Finding the Best Vet For Your Furry Friend is a Priceless Pursuit

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Shakira Alston (left) and Dr. Latoya Schultz play with Winston at VCA Timberlyne Animal Hospital.
Shakira Alston (left) and Dr. Latoya Schultz play with Winston at VCA Timberlyne Animal Hospital.

As a first-time dog owner and a new transplant to Chapel Hill, I thought I could save a few bucks and drive my pup, Winston, outside Chapel Hill for the vet.

Not only did I not save any money, but the pain of driving so far and the employees’ lackluster attitude toward my sweet black lab always left me with a bad taste in my mouth.

So, a year into my dog-mom role, I decided to shop around.

Winston’s first appointment at VCA Timberlyne was eye-opening. He’s a skittish, 70-pound baby who has never enjoyed a trip to the vet. But, when Dr. Latoya Schultz and vet tech Shakira Alston walked into the room and immediately got on the floor to love on him – not just for a second, but for almost 15 minutes – my little dude opened right up. He played dead (his most challenging trick) for them, and he let Shakira clean his ears, no fight to be had.

It wasn’t just their warm greetings that made me a cheerleader for VCA Timberlyne, but it was their overall considerate nature, inviting me to become a part of the decision-making process for Winston’s treatment plan. For the first time, I could look down at a sheet of paper letting me know what treatments they would like to pursue for my pup – before the money was owed. I don’t know if I ended up saving any money (turns out, when given the choice, it’s hard to skimp on your fur baby’s health), but the feeling of agency over the process makes all the difference. And the convenience of a quarter-mile drive and a panic-free dog isn’t bad either.

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Laura Zolman Kirk

Associate Editor Laura Zolman Kirk is a Kentuckian turned Chapel Hillian and totally in love with this special slice of North Carolina.
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