A non-profit veterinary hospital is combating what the group is calling a Vancouver Island pet care crisis by offering some cost-savings on travel to get care on the mainland.
The Regional Animal Protection Society (RAPS) Animal Hospital in Richmond is hoping to improve wait times, cost and availability of animal health care by providing a special rate for Vancouver Island clients at the Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel, as well as free hotel accommodations for those requiring procedures over $2,000.
In addition, the hospital is offering 25 per cent discount on all surgeries and free online consultations to Vancouver Island residents.
“We recognize that putting your pet in a car, getting on a ferry and driving to Richmond is not ideal,” says Eyal Lichtmann, CEO of the Regional Animal Protection Society. “But it is better than the alternative of waiting for an appointment … and the cost savings can be significant.”
Erinne Branter, a founding member of the Langford-based West Coast Animal Veterinary Emergency Specialty Hospital (WAVES), says Vancouver Island veterinarians, like many others worldwide, are experiencing staffing shortages resulting in long wait times.
“When COVID hit, my staff was working 18 hours a day, including myself. I would put my kids to bed and go back to work because we got so busy and everybody burnt out. And we’re still in burnout mode because everyone got pets, and no one considered that there might not be doctors,” she said.
According to a statement released June 15, the RAPS hospital’s next goal is to be open 24/7 in order to help more pets and their owners.