At left, Veronica Jarvinen (front center) and the EMMAvet team. At right, the new clinic’s waiting area.
Dog and cat owners in the Alexandria and Richmond Highway areas have a new option for when their furry loved ones need immediate medical attention.
EMMAvet — short for EMergent Medical Attention — opened for business August 28 in the Belle View Shopping Center (see map). Modeled after urgent care centers for humans, EMMAvet is designed for pets who need medical attention outside of normal vet hours — but don’t need an expensive, long trip to a specialty doctor or ER. The clinic has its own on-site diagnostics, including a laboratory, X-ray, ECG, and ultrasound. If a pet needs more extensive treatment, EMMAvet will stabilize them for transfer to a 24-hour hospital.
Owner Veronica Jarvinen, a veterinarian who has experience working in the emergency department of specialty hospitals, said the clinic is already seeing new patients thanks to word-of-mouth recommendations on Nextdoor.com and Facebook, as well as from residents in the neighborhood.
“We’re just really excited to be here and we’ve gotten really great feedback from the community,” Jarvinen said.
EMMAvet has two veterinarians, four nurses and two front desk personnel on staff, and is open until 11 p.m. seven days a week. All patients are walk-in, and all diagnostics and other medical records are sent electronically to the pet’s primary care veterinarian.
EMMAvet also offers “doga” classes.
The practice operates in a space formerly occupied by Pro Feed Pet Nutrition, but it won’t be recognizable to anyone who shopped there. Jarvinen worked with an architect to design the interior, which went through a major renovation over the spring and summer. Jarvinen said she strived to give the clinic a clean, modern look that would be welcoming for both people and their pets.
“I wanted to have that really crisp and fresh look, where people would feel welcome and would want to hang out in,” Jarvinen said.
You don’t have to have a sick pet to stop by though, Jarvinen said. People from the Belle View neighborhood sometimes pop in while walking their dogs, and some of the employees regularly bring their pets to work.
“It’s really great because people are always walking in and out the door,” Jarvinen said.
Amenities in the clinic include a coffee station with flavored syrup, cream and non-dairy creamers. There’s also a kids area where children can pretend to be vets themselves. EMMAvet is also a paperless practice and cash-free.
Outside of normal business hours, EMMAvet is also offering a regular “doga” class, where people can sign up to do yoga with their dogs in a class led by a certified yoga instructor. The next doga class will be Sept. 30 at 10 a.m. — sign-up is free, although donations are appreciated.
“We’re going to try and do it once or twice or month,” Jarvinen said. “Being with your dog and doing stuff like that is so much fun.”