Monday, March 24, 2008

Help Wanted

Receptionist / Client Services Associate

The Scottsdale Cat Clinic was founded one year ago to provide exceptional veterinary care exclusively for cats. In one short year we’ve established a strong client base—a self-selected group of pet owners who desire the very best for their cats. Our clients are exceptional people who value their cats beyond measure. We treat them and their cats as one of our family members. To meet our clients’ demands, we are equipped with the latest technology, including digital radiology and laser surgery as well as access to the most sophisticated diagnostic equipment available. We are also a paperless office, with all our medical records kept digitally.

The Scottsdale Cat Clinic is also committed to developing our employees into skilled, adept veterinary professionals. We value smart, talented and caring people who can join our team at the epitome of veterinary care. If you love cats and you love people, a career at Scottsdale Cat Clinic is for you. Imagine a job where you will participate in the joys of helping people care for their pets, and where you can have the daily satisfaction of knowing you made a cat’s life better. Plus you will enjoy the rewards of professional development and personal quality of life.

Our clinic is located on the east side of downtown Scottsdale, the heart of the East Valley. Our facility is brand new and just a block or two away from the Scottsdale Civic Center, Scottsdale Stadium, the Scottsdale Public Library, and Old Town Scottsdale. Work in the exciting and sparkling center of the Scottsdale lifestyle.

Receptionist/Client Services Associate
(Cat Concierge, Cat Counselor, Cat Consigliere)

As one of our Client Service Associates you will welcome our clients and their pets when they arrive. You will be the first impression of the clinic, receiving the client to our home. Our clients will come to know you as their friend on the inside of the operation. You will also be responsible for coordinating the flow of clients through the clinic, understanding and finessing the demands of our clients, technicians and veterinarians. You will be the conductor of the orchestra.

On the phone, you will be the warm, friendly voice that reassures our clients and potential clients that they have found the perfect place for the care of their cat. In those few moments you will be a teacher, educating them about our clinic and encouraging them in their desire for a healthy and happy pet.

Away from the front desk, you will be an administrative whiz, working with ease with our management software. You will confirm appointments, schedule check-ups, review inventory and prepare estimates. You will be the person that knows how to do things, earning the respect and love of your peers.

You will be valued, richly compensated and admired. All this plus you get to play with cats.

We offer paid vacation and sick days, health insurance, continuing education, and discounts on pet care. Compensation range is $11-$15 or more depending upon experience.

The position is full-time, but we will consider part-time for exceptional candidates.

We are an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourage bilingual candidates to apply.

Requirements for the job include:
∑ An enthusiastic, warm, and compassionate personality
∑ Comfort in a fast-paced environment
∑ Some college education
∑ Good computer skills
∑ Ability to do some heavy lifting

What we need from you:
A cover letter and a resume sent to:
Scottsdale Cat Clinic
Attn Human Resources
4002 N. Miller Rd, suite 100
Scottsdale, AZ 85251

Stop working for just a paycheck and start doing something you love.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Cat Whisperer

From comes this fascinating article about a cat behaviorist. Mieshelle Nagelschneider opened up her Cat Behavior Clinic in Portland, Oregon and has now signed a deal with a television network to show off her skills.

Nagelschneider is particularly adept at diagnosing behavior problems with cats and finding subtle yet powerful ways to encourage better behavior. She's not a pet psychic or even a trainer. What she does, and what all good pet owners can do with a little help, is understand the feline mind.

Kristin Weir, the author of the piece, writes about trying to correct her cat's behavior. Thompson's like a lot of cats we know:

Thompson grew into a wildly affectionate, completely lovable, moderately rotund adult cat. He outgrew most of his extreme behaviors, but one trait persisted. Thompson is a biter. He bites frequently and hard. As I climb into bed at night, he'll dart from a dark corner and lock his jaws around my ankle, ears back and eyes wide, like a lion taking down a wounded gazelle. But five minutes later, all is forgotten.

We see Thompsons all the time. And their frustrated owners. On occasion, we do find medical reasons for their behavior, but sometimes it is just a personality issue.

Weir describes a two week course, led by Nagelschneider, that gradually rewarded Thompson for his good behavior, and discouraged his bad behavior:

One thing that I immediately liked about Nagelschneider's approach was her assertion that we focus on rewards, not punishment. She suggested a few "aversive techniques" to try when Thompson misbehaved, but they were pretty mild -- rattling a soda can filled with quarters to startle him, or simply ignoring him altogether. "We don't want to traumatize him," she explained. "The idea is to achieve the desired results with the least amount of invasive measures possible."

This pro-active approach made sense to Alice Moon-Fanelli, a clinical assistant professor of animal behavior at Tufts University. "Cats are very responsive to positive reinforcement," she said. "Usually what happens is the pet gets attention when it's doing something wrong."

This, of course, is nothing earth shattering, but Nagelschneider does bring some interesting theories to her program. In Thompson's case, she does some quick feline psychoanalysis.

But as we discussed his habits and quirks, one theory emerged above the others as a likely diagnosis: Thompson had low self-esteem. As Nagelschneider described it, Thompson's apparent lack of confidence could explain his dizzying alternations between clinginess and viciousness. When he followed me from room to room and jumped on my desk 15 times a day, he was looking to be reassured of my affections. When he attacked, he was acting out in an attempt to control me, like a playground bully knocking the skinny kid down to boost himself up.

Like the dog whisper and horse whisperer that came before her, Nagelschneider reinforces something that we too often forget when dealing with animals. We are better pet owners when we try to see it from their point of view. Patience, attention and love will allow us to understand much about our cats.

I encourage you to read the article in full--if only to see how one scientist ranks cats as similar to pigeons and cockroaches.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Travelin' On

We want to say goodbye to one of the Scottsdale Cat Clinic family. Jasper, one of our resident felines has decided to pursue other offers. In truth, Jasper had grown too big and too important for our small clinic. He was receiving offers we just couldn't match. We quickly felt like the Milwaukee Brewers with a hot prospect we couldn't afford to sign. I like to think Jasper's out there somewhere in pinstripes--hopefully with the Cubs.

In truth, Jasper was a pretty shy young cat when we adopted him. He was one of the guests of honor at our Grand Opening, and we thought he'd make a great addition to the staff. But as the months wore on, Jasper became more and more bold. Lots of you, I'm sure, saw him run out and greet your cats as they arrived for exams or surgeries. While he was friendly, Jasper was also particularly keen to let these other cats know they were in his house. He accomplished this in the usual feline manner; with the occasional spray.

Jasper was also a handful in the back office. Once he became comfortable in his clinic home, he expected a lot of play time. We found it hard to get on with work with our young black cat draped all over us. Jasper also had a love-hate relationship with Margie, our dignified senior calico. Jasper loved teasing Margie, and Margie just flat out hated Jasper. Who knows what havoc was wrought in those long nights when the clinic doors were shut. Eventually we realized that Jasper was the Shawn Marion of our team (to mix sports metaphors). He was incredibly talented, but unhappy with his role. We had to let him go.

Our thanks to Shannon for enthusiastically negotiating Jasper's trade. Good luck and Godspeed to you, little black fellow.