If you’ve followed Grouchy Puppy for awhile, you probably know that my dog Cleo stress pants like Thomas the Tank Engine whether we drive across the Bay Bridge or around the block. Now add in a destination that isn’t a romp on the beach but a vet visit, and we have one very unhappy stressed out dog.
Cleo is a diabetic dog. Did you know her level of stress from the car ride can have a negative impact on her blood glucose test once we arrive at the vet's office? It can also be a challenge to get her in to see her regular veterinarian, and since she’s a senior dog it’s more important than ever not to put off check-ups.
Here comes BarkCare, a new in-home concierge veterinary service. I had a chance to ask co-founder and COO, Carly Strife, and Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr. Rob Proietto, who oversees training of all local vets some questions as they expand this service into San Francisco.
What inspired you to start this service? Are you seeing a growing trend toward vets offering house-calls?
BarkCare is one of three dog-centric brands created by our NYC-based startup Bark & Co – a passion project for the three-crazy dog founders, Matt Meeker, Henrik Werdelin and Carly Strife. Bark & CO was created to meet the needs of like-minded (and always growing) community of dog parents. We launched BarkCare in NYC in March 2014 and are excited to be rolling out to San Francisco dog parents.
Being based in New York City, we understand how difficult it can be to get your dog anywhere in a city via public transportation (or in our CEO Matt’s case, the inability to fit his Great Dane Hugo into a cab at all!) – similar experience that we know Bay Area dog-parents experience. We hope to continue to create products and services that help make dogs happy and their parents’ lives easier.
How do you find the local vets for each city? How do you vet the vets?
The veterinary community is very tight knit and we find our vets through existing relationships or through referrals from veterinary colleagues. Each new member of the BarkCare Vet Team goes through a rigorous interview process which test both knowledge and treatment protocols, as well as in- visit training and observation to help us find vets that are amazing doctors as well as excellent client communicators.
Could you describe how the service works? Are these subscriptions? Afterwards, would clients follow up with email or phone calls directly with the vet or go through you again?
Using BarkCare couldn’t be easier and vets are available around the clock. Visit BarkCare.com or download the BarkCare app (available on iPhone) to register. All you need to do is provide your zip code and select a day/time from the available drop-down menu and click to select. You will receive an email confirmation within 24 hours of scheduling your service and a BarkCare vet will schedule a quick call with you to ensure he/she comes equipped with the right essentials for a successful visit.
Even better, BarkCare stores your dog’s medical records in a secure database that can be accessible any time, from anywhere. BarkCare will also set-up friendly reminders to keep your pup on track with all current medical check-ups and medication needs.
You’ve four initial service levels, will those change or expand over time? How did you decide to begin with these services?
Anything is possible! While the initial BarkCare House Call levels are broken into four categories our services are endless. BarkCare vets are responsible to help with all your dog’s needs are not limited to a 15 minute time slot – freeing them up to take all the necessary time to explain your pup’s health and answer all your questions. BarkCare vets can perform most of the standard procedures that are done in a traditional vet’s office and if not, we will refer you to the best specialist in your area and will check up on your pup and keep you informed.
Holistic treatments and alternative veterinary medicine continues to grow in popularity, will you be including any of these options?
BarkCare doesn’t currently offer these services, but as the company grows, we plan to bring on more specialized veterinarians who can offer alternative treatments such as acupuncture in the future. Our vets are also happy to refer people to affiliate veterinarians that can offer these services now.
Last question, which local San Francisco shelters are you working with? How about for nonprofits like Pets Are Wonderful Support (PAWSSF.org) who are not a shelter but do provide services to the companion animals of low income disabled clients in San Francisco? I’ve worked with them and they often have clients who are homebound.
BarkCare supports pet adoptions, rescues and shelters all across the country. Some of the local Bay Area partners include, Muttsville Senior Dog Rescue, San Francisco SCPA, Valley Human Society, Copper’s Dream Animal Rescue and the Berkeley Humane Society. We are interested in working with any rescue, shelter, non-profit or organization that helps change the lives of dogs in need. If you have an organization to recommend for our support, we're always open to suggestions. And any shelter or rescue can submit their information here.
Book your appointment with BarkCare online or by calling 646-681-5870
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