connections that help pets and people

Today, we have a special guest blogger. Dr. Heidi Cooley, who works on Banfield’s client experience and advocacy team, writes about how rewarding it is when veterinarians build great relationships with clients.

Before beginning her current role at Banfield, Dr. Cooley practiced as a clinical veterinarian at Banfield hospitals in North and South Carolina. She now works with hospital teams on client experience at more than 1,000 Banfield hospitals nationwide. Dr. Cooley is certified in hospice and palliative care, earned her bachelor’s and doctoral degrees from Auburn University, and recently became a certified client experience professional.

Being a veterinarian is a calling. We go through years of schooling and dedicate our lives to practicing veterinary medicine because we have a deep desire to care for pets. But equally important is the meaningful connections we make with our clients.

My first experience working in the profession was at a small-town veterinary hospital. What struck me right away was how often the veterinarians talked with clients about topics other than veterinary care—there was a palpable feeling of happiness radiating from the veterinarian when a client wanted to connect on a more personal level.

At the time, I chalked this up to small-town talk and camaraderie, but I quickly learned what the other doctors had already caught on to—that nurturing strong doctor-client relationships can make a real impact on emotional wellbeing. For example, those clients who brightened the really tough days were oftentimes also the clients who trusted me to care for their pets during very difficult treatment protocols and allowed me to practice the level of medicine I dreamed of when I first began my career.

I took this lesson with me, and it’s an important part of why I continue to feel fulfilled in my work to this day. I visualize each client interaction as a stepping stone toward building a more meaningful relationship, with each step creating further trust—trust that I have the best intentions, knowledge, and expertise needed for their pet’s care.

For a veterinarian, it can be extremely rewarding when we and our clients share a mutual care and respect for one another—as well as a genuine love for pets. By building deeper bonds with pet owners, I believe we are better able to focus on what we’re most passionate about: providing high-quality veterinary care to pets.

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