Pandemic pet care: Anchor Animal adapts to curbside work

Sep 30, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of daily life — even our pets. While the South Coast’s animals haven’t seen any new health problems, Covid-19 has modified the approach to pet health.

Just as in human medicine, veterinary practices halted elective procedures during the onset of the pandemic. But as the state has slowly reopened with new social distancing protocols, so too has pet care.

At Anchor Animal hospital on State Road, owners would usually accompany their animals during routine exams and procedures. Now, things are done curbside. 

According to owner Dr. Kate Pietsch, things have been “very busy” since curbside service began, something she said has been “a nationwide trend.” 

While the animal doctor said she cannot pinpoint the reason, she did note and that with more people working from home, there has been an increase in pet adoption and owners have been noticing more issues with their four-legged companions.

“I think we’re seeing people be more proactive with their pets and recognizing things earlier,” Pietsch said. 

When owners arrive with their pets for an appointment, veterinary technicians or the doctor will greet their two- and four-footed patients, take brief histories, and lead or carry them into the clinic while their people wait outside.

If the weather is nice, Pietsch said some of the more anxious animals will have their exams done in a tent outside. 

“Unfortunately, that doesn’t work out very well for cats,” she laughed. 

So far, pets have handled the changes pretty well. 

Pietsch expected many of the dogs she treats to be anxious about being away from their owners, but said they are mostly relaxed and quiet.

She also thought her patients would be pretty apprehensive toward seeing so many strangers in masks, but noted that “dogs seem to have taken to people wearing masks better than thought.” 

Pet owners have also taken to the socially distanced system of care.

Dartmouth resident Melissa Haskell said her dogs have been longtime patients at Anchor and was “very impressed” with the socially distanced pet care format.

“It’s been a really thoughtful way to manage client and patient needs in the face of this pandemic,” she said.

Haskell especially likes how her labrador Daisy is able to be seen outside, since the dog can be a bit anxious without Haskell around.

Although Anchor currently has a strict rule against owners entering the facility, exceptions have been made for sensitive things such as euthanasia. 

This was something resident Kathryn Gollub greatly appreciated, noting that her great uncle’s dog had to recently be put down and was glad her family was able to say one last goodbye.

“[The staff] were so kind and sympathetic,” she said.  

Gollub added that she has also been taking her 12-year-old Australian Shepherd in during the pandemic, and has had no problems with being away from her pup.

“It’s a very safe feeling,” she said. 

While Pietsch is glad to help treat pets in a capacity where owners are comfortable, the doctor said she looks forward to having more people back inside of her practice. 

“We’re all missing that social interaction,” she said.