Did you ever think about how this lockdown during the Covid-19 crisis is affecting our animals and the animals of our customers? Being shut in at home does not only impact the human part of the family. People with pets at home, or horses in their stable suddenly have more time to spend with them, or even can use them as a legitimate excuse to go out and escape lockdowns for a few moments a day.
Being home longer also gives you the opportunity to observe your pet for a longer period (and vice versa) and might disclose behaviour that you were not aware of before. Think about eating and drinking habits, scratching, itching, compulsive behaviour that you never ever noticed. It is also possible that behaviour changes for the better because you can give your pets a lot more attention while being at home.
This can be an interesting study to do in your practice with and for your customers during this unusual and unprecedented time. It is relatively easy to set up a short questionnaire for your customers to ask how they and their pets are coping and what the impact of the lockdown is on their pets and the relationship your clients have with them. (We can also help you to set this up in our Radar4Vets tool.) The benefit of this brief study is that you can connect with them on a subject you have in common and acknowledge that these times are not easy. It may also reveal the role their pets have in helping them get through this social distancing period, and they may start to appreciate how important pets are for their personal wellbeing.
Sharing these stories on social media or in a blog can provide comfort to your customers but also shows you care. It can also help you understand if you need to adapt your services to their (changed) needs for now, and after the crisis ends.
Similarly, we can think about sport horses and the lockdown. Since no competitions are allowed and the Olympics are postponed to next year, horses, trainers and riders suddenly have access to a very precious thing……time! During the competition season, everything happens under time pressure, preparing for the next competition, keeping horses safe and sound, but now time is in abundance and available for the rehabilitation schedules of injured horses. Would this not be an opportunity as an equine veterinarian to come up with new training, treatment and rehabilitation schedules for these patients? Of course, there is always the option to just put these horses at rest and out on pasture for a longer period of time, but shouldn’t there be more to it as we offer more intelligent and evidence-based procedures to make sure they make most of this rehab?
Just like with pets, communicating with your customer, asking them how they are doing and what their needs are, offer intelligent and professional feedback and think how this factor time can be used the best for the long term career of these sport horses.
These are unprecedented times and we have to use all our creativity, skills, professionalism and perseverance to make the best out of it, together with other professionals, industry partners and of course…..our customers.