital has still implemented a mask mandate and made other changes to limit contact.

Pet owners wait in their cars when dropping off pets and no one is allowed in the building except in rare cases.

These protocols help protect staff and keep them healthy.

Hawkins said they were able to stay open and make things work.

But like so many other companies, they are always hiring more vets.

And to keep morale up as they navigate the pandemic, the pet hospital routinely provides employees with food, which also helps other local businesses.

Benjamin M. Yerger