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Veterinarians feel impact of lost business during 'stay home' order

Duvall Veterinary Hospital closed its lobby and is only seeing animals for emergency and necessary appointments.

DUVALL, Wash. — Small businesses are closing their doors left and right, and now with Gov. Jay Inslee's "stay home" order, even businesses considered essential are struggling.

Duvall Veterinary Hospital had to cut down on their services to emergency and necessary appointments only. Even being an essential business, they’re still having a tough time making money as the future remains uncertain.

“There are things that we are going to need to treat. I took an oath and I need to be here for my patients,” said Michelle Gengler, head doctor and owner of Duvall Veterinary Hospital. 

She said her hospital is facing the same problem that other small businesses around the state are facing. 

“We have fewer appointments coming in,” Gengler explained, “For the last month or so, I’ve been doing the best, tons of research that I can do because I need to make sure that my team is supported, and I want to make sure that they can pay their bills. As an independent small business owner, I mean it’s just me keeping the doors open. So, it’s a challenge but I’m going to do what I need to do”

This week, they closed their lobby and have turned the hospital into a “drop off only” service.

RELATED: These essential businesses can stay open during Washington's stay-at-home order

Gengler said another big part of their income comes from purchases made when people come into the hospital.

“People are trying to order online so that things ship to their home,” she said, but added most vets also provide online and delivery services. “Most independent veterinary hospitals have the ability for you to go to their website and order online and it still supports the independent hospital. So, you’re supporting your community at the same time.”

That money goes into the pocket of small businesses. “We are still able to have some income even though it has slacked off in other ways, just because of the safety concerns.”

She said the best way to support businesses like hers, is to call and ask what services you can use from your vet, whether that’s prescription delivery or even buying your pet’s food through them instead of a big chain store.

RELATED: State launches site to clarify ‘essential’ businesses under stay-home order