Photo, from left to right: Dr. Heather Brookshire and Dr. Ashley Powell, owners of Ally Urgent Veterinary Care
Providing Needed Urgent Care Services for “Pets and Vets” in Coastal Virginia
(Virginia Beach, Va., August 10, 2023) – A new veterinary urgent care practice will soon serve the Coastal Virginia area, and the owners are passionate about their reasons for launching the business.
Dr. Heather Brookshire and Dr. Ashley Powell are opening Ally Urgent Veterinary Care August 17 at 521 Old Great Neck Road in Virginia Beach to support the region’s overburdened general veterinary practices and emergency hospitals. By providing a referral option for patient care that is urgent, but not life-threatening, they hope to lighten the load of their colleagues.
“As owners of our own veterinary practices, we know firsthand the demand and work pressures that members of our community face every day on the job,” said Brookshire, a board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist and owner of Animal Vision Center of Virginia.”
“We have developed Ally Urgent Veterinary Care with both family and emergency veterinarians at the core of our mission,” added Powell, an owner of Animal Medical Center. “We understand how much time these caring individuals work, under trying and sometimes emotional circumstances. Everyone needs a break from time to time, and our practice is here to support them.”
To help fill the animal care gap, Ally Urgent Veterinary Care will provide:
- Non-life-threatening urgent care for pets that need to be seen quickly
- Fast and efficient treatment for minor illnesses and injuries
- Same-day online reservations, virtual check-in and walk-in appointments
- An option for urgent care when family veterinary practices are fully booked, problems happen after regular veterinary hours, and/or when emergency hospitals are at capacity.
A Community of "Vets Helping Vets and Pets"
The partners’ desire to open an urgent veterinary care practice emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic. As more people adopted pets during lockdown, they witnessed their colleagues struggling to keep up with the high veterinary caseloads and care.
During this time, Brookshire and Powell became key players in the "Paws to be Kind” movement," a public awareness campaign of the Coastal Virginia Veterinary Medical Association. The initiative educated pet owners about the overwhelming state of veterinary medicine, with a message to consider kindness rather than frustration in those trying times.
Fast forward to today, and the situation is only marginally improved, they say.
While most veterinary practices are now back to their pre-pandemic operating protocols, a high demand for pet care remains—and it is taking a heavy mental toll on the veterinary community. According to studies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of six veterinarians has considered suicide.
“In this field, the hours are long and staff burnout is high. Even before the pandemic, veterinary providers dealt with overload and compassion fatigue,” said Powell. “There is a lot of stress associated with this industry. We don’t want to lose any more members.”
To address demand and work pressures, Brookshire and Powell are creating a work culture at Ally Urgent Veterinary Care that benefits and supports everyone in the veterinary community. Their plans include providing employee mental health services, building strong relationships with local veterinarians and ER practices, mentoring young veterinarians entering the field and supporting non-profit organizations such as Not One More Vet and 1% for the Planet. Ally Urgent Vet will also provide care options to help with the financial needs of some pet owners.
During the initial phase of the clinic's launch, Ally Urgent Veterinary Care will be open Monday, Thursday, Friday from 5 p.m. – 10 p.m. and Saturday, Sunday from 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.
“We want Ally Urgent Veterinary Care to truly be an ally for our Coastal Virginia veterinary community—a practice that embodies the compassion and dedication that inspired us to enter the veterinary field in the first place,” Brookshire said. “It’s a way to benefit pet owners and provide for the professionals who deliver the much-needed care.”
For details and information about services, visit allyurgentvet.com.
ABOUT ALLY URGENT VETERINARY CARE
Locally women-owned and operated, Ally Urgent Veterinary Care provides non-emergency care for pets that need to be seen quickly—and support for general veterinary practices and emergency hospitals as a referral option for urgent care. A community of “vets helping vets and pets,” the practice serves Coastal Virginia pets, pet owners and the veterinary community with love, kindness and backup help when they need it. Call 757-900-ALLY (2559). Visit allyurgentvet.com.