From the moment you learn their names, it’s obvious that Shauna Oliver loves her two Bengal cats. One is called Prince Caspian von Julius Dancing to the Mango song, the other is Sir Baker Bunsen Waka Waka. But like many pet parents, Oliver is aware that it can take up to six weeks for these family members to get an appointment with a vet — though she was in a position to change that.
Oliver is AVP and head of global benefits and wellness at financial services firm Manulife, and she knew that other pet-owning colleagues had also struggled to find veterinary care in recent years.
“People were rushing to emergency facilities for what could be basic treatment,” she says. “When our beloved friend doesn’t act as usual, we immediately wonder what’s going on.”
According to a recent Pew Research survey, nearly 70 percent of Americans own pets, and 35 percent own more than one. According to Forbes Advisor, nearly 80 percent of current pet owners bought or adopted an animal during the pandemic, which has led to a huge increase in demand for veterinary care. Unfortunately, the supply is nowhere near the demand — the U.S. is expected to have a shortage of 40,000 veterinarians by 2030 — and
When Oliver learned about virtual vet platform Airvet, which provides
“The average pet owner visits each pet three times a year, and 80% of visits are during the work week, which means people are taking half a day to a day off work,” they say. “We can give back.
Concerns over continued care, as well as how return-to-office policies are affecting their animals, are a major concern for employees today. A third of pet owners say accessibility and affordability affect regular visits to the doctor, and 63% of workers said the added benefits of having a pet increased their likelihood of staying with their company for the next year. will give, according to a recent Airvet survey. In addition to basic and emergency vet care, the company also provides training on how to prepare owners and their pets for separation.
“My two Bengals are notorious for fighting with each other,” Oliver explains as an example of how she personally uses Airwet. “Sometimes it’s just boys being boys, but sometimes it can be a medical condition. Finding a partner like Arrowette who provides 24/7 access, where they can see my pets and talk to me. To be able to and reduce stress for me and my family at no cost. It seems like not only an amazing benefit, but a signal to our colleagues that we (think) families come in all shapes and sizes. Comes.”
To ensure that Airvet’s benefit gets the word out, Manulife invited Airvet to participate in its open enrollment events in Boston and Toronto this year. Attendance was at an all-time high, Oliver says, and lines to speak with vendors were around the corner. Employees shared stories and photos of their pets, and five percent of the employee population immediately signed up.
“It’s a great example of realizing that you don’t have to do big things,” says Oliver. “Sometimes there are ideas that say, ‘What are our employees really facing at home, and what can we do to make their lives easier?’ It impacts physical, financial and mental well-being, and makes our colleagues smile. It’s priceless, and we’re truly grateful for it.”