WAXHAW – When Stephen and Susan Bonilla opened Passionate Paws Animal Hospital more than a year ago, the couple defined their target market as people that consider their pets more like family members.
“I think that’s the evolution in pet ownership,” Hospital Administrator Stephen Bonilla said. “We don’t even use that phrase – pet ownership – anymore. We always try to refer to everyone as pet parents.”
What do they refer to the offspring of pet parents? Fur babies, of course.
Passionate Paws is more akin to a pediatrician than a veterinarian, Stephen Bonilla said, noting his wife provides a high level of care to fur babies from puppyhood to adulthood.
“We are an integrated animal hospital, meaning we’re able to offer Eastern and Western medicine,” he said.
Passionate Paws clumps its services into three categories:
• Preventative care: Dental, diagnostics, nutrition, parasite, physicals and vaccinations.
• Advanced care: Dentistry, hospice & euthanasia, internal medicine, radiology and surgery.
• Complementary care: Acupuncture, chiropractic, herbal therapy and physical therapy.
As fur babies advance in age, the integrative part of the practice thrives.
A pet may develop complications over time that rule out traditional treatment, prompting pet parents to consider complimentary options, like acupuncture or herbal therapy, to improve their pet’s quality of life.
“Pet parents are looking at their pets and saying, I want to do more for you but I don’t know what’s out there,’” Stephen Bonilla said. “It’s on us to educate the masses that there are other options for you.”
The wide range of care keeps customers coming through the doors. Passionate Paws not only won Best of the Weekly reader choice awards for Best Veterinarian and Best Groomer, but it also won the Union County Chamber of Commerce’s Rising Star Award.
Passionate Paws held a pet adoption event, Pups N Pints, over the summer at The Dreamchaser’s Brewery. It also collects donations for Humane Society of Union County.
The hospital has enrolled in the American Veterinary Medical Foundation’s Veterinary Care Charity Fund. The program provides a pool of money to help care for pets in need.