With the COVID-19 lockdown unexpectedly creating a pet adoption and attention boom, the veterinary industry found itself struggling to keep up with demand.
Seeing this as an opportunity to bring their dream of owning a business to reality, two veterinarians, Dr. Kathy Park and Dr. Savjit Gurm, have partnered to open Sahalee Veterinary Hospital on Feb. 22.
Pandemic lockdowns and the work-from-home scenario created a new opportunity for pet ownership for many. Studies have also shown that owning a companion animal, such as a dog or a cat, provides mental health benefits and reduces feelings of loneliness during the lockdown. These conditions have created a boom in pet adoption to the point where some animal shelters have run out of animals for people to adopt.
In addition, owners who now spend more time at home with their pets are also noticing health issues they may have previously ignored. This confluence of factors has led to increasing demand for veterinary services.
“It is the busiest I have ever seen it since I have been a veterinarian,” said Park, who has witnessed even emergency vet clinics occasionally turning away new patients due to capacity issues.
According to Park, who recently became a Sammamish resident, what differentiates her practice is the wide use of Fear Free techniques to help prevent and reduce the fear, anxiety and stress for patients, and their owners, during visits. Park is a Fear Free Certified Professional.
“Our mission is to provide gold standard care using the most up-to-date technology and techniques, while providing unsurpassed customer service at an affordable price,” said Park.
Sahalee Veterinary Hospital is equipped with the most advanced surgical and laser equipment on the market today. Staffed with four other team members, the full-service animal hospital can perform in-house ultrasounds or advanced orthopedic surgeries. Laser therapy, including acupuncture, is even available. They also offer end-of-life care if pet owners need to make that hard choice for a beloved pet.
“I always like sharing the responsibility of pet care with clients by keeping them informed and updated with all aspects of veterinary care,” said Gurm, who co-owns the hospital. “This allows them to make educated decisions for their pets in their daily life and help them live a long and healthy life.”
Primarily serving cats and dogs, the two vets are qualified to treat exotic species but chose to leave that care to exotic specialty hospitals in the area who are better equipped.
“I bring my chickens to see them, and they bring their dogs and cats to see us,” Park said.
She also hopes to inspire others. Park mentioned that there are very few women of color who own their own veterinary practice.
“One of my goals and primary reasons for opening a veterinary practice is to encourage other women, especially minority women, to feel confident about opening their own business,” she said.
Sahalee Veterinary Hospital is located at 22603 NE Inglewood Hill Road, Suite 100. They can be reached at (425) 394-5200.