On September 28th, Carriage Crossing Animal Hospital turns 10 years old! I am Dr. Mara Ashby and I founded our hospital ten years ago. I have met so many great people and pets since then that I wanted to invite all of you to celebrate with us as we review our hospital’s journey from a small startup in the new neighbourhood of Carriage Crossing to being the first Fear Free Certified Animal Hospital in Waterloo.

We were the first business in our plaza and very few  homes were built in the surrounding area. What was there instead? Cornfields, lots and lots of cornfields. Above is our dog exam room pictured during the first days of construction.

 We used to have our scale across the room and our food by the window.

One of our first employees was a dog trainer working for us as an assistant. She held reward based dog training classes for our team as well as for the public. I felt like I had discovered a new language to communicate with my patients.

Soon I started using rewards instead of pressure to train my horse Prince. As our relationship improved and I really learned to understand him, I looked for more ways to use the science of behaviour to help our cat and dog patients.

We had always fed treats to pets during their visits but now we were learning to offer veterinary cooperative care, where animals have the chance to understand and consent to their treatment, just like they do with zoo animals!

In 2021, we became the first Fear Free Certifed Practice in Waterloo. This means that all of our staff are certifed in reducing fear, anxiety and stress in our patients, our hospital has been designed to be soothing to the senses of cats and dogs, and we prioritize the emotional as well as the physical health of our patients.

Offering Fear Free care for cats and dogs has introduced us to many amazing patients and people over the past ten years. Thank you to all our clients, team members and patients. We are looking forward to many more decades of Fear Free care for cats and dogs in Waterloo!