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No more scaredy cats! Local animal hospital embraces "fear free" approach: Ready Pet GO!

Fear Free is a training program teaching veterinary professionals and staff how to care for your pet in ways that’ll keep his stress down at the clinic.

LYNDHURST, Ohio — Let's face it: a vet visit can turn even the happiest, most confident creatures into a quivering ball of nerves. How animal care is dispensed has evolved in the last several decades. Lyndhurst Animal Clinic is among those embracing the change. 

The vet hospital has served the local pet population for more than 35 years!
And now it is in the process of offering something new: Fear Free veterinary services.

"Fear Free was founded by Dr. Marty Becker in 2016 with the single mission of alleviating the fear and anxiety and stress in pets by inspiring and educating people who care for them." 

Dr. Kelly Cairns is a veterinarian, who is also Vice President of Medical Education at Thrive Pet Healthcare. Lyndhurst Animal Clinic is part of the Thrive network.

She tells us that more than 200 clinics across North America have gone through education and training to become certified Fear Free.
Everyone on staff undergoes it, from veterinarians, vet techs to those at the front desk.

Fear Free starts before you even walk through the front door.

"For every patient that we see in their medical record is a fear, anxiety, stress score for every visit that they have. And then we put notes in the chart so that we know when we're scheduling them, this patient is afraid of other dogs, or this patient needs more time," said Dr. Alisa Taddeo as she explained how Fear Free works at Lyndhurst Animal Clinic. 

Beth Young and her family adopted "Bender" in March of 2020.  The pup handles most situations without much fuss, but going to the vet's is another story.

Credit: Beth Young
Once afraid of the scale and stethoscope, Bender now recognizes the vet's office as a safe place to be.

"Things as basic as getting on a scale were overwhelming for him or being touched by the stethoscope, were overwhelming for him," explained Young.

So Bender has been coming in for "cookie visits" - so he can be in the facility and associate treats with things that once made him anxious.

"It's also referred to as no fear or no poke visits, depending on where you go. But the goal was to get my dog to come in more willingly and not be so anxious," Young shared. 

 Staff is trained how to approach fearful pets, help soothe them, all while providing needed care.
In Lentil the cat's case, she's not "pulled out" of her carrier. She remains in it, with familiar blankets and toys, as well as favorite snacks- while Dr. Taddeo treats her.

Credit: WKYC
Lentil stays calm and collected during an examination.

"She was telling me throughout her exam she was tolerating what I was doing. So I just calmly and quietly moved through the exam, petted her in areas that she liked," Dr. Taddeo said.

Fear free is not just for pets, but humans too. A stressed pet can mean a stressed pet parent. And a stressed parent may be less likely to get their pet the care it needs. 

As for Bender, he's gone from whining to wagging at the vets - and that makes his owner, very happy.

"Instead of being fearful and having his tail tucked down, he looks, he recognizes where we are, he jumps out of the car, his tail is up, he's wagging. He knows that he's going to be greeted and treated very, very kindly here," Beth Young said.

Learn more about Fear Free HERE

Learn more about Lyndhurst Animal Clinic HERE

Learn more about Thrive Pet Healthcare HERE.


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