July 8, 2021

Customer Spotlight: Canine Assistants

Customer Spotlight: Canine Assistants

Vetter customers are passionate veterinarians whose love for animals is matched with a business acumen that drives their practices forward. Armed with the software’s capabilities, these vets have built supportive frameworks for themselves to focus on the animals at the heart of their roles.

We recently spoke with Dr. Kent Bruner, the lead veterinarian at Canine Assistants in Milton, Georgia. The nonprofit raises and trains service dogs to be paired with individuals in need across the country, at no cost to the individual, so that they can improve one another’s lives. Keep reading to learn how Vetter helps him make this mission a reality.

Q: To start, we’d love to learn a little more about your practice.

A: My wife, Jennifer Arnould, started the program in 1991 and I joined three years later to help grow it. Now we have about 30 employees who raise and teach the dogs, as well as our volunteers who help raise the funds needed to make the program possible. We always have about 130 dogs on our farm, and then there’s around 900 of our dogs currently placed.

Our goal is to make sure people who really need a service dog receive one, even if they don’t qualify for aid and can’t afford care and food. We continue to sponsor the dogs once they are placed, so if people need care they can always come back here.

Q: What inspired you to start using Vetter? What’s been your experience with the software?

A: Five years ago, we reached a point where we needed to replace our software at the time and knew we wanted our next program to be on the cloud; that was a very attractive feature given how often we need to access records, and ultimately, it’s what drew us to adopt Vetter. Truthfully, we hadn’t been super vigilant in backing up our old system, but now we don’t have to worry about losing any dog or owner’s information.

We use the software to manage medical records more than anything else, though we also use it for scheduling and printing prescription labels. Since we retain ownership of dogs, we keep a continuous medical history of each of them even once they leave our care, like information from weigh-ins and checkups. Vetter makes sharing and maintaining these documents much easier than sorting through piles of paper.

The mobile access is also helpful because other clinics across the country will often reach out for records once the dogs are in their new homes. Given the time differences, those requests sometimes come late at night for us. With Vetter, I can pull up and send those records without having to physically go into the clinic. I really can’t explain how nice it is to be able to talk to a vet in Texas or even Canada and have those records easily accessible.

Q: How has the pandemic impacted your practice?

A: The dogs still had needs, so our day-to-day operations continued throughout. That said, we closed our buildings to all outside people. We have a process for the dogs to learn where they are going to shine, which includes camps six times per year, in which around 10 to 12 prospective owners will come to the farm and stay for two weeks. The trouble is, these people are exactly the type of individuals who shouldn’t be traveling during a pandemic due to their medical needs, so this part of business had to shut down completely. We tried to do modified, one-on-one camps over Zoom instead for the time being.

Our breeding program has also been impacted, because there’s been the roadblock of getting dogs to leave. Whereas everyone seemed to get a dog during the pandemic, our numbers went the other way. The need is still there, but we’d never want to be responsible for people getting sick while picking up their dog, and people were unwilling to come themselves. We’re just now getting back to normal for placing dogs.

Q: How have you used Vetter over the past year-plus to keep business moving amid disruption?

A: We kept using Vetter as we did before, to communicate remotely and smartly. What we needed out of the software before was exactly what we needed during the pandemic—and it’s what I foresee us needing in the future.

To learn more about how Vetter can support your practice, visit our blog.