The term “Fear Free” is a trademark protected term owned by Fear Free LLC, a for-profit company based in Denver, Colorado. The company markets a well-regarded pet handling training program for use in clinical veterinary practice. Dr. King has successfully completed the training and testing required to be designated as a “Fear Free Professional”. Dr. King was listed in the referral directory as the first Coeur d’ Alene area veterinarian to have received this designation. He and his staff believe in the general goals of the Fear Free program and use strategies taught in the course. In fact, the Lakewood Animal Hospital facility was designed and the staff has used many of these principles long before “Fear Free” officially existed.
Although the mission of the Fear Free organization is well intentioned, and the training valuable, the naming of the program may be misinterpreted by the public. We believe that it is impossible to guarantee that your pet will have a fear free experience at any hospital including our own. Just as food advertised as being “sugar free” and “fat free” should not contain “sugar” or “fat”, the label “Fear Free” suggests that an experience will be “fear free”. This cannot be accurate. There is no way to guarantee a fear free experience to your pet. We can only make an educated guess if a pet is experiencing stress based on their demeanor and body language but we do not know for sure what your pet is truly feeling every minute during their visit. We cannot prevent all episodes of fear and pain either. We can and do make significant effort to reduce stress and improve comfort. We ask that you consider the example of another related medical field in understanding this point; the pediatrician’s office or children’s hospital. Even when the doctors and nurses there make their best effort to provide kind, compassionate care, sometimes children still experience stress and are unhappy, fearful or upset.
We would love for you to consider us to be your veterinarian and will try our best to make your pet as comfortable as possible but please don’t expect that your pet will be “fear free” or even “stress free” during all of his visits.