Pet Therapy

This is my sidekick, assistant, pet co-therapist Boo. She has been a part of my practice for over a year now. How she came to practice with me is worth mentioning. I had started my practice with the goal of working 4 days a week in the office, and having an extra day to stay home with my family. Over the past two years my practice had been steadily growing, and I was starting to fill up on four days. I found myself turning away patients because I did not want to give up “my Friday.” And this became problematic, because life, and its expenses, change over time.

I realized that I need to change my business plan, be more flexible, if I was going to have a vibrant positive practice experience. But I also did not want to set myself or my patients up for resentment. Nobody wants a resentful therapist. So I decided to take a look at what made me not want to work Fridays, and I realized that part of it was about work/life balance. Boo is an important part of my work/life balance, and unlike the fellow in the blog banner (more about him some other blog) Boo likes to have a job. In fact she used to come to an alternative school program I worked at, and the kids loved her.

So I made a deal with myself:  I would start working on Fridays, and Boo would come with me. I made it a point to check with new or current patients whether they were allergic or not dog-friendly before offering a Friday appointment to them. Now it is a year later, and I have a wait-list for Fridays! Boo greets each patient in the waiting room and escorts them in, and then after a minute or two she usually lays down on the floor or the couch until the end of the session. On several occasions she has been able to comfort a distraught patient in ways I can’t, and I am forced to admit that she sometimes picks up on a change in feeling before I do. Between appointments, I am able to scratch her ears, pet her, and take her for a walk, all of which can help me work through a difficult appointment. Best of all, although sometimes the extra 15 minutes it takes to get her ready and in the car are more work, I always feel like Fridays are a “casual day” at work.

Owning a business requires being flexible, and seeing opportunities. Are there things you have been finding yourself getting rigid about lately in yours? Can you see any opportunities to change that?

Comments

  1. Mike, LOVE this! So glad you were able to open the box and make your business work for you and Boo! It’s a true win-win-win….good for you, Boo and your clients.

  2. Hi Mike – I used to bring my German Shepherd when I had my practice – she was so good with the clients and they loved having her there. Her energy was very healing and so often I got the comment that she made them feel safer.

    She has been gone a long time time, but your post brought back such sweet memories.

    Thanks,

    Judy

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