By Megan Douress Photography by Alexa Nahas Photography (alexanahas.com)
Being an animal lover is in Dr. Jennifer Jones’ DNA. Her parents raised her in a home where animals were always present.
“There are photos of me when I was two or three years old with our pet chickens, dogs, and cats,” she recalled. “I had a pair of hens and I had hamsters — a lot of hamsters! My parents were huge animal lovers.”
Growing up, Jennifer saw herself working in a zoo someday — breeding endangered animals and creating species’ survival plans. She went on to study biology with minors in chemistry and psychology at the University of Pennsylvania when it dawned on her. She realized that in order to take that career path, she should become a veterinarian.
Jennifer continued her education at Penn with her first pet by her side — a cat she received as a kindergarten present. At the same time, she moved to Manayunk with her husband and started her own house call practice. She would pack all of her medical equipment in a bag and visit pets in their homes for wellness and urgent care appointments.
“A lot of time was spent on my stomach trying to get cats out from under beds!” Jennifer laughed.
Two years later, Jennifer opened her brick and mortar, The Animedic Veterinary Clinic, at 102 Jamestown Avenue.
“There were vets in Manayunk, but not a multi-doctor, extended hours vet clinic,” she said. “I’ve been in this part of Philadelphia for a long time and have always loved it.”
The Animedic is, in Jennifer’s words, “pretty comprehensive.” Jennifer and her staff of veterinarians and veterinary technicians offer the basics, like spays, neuters, and annual vaccinations; to more advanced services, such as full-service dental, digital x-rays, and all kinds of surgeries, including amputations. They even have an orthopedic specialist who comes in once a month.
“We’ve removed eyes, we’ve done mechanic surgeries, and we’ve done bladder stones,” Jennifer explained. “We’re a little bit more involved but we don’t do anything truly specialized, like kidney transplants and CAT scans.”
Although The Animedic is the only veterinary clinic like it, what truly makes her practice The Best Place for Pet Care is her passionate staff. When the clinic first opened, Jennifer researched a lot of successful companies she likes and learned about their customer service.
“I’m a veterinarian, but owning a business is a horse of another color, if you will,” she laughed. “I read about how these big companies run their businesses, and it really came down to hiring staff members for their personalities over their qualities, so, that’s kind of what I’ve done.”
Jennifer explained that she has hired staff of all backgrounds — from a retired woman who was a client of hers, to current vet technician, Brian, who she hired right out of school.
“None of my vet techs had any experience,” she said. “I trained everybody. That was the initial start-up model — to hire based on personality and strong work ethic.”
“Now that I’m getting busier, I have to hire people with experience, but I still get good personalities in there,” she added. “It’s a lot of work to train, but it paid off.”
With every visit to The Animedic, you’re greeted by a smiling face behind the counter, and the resident cat behind her. But it takes more than just a friendly welcome to be the Best Place for Pet Care.
“Customer service does not come easy,” Jennifer explained. “Even if you have a crew that’s friendly, you really have to try to listen to everyone’s concerns and try to make it right. The whole ‘the customer is always right’ really is true.”
To ensure their clients and patients always have a pleasant experience at the clinic, the staff at The Animedic uses “fear-free handling” of their pets. They use a lot of treats to minimize stress for both the animals and their owners. They’ll even wrap cats up in blankets and use quiet, calm voices during their visits.
“I hope people know that we really strive for high-quality medicine and good customer service,” Jennifer said of present and future plans. “I can say this about our staff — we genuinely are animal lovers.”
“I was reading an article recently where the author said that outside of raising her children, the best thing she had ever done was have her business. I have to agree with that. It’s like my fifth child! I really love what I do.”