TAMPA, Fla. — A nonprofit veterinary clinic in Tampa is using an assembly line approach to pet health, and when Dr. Stephanie Sabshin walks into surgery, it’s not just a job; it’s a mission.
“You go into vet school wanting to help animals, and they don’t really teach you how to deal with people in situations when the owners can’t afford medical care," Sabshin said. "And it's one of those things that slowly eats away at you from the inside."
In 2018, Sabshin created the nonprofit clinic Harmony Vet Care so no client would ever have to choose between paying the rent or saving their pet’s life.
They're bringing as many animals through their doors as possible while keeping the costs down and maintaining a high quality of care. While the average vet operates on about three pets a day, Harmony Vet Care operates on closer to 60, and this unique model is all thanks to the community's support.
“They were going clinic to clinic trying to find someone to work within their budget and being turned away repeatedly, and they all found their way here,” Sabshin said.
In the past four years, they have grown to eight full-time doctors, 50,000 clients, and 90,000 patients across two centers: one in Tampa and one in Brandon.
“I don’t even have to think about price when it comes to making sure that my animals are getting the best care that I know that they can get,” client Amanda Gorut said.
“They are going to emergency clinics, and they are getting estimates of $5,000, $10,000, $15,000 for a procedure," Sabshin said. “So they come to us desperate for help."
Stacy Prevost volunteers her time trapping feral cats to be spayed and neutered.
“I brought 21 cats last month," Prevost said. "I could not afford spays, neuters, rabies vaccines, everything that they did."
The name says it all: more than 50 employees all working together in harmony.
“So the doctor can go from one spay or neuter to the next spay or neuter without any breaks in-between,” Sabshin said.
She said pets are part of the family, and a dollar sign should never determine their future.
“That's what makes me wake up and come into work because I never know what life I'll be able to save,” Sabshin said.
The nonprofit is in the process of building a new facility in Tampa that would double the size of its current one, allowing them to accommodate more clients and expand its services.
They are holding a fundraiser on Sept. 24 at Zoo Tampa. For more information, go to their website.