WEST BOUNTIFUL — It’s possible to get surgery, physical therapy, a hair cut or a massage at this Davis County business – but only if you’re a dog.
Cats, too, have lots of options for care and training when their owners bring them to Animal Care Center.
It’s a business that has been recognized for the second year now, with a Best of State Award.
According to founder and veterinary physician Pam Nichols, the award has come about in part due to their innovations and in part because of their community service.
Both are things she has made a part of her operation since its inception 15 years ago.
When it opened on May 31, 1999, the Animal Care Center had four employees. It has since grown to include 25.
“I love my staff,” said Nichols, who goes by “Dr. Pam” in the office. “They’re all top-notch. The average length of employment here is seven years.”
Surrounded by dogs of all breeds and all sizes, Nichols and her staff work together to take care of any need.
Besides grooming and surgical services, they offer pet rehabilitation and physical therapy such as hydrotherapy with underwater treadmills, ice and heat treatments, laser therapy, acupuncture and chiropractic care.
According to its website, the center is the only certified physical therapy center of its kind in Utah.
Innovation is an important part of the care they provide, said Nichols, and includes regenerative stem cell therapy using stem-cell-rich abdominal fat, and laproscopic spaying.
In addition, the center offers “cutting-edge shockwave therapy that uses high energy sound waves to stimulate cells and healing,” according to the website.
Another innovation is their “fear-free visit” program, where dogs are invited to spend some time at the center in order to become more comfortable, ensuring that when they have a medical need, they will not be frightened of the place or the people. For a 15-minute visit, the owners are credited $5 toward their pets’ next appointments.
“We want them to always love us and not be nervous,” said Nichols.
One of the ways Nichols and her staff serve in the community is by providing care at reduced rates or for no cost, to dogs working in the police K-9 programs for Woods Cross and West Bountiful, at the Salt Lake International Airport and the Utah Highway Patrol.
Their charity work includes picking up pets who need treatments if their owners are homebound, caring for dogs after an accident even when the owners are not known, providing internships to students and offering “day-with-a-vet” programs.
“My staff goes above and beyond, helping pets from birth to death, and helping clients make the best decisions,” she said.
The two biggest problems dogs now have, said Nichols, are obesity and dental health.
“People need to watch their dog’s weight,” she said, “and if their breath smells bad, something is wrong.”
A special room is designated for cats who are brought in, and in addition to classes for puppies, kitty wellness and socialization classes are held.
Sometimes services involve counseling for pet owners and families, as decisions must be made for end-of-life care.
“We work so hard to help people through the grieving process,” she said, which includes denial and anger, much like with any loss.
“We try to help so they don’t feel guilty and they don’t look back,” said Nichols.
Dogs wander comfortably around the rooms filled with equipment and people. Lavender, Emma and DayLily all seem totally at ease with the staff and with each other. Large, soft pads on the floor are resting spots for those recovering from treatments.
Nichols also has daycare and boarding facilities for the pets of people who are working or traveling. One is located at 596 W. 1500 South in Woods Cross, and a newer facility at 1977 W. North Temple in Salt Lake City, for people on their way to the airport.
More information is available at utahanimalcarecenter.com and utahdogpark.com.