How my journey as a pet parent inspired Papaya Pet Care.
By Papaya Pet Care Founder & CEO Clayton Webb
As a pet parent of two, I've experienced my fair share of challenges when it comes to getting my cat and dog the best possible veterinary care. My cat, Icarus, is a fluffy Siberian Forest Cat. My dog, Percy, is a playful German Shepherd. They both have huge personalities, bring me immense joy, and teach me so much about the importance of animal companionship. They also both struggle with going to the vet.
My pets and I have lived across the country, from Chicago to Oklahoma to Los Angeles, and I never knew what kind of experience we were going to have at the vet—getting Icarus and Percy care always felt like a gamble! Even if a clinic seemed nice at a first glance, it didn't mean that the functionality would be any better or there would be specific processes to reduce my pets' stress.
We'd wait in hectic lobbies for hours to get care. Medical plans and pricing were often confusing, filled with charges that I didn't understand. Veterinary offices were clinical and unfriendly, and I was lucky if I could get an appointment when we needed it. Finally, there wasn't an easy way to access (or share!) important information, like medical records, prescriptions, and everything else related to our pets' health.
On top of that, Icarus and Percy were extremely stressed before and during veterinary exams. I didn't feel like their perspectives were considered at all. We struggled finding a veterinarian that had a cat-specific exam room for Icarus and most waiting rooms we entered were crowded with agitated pets. The veterinary teams that we worked with seemed rushed and burned out, even if they had my pets' best interests at heart.: I couldn't help but feel like my beloved pets were just another number.
I started talking to my friends and family about their experiences with veterinary care and noticed a pattern. More often than not, , it was difficult to get pets quality care (even more so if their pets experienced high levels of anxiety) and pet parents left appointments confused and deeply unsatisfied. With every frustrated pet parent that I encountered, the more determined I became to change the way we care for our cats and dogs. With Papaya Pet Care, I want to create a veterinary experience that even high-stress pets like Icarus and Percy would love.
It's time for an upgrade in veterinary care.
Medical care for humans has drastically improved in recent years. It's easier than ever to access care from wherever you are with sleek telemedicine apps. Everything down to the tiniest details feels personalized. Clinics feel warm and welcoming. Why couldn't veterinary care feel equally attentive and tailored to each pet's unique needs? This feels especially important as 76% of Millennials own a pet; a 2020 survey from YPulse revealed just how important pet parenthood is to this generation:
- 49% said pampering their pet makes them happy
- 42% said they think of their pet(s) as kid(s)
I definitely relate to others in my generation who see their pets as nothing short of family members—and we expect a quality of care that reflects this feeling! I envision Papaya Pet Care as the top choice for pet parents (of any generation) who want the very best for their animal companions.
I'm so excited about what Papaya's future holds.
We have made some major strides in creating a better veterinary experience: we have six delightfully inviting clinics opening across California, each with a team of talented, passionate professionals who are dedicated to the Papaya mission. Whether you're visiting one of our clinics in Los Angeles or San Diego, you can expect compassion, quality, and consistency. As we grow nationally, every pet parent can visit any Papaya clinic and have all of their pet(s) records available.
There are a few details about our approach that I'm especially thrilled about and I think you'll love too:
- Technology to match the times. We've created a Papaya Pet Care app from the ground up to make appointment scheduling, record keeping, and sharing information easy. You'll be able to make appointments at times that actually work for you, keep track of medical records, and loop in a co-parent—all from within the app. Additionally, you can set up profiles for your pet(s), including an emotional record to track details like their stressors and favorite treats. With this app, you can access your pet's records from whenever, wherever. Create an account here.
- Fear Free Certified® clinics. Our clinics are totally Fear Free Certified, which means that we have specific processes and training to reduce fear, anxiety, and stress among animals. Further, our clinics are designed to promote calm, with species-specific waiting areas, pheromone diffusers, non-slip exam tables, and much more. Every last detail is designed with the pet's perspective in mind. This approach doesn't only benefit our cat and dog clients, but it also helps keep pet parents and our staff safe.
- An incredible company culture. I want to create a supportive, positive environment for pets—and people, too. This means we're offering things like competitive pay, fun team-building events, generous time off, and an emphasis on mental health support. I believe that when employees feel supported and empowered, everyone—including our clients—benefits. We're also committed to giving back to our communities and volunteering with amazing local organizations.
The biggest thanks to you (from me, Icarus, and Percy) for being part of this journey! We truly can't wait to see your pet and you at one of our beautiful clinics.