Dear Welcome Waggin’ Family,

I want to take a moment to share with you all some thoughts. We just celebrated our 4 year anniversary with me as the second owner!

For those of you that have been around from the early days, I thank you for taking a chance. You allowed our team to keep caring for your pets.

For those of you that have jumped on the waggin’ in recent years, Dr. Lisa McIntyre was The Welcome Waggin’s original owner. This was her small house call practice that she operated out of her home. Over her years she added an associate doctor and had a team of two. I started working part time for her in 2019. And on April 1st 2020, just as the world was shutting down, I became the new owner.

I fell in love with house calls right away. House calls are just different. There really is an amazing bond we get to share with you as we celebrate the life of your pets and help care for them.

COVID was actually good for our little house call business. I soon learned that there was such a need for this niche practice within our communities. Over the years our team has grown to keep up with the demand of more patients needing our service.

If you have ever read any of Malcon Gladwell’s books you may have heard of the 10,000 hour rule. The rule asserts that the key to true expertise in any skill is simply a matter of practicing for at least 10,000 hours. For a full time 40 hour week, that’s roughly 4.8 years of thorough practice.

Well towards the end of last year I finally had an AHA about The Welcome Waggin’s mission that I’d love to share with you all.

My original mission of The Welcome Waggin’ was to celebrate life and the human animal bond. I am also a life and leadership coach. I do believe in taking time to celebrate all life’s moments. And I’ve coached and supportive people as they go after big and scary goals. I also believe that life is better with a pet. As veterinary professionals, we can improve the human-animal bond by caring for our animal patients.

As I was putting in those 10,000 hours of house calls, I realized that our mission is much deeper. Most of our patients are young. They need routine, preventative care. We have also continued to follow Dr. Lisa’s lead. We provide compassionate and peaceful end-of- life care when it is time to say goodbye.

And then – there are the senior patients and geriatric patients. THE LATER YEARS.

In the past, even in human medicine, seniors and geriatric patients were often getting ignored. They do not get the care they need. Why – because as pet parents, we just see them sleeping more and they can’t tell us where they hurt. And for vets – when we are in a brick and mortar setting we are seeing multiple patients per hour. Often we don’t have the ability to do a deep dive into their full health history. It is much different when we are actually in your house and can see how your pet is living in their everyday life.

That’s when it clicked with me. I graduated in 2011. It was like all my previous years came together. I realized the journey I am on is much bigger than me. The Welcome Waggin’ mission is bigger than the original mission.

Over the years, you have given us many compliments. Two really have stood out. You said we are knowledgeable and take the time to help you all understand your pets’ diseases and health. You’ve also thanked us for helping you learn and recognize the signs of when it is okay to say goodbye.

Our new mission is #nopetleftbehind. Seniors and geriatric pets usually have multiple diseases. These diseases affect their well-being. #nopetleftbedhind means being fully committed to great medicine. It means helping you understand your pet better. It’s helping train my team. It’s teaching them to advocate for our patients and to always focus on growing their own knowledge. We can do this by keeping up with the latest medical treatment advancements. This will help us care for your pet and allow them to age gracefully.

We know that our pets don’t live as long as we do. We will always be there to say goodbye. We have done a great job understanding how to celebrate our pets’ lives as they pass. Now it’s time to study what it means to help our pets live healthier, happier, longer lives. It’s not just about the LIFESPAN of your pets but about their HEALTHSPAN.

“I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I just lived the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well.” -Diane Ackerman

So as we dream and plan about the next 4 years at The Welcome Waggin’ that is where my focus will be with our team.

I am excited to share more of what this means in the coming months and years. Scaling this practice has not come without challenges. Few veterinary practices have multiple teams on the road. Even fewer focus on creating an amazing experience for our patients and clients during house calls. We are working endlessly to create a team that believes in our mission.

We’d love to hear from you. When you hear no pet left behind, what does that mean to you? What areas would you like us to focus on as we continue to refine our processes and live our mission? What areas of our services do you love the most?

As always, thank you for your kindness, support, and community. We love having you and your pets in our Welcome Waggin family.

-Jennifer Rogan Waeltz, DVM, CPC