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January 2023

Updated: Apr 5

Marcum Barkin’

By Dr. Todd Marcum

New Year's Resolution

My New Year’s Resolution is to listen more and talk less. Becoming an active listener is something I need to work on instead of thinking about what I am going to say next. I find it fascinating how little we have changed as people and our human condition over the centuries. Lao Tzu (571 BC), a contemporary of Confucius and author of Tao Te Ching wrote, “Those who know don’t talk. Those who talk don’t know. Close your mouth, block off your senses, blunt your sharpness, untie your knots, soften your glare, settle your dust.” How is it that at 62 years old I am just understanding the meaning of Yin and Yang?

Are you looking in the mirror? What do you want to work on? A few other inspiring quote’s from Lao Tzu are:

“From caring comes courage.” ...

“Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are." ...

“By letting go it all gets done.” ...

“If you are depressed you are living in the past, if you are anxious your living in the future.”

“A leader is best when people barely know she exists, when her work is done, her aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.”



We have been focusing on celebrating memberships and I love what I am seeing. Over the last 4 weeks, we have five hospitals above 20%, two hospitals above 30% and Florence knocking on the door of 40% enrollments. As we talked about at Partner Palooza, we need everyone to do their best so we can create new ideas. We cannot begin to test our new ideas until everyone is at least at 20%. We all need to help each other. Focus on the GAP. What component of enrollment are you missing?


Wellness Tip - Project Wag

Courtesy of Dr. Sarah Hilliard, POD owner of Denver North

As PetVet365 leaders, we are committed to improving wellbeing across the veterinary profession, and we believe this begins with preventing wellbeing problems before they occur. Project WAG is a Zoetis initiative that gives you and your hospital team easy access to resources and tools designed for self-care, and crafted specifically for veterinary professionals to help you better navigate your wellbeing. Together, we can build a better vision of wellbeing across the industry by setting healthy boundaries and empowering each other to create more joy within the profession we love.

There are many resource links on the Project WAG homepage; here are a few of my favorites to get you started:

Insight Timer is the # 1 free app for sleep, anxiety, stress, and more. Take a few moments for yourself with over 130,000 guided meditations to choose from to help you calm your mind and relax throughout the day.

AAHA’s Guide to Veterinary Practice Team Wellbeing: Help your workplace create a culture of positivity and wellbeing with this guide created by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA).

Assess Your Wellbeing: The Professional Quality of Life (ProQOL) assessment can help you understand your balance of positive and negative personal and work experiences. While it’s not diagnostic, it can help you find areas that you can focus on for self-care.


Head to Tails with Dr. Amanda Resek, DVM

Name: Amanda Resek, DVM

Role: Veterinarian; Associate at Fox Chapel location, currently opening The Junction/Shadyside Pittsburgh in March, 2023

Best Thing about PetVet365: Finally feeling like I am part of a very important movement in veterinary medicine towards the greater good. Having spent 17 years practicing veterinary medicine for a big corporation ( VCA), to now have the ability to open my own practice is truly a dream I didn’t anticipate happening. But, to me what is even more important is the goal behind the movement; Fear Free, work-life balance, and placing the TEAM first. All goals I dreamed of accomplishing.

What do you do daily that brings you joy: Some may call me crazy, but I truly enjoy pushing my mind and body physically beyond perceived barriers. I’ve done half-marathons, marathons, and now 70.3 Ironman competitions. There is nothing impossible when you set a dream and achieve it.

Favorite indulgence: Cheese. Every variety except goat cheese (it’s a long story).

What do you want people to know about you: I am a fierce competitor but a soft-hearted individual through and through.

Something you would like to give to others: The gift of learning that veterinary medicine is a journey. Take time to make your bonds with clients (it will pay off in leaps and bounds when you see them year after year). Give back to those who want to enter this profession. Truly show them how to be a great vet.


Head to Tails with Dr. Amber Renee Hickson, DVM

Name: Amanda Resek, DVM

Role: Partner Doctor at Hyde Park

Best Thing about PetVet365: The people. I love how supportive, caring and kind the practice is as a whole.

What do you do daily that brings you joy: Reading and learning

Favorite indulgence: Good food and nice restaurants

What do you want people to know about you: That I never stop trying to do better

Something you would like to give to others: A feeling of comfort in their time of need


Fear Free Tip of the Month - High Value Treats

By Dr. Laura Click

One of the staples for practicing Fear Free medicine is having high value treats. High value means having more than just squirty cheese and peanut butter in the building. My little Ninja used to literally do cartwheels for peanut butter. But after 12 years of allergies and medications, peanut butter just doesn’t do it for him anymore. And of course, our feline patients can be notoriously choosy. Here are some out of the box suggestions for having high value options available:

Invest in a Sous Vide cooker (they can be as low as $100.) For the non-chefs this is a water bath cooker where chicken breasts, hot dogs and more can be cooked easily in the hospital as needed in individual bags (simple and no mess). This is an economic option where you can buy frozen chicken, beef, potatoes, etc. and prepare it as needed. A simpler but pricier option is to pick up items such as an already cooked rotisserie chicken from a big box store such as Walmart or Publix. Of course, you have to pull it apart and keep all those bones away from your patients, so there is a bit more mess.

In a Fear Free webinar called “The Power of the Treat Ladder” the speaker said if she was stranded on an island and could only have one treat available, she would choose baby food for cats and hot dogs for dogs. Baby food in various flavors is excellent to use with lick mats for both species, and don’t forget to teach everyone who shops for the hospital to buy the onion powder free versions.

Some dogs will go crazy for carrots, cucumbers or lettuce, so don’t forget some veggie options when stocking up. Pre-bagged baby carrots are an especially nice option as they are already in a nice size, and will keep for weeks in the refrigerator. Every individual has their favorite treat options, so don’t forget to ask the clients what they already know their pet just loves. Having their pet’s favorites on hand goes a long way to wowing our clients with our above and beyond approach.

One final Pro-Tip. Check with your clients about food allergies for their human family and the furry kids. Feeding a nut butter to a pet with an allergic child in the house can be a big no-no, so don’t forget to ask about allergies and place alerts on their charts.


Enrolling Pet Parents in Wellness Plans

By Dr. Melanie Vasquez

There’s no better feeling than being able to provide quality care to your patients. I can say that I’m finally in that position more times than not. Wellness plans have given us the ability to give our clients peace of mind and flexibility, which benefits all parties.

A few weeks into working at PetVet365, I came across multiple clients who wanted to do what’s right for their pet, but had challenges of their own. After discussing options and going over benefits of our VIP wellness plans, we were not only able to sign up six clients in a week, we were able to provide their pets the best care. I’ve been at practices where they’ve offered memberships, most of which were limited with vaccines and visits, or where the entire year was paid all at once. While this was great for some clients, these weren’t as accessible to a grand majority. These VIP wellness plans are helping so many clients and pets, while helping us do our job with substantially less limitations on the wellness and preventative spectrum.

While I have only been with PetVet365 for two months, for the first time in a long time, I am excited to go to work. We are here with a mission in common, and that’s to do right by our patients by helping them live longer and happier lives.


Recruitment Tip

By Amanda Resek, DVM

Recruiting is something that reminds me a bit like being back in 5th grade when you had to pick and choose your dodgeball team both carefully and effectively. You need someone who has your back and won’t fold under pressure. Choices today will affect the way the game starts and ends.

I started by approaching an old colleague of mine to find out if he was happy in the role he was currently entrenched in. Thankfully, after an hour on the phone engaging him on all that I had learned at PetVet365 and its benefits, I convinced him to come see for himself. We set up a weekend day where he could spend the entire time shadowing me. I had him talk to the team, look at the schedule, and follow me into rooms. He got to see first-hand how the hospital operated and also that the proof was in how happy we all were to simply be working together (as an amazing team). From there he was interested, so I set up a day where we visited each of the hospitals here in Pittsburgh. I made sure those teams knew he was coming and allowed him to ask questions, meet the other team members, and doctors. There were countless phone calls and texts in between making sure he felt comfortable with the decision. I also made it a point to learn his dreams for what was going to make him happy within the company. Thankfully we all have our niches, and his is rehabilitation; acupuncture, chiropractic medicine, and hopefully our underwater treadmill we will be installing. Ultimately I want to give back to the very people who will continue to carry this dream with me.

So, welcome Dr Dakota Hutchinson to our team. I am truly excited to open The Junction in Pittsburgh in a few short months.

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