New Years is a big holiday for me! Not New Year’s Eve, that seems too much gluttony, excess and lateness for my age, but the start of a new year. A time to reflect on where we have been and where we and especially I am going. The whole staff will get together next week and define Guardian Animal goals, but as the leader I have already made some.

Closing out a record year, we look forward to the possibilities of the new year. This will be our 25th anniversary of the opening of Guardian Animal Emergency Clinic. After two years, we opened full time as Guardian Animal Hospital and moved to our new, spacious site seven years ago. I don’t know what we will be doing for our anniversary, but I think it should be something fun! We will be setting up tours and hosting some elementary classes (as usual) and some scouts and homeschoolers.

There are some upgrades that I think we are ready for. Proper dental care allows pets to live longer and do better. Next to vaccines and preventing car accidents, dental cleaning may be the most beneficial thing for quality and quantity of life. We have already ordered a new digital dental x-ray sensor and software. Although new to some clinics, we have had digital dental radiographs for 15 years. Now we have an upgraded model. We also have a new oral camera coming. Steph and I have signed up for an intensive online advanced dentistry course. I think we are also ready for a third laser and laser therapy upgrade. There is a lot of work to determine the best of 1m, 3b or IV lasers, and before spending up to $30,000

Growth is good, but it does require work. We need an additional receptionist. Our office manager needs to take over more of my office manager duties. Working with a budget should help cash flow, raises, monthly taxes to be filed on time (oops) and provide for the 10% increase in property taxes. I will do my best to keep up with accounting on at least a monthly basis.

Client communication is an additional area of focus this year. By summer we will be doing only email reminders for pets that are due. Emails will allow us to do more things that clients have asked for. During the year, 24 email blasts during the year will provide monthly reminders for heartworm and flea medications, Fourth Thursday events and brief pet information. Speaking of Thursdays, I think we will try Food Thursdays. That might be bread from a bread machine in the winter, popcorn in the summer and other fun things.

This year is an AAHA inspection year. The American Animal Hospital Association is a voluntary organization of hospitals who agree to meet higher standards and be periodically inspected. The huge value in this is not the inspection, but the introspection that goes into preparing and making sure that we really are state of the art. This preparation will be good to prepare for a building appraisal to tweak the financing. While none of these things affect medical treatment, in preparation the parking lot will be resealed, some ceiling tiles be replaced, the kennel floor resurface, lights replaced, the front facade cleaned, the remaining of ten exams decorated with chair rails up, the third treatment table fixed and some sort of door dressing or trees to guide new customers to the right place. We also will be getting checklists for all positions, so we can work with some special needs students.

In continuing with the success of last year, I will be working to market my new book. It’s Not Just Puppies and Kittens seems to be well liked, but I need to work on it getting more exposure. Then I will target a release of ‘sNot II (unknown title yet) on the 28 April which is Guardian Animal’s 25 anniversary. The third book ‘sNot III should be out on Cyber-Monday. A reach, but if I could get In Defiance of Tradition out by summer, it would correspond to the fortieth anniversary of my entering the Coast Guard Academy.

All team members commit to twelve hours of Continuing Education online or in person. (Bonus vacation time is tied to monthly CE and attendance.) Some of us will go to the Ohio Mid America Veterinary Conference. I would also like to try to go to another national conference.

On a personal level, I want to use the climbing wall more often, garden, walk in woods weekly, complete (not compete) a 5k with my daughter, help her with biology (my love-her not) and work on the 52 Weeks of Change book.

I think that New Years is an exciting time of year! Every year I, and by extension GAMC, have progressed. Not that we are perfect. No one ever is. But that it is exciting to sit down and contemplate the tremendous possibilities for the New Year! And I am off to a good start, I even drank 18 ounces of water today!