Zombie Preparedness 101: Halloween 2011

Originally Published: Exceptional Veterinary Team, October 31, 2011



Don’t let the undead get you down. Zombie-proof your practice with these 6 tips!

As the saying goes: “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail… and possibly be eaten.” If your veterinary practice doesn’t have a contingency plan for a zombie uprising, your staff could suffer grisly consequences, not to mention miss out on a chance to prosper from this rare business opportunity. Don’t let bloodthirsty wandering souls take a bite out of your bottom line or devour the positive culture you work so hard to foster. Put your contingency plan in place now.

1) Institute a strict sick policy.

If there is one thing worse than having an employee who shows up at work looking like death and making all of the other employees worried about contagion, it’s an employee who shows up in that condition, dies, comes back to life and then eats other employees’ brains. Don’t take chances – send your sick staff home. You can assure any employee worried about making ends meet that there will be plenty of extra shifts to fill after the zombie apocalypse is over.

2) Kill the walk-in appointment.

Normally, walk-ins are a great way to fill the waiting room, but now is not the time for an open policy regarding spur-of-the-moment visitors (no matter how quickly they stagger after you). A spray-painted sign on your practice’s front door sends the message about the policy change with just the right combination of efficient clarity and urgent desperation.

3) Expand your boarding service.

It’s hard enough to flee a metropolitan area alone, much less with a beloved pet. Be there with extended boarding options so that surviving clients can pick their pets back up during humanity’s rebuilding phase. Make sure to get full payment up front (for obvious reasons) and realize that the majority of your clients won’t be coming back so you will be feeding and taking care of their pets forever. Charge appropriately.

4) Fortify your practice…with style

Remember: appearances count. Just as you’d keep a neat, attractively decorated waiting room during good times, you should make your practice a perky-looking fortress in times of zombie attack. When it’s time to board up windows and doors, bare naked plywood screams, “Economic distress and poor attention to detail!” and this is no time to show weakness. Have your more creative team members decorate your wooden barriers in bright, cheerful colors. Think big: remember, murals do wonders for morale!

5) Discontinue payment plans

It takes a special kind of manager to accept an IOU during a zombie uprising. Don’t be this person.

6) Leverage social media

When disaster strikes, people go to the Internet. When people go to the Internet, they end up on Facebook. Be there when they arrive with posts on:

Pet Health Initiatives – “Heat stroke is a real problem for pets fleeing zombies. Remember to offer fresh water whenever you reach a safe area, or whenever you have a moment to enjoy the scenery.”

Marketing Initiatives – “Our summer spay special is so good, you’ll come back from the grave for it!”

Witty & Uplifting Observations – “You can’t kill the living dead, but you can kill your pet’s fleas!”

With these killer tips, you will be able to reanimate sales, raise rampaging morale, and bludgeon the competition. Don’t worry if staff turnover increases (or even soars) during these episodes. Those team members will be back, and some of them may even be alive.


Dr. Andy Roark is a practicing veterinarian in Ijamsville, MD, but he is ready to flee the area at a moment’s notice in the event of zombie attacks.