Alfie, and his human, Conservative MP for Weaver Vale Graham Evans, took a trip to Willows Veterinary Hospital, part of the independently owned Willows Veterinary Group, to celebrate their award for client care.
Alfie the cross-border terrier was given a quick check up with Clinical Director Bruce Waddell who heads up the team for the first opinion practice at Willows Veterinary Hospital in Chester Road, Hartford, near Northwich.
The six-year-old terrier, who enjoys surfing on family holidays and long walks in the countryside, was a slightly reluctant visitor when he arrived until he was tempted with dog biscuits and liver paste.
Bruce gave the MP and his canine friend a tour of the state-of-the-art facility and explained how they had achieved their outstanding accolade.
The team were among the first in the UK to be put through their paces in a new practice standards scheme launched last November and run by The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS), which is a voluntary programme to accredit veterinary practices in the UK.
There are six areas which veterinary surgeries are judged on; Client service, Team and Professional Responsibility, Patient Consultation Service, In-Patient Service, Diagnostic Service, and Emergency and Critical Care Service.
Three out of the six are inspected at one time and for Willows Veterinary Hospital, it was Team and Professional Responsibility, In-Patient Service and Client Service. They received ‘goods’ in both Team and Professional Responsibility, In-Patient Service and an ‘outstanding’ for their Client Service.
Video: Alfie's check up
MP Graham Evans said, "It is an important part of my role to come out and visit people in my area who are outstanding in their field and on this occasion, it has been a real pleasure to be able to bring Alfie who is my family’s much-loved pet.
"I am sure that this outstanding award does not come easy and it will be down to the hard work and dedication of the leadership team and the staff who work here.
"I have been hugely impressed by the facilities at the hospital and also the friendly, kind nature of the staff who have made both myself and Alfie feel welcome and at home. I wish the whole team all my congratulations."
Bruce adds, "Our team at Willows Veterinary Hospital were able to show examiners a variety of examples of exemplary customer care and client services.
"These included being well-trained in bereavement counselling and handling difficult situations when owners are worried and upset about their much-loved pets, providing appointments with named vets and clients able to see their preferred vet with consideration for early drop off and late pick up and communicating with clients in a variety of ways such as text, email and by post for reminders on vaccinations and flea and wormer treatments.
"Importantly, we could also show that was a strong culture of reviewing feedback from clients, both positive and negative, in a bid to continually improve the first-rate customer service we always strive to achieve.
"It’s the added extras we do, without being asked, which makes our team stand out and we are very proud of the award."