Receptionists: Calming patients starts with you
Keeping animals in your clinic or hospital as calm and comfortable as possible should be the goal of the entire staff. This starts the second the animal walks through the door. Receptionists should quickly get the animal's information, offer a treat, and quickly move the patient's record to the person who places that animal into a room. The less time in the waiting area, the better. Treats are a great way to change the emotional state of an animal. If all of the rooms are filled, suggesting that owners take their pets for a walk outside might be helpful. Receptionists also can help by suggesting that the owners take their dogs to the car while checking out if there is more than one person present and the outside temperature allows.
Katie Costello, RVT, CPDT-KA, is co-owner of The Learning Dog Training and Enrichment Center in Hubbard, Ohio, and the founder of the therapy-animal group K-9's for Compassion. Costello is also a Society of Veterinary Behavior Technicians board member.