03 Sep America’s Walk In Vet Clinic [The PetWellClinic Story]
PetWellClinic has been providing high-quality vet care that requires no appointment for over a decade. But do you know how it all began? This convenient alternative for busy pet owners who still want the best for their furry friends began with a veterinarian and a simple idea. That idea has since grown into an industry favorite nationwide. Today we’re discovering how America’s favorite walk-in vet clinic came to exist.
A Veterinarian With a Dream
Dr. Sam Meisler is the mastermind behind PetWellClinic. His successful career in veterinary medicine is built on a lifetime of loving animals. When he was nine he wrote an entry in his journal that stated, “I have a fish, four tortoises, a hedgehog, a dog, a cat, lots of guinea pigs, horses and I want to be a veterinarian.”
While most children claim they want to be a veterinarian at one point in their life, Meisler stuck to that dream. His career path had some twists and turns in it, but he ultimately found himself graduating from the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine with honors in 1991.
Many vet students choose what kind of veterinary medicine they want to practice while they’re still in school and stick to that decision once they start their careers. But Meisler’s experience was unique. His background in veterinary medicine includes a variety of experiences from practicing medicine on large farm animals to working with the Indianapolis Zoo. These opportunities have given Meisler the opportunity to work with animals of all kinds, including horses, giraffes, walruses, dogs, cats, birds, dolphins, tortoises, and more!
After graduating from the University of Florida, Meisler worked in a mixed animal practice in Indiana before he did a residency at the University of Tennessee’s College of Veterinary Medicine in Knoxville, TN. When that was complete, he moved to Florida, opened a clinic for horses, and worked at other vet clinics part time to pay the bills. During his time in Florida, Sam bought a small animal practice he had been working at, and earned his MBA to learn more about running his own business.
This interest in owning and running his own business eventually came in handy when Meisler moved back to Knoxville, TN and opened a hospital for small animals. But when the recession eventually happened, Meisler was inspired to find a more affordable model for pet owners that would still provide high-quality vet care for their pets.
The Minute Clinic for Pets
When Meisler first graduated from veterinary school in 1991, taking your pet to the vet wasn’t expensive. But low prices meant that every single vet clinic had vets and staff working overtime to care for all of the animals. Eventually, clinics realized if they wanted to keep their staff, they would have to start raising their prices and hiring more staff to be a more profitable business and alluring workplace. While this increase in prices was necessary for the industry, it had its consequences.
“All of a sudden, the cost of going to the vet was going up by 15% year over year,” says Meisler. That’s when he recognized pet owners needed an alternative to a full-service vet clinic or animal hospital. There weren’t enough affordable and convenient options available. Meisler discovered the solution in a simple conversation with his wife.
“My wife was reading an article about Walgreens’ Takecare (now Healthcare) Clinic when she turned to me and said, ‘Why don’t you do something like this for veterinary medicine?’” While it’s a simple concept, a walk in model for vet clinics was revolutionary for the industry. It just hadn’t been done in a way that was as successful as the Walgreen Healthcare Clinics or CVS’s MinuteClinics. Meisler put some thought into it, and the initial plans for PetWellClinic were born.
No Appointment Vet Care
In 2010, the very first PetWellClinic opened its doors in Knoxville, TN. To save money in the early days of PetWellClinic, Meisler was the only veterinarian on staff, and they focused on providing low-cost vaccines for pets without the need for an appointment. Meisler would work at the first location on Saturday afternoons and after his morning shifts at his other business, a private veterinary hospital.
In the beginning, pet owners would line up around the block to get their pets vaccinated at PetWellClinic. But Meisler had bigger intentions than only providing low-cost vaccines. He dreamed of a future that included comprehensive, high-quality, preventative care for dogs and cats that kept their owners’ needs and concerns in mind, too.
What Meisler originally envisioned for the business is what they finally have now.
The goal was to have a clinic where pet owners can spontaneously take their dog or cat to the vet and not have to schedule an appointment weeks in advance. But convenience was not enough. Meisler knew he needed to center his business around a specific set of ideals.
PetWellClinic is built on five core values:
These values coupled with PetWellClinic’s business model result in veterinary care that keeps both pets and pet owners in mind. From affordability to high-quality care and medicine, the PetWellClinic family grows every single day with pet owners who are excited about providing the best care possible for their pets.
PetWellClinic’s Unique Model
Life is busy, but providing care for your pet should never be difficult or stressful. “We really prioritize access,” Dr. Meisler explains. Because of this priority, you can get care on-demand with PetWellClinic’s walk-in model.
The need for walk-in vet care was proven when COVID-19 impacted full-service vet clinics. Pet owners couldn’t bring their pets in for routine preventative care during the height of the pandemic. Traditional vet clinics were only taking emergency cases.
Even when clinics reopened, they were booked out for weeks trying to catch up on all of the routine exams that couldn’t happen when they were closed. But many pet owners realized that this is where PetWellClinic can fill the gap.
“The reason we can offer high-quality care without the need for an appointment is due to our business model. The fact that we don’t offer emergency services, or have a surgery suite allocates our time in a way that lets us focus on what we do best: providing same-day, routine preventative care every single day without the need for scheduling an appointment.”Dr. Sam Meisler
Because of the specific list of services PetWellClinic provides, the goal isn’t to convince pet owners to ditch their full-service vet clinics. “We don’t completely replace the need for a traditional, full-service vet clinic,” explains Meisler. “We only offer vet care that we’re highly skilled and trained in, which is why we don’t do things like dental care or spay or neuter surgery.” Instead, PetWellClinic focuses on routine, preventative care that keeps your dog or cat happy and healthy like physical exams, rabies vaccines, and routine blood work as well as care for minor everyday ailments like ear infections, skin issues and such.
What do PetWellClinic’s services include?
- Minor pet illnesses like ear infections, kennel cough, upper respiratory infections, and skin allergies.
- Chronic conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, and autoimmune conditions.
- Preventative care that includes rabies vaccines, routine blood work, flea and tick prevention, as well as physical exams for both dogs and cats.
PetWellClinic partners with pet owners to ensure their pets have the best options possible for their health. The professional veterinarians and staff who work at every PetWellClinic partner with pet owners to make the decision that’s best for them and their pets. This approach to veterinary medicine is proving to be popular as PetWellClinic continues to grow.
The Future of PetWellClinic
Meisler continues to have big goals for PetWellClinic. “We want to grow into a national entity,” Meisler announces, and his dream is well on its way to being realized. In the coming years, PetWellClinic is going to experience rapid growth.
Within the next year there are plans to open multiple clinics in Denver, CO, Fort Lauderdale, FL, Pittsburgh, PA, Washington D.C., and even New York City. None of this growth would be possible without the support and dedication of the first pet owners in Knoxville, TN who gave PetWellClinic the momentum it needed to expand. But PetWellClinic isn’t growing just for the sake of growth.
It’s one of Meisler’s priorities to duplicate what they have already successfully created in Knoxville. His goal is that thousands of pet owners will eventually gain access to affordable and convenient care for their pets.
In 10 years, Meisler hopes PetWellClinic is successfully serving pet owners in communities throughout the country. He feels an enormous amount of satisfaction and gratitude for the success that PetWellClinic has already had. “It’s been an honor and it’s been a lot of fun to solve the access problems for vet care. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.” But Meisler also recognizes that he didn’t do it alone. He extends his gratitude to all of his staff, teammates, and clients. “We all share the same values,” he says. “I have a great team at PetWellClinic.”
The entire team at PetWellClinic is dedicated to the health and happiness of the pets in the community. To learn more about PetWellClinic’s unique approach to accessible, preventative veterinary care, visit our website! If you’re interested in bringing PetWellClinic to your own community, learn more information here.
PetWellClinic is dedicated to being here for pet owners. Our hours of operation extend into the evenings and weekends, and our clinic environment is built with your pet’s comfort in mind. Bring them by your local PetWellClinic for their next physical exam today!
PetWellClinic provides convenient, affordable veterinary care for pet owners. PetWellClinic has locations and services built with convenience in mind. Stop by with your pet any time! No appointment necessary.