The end of the world didn’t happen, but the end of the year surely will!
So many highlights – The Olympics, The Diamond Jubilee and of course the Cherrydown Open Day to name but a few. The GB team got their highest ever medal haul and our Facebook page got its most ever likes. Prince Marvin of JLS married Princess Rochelle of Saturday while our nurses Andrea and Emma married the love of their lives. The Duchess of Cambridge announced that she was expecting as did our very own vets Emma & Laura. James Arthur won X Factor while our very own Practice Manager Marlies got up on stage and sang Gimme Gimme a man after midnight at The Ivory rooms just a few days ago.
This year we’ve seen more comings and goings than the Arsenal football team, but we’ve picked up some talented new blood that is going to make us stronger in 2013. In our midfield engine room we lost vet Kate Woolley but have new vets Kevin O’Leary plus Hayley Giles. And coming in the New Year is our January signing Rachel Rayner. Will Woodley joined us for a few months to help with maternity cover and he departs after Christmas. At the back we saw nurses Sarah Nye, Lauren Player, Justine Terry and Amber Richards move on to pastures new while Emma Wallace leaves us in a few weeks. Stepping up to take their place we’ve welcomed Bridie Thomas, Kelly Adam, Hayley Conyard and waiting on the bench is Sarah Brown who will be starting for us in January. Up front we lost our Reception Manager Lisanne but long serving Barbara Hodges stepped up to the spot and is now leading the way. We bolstered our front line with Julie Surridge and took on wingers Kym Widdicks at Wickford and Caroline Nash at Stanford following the departure of Alison Manby.
To help our team we joined forces with Practical HR and Sales Scene. Practical HR are currently in the process of reviewing our job descriptions and appraisal system while Sales Scene have assisted with our marketing and been involved in a focus group with clients and helping out with our Facebook Page & website. Orthopaedic Specialist J.B. Lefebvre has been busy healing our friends with broken or damaged bones as well as giving an insight to his work at an evening presentation. Cardio specialist Paul Smith has looked into the hearts of many with our new ultrasound machine while our groomer Debi has been keeping your pooches looking posh.
One of our newest features has been Ask the Vet where our director & Senior vet Jonathan answers any of your questions live on Facebook once a month. This has proved really popular and we’ll be carrying this on into 2013. Although he hides from the spotlight, Jonathan was also on Radio Essex just a few days ago being interviewed about the dangers pets face at Christmas. Jonathan is hugely popular and was among the finalists in the PetPlan vet of the year for 2012 following your nominations. Kevin Wood became a bit of a diva after appearing on a channel 4 documentary about foxes when he saved the life of Chihuahua Roxy, and nurse Rikki Fielding was star struck when Mr TOWIE walked through our door. Nurses Charlotte Olds & Jenny Herbert tasted success when they passed their nursing exams and receptionist Sandra Glen is working hard to get through her animal behaviour exam course. On the product side we added Acana to our range of healthy diets and Calmex to help your pets at times when they may be stressed or anxious.
One of the hardest parts of our job is losing some of the family that we’ve seen grow from cute kitten or playful pup. But for those they have lived with it’s even harder so we’ve recently started a ‘Rainbow Bridge’ page on our website where you can leave a special memory of the one you love. But the circle of life is a wonderful thing and we’ve welcomed many new faces to the family and shown off some of them on our facebook page.
At this time of year it’s usual to make a New Years resolution or two and we too are making plans for 2013. In January we are holding meetings to look at Health Plans for pets that will allow you to get the best possible preventative care for your loved one at a fixed monthly fee to help you plan & budget better. Those of you who receive our monthly newsletter or follow our facebook page will know that we are looking at improving our phone service to make it easier to speak to our staff when you need to. To link in with that we are looking at ways to allow you to make provisional appointment bookings via our website and improving the ways in which food and medications are ordered on the website. Those of you that are regulars at our Wickford branch will know that it’s a bit like entering a time warp and James Herriott would surely feel quite at home there. In 2013 we are looking to give it a 60 minute makeover and possibly incorporate a second consult room to reduce waiting times. We will be reviewing the branch opening hours and looking at the possibility of part of the opening time being appointments as well as retaining some walk in time.
So as the year draws to a close we wish you festive cheer and look forward to helping you keep your pets happy and healthy in 2013. Until then, although we are closed on the bank holidays we are available for emergencies 24/7 and our vets & nurses will be there for you if needed.