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Compendium April 2009 (Vol 31, No 4)

The Editor's Desk — When You Find a Keeper...

by Tracey Giannouris, MA, Executive Editor

    I'm sure you can relate to that sinking feeling you experience when you desperately scan your new health insurance carrier's "in-network" list and learn that your trusted physician of the past 10-plus years does not participate in that particular plan. And even when your health care provider is in the network, sometimes circumstances such as moving to an area farther from your physician's practice can be a source of angst ("Now what do I do?"). For my husband and me, this decision was pretty easy after we moved from Middlesex County, New Jersey, farther west to Hunterdon County: we would just make the longer "schlep" to keep visiting our familiar physicians.

    It was likewise a no-brainer for us when it came to the veterinary care of our 12½-year-old German shorthaired pointer, Acey: we would continue to drive him to see David Fuerst, DVM, to whom we have entrusted his health care for the past 6 years. Bear in mind, Dr. Fuerst and the other fine veterinary practitioners at Boulevard Veterinary Clinic in Kenilworth, New Jersey, are a good 44+ miles from our home in Flemington; add an extra 24 miles for the trip home from the Compendium offices here in Yardley, Pennsylvania, to pick up Acey, and you're talking about a solid 70-mile trip…one way. Nevertheless, it never crossed our minds to take him somewhere closer to our new neck of the woods.

    Dr. Fuerst has ministered to all of Acey's health care needs, ranging from clearing up a frustrating and refractory ear infection to removing a neural sheath tumor to performing regular physical examinations and vaccinations. Through the years, he's come to know not only Acey's physical condition and history but also his temperament and behavior (meaning he knows what a big chicken our little old man is and how to put him at ease).

    Because of our respective work schedules, my husband and I usually can only take Acey to office visits in the late afternoon or early evening. Those of you familiar with the parking lot that most New Jersey highways resemble during the evening rush hour can understand the issues involved in getting Acey to his appointments on time. Despite the best-laid plans and extra time allowed, we often find ourselves sitting on Route 287 or 22, staring at the clock and worrying that we'll never make it. More than once, we've had to make an apologetic phone call to give the clinic a heads-up that we are running late and will understand if the doctor would prefer that we reschedule. On each of these occasions, however, either the receptionist or Dr. Fuerst himself has picked up the phone, asked how Acey was doing, and reassured us that they'll be there waiting for us.

    Even though we're usually the last appointment of the day, Dr. Fuerst and the veterinary staff always greet us with genuine and welcoming smiles. Regardless of the hour, Dr. Fuerst and his team of technicians always take the time to carefully review Acey's history and any current signs before the examination. In addition to the thorough knowledge, close follow-up, and care that he and his staff provide, Dr. Fuerst also takes time to "talk" with Acey, petting him and reassuring him with the smile and gentle touch that mark a veterinarian as someone who is true to his calling.

    As practitioners, you know that this bond of trust and confidence doesn't happen overnight, but rather is cultivated over time by nurturing a relationship with both clients and patients. That's why, despite the distance, inclement weather, and inevitable traffic delays, we'll continue to take Acey to see Dr. Fuerst. It's the accumulated years of confidence and trust in his care that make the long haul worth it, each and every time.

    When you find a "keeper," you'll return again and again, no matter the inconvenience. To Dr. Fuerst and all of the excellent, dedicated veterinarians out there, the entire team here at Compendium says "thank you" for providing such reliable, high-quality care to our pets.

    Downloadable PDF

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