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?