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Oak Hill Animal Hospital goes ‘the extra mile’ for their clients
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One of Oak Hill Animal Hospital’s core values is “going the extra mile.” It is a value that Dr. Elizabeth McElhenny and her staff have embodied since the practice opened in April 2009. 

Dr. McElhenny, the veterinarian and practice owner, with 35 years in the field, shared that she and her staff have heard about the difference in their practice. 

“We’ve been told it feels different here. One of our mottos is, ‘An educated client is a loyal client,’” Dr. McElhenny or Dr Mac as she is often called, said. “So, we’re very focused on giving people enough information to make an educated decision for their pet. I really like to teach. So, teaching about best care and about best options for disease care is probably our big focus “

Because that education is so important, Ashley Watkins, the practice manager, told The Covington News that the practice will send home an article with the pet owner concerning each disease process that Dr. McElhenny diagnoses. The animal hospital also has a monthly blog that is shared through the practice’s official website and posts pet tips on Facebook regularly.

Mrs. Watkins explained why Oak Hill Animal Hospital offers those things. 

“We want them to understand. Owners have come to us and said: ‘Yeah, I spent $250 on it and I don’t even know what he had.’ We don’t want them to not understand,” Watkins said. “Because, for a lot of people, I know especially my age range right now, these 20-30-year olds, a lot of them chose to not have kids. So, these four legged fur babies are their kids.

Per the practice’s official website, the list of services offered by Oak Hill Animal Hospital include preventative health, vaccinations, allergies and dermatology, exotic pet care, cold laser therapy, general surgery and much more. Dr. McElhenny tries to take a holistic approach and look at the big picture when making a care plan for patients. 

While client education is a big part of Oak Hill’s core values, Dr. Mac shared examples of her and her staff exemplifying that in additional ways. 

“I know our receptionist has run medicine to somebody’s house on her way home when they forgot it. It was somebody that had to get somebody to bring her [to the clinic] and they walked out without it,” Dr. McElhenny said. “We have gone to [the] homes of local clients during times of stress or grief. We had a client call us…she thought her dog was dying. We rushed out there to see if there was anything we could do. It was like a 130-pound dog. It wasn’t anything the owner could move..”

Oak Hill’s drive to go the extra mile isn’t just about the client. Their education focus extends to teaching owners and staff how to make a visit “fear free” for the patient. By using calming agents and fear free tactics, Oak Hill tries to make the experience as positive as possible for the pet.

"That’s one of the things I’ve always respected about her [Dr. McElhenny] — even working at other practices myself — it’s just different," Mrs. Watkins said. "Caring about the patients and not forcing them past that breaking point to where, now they have to be sedated every time they come into the clinic. We just take more time to work with them."

Another aspect of Oak Hill Animal Hospital’s core values is community involvement. 

Dr. McElhenny told of an instance where the practice was involved with the passing of a retired police dog. “That was pretty special for us. He was well honored as an officer” 

Additionally, she has had interns come through the clinic who are considering pursuing careers in veterinary medicine. Two are in veterinary college right now and two are actively practicing veterinary medicine. 

Mrs. Watkins said that Oak Hill has been a part of Rockdale and Newton school systems’ work based learning programs as well. 

Dr. McElhenny stated that her business is all about “building relationships.” Mrs. Watkins relayed that forming bonds carries over to the clients. 

So much so that, Watkins said it is like their clients are second family members. 

“That’s one of the things I pride myself on with our front desk staff — the fact that they recognize everybody that comes in and they ask him, ‘How’s your son doing? When’s his move?’” Ashley said. “They make that personal relationship, so it’s about the client and the pet and not just the dollar signs of the veterinary medicine.” 

Oak Hill Animal Hospital is located at 5274 GA Hwy 20 in Covington. They are open Mondays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Tuesdays and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Their office number is 770-728-9976. 

Dr. McElhenny and her staff pride themselves on the quality of care they provide to their clients. An added bonus for her is that the clients can feel it, too. 

“It’s really nice to have people sense that they are a priority to us, which is what we want,” Dr. McElhenny said “I don’t want to be a cookie cutter, move them in and out kind of practice. We’re here to build relationships. Not only with the pets, but with the owners.”