CLEARFIELD – A local veterinary clinic’s efforts to offer more services at a larger location was halted in March due to the COVID-19 crisis.
After outgrowing its Woodland location where it had been for 19 years, the Clearfield Veterinary Hospital moved into the old Assistance Office at 1121 Linden St., in Clearfield in late November.
Dr. Elizabeth Morgan and her staff continued to see patients, but they had bigger plans for the new location.
“We wanted to be able to offer a better standard of care with additional services,” said April Picard, the practice’s office manager.
People had always asked them if they offered boarding services and the new location had the space for this.
The new building has an 8,600 square foot indoor agility/training area and plenty of room for luxury dog suites and cat cottages.
Once these areas were completed, an open house event was scheduled for March 28.
Of course, this was postponed and the agility and puppy classes scheduled for that month were cancelled.
The pandemic also changed the way they did their normal business.
They had to take extra precautions cleaning the building and started to limit the number of people that could be in the office.
Walk in appointments were no longer offered.
To comply with regulations, April explained they started curbside services where clients could call from their vehicle and someone would take the pet into the hospital for their examination.
When the exam was finished, Dr. Morgan called the pet parent to discuss their case. Afterwards, the pet was then taken back out to the vehicle.
Masks are still required for anyone entering and one of the rooms is sectioned off to allow the doctor and the pet parents to be six feet away.
“If we were still in the old building, we would have really had a hard time to keep people separated,” she said.
With restrictions they were able to treat sick animals, emergency cases and provide necessary vaccinations. There was no elective surgery during this period.
This has been a challenging time for the practice, but most of their clients have been cooperative with their rules.
After the county moved into the “yellow” phase in June, they were able to begin to offer agility and puppy classes.
Heather Grove, veterinary tech at the practice, said they take only up to five puppies for each class and everyone wears masks.
“We have a pretty big area so we are still able to social distance,” she said.
In July, they opened their dog and cat boarding area. They also take ferrets, rabbits, guinea pigs, exotic birds, snakes and other pets.
“We are willing to take anything,” Heather said, then she quickly added except for livestock!
Although they have at least one dog each day, things have been slow with the boarding suites since so many people are not traveling right now. Still, they have some regulars for their “day stays.”
If you leave your pet with them, “We promise to treat them like our own while they enjoy snuggles on our sofa during movie night and don’t forget our frosty paws ice cream social!” one of their posts on their Facebook page boasts.
Heather echoed that idea.
“We don’t want animals to be kept in a small room or area all the time. We try to get them out and engage them as much as possible.”
The dogs are walked at least twice a day and they have different activities for the cats.
Cameras in the suites allow the owners to check in on their pet.
“One owner was annoyed that every time she checked, her dog wasn’t in the room,” Heather said.
This was because the dog was busy enjoying the play area, the outdoor jungle gym or lounging on a sofa.
The second phase of puppy and dog training classes are beginning at the end of August.
“The classes are just getting started,” Heather commented. “We should be further along with both the classes and the boarding (services).”
During the COVID crisis, the practice did lose a few employees, but overall, the hospital side did well.
April mentioned the hours have been adjusted to 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday through Thursday and on Friday from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
For more information on their agility and or puppy classes, you can contact Heather at 814-857-1971 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
General information is available on the clinic’s Facebook page and its Web site clearfieldveterinaryhospital.com.