By: Dr. Jack Stephens
Feliz Navidog! It’s Torrey, writing to you from sunny Mexico. I’m spending a few days here, recharging my batteries before heading home to Idaho for Christmas. I need to be home, after all, when Santa Paws comes down the chimney dragging a sack full of presents for me with his teeth. Every year, I try to stay awake so I can see him but I always seem to fall asleep before he shows up. (Well, a girl does need her beauty rest, after all!)
Some of my friends, believe it or not, have tried to tell me that there is no Santa Paws at all, that he’s just made up. That’s simply ridiculous. I mean, how else could you explain the new chew toys, the soft fuzzy blankets, the boxes of treats and everything else I find under the tree each Christmas morning? And who eats those dog biscuits I always set out on a plate by the fireplace?
Now Santa, if you’re reading this, you know I’ve been extra good this year. Well, pretty good, anyway. I have tried not to bark so much at the office (I only bark when there is a very good reason) and have reduced my howling by as much as 50%. And I always work hard to keep my Dad happy. It hasn’t been easy, Santa, but I knew it would be worth it come Christmas morning.
As you know, Santa, I’m a simple dog with simple tastes. I’m easy to please. I don’t want to burden you with a long list of items, and after all, I already have everything a girl could want, so why not make it easy on yourself this year? Just bring me a simple diamond-studded collar. And if it’s not too much trouble, you might throw in a nice cashmere cardigan, size extra-small. Those Idaho nights do get mighty chilly, after all. You see? I’m quite easy to shop for.
Most of all, though, what I want is for my fellow dogs and cats, the homeless ones who have to spend the holidays in animal shelters, to find warm, loving homes. Santa, please tell everyone who has room in their house (and love to give) to think about adopting a shelter pet. My mom and dad do this, and even though I have to reestablish myself as top dog with each new pet, I do feel good about helping others. If they don’t have the room for a new pet, they should at least donate food or toys to their local shelters this Christmas; it would be best to call the shelter and ask what their biggest needs are.
And to all the rest of my friends out there, all of us at Pets Best would like to wish you health and happiness in the coming year. Try to stay warm and most of all, be good! After all, Santa Paws is watching you…
By: Dr. Jack Stephens
Hello, my adoring fans! As I’m sure you know, I’m something of a celebrity. I can’t help it. In my role as Customer Service Advocate for America’s Best pet insurance company, I’m a high-profile dog. And with my gorgeous looks and winning personality, well, let’s just say a certain amount of fame is inevitable. I’ve learned to live with it, darling.
Anyway, as a famous dog, I get a large amount of fan mail. I don’t read it, of course—my people take care of that kind of drudgery—but sometimes, if I’m in the mood, I will have my assistant read me a letter or two. Many of my fan letters ask for beauty tips, of course. How do I keep my coat so glossy? What’s my secret for long, elegant nails?
Well hold on to your hats, girls, because I’m about to spill it—my ultimate beauty secret. And that secret is, believe it or not, good health. I love pampering as much as the next girl, so far be it from me to downplay the value of a visit to the salon to get buffed, polished and pedicured, but let’s face it, without my overall glow of health, even the best groomer in Beverly Hills wouldn’t be able to make me shine the way I do.
As you might know, my Dad is a veterinarian, so I actually see the doctor every day. No wonder I’m such a specimen of health! But for most pets, an annual wellness screening is enough to keep them in the pink. And those that are middle-aged—relax, darling, you’re only as old as you feel—should have their people schedule an appointment every six months or so.
A good doctor will give you a thorough examination, including several lab tests, to keep an eye out for any potential problems that might keep you from being as attractive as I am—you know, bright eyes free of discharge, a sleek, beautiful coat with no nasty dandruff flakes, great-smelling breath, that sort of thing. I won’t promise that it will make you as beautiful and popular as me, but it’s a start, dear, it’s a start.
Until next time, keep those fan letters coming (who knows, I may just decide to answer one!) and remember, if you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything, darling.
Let’s do lunch. Have your people call my people.
By: Dr. Jack Stephens
Hello All! Oh it’s an excellent month to be a dog! The weather is changing and it is finally getting cooler in my office, I no longer have to lie around all day in the scorching heat! For a while now I thought I might have been gaining a few more ounces, since I haven’t been able to make my daily treat trips around the building which help me keep my slim figure!
For all of you who weren’t able to wish me a Happy Birthday, I celebrated my glorious 6th year of life last week! It was fabulous! I was able to catch up on my beauty rest, had one or two treats here and there…… Ok, ok, I may have fibbed just a little, I had a few more than that, but it was my birthday, I deserved something special! Later that afternoon I had a few pictures taken for my portfolio. I was enjoying myself until they attempted to put a birthday bow on my head. Yeah right, like I was going to let that happen. I look fantastic just the way I am.
Some other current events that are going in my life… My dad enrolled me in these Positive Pet Parenting courses. So far I haven’t notice a difference. I am not surprised because, in my opinion there is nothing wrong with me. I may be a little bit more vocal than some of my fellow canine friends, but hey, I am pint sized and have to speak up or no one would be able to hear me. I also don’t think that “asking” politely and putting on my “cute face” really translates to “begging.”
So have you all seen the previews for this upcoming movie “Beverly Hills Chihuahua?”
Well I did, and I am appalled that my dad didn’t get any offers for me to be one of the main stars! I am cute, full of spunk and have a great talent for acting. I mean half of the people that work for Pets Best who give me treats, really think I like them. Now that’s “real” acting. I should get an Oscar for that….hmm maybe they should start calling them the “Torrey” awards, that has a nice ring to it. Anyway, not to babble on about how I am not in the movie, I am just thankful I am insured, because I bet most of the Chihuahuas in that movie aren’t. What happens if they were to get hurt on the job? Like break a nail or something? At least they would be protected by Pets Best Insurance. Hmm maybe we should give their parents a call!
Well my paw is getting awfully tired of writing, so until next time everyone!
P.S. For anyone who may have forgotten to send me a belated birthday gift, you know where I work!
Be good! I know I will try, just for my dad’s sake!
By: Dr. Jack Stephens
Wow! What a month! So much has happened and I hardly know where to begin. Since a few of you have asked (and because I personally enjoy being the center of attention), I asked my people to take a few beauty shots of me to help tell this month’s story.
To begin, we spent several busy and incredible days at the American Veterinary Medical Association annual meeting in New Orleans where it was hotter than sin. Thank God for air-conditioning as I’m not sure that I would have made it. As you know, real ladies never sweat, so that was a bit of a challenge in 510% humidity, even for a dog.
This show seemed even busier than usual for some reason. Dad was shaking hands a lot, and while we usually spend a lot of time talking to people, it seemed like there was hardly ever a moment when we were alone. Other people were really excited, and it all seemed to be a pretty big deal, something about Somebody Something Trust and some lady named Edna, but I just smiled and enjoyed the extra attention.
While we were there, Mom picked up J.P., short for Jefferson Parrish because he was adopted from, yes, Jefferson Parrish, a New Orleans shelter that Mom helped fix up with other volunteers while we were there. She said he was too adorable to leave behind. I don’t know about that, but I do know I’m glad *I’m* not stuck in one of those boxes!
As far as J.P. and I go personally, I’m glad that he seems to understand who the pack leader is, so he and I have not had any issues. Yet.
I’m glad that he’s a decent sort of fellow because Mom and Dad took us camping the weekend after AVMA and it was irritating enough to have to share my space with seven others, let alone seven plus the new guy who may or may not have deferred to me naturally, as he should have. I did the best I could and spent most of the time in my chair or trying to stay near Dad. Truthfully, I missed my cheetah couch as I am not a huge fan of the Great Outdoors.
Back in the office I settled back in to my daily routine of Office Guard Dog and Chief Giraffe Fetcher, along with my customer advocate duties.
All in all, it’s been a pretty good month. I have a celebration of the day I was born coming up next month, but since ladies never reveal their true ages, I’ll just say that I am in the prime of my life. (And not that I would share this with just anyone, but it’s on Sept. 10th if you’d like to send jewels, treats or anything cheetah themed, my favorite.)
And to whomever shared the Animal Behavior website with my Dad, you and I need to talk. Fortunately, I was able to do a little damage control so that Dad remembers that I, of all people, don’t need behavior modification, but the phrase “I have a bone to pick with you” does not begin to describe the conversation I plan on having once I find you.
Remember, Darlings, well behaved women seldom make history.
Until next time,
By: Dr. Jack Stephens
Recently Pets Best conducted another set of focus groups of pet owners in order to find out if we are addressing what pet owners really want and to see if they understand the value concept of pet insurance.
Overall we verified previous observations from years of prior experience and learned more about perceptions of Pets Best. One thing of note—which was prevalent in all the focus groups—is that there are definitely still myths floating around about pet insurance. The following are the highlights along with my responses to those lingering myths:
1. Pet Insurance is only for sick pets
Actually, you must purchase insurance before your pet is sick for it to be effective, the same as you would buy auto or homeowners insurance before you have an accident or catastrophe.
2. Insurance is a hassle
Pets Best plans are simple, you simply pay your veterinary bills and submit the bills to us and we reimburse you directly, usually in less than a week.
Unlike some plans which are complicated and use schedules which may be substantially less than your actual veterinary expenses, with our 80% payment, after the deductible, it is easy to figure out how much we will reimburse you for claims.
Since pet owners are typically out-of-pocket for their pets’ medical expenses, unlike human health care where hospitals and doctors bill the insurance company, the turnaround time for payment is important when choosing a pet insurance company.
3. We could not choose our own vet
Fortunately with most pet insurance plans there are no managed care principals, pet HMOs or veterinary PPOs to contend with. At Pets Best—and most other pet insurance providers—you can always select the veterinarian of your choice. Pet insurance is not typically involved in the decision process for treatments, care or cost. As with most things, there are exceptions, though, and at least one company is currently working to set up a network of veterinarians.
4. Pet Insurance must be expensive
Although premiums vary by company, plan type, the age of the pet, and species (cat or dog), in most instances pet insurance is more affordable than you might imagine with the monthly cost being about what you would pay for a dinner for two. Pet owners can also choose even less costly plans with lower limits and a higher deductible or higher cost plans with lower deductibles and higher limits. Prices will vary from company to company, but most are reasonable.
5. Pet Insurance has too many exclusions or does not cover what I need
When it comes to accidents or illnesses, pet insurance actually has very few exclusions. Pet insurance is designed to transfer the risk of your pet’s future unknown health cost to the insurer. When it comes to your pet’s health and the many thousands of accidents and illnesses that can happen to pets, other than hereditary, congenital and pre-existing, all accidents and most illnesses are covered.
With Pets Best many of the typical exclusions are limitations, where the payment, although smaller does provide some coverage and value. Ask your veterinarian or their staff how many times a pet’s illness can present financial hardship and hard decisions for pet owners. Pet insurance is like your own health insurance, it is designed to help pay for your pet’s medical needs, whether it is a simple skin rash, a virus, an ear infection or severe cancer.
Although your actions in insuring your pet speak to your understanding the myths and knowing the value pet insurance can provide to your peace of mind, our recent focus group shows that most pet owners still do not completely understand pet insurance. I will not rest until every pet owner is at least aware there is pet insurance coverage that can be budgeted at a reasonable cost so they never have to be concerned with their pet family member’s health cost.