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Cleo and Chloe White from Harrison Family Vets

Cleo and Chloe White from Harrison Family Vets


5 months ago

7th November, 2023 11h23

Harrison Family Vets

A veterinary practice in Reading is the first outside North America to achieve the coveted ‘Fear Free Veterinary Practice Certification’. Harrison Family Vets underwent a rigorous assessment and inspection process to become the first veterinary practice in the UK to be awarded Fear Free status. 

The Fear Free movement was founded in 2016 by renowned veterinarian Dr Marty Becker in the USA. Since its inception, over 320,000 veterinary professionals, pet professionals, animal welfare communities, and pet owners have registered for Fear Free’s programmes and courses. Fear Free has become the accepted gold standard within North American veterinary practices, with most veterinary schools also adopting the programme. 

Vet Yvette Rowntree, who is the Clinic Director at Harrison Family Vets in Reading, said: “Since opening just two years ago, everything we have done has been about putting pets first and making our practice as welcoming as possible. However, this accreditation process has taken everything we do to the next level. With open and honest team conversations, development of realistic protocols and a subtle change in behaviours to ensure we always put the pet first within a supportive work environment, our entire team has worked hard to achieve this certification. We wholeheartedly believe that this is the best way to carry out veterinary care for clients, the team, and most importantly the pets.” 

The practice certification process took Harrison Family Vets several months to achieve. Yvette added: “It is all about protecting the emotional well-being of pets under our care, which fits very easily with our own beliefs. We are so proud to be the first of what we hope will be many certified practices in the UK. Working in a truly committed Fear Free environment makes such a difference to the pets we treat.” 

Dr Becker from Fear Free said: “Just like with humans, a pet can’t be optimally healthy unless they’re also happy. Fear, anxiety, and stress (FAS) raise the levels of hormones that are destructive to both the body and mind. Fear Free uses clinically proven protocols to remove or reduce FAS triggers, it takes steps to mitigate FAS so that the pet feels safe and calm during a veterinary visit. The worst thing for a pet parent to feel is that they’re hurting their pet by trying to help them. In a Fear Free Certified Veterinary Practice, they take the pet out of petrified and put the treat into treatment!” 

Operations Director, Kristie Faulkner, from Harrison Family Vets, said: “Although it was possible for individuals to be Fear Free certified, this is the first time an entire practice has become certified. We have worked very closely with the Fear Free team during the past several months to enable detailed inspection and certification to take place, and we now intend for our other practices, in Dudley, Didsbury, Stockton, and Doncaster, to each reach this standard and become officially certified in the immediate future.”

Fear Free’s CEO, Randy Valpy, said: “Harrison Family Vets’ certification is part of the Fear Free expansion into the UK, New Zealand and Australia and we are absolutely thrilled to have the Reading practice as our first UK Fear Free Certified Veterinary Practice. We now plan to certify further practices in the UK and support veterinary professionals who have the relevant knowledge and techniques to practise quality medicine, as well as understanding how to develop the utmost consideration for patient’s emotional health as well.”

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