Apr 14, 2023

To the editor: Now that Berkshire Humane Society’s Wellness Clinic for cats and dogs has been open for about a month, we’ve noticed a recurring theme: Pet owners call us to see if they can get an appointment for annual examinations or booster vaccinations after finding out that the earliest appointments available from their regular veterinarian are several weeks out.

Although our clinic can help bridge the gap with stopgap services when a pet owner cannot get a timely appointment with their regular veterinarian, our main goal is to provide services for underserved owners of companion animals, primarily people without a regular veterinarian and people who are struggling to make ends meet. We want to help keep pets healthy in their homes and out of our shelter.

Times have changed in the world of pet health care. There’s a high demand for basic preventative veterinary services, but low supply. Gone are the days when you receive a reminder card in the mail to schedule services for your pet and you call to have your pet seen in the next few days.

Pet owners: Please be more aware of when your animals are due for their annual examination and booster vaccinations and plan accordingly. At Berkshire Humane Society, we recommend you keep a binder for your pet’s medical records and check for when they’ll need appointments. Call your vet at least three months before you’d like to be seen.

Your animals rely on you to provide timely health care. Don’t wait until the last minute to get your pet vaccinated if you are boarding or need proof of health for other reasons. Berkshire Humane Society’s Wellness Clinic can help in some of these situations, but be aware that the appointment you make might have been filled by someone who has nowhere else to go.

Being more proactive with scheduling care is part of being a responsible pet owner. We know of at least one local veterinary practice that has posted a plea for civil engagement to prevent verbal abuse from frustrated clients. People are passionate about their pets and are understandably upset when they can’t get immediate care, but must shoulder the responsibility of scheduling early to keep their pets up to date.

With a little planning, we can make life more pleasant for us, our local veterinarians and the furry friends we hold dear.

John Perreault, Pittsfield