It’s no secret: pets often are scared and stressed when it’s time to go to the vet.
Despite our best intentions as pet owners and professionals, getting medical attention can be terrifying for pets. Anxious animals often do not cooperate well during an exam or procedure, and they can display fear aggression, too. The whole experience can be stressful for the pet, owner, vet, and office staff!
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
We’re working with the nationally-recognized Fear Free program to provide a less stressful and healthier experience for homeless dogs at Gigi’s! Through the program, our staff complete intensive in-person and online training about reducing stress, enrichment, and animal emotional wellbeing.
Last month one of our veterinary technicians, Kristie Burd, earned her Fear Free Level 3 Certification! Kristie is one of three Gigi’s staff who is a Fear Free Certified Professional, including our board-certified veterinary behaviorist Dr. Meghan Herron (Level 2), and another one of our vet techs Ashley Sinnett (Level 1). Not only that, but Gigi’s entire team has completed the Fear Free Shelter Program!
Applying their Fear Free training, our staff can provide better care to the thousands of shelter dogs in our program by focusing on their physical and emotional wellbeing. As a result, dogs are less stressed, which means they’re also healthier and better prepared for adoption!
The Fear Free program was founded 15 years ago to educate animal care professionals about preventing and alleviating fear, anxiety, and stress in pets. Since then more than 50,000 professionals across the country have become Fear Free certified.
“There aren’t many Fear Free Level 3 certified vet techs in the field, much less in shelter medicine. It represents a huge investment of time and dedication to providing the highest level of care,” said Dr. Colleen Shockling, DVM, MPH, Director of Education, Outreach, and Parvovirus Treatment Center at Gigi’s. “I’m really proud of Kristie and grateful to have her expertise at Gigi’s!”
“Veterinary medicine is constantly evolving, and I’m committed to continuing to bring my best… I want to learn as much as I possibly can so I can best serve the animals I work with.” – Kristie Burd, Fear Free Level 3 certified veterinary technican at Gigi’s
In her role at Gigi’s, Kristie helps manage Gigi’s new Parvovirus Treatment Center and cares for some of our youngest, sickest patients. She says the reason she chose to pursue Fear Free training for the same reason she got into veterinary medicine: love.
“I love to connect with those who don’t have a voice in a way that doesn’t require words,” Kristie said. “Fear Free teaches strategies to understand what animals are experiencing and identify what they’re trying to communicate. When we’re connecting with our patients, we can provide higher quality care and often better outcomes.”
Kristie says she plans to continue her certification program, striving to become a Fear Free Elite professional. “Veterinary medicine is constantly evolving, and I’m committed to continuing to bring my best. I love my patients, I love what I do, and I want to learn as much as I possibly can so I can best serve the animals I work with.”