TAMPA, Fla. -- When it comes our pets, its a fine line between making sure dogs and cats receive the veterinary care they need, and being careful the owners don’t put their own health at risk.
Bayshore Animal Clinic in Tampa calls it curb side service. Pet owners don’t even need to get out of the car. Just drop off your fury friends and continue to stay isolated.
“You can pull up and they’ll get the dogs, there’s no interaction with the staff or anything like that or any concern with germs or what not in the waiting room,” said Ferrell Gordon.
Gordon’s German Shepherd and Pug are among 7,000 pets who are cared for at the clinic throughout the year. The pandemic meant a whole new protocol for this bustling facility, run by the husband and wife team of Meegan Panzarella and Jacob Drewes.
“Its a process that no one has ever gone through before, so it’s evolving on a daily basis or even a weekly basis, and how we can best accommodate sick pets and really care for them while keeping everybody safe at the same time,” said Panzarella.
The couple decided to postpone all elective surgeries, but if your dog swallows a squeeze toy or your cat uses one of its nine lives, their staff is ready to save the day.
“They are such a hard working group and they really are on the front lines like our health care workers risking exposure, going out and getting the pets for us so we really appreciate that and are really grateful for that,” said Panzarella.
All correspondence with the owners is done over the phone or through email. Every animal is handled with someone wearing a mask and gloves.
“It is hard for them to see us in masks and to feel relatable because you can’t see expressions and they are very intuitive so sometimes I talk extra kindly to them,” said Panzarella.
It’s a challenge to even find a stray hair in this clinic.
“All day walking around the hospital, all day cleaning handles, cleaning phones, we clean our floors as much as we can with a machine,” said Drewes.
These vets say they’ve even noticed an increase in new clients during the pandemic, specifically people with puppies.
“They have more time for training and getting a puppy. Families that haven’t had pets for decades are entering puppies into heir families, so it’s fun for us and exciting. It definitely keeps us busy,” said Panzarella.