After veterinary school, Joe Prichard worked in New Hampshire and Massachuesetts – and then came back to his hometown of Ellington to build his own practice.
On Sept. 20, 2000, the Ellington Center Animal Clinic opened with two doctors and no staff, but quickly grew into a thriving veterinary practice. Today, there are three doctors and nine other employees.
Practice Manager Ron Caron said that the mission of the clinic is very narrow – to be the best medical office it can be. He said they don’t sell retail items and they don’t offer grooming and boarding – its strictly a medical office.
“I think our clients have come to expect a lot from us and that is challenging and exciting all at the same time,” he said. “I think because we’re on the same page on what’s in the best interest for the animal. It’s been hugely rewarding.”
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Caron said that there are certainly ways the clinic could make more money, like by shortening the 30-minute appointment time to 20 minutes, but that it’s not going to happen. He said they won’t lower their expectations or standards just to make money.
“[The clients] want the best,” he said. “They don’t want us to cut corners. I appreciate that the doctors have a real commitment to the value of the pet. I really do think the difference is the time the doctors take and it’s a small town – we know our clients and our clients know us, and they trust us. We see every appointment as partnering with the client to bring the best for the pet.”
Caron feels that the clinic has fantastic clients who are very passionate about their pets. He noted how there is a lot of competition in the veterinary world and how some clients drive by other clinics to come to Ellington Center Animal Clinic.
“I truly believe it’s because it’s a relationship that people build with the veterinarians – much like their pediatricians – that is one based on trust and it’s a relationship,” he said. “It’s not a sale. They’re not here today to be sold anything. I think as long as we keep our commitment to what is in the animals’ best interest, we share that passion with the clients, and together we can help their pets to live the longest and happiest lives they can.”
In addition to treating the area’s pets, Ellington Center Animal Clinic also sponsors local teams, groups, and events in town. According to Caron, this is made possible by people spending their money in town – as opposed to using online pet medication services, etc.
“We’re happy to be part of Ellington and in a community that really takes its responsibilities of caring for each other seriously,” he said.