As with all essential things that need to be good and should be easy to find but rarely are – car mechanics, plumbers, dentists – word of mouth is the key. Our vet came highly recommended by a friend who had nothing but good things to say following a grass seed incident (it was efficiently tracked down and removed from high inside her dog’s leg after it had entered via the paw).
The first time I visited Zasman Vet we had no pet as yet – we were waiting for Teddy to arrive. But Zasman is in Hampstead and local, so I walked in one day just to get a feel for the place and, always a draw, to check out the kit. As I examined dog collar options and marvelled at the poultry-flavoured dog toothpaste and organic dog breakfast cereal, an elderly lady talked to the receptionist at great length and to even greater depth about the dietary peccadilloes of her cat and, indeed, herself. Clearly no kitty concern was too small to be thoroughly dissected and any thought remotely pet-related was worth considering. I came away with an advance appointment for a puppy check and a smile on my face, pleased to have discovered this little gem just down the road.
Teddy has visited a fair few times during his first year, with small puppy’ish upsets – ear infection, diarrhoea, nausea etc – and I remain unfailingly impressed by the service. But perhaps most of all, I’m amazed with how chilled this Miniature Schnauzer is when he walks in – there’s none of the clichéd doggy dread of the V-E-T.
“At our surgery, we give dogs lots of treats and pats so that pets have a positive experience,” says founder, Rodney Zasman. “We don’t just rush at them. We try to set them at ease before conducting our physical exam.” It’s carefully thought out. There are Adaptil plug-ins scattered liberally about the surgery that give off some magical calming synthetic pheromones that apparently quell dog anxiety (maybe it works on humans, too, as everyone there is incredibly relaxed). The staff are not allowed to wear white tops or jackets as that can be a scary for some dogs. People are encouraged to pop-in with their pets and give them a treat at the front desk, not just visit when a pet is ill.
I love all this attention to detail. It matters. And as regards Teddy’s various ailments, they have all been alleviated swiftly and soundly. I’d like to spread the word.