Athens Mobile Vet Services

Does your cat love going to the vet?  Do you love taking them to the vet?  As a kitty mama, I am all too familiar with the stress it puts on cats to get them to the vet.  Ally hated being in the carrier – even worse, she hated being in the car and meowed the entire time.  Worst of all, I knew she was stressing as we sat in the waiting room with lots of other animals (she was an only child).  Loud dogs of all sizes and other cats meowing were all around and one thing I knew about Ally – she hated all other animals. Knowing she was upset, in turn, upset me.  As if we weren’t both already concerned enough for whatever reason we were AT the vet, there were these added factors.

I have recently learned of an amazing concept.  The Mobile Vet!  Back in the “old days”, it was very commonplace for vets to visit a client’s home and check in on their pets.  Over the years, this practice was phased out in lieu of an actual veterinarian office, which has its own merits as well.

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Dr. Sharon Wong

However, there are still some amazing people in our communities who are bringing this service back.  Here in Athens, GA, our vet of amazingness is Sharon Wong.  She owns Best Friends Mobile Veterinary Services, LLC.

I had some questions for her and she was gracious enough to take the time out of her super busy schedule of taking care of many pets in the area to answer them for me.

Tina:  Tell us a little about yourself.

Sharon:  I am a life-long pet owner and small animal veterinarian. I have had a mobile veterinary practice in Athens, GA for twenty years. I graduated from the University of Georgia.

I decided to become a mobile veterinarian because I wanted to have a work/career/family balance and deliver veterinary health care at home. I enjoy seeing patients and their clients in their own home. I treasure the relationships and rapport I have with families.

When I’m not making house calls, I enjoy ice dance, ballroom dance, golf, and taking my dogs to the park. I have always enjoyed activities which allow people and animals to interact. I enjoy traveling, being outdoors, and cooking with my husband.

Tina:  Tell us a little about your pets.

Sharon:  The pets I have at home include two dogs, a parrot, and an aquarium of African Cichlids. All of our pets were chosen by my husband and sons. I have always said to mothers, “If you are not willing to take care of a ______ , do not get it. It will become your pet.”

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Easton

Our first dog’s name is Easton. She is a 12-year-old Rhodesian Ridgeback. Our son was into baseball when he named her. She and I share the same birthday.

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Shady

The second dog is Shady. He is a 6-year-old Pug. His owner named him “Slim Shady” after Eminem. Pugs have lots of personality. He loves toys.

Sharon & Pablo

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Our parrot’s name is Pablo. He is a Caique. Our family had to read 3 books on Parrot behavior before we got him. Prior to having a pet bird, I didn’t know that the smaller the parrot, the shorter the lifespan which is opposite to dogs. His birthday is Cinco de Mayo. His life expectancy is 20-40 years.

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My husband wanted African Cichlids because we have had saltwater fish, turtles, and tropical fish over a 20-year period. They are colorful and from Lake Malawi, Africa. The water in the tank must be changed once a month.

I have always had dogs and an aquarium. I acquired my first cat when I was a pre-vet student in Athens. Minx was a scrawny, undernourished kitten I found underneath my car. She was my collegiate cat.

Tina:  What inspired you to start a mobile vet business?

Sharon:  I decided to become a mobile veterinarian because I wanted to open my own veterinary practice and I saw there was a need for at-home veterinary care.

Clients have various reasons to seek out a house call veterinary practice. Some clients are unable to drive their pets to a clinic or their pets don’t ride well. Others are multi-pet households who find house calls more convenient.

Some clients prefer not having to leave their homes or work. They value having professional services provided around their schedule.

Others have needs such as euthanasia. Whatever your pet’s needs, I work with my client to keep their pet in optimal health. When I have to relieve a pet from suffering, I provide compassion, dignity, and intimacy.

Tina:  How long have you been in this business?

Sharon:  I have been a mobile veterinarian for 20 years. I serve Athens and the surrounding counties. My motto has been “keeping pets healthy & their best friends happy since 1997.”

I’ve been fortunate to achieve a life/career balance. I’m glad I’ve been able to be involved in my children’s school, my husband’s work, our community, and pursue my interests. I also get to spend my lunch hour with our pets!

Maddie Patient Since Puppyhood

Maddie – patient since puppyhood

Tina:  What benefits have you seen in your clients and their pets?

Sharon:  I help others overcome obstacles to pet care because I come to their home. My very first house call was with a family who owned a Cocker Spaniel and two ferrets. The owners were not able to drive. Other situations I have helped with are pets who have behavioral changes once they enter a veterinary hospital. For instance, some pets become aggressive when in the company of other animals, but are fine at home.

Pets are less stressed when they are seen at home. They don’t shed and seem to accept me in their home. Benefits to the owners are no waiting room or pet hair in their vehicles. There is no exposure to sick pets or people. Being at home, both pet and owners have better blood pressure levels.

Tina:  What are some of the challenges?

Sharon: The most challenging house call is treating an aggressive patient. There are some pets that become territorial at home. Another challenge is coordinating care if a pet needs a radiograph, hospitalization, ultrasound, or a specialized surgery.

Tina:  Do you work with any animal groups or rescue groups in the area?

Sharon:  Right now, I am not working with a particular animal group, but I have been asked to participate in career day at local schools in the Athens area.

Tina:  What is your favorite part of being a mobile vet?

Sharon: I enjoy being a mobile veterinarian because house calls are never monotonous. Every day and every house call is different. I enjoy the flexibility and creativity I use to personalize each pet’s check-up. I enjoy being a mobile veterinarian because pets and owners are more relaxed at home. This is the stress-free veterinary visit clients prefer.

Tina:  What kinds of services do you offer?

Sharon: The services I offer are preventative care such as annual wellness visits, vaccinations, dietary counseling, microchipping, spay/neuter, travel certificates, medications, and euthanasia.

Tina:  Thank you, Sharon, for taking the time to share with us a bit about your business and why you love doing what it is that you do.  Thank you for the wonderful service you provide.

I think the idea of a mobile vet is an amazing concept on so many levels, especially for those who are unable to drive or get out of the house or for those who suffer from anxiety.  If you have cats, especially, this might be something for you to look into in your area.

About the Author

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Tina Whitehair currently works as an Administrative Specialist
to the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at the UGA School of Law in Athens, GA. She grew up in West fileVirginia where she had multiple cats for most of her life. She loves both cats and dogs (and baby elephants). She currently has two rescue cats: a 2 year old male Maine Coon mix, Stormy, and a 2.5 year old domestic long hair female, Sunny. Her hobbies include crocheting, writing, martial arts and Thai Fit kickboxing.

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Firework Safety

More pets get lost on July 4th than on any other day of the year with a 30% increase in the number of lost pets between July 4th and July 6th! Which means July 5th is the busiest day of the year for animal shelters and our shelters are already full from puppy and kitten season! Please take a look at the tips below and share them for friends and family!

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Here are some more adorable, festive pics for your enjoyment! (Photo Credit: Jessica Boston)

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Flagpole: The Pet Issue

All of our local Athenians (and everyone nearby) will appreciate this- if you haven’t already seen it! Flagpole Magazine is a free weekly publication containing all the latest info and happenings going on in Athens. They cover all aspects of the local scene- including music, art, food, people, places, events and more. You can find printed copies of the Flagpole at over 300 locations in Athens and all over the UGA campus. They are famous for their yearly “Athens Favorites” issue that allows locals to vote on their favorite establishments around the city. They have categories for everything from live music venue to chiropractor to veterinarian! It is a great resource, especially for those new to the area, about the best places to go for goods and services.

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Well, this month they released an entire issue dedicated to animals titled “The Pet Issue: Honoring Athens’ Furry Friends”. It has many articles all about our furry friends! They included segments with clever names such as “pup notes” and “kitty dope”. We highly recommend you taking a look- luckily they have a convenient online edition!

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Clara

Let us introduce you to a special little lady… Her name is Clara and she is one amazing survivor.

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Clara was rescued from a rural animal shelter where she was found as a stray. Clara immediately stood out to us not only for her adorable underbite and soulful brown eyes but also for being quiet, well-mannered and simply sweet. She also looked very similar to our director’s personal dog and so she instantly stole her heart! Shortly after pulling her we felt a small mass on her belly but were unsure what to think about it. During her first vet visit with our veterinarian, Dr. Bates, he discovered that Clara had small masses near each of her nipples. It also became clear that Clara has had more than a few litters in her life and at 8 years old had not been spayed.

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Due to her age and the number of tumors present, Dr. Bates decided to tackle the situation aggressively by performing a double mastectomy, removing her mammary chains and as much breast tissue as possible. They removed a total of 10 tumors, all within the breast tissue. The tumors were sent to the pathology lab at UGA to be evaluated and with fingers crossed, we anxiously awaited the results. Imagine our elation when we received news that all of the tumors had been successfully removed with clear margins and that the cancer had not spread to any of the surrounding tissues! No further treatment was necessary!

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Clara recovered like a champ- letting her foster mom clean and apply warm compresses to her large incisions twice daily without ever whining or trying to evade. Even the day of her surgery she was rolling around on her back asking for belly rubs! She didn’t even fight wearing the cone of shame!

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Now that she is fully healed, Clara can live out the rest of her days just like any other pup her age! She is not expected to need any further treatment and chances of re-occurrence are low since almost all of her breast tissue has been removed. Clara is truly an angel and already possesses all the qualities that most people look for in the “perfect dog”. She has never had an accident in the house, makes fast friends with everyone (dogs, cats and people), requires minimal exercise, walks great on a leash and loves car rides! All Clara really wants from her forever home is a warm, comfy bed to lay in (whether it be yours or her own) and plenty of good ol’ fashion belly rubs! Can you give this beauty the second chance she deserves?

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To fill out an application click here. If you don’t think you are ready to adopt, would you consider donating a small amount to help cover the cost of her surgery? Please share her story so that she can find the perfect family she deserves!

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Special Needs

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Right now Circle of Friends has several tough cases of special needs doggies and kitties that are in need of extra veterinary care. We love rescuing these overlooked babies and giving them a second chance at life but we need your help to continue saving them! We rely completely upon the generosity of donors like you- so these additional expenses put a large dent in our funds.

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All the animals that receive extra care (whether it be surgery, x-rays, heartworm treatment, ongoing skin issues, medications, etc.) do not have an increased adoption fee so the costs are hard to make up. Therefore, we have several animals with their own funding accounts to help cover their costs. Please look at these babies and consider donating any amount towards their care!

Rescued Robin Needs Relief!

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Eli Needs Your Empathy!

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Rawboned Ruffus Needs Rescue!

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As always, we appreciate every one of our supporters. Without you, we would not be able to rescue any of these precious creatures! If you prefer you donate to our general fund that is great too! We have many ways that you can become involved with us regardless of your situation. Thank you!

 

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‘The Present’

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This cute animation short titled ‘The Present’ is sure to hit the heart of all rescue lovers! So many times our furbabies actually rescue us, not the other way around!

You’re welcome! 🙂

 

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COFAS May 2016 Newsletter

 

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Hang on to your shorts!

In case you haven’t realized lately from all the social media posts and website updates- Circle of Friends is shaping up to have one crazy busy but WONDERFUL next few months! Though it can get exhausting with all the running around- there is nothing better than getting more exposure for our organization and our furbabies looking for their furever homes! We have so many amazing special events coming up, in addition to our normal weekly Saturday adoptions, plus in Athens we have now officially moved into the PetSmart cat adoption center and we also just rescued a dog, Eli, with one of the worst cases of mange we have ever seen. So there is no better time than now to volunteer, foster, donate or adopt! Even just sharing our posts on Facebook helps a ton!

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Here’s a tentative schedule just for May:

May 5 – Cinco de Mayo Fundraiser – Maria’s Cantina in Greensboro starting at 5pm

May 7 – Dawgy Dash 5k Run/Walk – Greensboro High School, register at 7:30am

May 7 – Adoptions at PetSmart in Athens and Loganville from 10am-2pm; plus a second group of pups at Pet Supplies Plus in Athens from 10am-2pm

May 13-15 – PetSmart National Adoption Weekend Event! If we are able to get *20* adoptions, PetSmart Charities give us a nice donation! PetSmart in Loganville and Athens will be participating!

May 21 – Lucky Dog Fun Day – hosted by Lucky Dog Agility in Winterville from 9am-12pm; adoptions at PetSmart in Loganville from 10am-2pm and Pet Supplies Plus in Athens from 10am-2pm

May 28 – Adoptions at PetSmarts in Athens and Loganville from 10am-2pm

Plus remember, we always have kitties in both Macon PetSmarts and (now!) in the Athens PetSmart available for adoption!

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Why are Cats So Weird?

 

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We absolutely love this video released by TED explaining some of the weirdest behaviors our furry felines exhibit everyday that just add to the reasons why we love them!

“They’re cute, they’re lovable, and judging by the 26 billion views on over 2 million YouTube videos of them, one thing is certain: cats are very entertaining. But their strange feline behaviors, both amusing and baffling, leave many of us asking: Why do cats do that? Tony Buffington explains the science behind some of your cat’s strangest behaviors. -Lesson by Tony Buffington, animation by Chintis Lundgren.”

 

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Fostering is Good for Your Soul!

The Huffington Post has a put together a truly great article explaining why fostering is so amazing! Fostering really can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. It is also a great option for people who aren’t quite ready to fully commit to having a dog of their own! Circle of Friends depends heavily on our foster parents! Without them, we would not be able to save any animals!

16 Reasons Why Fostering A Shelter Pet Is Basically The Best Thing In The World

Interested in being a foster? Just fill out an application! Cat Fosters or Dog Fosters

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Vet Spotlight

 

At Circle of Friend’s Animal Society we are very fortunate to have some amazing veterinarians and animal clinics, whom we work with regularly, that go above and beyond the call of duty! We just don’t know what we would do without them!

This is by no means all of them but we wanted to give a shout-out of appreciation to a few of them!

batesIn Watkinsville, we are lucky enough to have Dr. Bates- who recently opened his own private practice, Bates Animal Hospital. We view him as our surgery expert and you can tell he loves nothing more! He is always there for us, willing to squeeze us in or come in after hours and has infinite patience for all of our questions!

 

 


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In Greensboro, we have the wonderful staff at Durham Veterinary Clinic. They are so great to our organization. They help run one of our largest fundraising events every year, the Dawgy Dash, as well as frequently collect donations (both monetary and needed items) for us throughout the year!

 


fireIn Athens, the first stop that most of our cats (and some pups) make is to Firehall 4 Animal Hospital. Dr. Middendorf and her staff provide exceptional care while testing and examining our new babies for potential health issues. They always make time for last minute calls and treat us like family!

 

 


543169291Dr. Andrews at Colbert Animal Hospital is another veterinarian who has dedicated her life to helping all animals. Her and staff provide routine shot visits and the occasional sick visit for many of our dogs. So much attention and care is given to all of the animals the take care of. We can not say enough good things about their team!

 


Thank you to all of our amazing veterinarians and animal support staff for all your support, patience, personalized care and most of all friendship!

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COFAS April 2016 Newsletter

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Pet Overpopulation

Did you know…?

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Year in Review – 2015

Circle of Friends ended 2015 with a grand total of 1,015 dogs and cats rescued, and one adorable pot-bellied piglet.  That’s an incredible achievement for our little all-volunteer, fully foster home based group! We’re overwhelmed, exhausted, and very grateful to all of our foster parents and volunteers, and especially to all of our supporters who have helped fund our rescue endeavor over the years.  Since our inception in 2007, we have rescued nearly 5,000 homeless animals and helped many others get needed medical care, food, and shelter. Here’s to another great year in 2016!

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Foster Home Spotlight – Pat

Circle of Friends has some of the most dedicated, compassionate foster families anywhere! A shining example of heroism for animals is foster mom Pat, who has made an enormous impact on our organization. Since 2003, Pat has fostered and adopted out over 1,000 rescued dogs! Pat and her father began fostering dogs in 2003, as part of a family tradition of giving back to their community. As an animal lover, Pat knew that rural groups struggle to help many pets with few resources. There is a tremendous need for foster homes, and sometimes just one night in foster care makes the difference between life and death. Pat gives frightened, injured or sick dogs a haven where they can heal and feel safe before being adopted. She finds joy in watching them blossom in her care, and in seeing the love and excitement in the eyes of adopters as they welcome a new family member. Pat’s father passed away in 2013 at the age of 94, and in his memory, Pat continues the lifesaving work they enjoyed together. Circle of Friends, the lives of more than 1,000 dogs, and our entire community are immeasurably enriched because of Pat.

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Humane Society of the US Donations

Article in the Mason Telegraph about the Humane Society of the US

Take-home message? Donate Locally!

“Most Americans — 71 percent, according to Opinion Research Corporation — believe HSUS is an umbrella group for pet shelters. (No wonder: “Humane Society” is right there in its name.) And 59 percent of us believe HSUS gives “most of its money” to the pet shelters in our cities and towns.

“Most of us are dead wrong. HSUS isn’t affiliated with any pet shelters, it doesn’t run any and it barely funds any. If you pledge $19 a month, only about $2 of your $228 annual contribution will trickle down to a real humane society.”

Please read the full article, written by David Martosko, Director of Research at the Center for Consumer Freedom. Article link: “Animal Lover’s New Year’s Resolution: Give Local”.

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