As the medical services offered at the Humane Society of Manatee County continue to evolve, the on-site Pet Health Center will be renamed next month.
Beginning in October, the Pet Health Center, which opened Sept. 8, 2015, officially will be known as the Humane Society of Manatee County Veterinary Clinic.
“We felt it was time to let people know who we really are,” said Rick Yocum, the executive director of the Humane Society of Manatee County. “This is really to grow the public business. The fact we are located right in downtown Bradenton makes us the downtown veterinary clinic and that’s what we like.”
As an additional way to meet the increased demand for services offered at the center, 2415 14th St. W., Bradenton, a second veterinarian will start Sept. 20. Erzsike Papan, who completed a surgery externship at the Humane Society of Manatee County in 2011, will conduct wellness exams as well as perform spay/neuter surgeries.
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“The time has come that business is telling us we need another full-time vet,” Yocum said. “Building the wellness part of our business is very, very important to us.”
With the additional full-time vet, the Humane Society of Manatee County estimates it will be able to increase the number of wellness exams performed by 25 percent, according to Yocum. The nonprofit will continue to use some contract vets for spay/neuter surgeries, he added.
“We are hoping it is going to help grow the number,” Yocum said.
The name change will allow the community to know that they are a full-service veterinary clinic, Yocum said.
“It kind of outgrew Pet Health Center,” he said. “We will continue to evolve. Our next evolution we are working toward is to have an X-ray machine here. We are hoping within 90 days to have an X-ray room up and running.”
In the center’s lobby, there soon will be a community table, allowing people to learn more about organizations that can help people. One of the organizations will be Turning Points, which the Humane Society is partnering with for the Giving Challenge. But Yocum said the collaboration will extend beyond the two-day event.
“A lot of the clients they serve, we serve for different purposes,” he said.
From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, the Humane Society will have a vaccine clinic at Turning Points and the nonprofit will be adding food to the pet food bank for clients in the future.
“Whatever we can do will be helpful for the people who truly need it,” Yocum said. “It is something that can continue into the future.”
On the adoption side of the Humane Society of Manatee County, the nonprofit began its sleepover program in April, allowing potential adopters to take home any dog or cat older than 6 months old for a few days to see if the animal is a good fit before adopting. Since its inception, about 35 animals have gone on sleepovers and all but one ended in adoptions, according to Brenna Beightol, the nonprofit’s shelter manager.
“It is a very carefree introduction into a lifetime commitment with an animal,” Beightol said.
But even if the animal is not the right fit for the individual and is returned, Beightol said it is still a win for the shelter because they learn more about the animal.
“It really helps us to better match an animal in the future and help adoption success and reduce return rate,” she said.
To date, 810 adoptions have happened this year, compared with 587 in the same period last year.
The sleepover program has really taken off in August and September, Beightol said.
“It has really helped with some longer-term dogs and more fearful dogs in getting placement,” she said.