Kudos to the OVC Smith Lane Animal Hospital Team

Posted on Friday, January 8th, 2021

Written by Sarah Joosse, Wellness@Work Coordinator

The OVC Smith Lane Animal Hospital team located within the Ontario Veterinary College’s Hill's Pet Nutrition Primary Healthcare Centre are a small, but mighty group. The team of 12 full-time and four part-time staff work closely with final-year student veterinarians to provide veterinary service to Guelph and surrounding communities.  Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, this team has continued to work on-campus, delivering essential veterinary care each daily to ensure their clients’ pets are well cared for. Daily appointments have been busier than ever, with so many people getting new pets while they spend more time at home.

“Our clients have been so appreciative that we have remained open throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Dr. Tiffany Durzi, a veterinarian at OVC Smith Lane Animal Hospital.  “Their pets are considered part of their family, and they want to ensure they have exceptional care.”

A typical day starts at 7:30 a.m., as employees meet with the student team to make a plan before the first client arrives. Pet owner check in virtually or on the phone when they arrive. Students bring the animal inside from the parking lot and do the initial physical exam, identifying problems they suspect the animal is experiencing. One of three veterinarians on staff will review the students’ initial assessment and make an appropriate plan to deal with the client’s concern.  Each veterinary team sees approximately 10-15 cases per day and end their workday around 7:00 p.m.

This small team consisting of veterinarians, registered veterinary technicians, customer service associates, practice manager, faculty  and final year student veterinarians, all make up the cohesive team. With new students joining the team every three weeks, staff have made a real effort to be inclusive and welcoming, lifting students up and instilling confidence as they get one step closer to practicing as a veterinarian.

“The last few months have been really tough on everyone,” says Durzi.   “I am so grateful for everyone’s resilience, humour, and commitment to providing excellent service throughout this challenging time.” Durzi says the team’s positivity makes the job even more rewarding. She is grateful for their continued smiles even through the challenges they face.

The OVC Smith Lane Animal Hospital team has had the opportunity to participate in yoga classes and online wellness events, including one with a Registered Dietitian, to help build their own resiliency and foster a culture of wellness within their group. “We’ve really focused on building a cohesive team, which has helped us get through this busy and stressful time together,” Durzi says. “We have a book club that meets regularly, we go for hikes outdoors together with our pets, and enjoy the simple things in life like doughnuts when we can.”

The team “Kudos Jar” provides an opportunity for employees to write positive comments about their colleagues on a note and drop it in the fishbowl.  At staff meetings, the kudos are read, and colleagues are recognized for their work and contributions. Building a culture of gratitude into their daily lives has been helpful, particularly during these uncertain times.  

Follow the OVC Smith Lane Animal Hospital at the Hill's Pet Nutrition Primary Healthcare Centre on Instagram @OVC PHC. 

If you know of an individual, team or group you'd like to see recognized for their contributions, let us know!

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