As a veterinarian at Banfield Pet Hospital’s Lake Oswego location, I was saddened to come across two letters that were recently published (June 20) regarding my employer. As a veterinarian living and working in this community, I feel compelled to share my point of view.  Banfield may be a large veterinary practice, but we are also a local, homegrown company founded in Northeast Portland in 1955.

I grew up in West Linn and can attest that associates at each hospital feel very connected to their communities. One reason I choose to work at Banfield is because the practice provides opportunities for associates to give back to the community in meaningful ways. Readers may recall that last month Multnomah County Animal Services rescued dozens of poodles from Southeast Portland who were suffering from severe dental disease. In response, Banfield donated much-needed dental care to these pets to get them on the road to recovery and into loving homes. At my own hospital, we donated free medical care to more than 30 shelter animals in advance of our grand opening in an effort to help prepare these pets for healthy adoption.

Banfield has been able to use its size and scale to support the veterinary profession as a whole through partnerships with industry associations, animal welfare organizations and other nonprofits. Banfield is a founding partner of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Partners for Healthy Pets campaign, whose mission is to grow awareness among pet owners about the importance of preventive care, increase office visits and ultimately improve the health of the pet population nationwide. This is important because despite continued projected growth in the number of pets and pet owners in the United States, industry data shows that only about one-third of pets receive the preventive care they need. Given these numbers, we believe that there is tremendous opportunity for all veterinary practices — big or small — to grow the numbers of pets they care for.

Our size also allows us to step in and assist in times of crisis — most recently, we waived all office visits to pets affected by the tornadoes in Moore, Olka. On the local level, Banfield partnered with the Oregon Humane Society, Fences for Fido and the Oregon Veterinary Medical Association to support an anti-tethering bill (recently passed) in the Oregon Legislature, which sets limits on chaining pets.

While Banfield may be a nationwide hospital, it’s also very much a community-based veterinary practice for me, my clients and their pets. Regardless of how big Banfield may feel to some people, I want to assure pet owners that behind every hospital door you’ll find a caring and engaged group of associates who just want to provide the best care to their patients and deeply care about their communities.

Kristin Hussey, DVM, is a veterinarian at Banfield Pet Hospital in Lake Oswego.

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