By Frank Lewis
When Dr. Gail Counts, DVM, started Shawnee Animal Clinic at 101 Bierly Road in Portsmouth, the company consisted of her sister, her husband and her. Now, 48 employees and a new state-of-the-art facility later, she is tweaking the successful business to make it even more responsive to the needs of her clients.
“We have just been working on extending our hours to try to accommodate our clients so they don’t have such a long wait,” Counts said. “We’re just trying to move things around and extended our hours until 8 o’clock at night during the week and until 5 (p.m.) on Saturdays. Our clients are more pleased that they’re not sitting in the waiting room so long.”
As you look around, every room is busy which has led to a staff of 48 people.
“We have six doctors now,” Counts said. “Even with that we’re still really staying busy. We just added three new doctors pretty recently and I thought I was going to be able to slow down, but that didn’t happen.”
Counts was recently forced to slow down for a while following spinal surgery, but if employees blinked they missed it because there she is, back on the job as busy as ever.
“Our surgery room is centralized in the middle of the building and it’s completely equipped with three surgery tables with monitors on every one and we have two technicians in there all the time,” Counts said. “Our surgery tech is a registered veterinary technician and that allows us to do a lot more surgeries during the day.”
Counts said her staff is able to monitor all animals through recovery.
“It’s what we were striving for – to be able to accommodate the animals while they are waking up,” Counts said. “It’s our way of making sure someone is watching them every minute.”
Counts said she has added many more technicians than what they started with.
“We have a technician for every doctor,” Counts said. She said there is someone at the facility around the clock to keep an eye on all of the animals 24 hours a day.
“The ICU treatment for critical animals is right in the center of the building too,” Counts said. “We have oxygen cages and monitors for them and cameras in every room so the patient care technician can see the animals on the camera, even in our parvo isolation they can watch them and make sure they’re okay.”
Counts said the reason for their recent expansion is their client base. Sometimes they will have as many as 30 animals hospitalized at one time requiring several technicians to be on-site to monitor them for continual care.
Counts said another way in which they can operate more efficiently for their clients is a new phone system which allows callers to press a single button once they are into the system and be connected directly to the service they are calling about. There is even an emergency extension. The main number is 740-353-5758.
Counts is quick to credit those around her for the obvious success story that is Shawnee Animal Clinic.
“My sister Cathy Strickland who has been my hospital manager for 28 years and my business partner Tim Wells both have had a huge influence on the success and growth of my practice,” Counts said. “Also we are blessed with a wonderful support staff that help make miracles happen every day.”
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.