The Awesome Power Of Referrals: The Mobile Vet Story

Mobile VetMy wife and I are one pet short of running a farm.

Our Animal Family (<–182 pics) consists of one Boxer/Lab/Shepard mixed dog, Morocco … and 3 rescued cats. Kristina told me once that we either get another pet or start having children – but not both.

Taking our pets to the vet has always been a challenge, especially the 3 cats. When we moved to Salt Lake City in June, we were looking for a place to board Morocco (the dog – pay attention!). I asked a few people and all said “Desert Dog Daycare” without hesitation. The owners and staff at Desert Dog Daycare are the best. They love and have a true passion for all things animal related. But I’m saving their story for another post.

The Referral

The best place to ask about a good vet is at a (good) animal daycare facility. The owners of Desert Dog Daycare had earned my trust – based on the endorsement from their other clients as well as my 3 visits with Morocco. So, when they told me that I should try Dr. Rick Whitty (aka, “the mobile vet”) I didn’t waste any time. Important to note: I trusted my source. My source trusted Dr. Whitty. Therefore, I trusted Dr. Whitty. Pretty sure they call that the transitive relation.

The Visit/Exam

I had never heard of this mobile vet concept, but had a vision in my head of what it would be like. Dr. Whitty and his assistant did not let me down. They rolled up in my driveway in their “mobile van” (see picture at top). They proceeded to unload their gear (read: vet tools) and get right into it.

Sidebar: Veterinarians tend to not be the most human-social individuals. Maybe it’s because they spend much of their non-sleeping hours around animals. Who knows. But I’ve never met a vet who was not a bit socially awkward.

A few pictures of Mr. Mobile Vet (and assistant) in action:

Dr. Whitty in ActionDr. Whitty in Action

Dr. Whitty and “the assistant” (he mumbled his name and I did both to ask for clarification) were the best. They were true professionals. They clearly cared for our cats (or “kitties” as the Doc called them). They told it how they saw it. They didn’t try to upsell/oversell me on more shots and pills. They examined, diagnosed, and advised. I love them both.

The Outcome

All of the cats are fine. Well, kinda. Elly is still fat (Trust me: look at the picture). She may need to have some blood work done. She may need her teeth cleaned. She may need some diet pills. But overall, the cats are quite healthy. But here’s the other good news. We’ve found our vet. Dr. Rick “mobile” Whitty. Even better for Dr. Whitty, we will also now endorse him. Thanks, Doc.

Do you have an interesting referral story to share? What about a positive vet experience? Or if you answered “no” to the first 2 questions, how about just some pictures of your animal family…

DJ Waldow
@djwaldow

15 comments
SandyK
SandyK

DJ, Have you ever had Dr. Whitty do surgery on your animals? My dog has to have a molar extracted, it's the one in the back that has very deep roots attached to the bone. He wants to do an ekg (she's 10+ yrs) and xrays first. I've only had major surgery at Sugarhouse Animal Clinic. They did great, but Whitty was the first one to see her so I made the arrangements with him, at his office. I don't know how much experience he has.

Randerson185
Randerson185

when it came time to put one of my beloved pets down. doc whity and this cute little assistant shown in the pic above, came to my home, so that my other dog cut take part in it. doc explained to me that she needed to smell the death so that she cud mourn propertly. that if we wud have just taken our"randall" away, that my female dog wud have had a much harder time, cuz she wudnt have know what happened to him. and she is already such an emotional dog, i totally agreed with doc whity and his thoerey. i got to hold randall as they admistered the medication. and i was crying, and talking to him, asking him to tell me other pets that have passed on the i love and miss them, tellin him i loved him so much, and that im sorry he had to move on, ect. my eyes were full of tears, and i glanced up at doc whitty to ask him if he was sure that he was gone, and that he made it to doggie heaven, where i knew he wud be much safer and happier, i needed his reassurance. anyway, i looked over at the his assistant or tech, whichever he was, and he may not ever admit this, and maybe i was wrong, but im pretty sure i saw tears welling up in his asssitants eyes thru the few minute process that i talked to randall and held him tight as he passed. im telling u, there is something special that u feel right away with doc whittty and his staff. i know he screens his applicants, and chooses them wisely. im sure doc whitty makes sure that the posess certain vibes and had the ability to relate to us clients needs as well as our pets. it was an awesome experience to have randal pass on to doggie heaven in my arms, and in total peace and comfort. i will never again let someone take my dog and throw him up on a cold table where he will be frightened his last few moments on earth, thank u doc whitty for letting me and my other dog experience that wonderful experience. u were right. she did come over to smell him after he had passed. and she did mourn, mope around the house, didnt eat well, she wasnt herslef for almost 2 months. but i believe u were totaally right it wud have been harder to just have him show up and take randall away. im a true believer animals have just as much emotions and feeling than we do. probaly moreso. altho i never want to have to put a pet down again, i am forever grateful for that experience to help me and my other dog feel as comfortated that we did the right thing as possible. i talk way to much. but i love this blog idea. and hope that more people start reading them and making comments. ps plz be more specific tho. like if ur talking about mobile vets in general, like they are all bad, or if u believed a certain single vet continued to make bad choices, and wrong dianoses, putting peoples pets lives in danger. becuase holding back with alittle more detail cud really ruin someones business, their life, their self worth. idk. happy holidays to all. and i encourage everyone to make the effort to adopt from the co. animals shelter, humane society, and foster homes, especially the pit bulls who are mis understood need help by having people educate the public, and prove just how wonderful these beautiful creatures are. and although i feel like i communicate with most animals, especially the pits, i cud only hope and pray for cesars capabilities, his knowledge, his drive, his compassion, and trying to figure out if there['s any way i can suscribe to national georgraphic channel without purchasing a shitload of cable programming. i am totally happy with prime time, day time. ect. only thin i want to add is national geograhpic so i can watch cesar millan and learn from him, and animal planet, cuz i'[d like to learn all i can. i'd like to someday work as an animal cop. and do resues. save animals, and educate their owners and others. ok im done. blah blah blah amen i promise to shut up.

Randerson185
Randerson185

are all of u talking about doc whitty? he has always been more than thorough with me and my pets. and he radiates compassionn and knowledge when he walks into the room. and ive NEVER heard anything bad against him. vets are like doctors, and lawyers, and judges, and social workers, and even parents, where sometime weh/they make the wrong call. it happens. im sure u as a parents have made the wrong call b4. im sure there wasnt a block started to put u down, and undermind ur knowledge, and the kind of person u were. human doctors make way more mistakes than vetinarians. and then ther'e always 2 sides to every story. u know, maybe there was another reason your cat unfortunatly passed on. im very sorry for the loss of a family member. sometimes i think we all blame anyone we can, it makes us feel better. but lee, like many of us u have said urself, that u wished u wud have seen warning signs earlier and sought medical attention b4 it was to late. i dont know the exactly situation. im intrested to know if there was a biopsy done on ur dear cat. or are u just assuming the vet over medicated or whatever u were saying the cause of death was. and i wud love to know if u were talking about doc whitty, or another mobile vet doctor. cuz this article above seems to be about doc rick whitty. and if u posted a trajic story right undneath it, then it points that it was doc whitty who made a mistake. and then on the other hand, im not 100 % convinced the cat died because of the fault of the vet in this case. i mean are u sure u got medical treatment in time? u urself questioned ur judgement. i know when my dog died, it was life changing experience for me. and for a split second i wanted to blame the vet, cuz i thought that he shud have been able to perform emergency miracle surgery on him, and save his life. but i accepted the fact realy quick that nothing cud have saved my male pittie that day. and i sent the vet who had never seen me or my animals b4, he was just the closest to my house, in the event of the emergency, we went there. he stopped what he was doing, came running out fo the truck, picked up my huge pit bull by the feet and rushed him back to the operating room. but despite his efforts, it was just to much damage, in his lungs to repair. it was my daughters dog. and that made it even harder on me. i had her laying out in the parking lot on the ground bawling out loud like a baby in pain. i was angry. y didnt this man work faster, harder, performed miracles? but a good friend of mine pointed out to me that i was being ridiculous, and once again explained how his lungs had exploded when he got hit and ran over by a great big pick up. the guy didnt even stop. my kids and this dogs sibling were all right there. it was hard on all of us. but we cant blame the doctors, and the vets all the time. i mean maybe in ur case u were justified, and u know the exacct reason for ur cats death. but in alot of cases people speculate. and if it wasnt doc whitty, noone shud be cutting down mobile medicine because of one bad experience. even it it was doc whittys wrong call, this is the first complaint ive ever heard aginst him. and mistakes are going to happen. by all of us. even those of us who atttended school for years and years and carry a title by our names. im sure u and everyone else has made a wrong call at work, that cost people money, or ruined their plans for their family gathering because u forgot to fllow thru with their order, and prepare for their family special celebrations. thats just an example. and we've all made much more serious mistakes as parents, siblings, children and friends, that have maybe even possibly destroyed a life or two. but that doesnt make us bad people, nor shud it stero type other people who might share somthing in common with us. like in this story, altho it was based on doc rick whitty, it was also based on mobile medicine. and u said ur incident happened 13 yrs ago, which may or may not have anything do do with the fact that doc whitty, or whoever this doctor was who may have made the wrong call, doesnt have anything to do with the fact that he or they were both mobile medicines. and we shudnt be judging either doc whitty or mobile medicine for an incident that happened 13 years ago, that u may or may not even know for sure the real cause of death. maybe u do, but i think it a little inapropiate to tie several of these similarities together and post them under a column that was specifically about doc whity, not really the fact that he is movile medicine. i think the mobile medicine is the greatest thing ever done and which all the vets wud do it, rick only makes like $5 more than he wud if u were to go to his office.. any mobile medicine doctor does it for their patients, not for the money. idk. im sort of upset because ur post were real clear on exactly what happened, not were they back up by any medical proof that this is what really happened. u didnt state that it was ur opinion only. u stated it like fact. or made it appear to be fact. maybe im way off base here, i hope im wrong. im really sorry for ur loss. i know u can never replace that same cat, but u can give another one a good home. and like u said, u now know what to look for,, the danger signs. which makes us all better pet owners/ parents the 2nd time around, after something unfotunatly trajjic has to happen. but it happens. p.e.i.o.r.d. period.

Randerson185
Randerson185

just wanted to say that doctor whitty has gone way above and beyond what it takes to be a great vet. ne spends time with ur and ur pet, he comes to ur house, to make it easier on ur pet. he's full of compassion, he will tell u ways to get medicationsw cheaper. he wud rather do that so that ur pet can have it then to be greedy and only provide one source that sum of us cant afford. my dog is a fradiy cat, bad. but i truly believe some of the other cold hearted vets who acted annoyed that i brought my animals in, i swear my animals cude sense that. with doc whitty, my one dog is still scared. but he treats her gentle and with compassion. aware of her anxieties and fears. u can just feel it when he walks in the room at his office, or when he comes into ur home, u can feel what makes his such a great vetinartian compared to those who just do it for the money. i cud go on and on and have many many stories. but i must stop here. and move on with my day.

Lee Taylor
Lee Taylor

The thing is, had my cat been in a hospital, I have to believe they would have recognized the problem. Usually, they don't let an animal go home until it has fully recovered from the administered drugs. So, based on that, I think it was because of the "mobile vet". There had never been any indication that this might occur. If you are using a mobile vet, that doesn't mean the same thing would happen. Just be VERY aware of what needs to be done for ANY type of follow up. Even yearly shots can cause a reaction. Find out everything you should look for. Let the doctor know you EXPECT a follow up phone call, at the very least. And the best advice I can give, if your animal isn't acting "right", don't waste time, go to the animal ER. I am now living with the guilt of not knowing what to look for, and not acting soon enough. I just kept thinking it was the pain shot making him sleep for so long. The doctor told me over and over what wonderful pain medicine it was and that the kitty wouldn't have any discomfort. Retrospect is sometimes a very hard thing to deal with. Good luck with your pet(s). Lee

DJ Waldow
DJ Waldow

@Lee - Again. Terribly sorry. Any indication in the first 13 years that this may happen in the future? I mean, does anyone really take the time to do "due diligence" on their vet? I figured if the vet was good enough for the Desert Dog Daycare (DDD) facility, they would work for me. DDD told me they had been searching for some time and were very very particular. That was all I needed to hear.

Do you think it had anything to do with the "mobile vet" status or just a coincidence?

DJ [email protected]

Lee Taylor
Lee Taylor

Yes, it was the same vet. That is why it is so disturbing. I cannot think it was an accident since a follow up would have prevented this. We have sent him a letter explaining our position on this, he has until the 15th of Oct. to respond. If he does not respond, we will fill a complaint with DORA, which is the Colorado licensing board. When I was doing researh on DORA, I discovered he is already on probabtion until 2/11 for simply not drawing a proper blood sample. I wonder what they will think about this? I guess my biggest issue is that I don't want anyone else to have to go through this unnecessary pain and loss. Thank you for responding. I am sure there are excellent mobile vets that would never drop the ball on a patient. That is what is so hurtful about this. We thought he cared about our pets.

DJ Waldow
DJ Waldow

@Lee: Wow. Wow. Wow. I'm terribly sorry to hear about your cat. What an awful story. Was this the same vet that you had so much success with? An accident? Has there been any follow up since?

DJ [email protected]

Lee Taylor
Lee Taylor

I used a mobile Vet for 13 years. Needless to say, I trusted this person with my pets, no questions asked. Recently my 7 year old cat needed elective surgery. I questioned the vet about dangers with a cat this age. I was assured there was no reason to be concerned. He came to my home, preformed the surgery in his van, brought the sleeping cat into my house, laid him in his cat bed, then left. I never received any type of follow up call or visit. The cat, unknown to me, had gone into shock from the medications the vet had used to ease pain. I called him repeatedly on the weekend and received no response. I took him to an emergency clinic and then to an internal medicine clinic. He died. There was no saving him at all. We spared no expense. His cause of death was from Congestive Heart Failure, brought on by shock. He also had suffered severe brain damage. Never again.

DJ Waldow
DJ Waldow

@Sid - Great idea! Hmm...you've got my brain working again. Scary, I know. Thanks for the read and the (mostly) honest insight.

DJ [email protected]

Sid Prince
Sid Prince

I got nothing on the referral front today, but let me think on that one.

I like the idea of a blog post on referrals though. Just imagine, if every blogger put up one post a year about a service or organization they have 100% confidence in like this one, we'd have a pretty awesome free version of Angie's List (right now I think the subscription is like $20 or something!)

Anyway - great post J-boy. Will follow your lead in a few - and will ask readers to pay it forward too!

Sid.
.-= Sid PrinceĀ“s last blog ..G-Reader Love Fest =-.

SandyK
SandyK

Have you ever had Dr. Whitty extract a molar? My dog has to have that done, it's the one in the back that has very deep roots attached to the bone. He wants to do an ekg (she's 10+ yrs) and xrays first. I've only had major surgery at Sugarhouse Animal Clinic. They did great, but Whitty was the first one to see her so I made the arrangements with him, at his office. I don't know how much experience he has.

Randerson185
Randerson185

im so sorry to hear about ur loss. i guess i wrote a response and asked u alot of questions but now in the right place. one of the questions i asked u wre answered when i re read ur post. were u talking about doc whitty? or because doc whity does mobile medicine, u just decided to post ur story here? cuz it makes it sound like it was doc whitty. which wud be the first ever complaint i heard on him. u know, vets ad well as doctors do make mistakes they are only human. im very very sorry for ur loss and if this was due to vet error, then i am so so sorry that is the way it turned out. u said it was an elective surgery. so u mind going into more detail? or is it something u wud rather keep to urself. even with doc whitty, if one of my beloved pets were going to have an elective surgery,i wud certainly have goten a second opinion.im trying to decide if this is a personal attack on doc whitty, or on mobile medicine. cuz i think it is one of the best things they ever invented. ive never known doc whitty to perform surgery in his van, but i dont know that for a fact either. when we talked about my dog getting surgery, he wud have performed it in his office, and it wud have cost me a couple hundred more than other places, just for the fact the doc whitty wanted to run an iv line or something like that, just in case the worsehappened, he said he wud have a easier and better chance of getting the animal back to life,.and that is y his surgery was more expensive. had it been something more serious i wud have found the money and let doc whitty perform it, but since it was just a common spade surgery, and of my fiancial situation a the time, i went with the humane society. i cant imagine doc whitty doing any type of surgery in his van, when he was talking about taking the extra percausions for such a common every day procedure other vets do every day, even in mobile medicine vans when they to to different neighborhoods for low income. anyway im very intrested to know more detail, and if u were referring to doc whitty himself, or just posted ur story here because he offerers mobile medicine. i think ive heard that sum mobile medicine vets do not have a more sanitary office/hospital with life saving equipment, but doctor whitty seems to have all that. if u r willing to discuss the details with me, and want to do so in private, my email is [email protected] i relize this blog is a yr old. however im very glad to have ran acrost it. and am surprised more people havent kept the blog going. if there is something i shud know that u have learned in ur experience, i wud love to hear it, to possibly prevent the same trajic thing happening to one of my beloved pets. because like i mentioned in one of my post, it not only affects us humans, but other animals in the house mourn, and have emotional problems with illness and death, even being transfered to a new home. i wish more people care about their pets as much as we did, and realied that they have feelings just like us. i am particually a pit bull lover. they are my passion. and have never met another creature that have such strong personalities, and such high need of human companiosnhip. putting a pit bull in a kennel/shelter/humand society sitution can ruin the pit bull, they just cannot handle the kennel stres as well as other animals as well. it cause them emotional problems, to loose their hair, to break out in terrible rashes, and sometimes behavior problems to the extent that they cannot be brought back, unless cesar himself took the dog. i sometimes think i communicate with animals, especially the pit bull, lol without saying anything. by just looking into their eyes, or getting tears of sadness, or watching their big old smiles that r visable on a pit bull, i feel like we talk thru our hearts. i of course do not have all of ceasars talents, nor his knowledge, but i wonder if i can be taught that, or if it has tocome natural. i dont claim to be a dog whisper, but i do claim to communicate with most of them in my own way. i wish i cud remain as calm as ceasar when a fight breaks out, cause it is when u show fear, u r only making the fight worse. i cant afford cable, but get to watch ceasars show occasionally at a friends house. and i try to watch, learn, and feel how he handles each and every dog, especially the pit bull. i watched him put an agressive german sheppard down on his side into a submissive position, with absolutely no signs of fears for his own safety, nor was he uncertain that he was going to stop the attack. he knows his stuff. i wishi cud meet with him personnally and see if he cud tell me if the way is feel is the start of me being able to accomplish what he has in his life,k for thousands of dogs. i watched him take a pit bull who many experts had instructed the family to put the dog down, said he cud not be rehabilited, the the family believe in him. they saw a different side of him. and asked cesar for his help. even ceasar told them that they cud pick another dog from his pack and he wud trade them for this agressive dog who kept attacking, cuz he felt this couple was not qualified nor did they have the time this dog needed. eventaully in a couple of mmonths the dog was able to return home. almost a totally different dog, thx to cesar and his talents, his knowledge, his skill, andhis experience. anyway im very intrested in knowing more details about ur tragic story, so that i dont ever make the same mistake. so if u cud either get back to m on this blog, or in private at my email address, i wud greatly appreciate anything that u had to offer me in the way of advice. thx