Our current modified curbside protocol for check in as our waiting area/lobby is very small is as follows:
Upon arrival, please pull into one of our numbered parking spots and call us from your vehicle to check-in whether you are arriving for an appointment or are picking up medications/food. (If one of the designated spots is unavailable, please be able to describe your location to our staff member on the phone so that we can locate you.)
If bringing a furry family member to their appointment, please make sure all dogs are secured on a leash and all cats secured in a carrier. Some pets behave well for their owners but are reluctant to go with a staff member so a safety slip lead will be placed on canine patients to prevent them from slipping out of their collar and getting injured in the parking lot.
A technician will come to your vehicle and discuss the nature of your visit so we can prepare the items we will need prior to you/your pet coming inside to ensure we are efficient & proper sanitation protocols are being followed. We will either prepare a room for your in-hospital appointment then escort you in or will take your furry family member into the hospital where a doctor will perform an exam/authorized testing and will come out to speak with you at your vehicle or call you with results/treatment options depending on your location. Thank you for understanding that although not ideal, our protocols are to keep you and our staff healthy as well as use our space most efficiently!
As life changed due to the pandemic, people were home and in need of a companion, so we saw the shelter's numbers dwindle and the need in our community grew for veterinary services. It also grew because some of our long time neighboring veterinary hospitals had staffing shortages due to illness as did we. Emergency rooms have also had the same issues. Even today, if feels as if we can’t meet your needs and the ER wait is at least 5 hours! Trust us when we say, we are trying! We now block off two hours instead of one hour each day for all 3 of our veterinarians so that we have same day access availability. Calling us sooner rather than later and being willing to drop off your furry friend with us, helps us ensure we can fit you into those same day access time slots! We understand it is not ideal for you to leave or have to wait in the car when you have a sick baby and the last thing you want is not to be close, but we want to do our best to be there for you!
Even prior to the pandemic, we were focused on an expansion plan. Moving to curbside service during the pandemic allowed us to not be limited to space and in anticipation of Dr. Brooke Knowlton taking maternity leave in 2020, we added Dr. Chris Knowlton full time to the team! We are still focused on a plan for expansion, but the fact is that we will not be able to have all three of our doctors helping as many patients as we currently have been if we move completely away from curbside service which has left us to perform modified curbside service until hopefully the tale end of next year!
We have been talking expansion since 2018. There were originally 2 owners of Retama Equine Small Animal Division which started in 2011 and then in 2012, Dr. Brooke Knowlton became the sole small animal veterinarian and in 2014, acquired shares as we moved from the horse hospital to the recycled Fox’s Pizza Shop and became Cibolo Small Animal Hospital, Inc.!
Dr. Cochran joined the team late 2014 and acquired shares in 2016. With Dr. Cochran joining us, we knew this space was not going to last long so we rearranged the break room into kennel space and added a second surgery suite (which is basically a glorified closet!) Now employees eat lunch in exam rooms or at the reception desk…not ideal for mental health but we make it work and keep on planning!
The 4 owners were talking about how we would expand … move to another shopping center location or build? We love our community and do not want to move even a street over. We love that you love to walk to us or get a Donut or Burger while you wait 😉 We want to be her for you/not move too far or step on toes of our neighboring hospitals. The space we are in requires 3 year leases so we are coming up on resigning and the two non-practicing owners were ready to retire so we joined the NVA Family in late 2019! We were excited to have health insurance and not change our name or the way we practiced!
Now we had to start from scratch exploring new shopping center spaces vs building through a new set of eyes then 2020 hits…now clients are all curbside and it is a great time to expand, but where is the world going? How long will this pandemic last? Can other tenants in our little shopping center pay their bills? Will space be available so we can just expand laterally? (Meanwhile, the Knowltons were expanding and little Tripp joined the family in August of 2020! Dr. Chris Knowlton joins the CSAH team in May!) Talk went on for months on who would renew their lease and how we could shuffle tenants in the space so that we could expand.
Late 2020 we hired an architect and contractor to propose a plan to fill in the space between us and the Kid’s Academy so that we could expand to their outside wall. After several meetings with city and the Fire Marshall, that this would not be a good plan if a fire were to break out…a 100K pump would have to be installed to get water to the end of the building and it was just too expensive. We looked into space near Santikos and it was also just too expensive. In January 2021 we were told others in our shopping center would not be resigning their lease and we could take over in May. May rolls around everyone resigns their lease so there is no room for us to move. We begin to negotiate to move Super Donuts to the old Cibolo Coffee House Space..,because who doesn’t want a drive thru at the donut shop!?!?! Another lease was signed on that space while we were planning how we could help them move. We have exhausted our expansion plans of being in the same center and begin to look at satellite locations and think about how we would split the doctors up because really the space we are in is only big enough for about 1.5 doctors. We prefer to stay in our community and be the same team so that what you know and love about us doesn’t change!
We opened up the search for land and what that would cost again. So we were down to satellite or building and it seemed like our best option is to build in our own backyard! We are being told it could take a minimum of 16 months if we broke ground tomorrow and maybe longer because building supplies are on backorder but latest news is that they hope to have us in the new building at the tale end of 2023!
There will be space to wait inside! Seven exam rooms so everyone is welcome inside for their appointment!!! A separate comfort room for euthanasia appointments that has side door access so distraught families can leave discretely. Three restrooms which is huge to us as our staff of almost nearing 20 head count, it seems as someone is always occupying it when a client is in need. These are just a few points we are extremely excited about but without further ado, here is the new face and layout!
If you can just hang in there with us, we promise to provide the same excellent customer service and compassion for your fur babies whether it is in hospital, at our current curb, or in in our new building directly behind our current location!