By Christina Autry
“Pets can’t tell us when they’re sick. We feel that it’s our responsibility to do the talking for them,” says Dr. Waqar Hassan, owner of Beechcrest Animal Clinic. Hassan, the sole veterinarian at the small practice on Beechnut, has been caring for Beechcrest animals for the past six years. Hassan took the reins from retiring Dr. Maxson, inheriting his loyal customers, some of whom have moved out of the community but still make the drive to Beechcrest.
“There are hundreds of clinics between us and some of our patients who drive in to visit us,” says Hassan. “But they still choose us.” Many of these pet-owners have been coming to Beechcrest since the 1980’s, when Dr. Maxson founded the practice. New customers oftentimes get connected with Beechcrest through referrals. “We don’t do any advertising,” notes Hassan.
Along with the trust that Hassan has built among his patients, both human and pet, is the vital role of his compassionate staff. If you walked in the door yesterday, or twenty years ago, you would still have been greeted by Jane the receptionist. After two decades, Jane knows most people (and animals) who come in, and possibly even their relatives, kids, and grandchildren.
“I think people see and appreciate how we treat them like family, not like a number or a money-maker,” says Hassan. “It’s not always about the business. We do have to pay the bills, but we want to help the community.”
Having the freedom to be flexible with patients who need extra assistance was one of the driving factors behind Hassan wanting to own his own practice. Whether someone is unable to pay their bill, or would benefit from Dr. Hassan making a few extra phone calls on their behalf, Beechcrest regularly goes above and beyond for the benefit of the pet.
“Helping people is our tradition here,” says Hassan. “It doesn’t matter if it takes one day or ten days, it’s all about taking care of the pets.” Many times, those providing extra financial assistance for patients who can’t pay are other customers in the waiting room. “It’s our clients who are donating money to help others. Sometimes people are generous enough to pick up the tab,” says Hassan.
Beechcrest offers services ranging from prevention to surgeries. “Prevention starts with immunizations at six weeks old, and informing the pet-owner about local diseases like heartworms,” says Hassan. They offer the newly developed 12-month heartworm prevention injection, which can be added onto pets annual vaccinations, an easier to remember option than monthly pills.
Surgeries consist of neutering, spaying, removing foreign objects that the pet has swallowed, and more. With only 1,200 square feet to work with, Dr. Hassan only uses a kennel room when absolutely necessary. For pets who are recovering from surgery, “we keep them with us,” he says. “We don’t want them alone in the kennel, and we want to keep an eye on them.” Watching the patients and the cars going by in the lobby keeps many of these pets entertained and under supervision. Hassan will only conduct a couple surgeries at a time to ensure there are enough eyes available for the recovering patient.
“It’s everybody’s dream to have their own practice. If you’re your own boss, you have the ability to help people and animals with all the resources you have,” says Hassan. While running a small business can be hectic, and requires the wearing of many hats, Hassan feels strongly that he can now help others more than he ever could before.
“You have to do something that makes you happy,” he says. “I have a passion for helping those who can’t talk. Helping them become healthy again is our biggest achievement.”
Beechcrest Animal Clinic
8200 Wilcrest Dr # 6, Houston, TX 77072