AAHA Accreditation for Reception

What does being a veterinary receptionist in a AAHA Accredited practice mean?

According to AAHA standards, an accredited hospital is thorough, responsive, sanitary, and safe.

Being a receptionist is a great job, because we can greet all our clients and wonderful patients with their wagging tails, the small little reptiles to the fluffy bunnies, the playful kitties to the chirping parakeet. Each pet has their own personality.

We are a fear free clinic which we try to make it less stressful for all our pets. As receptionist we offer calming bandana’s for our dogs and calming blankets for our cats. If possible we try to get them in a room so they have time to de-stress.

Our lobby can be very busy at times, with clients coming in to pick up meds, food, bring in boarding pets it does keep us busy while we still try to maintain a fear free environment for all pets. So at times we may ask to have some wait outside or in there vehicles if that make the patient less stressful. This makes our lobby safe for everyone.

Our reception team works hard to give the best service possible, trying to meet the needs of our clients and patients. We work at keeping our client information up to date, along with the best ways of contacting our clients. This is one way Oakview is highly responsive.

Our pets are very important to us and we strive to get them seen in a timely matter. For sick pets we ask to see what is going on with the pet which will help us determine the urgency of the appointment. We also try to schedule appointments to help meet the needs of owner’s schedules.

With many calls coming in daily we take the time to address everyone’s needs in a timely matter. Many times we do need direct the calls to the correct person to help with their needs, and ask for the best way to contact them in a timely manner.

Oakview Vet is growing everyday, and AAHA accreditation is just another way in which we are going above and beyond for pets and the people who love them!

by Pat Eckes

Pat - Oakview Vet Stevens Point Plover WI

Pat grew up near Mosinee, WI on a dairy farm, where her family had cows, chickens, rabbits, cats, dogs, ducks and all the extra wild animals that came around. She joined Oakview in 2009 and is our lead receptionist.
Pat and her husband have 2 children and six grandchildren. Pat enjoys cooking and gardening.

Working at Oakview Vet: The Front Lines

In our last post, Maureen and I talked about what the job of a veterinary receptionist entails. Now we will tell you how we each got our positions and how we feel about working at Oakview.

Maureen: I came to Oakview with years of customer service experience. I have worked in the corporate travel industry and at HSN (Home Shopping Network). Dealing with people is right up my alley. At a veterinary clinic, however, I had to learn about medical terms and conditions. This has been challenging yet fascinating!

Karen: When I came to Oakview, I had been a veterinary assistant for many years. I thought I knew what I was getting into, though I had never worked in reception. There were a few challenging surprises! I understood the medical aspects, but handling multiple phone lines and scheduling were much harder than I thought. It has been very rewarding to develop those skills.

Karen - Oakview Vet Plover Stevens Point WI
Karen and Oakview’s clinic cat Meeko

Maureen: My favorite part of my job is puppy love!! We deal with a lot of sick pets and heartbreaking situations, but a cute puppy brings wags and kisses to chase any sadness away.

Maureen - Oakview Vet Plover Stevens Point WI
Maureen and puppy love

Karen: One of my favorite parts of my job is unusual questions! At first, I was nervous answering the phone, because I didn’t know what questions might come up. The longer I did it, the more I enjoyed being challenged by odd questions. One of my pet peeves (no pun intended!) in customer service is an answer of “I don’t know” unless it is followed by “But I will find out!” So I get pretty determined to help people.

Is our job easy?

Most of the time it is not! Although there are slow days occasionally, most days we are running hard. We see a large variety of healthy and sick pets on any given day. We don’t work directly with them, but we still worry! And we tend to think of our clients as family, so it hurts us to see them worried and sad. We do everything possible to help our clients through these tough times. When we offer snacks or a drink, that is our way of trying to help. We wish we could do more.

Sometimes we feel pressure from the doctors and support staff to do things correctly. We feel that same pressure from clients. This pressure helps keep us on top of it all. It is vital that our job is done well, or no one else can perform theirs. We take pride in being the liaisons between the rest of the staff and our clients.

One of the hard parts is when our appointments are not running on time. We don’t like to make our clients wait, but that is the unpredictable nature of a vet clinic. As a full service clinic, we perform several services for the community: well pet visits, urgent care visits, and emergency care. It can be hard to juggle the vast array of problems we see in any given day. The sick pets who comes in may just need an exam and medication, or they may need a full work up with sedation, x-rays, and labs. The more a pet needs, the longer it takes. We do understand that we are impinging on our client’s time, but most of you would want your sick pet taken care of just as conscientiously. In fact, we are one of the few area clinics who try to take care of every single pet who needs us, regardless of our schedule. We want all our clients who so patiently wait for their appointments to know that if your pet needs us in an urgent situation, we will be there for you, too.

Waiting for the Vet - Oakview Vet Plover Stevens Point WI
When are they coming to see me? I want my treats!

Karen: I have lived in a lot of areas around the country, but there is something special about this community. I think our clients are an amazing group of pet owners! I am continuously impressed by their dedication to their pets and their community in general. Our reception team is great, too. We all help each other to have positive attitudes.

Maureen: One of the things I appreciate the most about my job is the people I work with. Our reception team is a positive, friendly group who works hard. They help me stay in good spirits! The doctors, techs, assistants, and kennel attendants all help me do my job well. The whole team at Oakview is a special one!

written by Karen Russell and Maureen Shewmake

Karen - Oakview Vet - Plover Stevens Point WI

Karen moved into our area in 2012, and we are so happy she chose to work at Oakview! She brings with her experience gained at other clinics and a fresh perspective.

Karen shares her life with her fiance Tim.





Maureen - Oakview Vet Stevens Point Plover WI

Maureen joined us in 2016. She was born and raised in Illinois, and after some time in Florida, she moved here in 2011.
Maureen shares her home with her husband, three children, and dog “Buddy.”
In her free time, Maureen enjoys camping, watching sports, and spending time with her family.





Lobby Etiquette at the Vet Clinic

Bringing your pet to the vet clinic can be stressful for both of you.  In previous blogs we have talked about Fear Free visits.  We went over procedures to keep your cats and dogs stress free and proper ways to transport your pets. Your and your pet’s etiquette in the lobby makes a big difference in how the visit goes in general. In this blog we will provide information to help make it more pleasant while arriving and waiting for your appointment.

Check your pet’s collar/harness and leash before leaving your home.  Harnesses often work better, because  they don’t pull on their neck. Whichever you use, it should be snug enough so your pet will not slip out of it but not so tight that it harms them.  One way to tell that a collar is fitted correctly is by putting two of your fingers between your pet’s neck and the collar.  We strongly recommend regular leashes because they give you much better control. Even if your dog is always well-behaved, you may find that with the sights, sounds and smells of the clinic they may get distracted and not listen to you! If you do use a retractable leash make sure it is locked with your pet close to you before exiting your vehicle. If you are bringing a cat or other small animal to the clinic we recommend a pet carrier, although some cats enjoy harnesses! For most cats and small animals, a carrier will make them feel more secure and safe. The carriers that are made of molded plastic or heavy canvas are preferred as they allow the pet to feel visually secure and they can easily be opened or taken apart so that the pet does not have to be “dragged” or forced out of the carrier. The open, wire cage-type carriers are less desirable because the animal has nowhere to hide and feels quiet vulnerable if there are other pets in the waiting area!

Lobby Etiquette - Oakview Vet Plover Stevens Point WI
A typical scene in our lobby. Notice the pet has gone around the corner unsupervised and could meet up with an aggressive dog!

Arriving at the Vet Clinic

Once you arrive at the clinic do not let your pet out of your car unless they are on a leash or in a carrier.  You do not want to put your pet in danger of having an unanticipated encounter with another pet or running away.  Even if they are very good and listen they may be stressed or scared therefore they may run or go after another pet or human. If you do not have a leash, please come in and ask to use one of ours.  If your pet is small and is not in a carrier let the receptionist know so they can find an exam room for you to go into.

Cat in a harness - Oakview Vet Plover Stevens Point WIDog Harness Lobby - Oakview Vet Plover Stevens Point WI


Upon arrival your pet may need to use the bathroom after a stressful ride so let them walk around outside for a while. When entering the clinic lobby make sure you enter before your pet.  You want to make sure it is safe and that you are aware of the surroundings before they enter. Please keep your pet close to you on a leash or in a carrier until you get into a room. Be considerate of the other pets in the clinic lobby.  Many are scared, not feeling well, or do not want to interact with other pets or people. You should always ask the owner if it is okay for you or your pet to socialize with theirs.

Never reach out to touch someone else’s pet without asking

Space Etiquette for dogs - Oakview Vet Plover Stevens Point WI

Please keep cats and other small animals in their carriers on our “Carrier Parking” shelves.  These shelves have been made specifically to keep them out of the reach of other pets and help them feel safe.  Let the receptionist know if your pet is stressed so they can get you into a room as soon as possible.  We also have bandannas, towels and blankets that we can spray with calming pheromones (Adaptil  for dogs and Feliway  for cats) to help keep your pet calm. Our clinic has ten staff members who are certified Fear Free and we are a Cat Friendly Practice!

After your visit you will again find yourself in the lobby (ideally on the other side from where you entered). All of the same etiquette rules apply as you leave the clinic. As pets are leaving they may be even more excited and are likely to want to run and jump, sometimes at other pets and people. Although you know your pet is just excited, that can be very scary for the owner and the pet that your pet is approaching!  Walk out the door before your pet so you can assess the situation outside.  Keep your pet on a leash or in a carrier until they are safely in the vehicle.

By following these easy suggestions we can work together to make sure your pet has the best possible experience at Oakview!

written by Pat Eckes and Tammy Novotny

Pat - Oakview Vet Stevens Point Plover WI

Pat grew up near Mosinee, WI on a dairy farm, where her family had cows, chickens, rabbits, cats, dogs, ducks and all the extra wild animals that came around. She joined Oakview in 2009.

Pat and her husband have 2 children and six grandchildren. Pat enjoys cooking and gardening.



Tammy - Oakview Vet Stevens Point Plover WI

Tammy began working with us in April 2017. She was born and raised in Auburndale.

Tammy shares her life with her husband Derek and two children, Kendall aged 7 and Devin aged 5. Her hobbies include volleyball, photography, and painting.

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