Paws for Wellness A happy and healthy pet starts with a plan!

Responsible Pet Ownership

Person holding a puppy's pawDifferent countries around the world celebrate “Responsible Pet Ownership” at different times of the year and in different ways, but the bottom line of all these celebrations is to educate the public about responsible pet ownership. The American Kennel Club and Canadian Kennel Club celebrate Responsible Dog Ownership Month in September; National Pet Month is celebrated during April in the UK and National Dog Day is celebrated in August across Australia.

No matter the time of year, today is a good day to remember that being a responsible pet owner is much more than providing food, water, and shelter for your pet. Raising a healthy pet is a large commitment, but is so rewarding to your entire family.

What exactly does being a responsible pet owner mean? Regardless of where in the world you live or what type of pet you have, consider the following tips to help you become the best pet owner you can be:

  • Spay or neuter your pet to eliminate unwanted puppies or kittens.
  • Always provide fresh water and high quality pet food.
  • Regularly brush or comb your dog or cat.
  • Provide pet hygiene beyond brushing or combing, including teeth brushing, ear cleaning, and bathing as required.
  • Socialize your dog to new people, places, and other dogs.
  • Pick up and properly dispose of your pet’s waste.
  • Take your pet to the veterinarian for regular wellness checks and keep all vaccinations and parasite prevention current.
  • Provide appropriate exercise and mental stimulation for your pet.
  • Ensure your pet has proper identification (microchip, collar tag, and/or tattoo).
  • Adhere to local laws regarding leashing, number of pets owned, and other local by-laws.
  • Pet proof your home so accidental injury or consumption of toxins is avoided.
  • Travel safely with your pet. Restrain your pet in a crate or by a safety harness or safety net.
  • Train your dog to reduce behavior problems and keep your dog safe: train your dog to sit, stay, and come when called.
  • Take your pet to see your veterinarian if you think your pet is ill or injured.

Be prepared to commit time and money to take care of your pet. Set aside time each day to devote to your pet. This will foster a special bond with your pet and provide time that both of you will look forward to. Consider purchasing pet insurance, or create an emergency fund by setting aside money each week to help pay for any unexpected costs that may occur in the future. Of course we always hope that our pets will never become sick or injured, but these types of emergencies do occur from time to time. Having pet insurance or an emergency fund will make these situations easier to deal with should they arise.

Events to help celebrate Responsible Pet Ownership are planned in many communities. In the US and Canada, many kennel clubs host special events like dog sport demonstrations, pet parades, training classes, and therapy dog demonstrations during the month of September. Similar events are held during the month of April in the UK. During the month of July in Australia, responsible pet ownership is promoted by encouraging the spaying and neutering of dogs and cats.

No matter where in the world you live, make a promise to your pet this month to provide him or her with the best care by following the above tips.


Why We Are Your Best Choice

  • Fully Equipped and Prepared for Your Pet's Needs

    Our hospital is a 6,000 sq ft facility with a large kennel, grooming room, treatment area, and more to best serve our patients.

  • High-Quality Care Tailored to Each Patient

    We value the human-animal bond and strive to provide premium, loving care for your pet's unique needs.

  • Monthly Continuing Education for All Staff Members

    We believe that education is the key to preventing illness and shortening the recovery time for your pet's ailments.

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Meet Our Team

  • Dr. Laura  Neuhaus (Raiff) Photo
    Dr. Laura Neuhaus (Raiff)


    Dr. Laura Neuhaus is a graduate of the University of Missouri - College of Veterinary Medicine. Following graduation, she completed an emergency and specialty medicine internship at VCA Emergency Animal Hospital and Referral Center in San Diego. She enjoys ophthalmology and has a special interest in avian medicine. Her hobbies include gardening, hiking, and spending time outdoors. She is the proud parent of a cat and 2 parrotlets.
  • Dr. Mitchell  Meyerhoeffer Photo
    Dr. Mitchell Meyerhoeffer


    A Virginia native, Dr. Mitchell Meyerhoeffer (Dr. M is fine!) started his career in the veterinary field in high school at Chesterfield Technical Center's veterinary science program. He completed his undergraduate degree in Biology at Virginia Commonwealth University while working as a veterinary assistant in a specialty and emergency hospital. Dr. M then completed his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine training at Virginia Tech, enjoying the hiking and outdoor scenery in Blacksburg when he could ...
  • Beth   Photo

    Veterinary Technician

    Beth joined the GAH staff in April 2010. Originally from Maryland, she now lives in the Gloucester area. She has been working as a Licensed Veterinary Technician since graduating from Blue Ridge Community College in 1989. Away from work, she enjoys reading and working her dogs in obedience and agility classes. She has two dogs, three cats, four ferrets and three reptiles.
  • Becca   Photo

    Veterinary Assistant

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  • Mary   Photo

    Treatment Team Lead

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    Veterinary Assistant

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    Veterinary Assistant

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    Kennel Care Team Lead

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    Kennel Care Team

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  • Laiya   Photo

    Kennel Care Team

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  • Brittany   Photo

    Kennel Care Team

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  • Aidan   Photo

    Professional Groomer

    I'm Aidan, and I'm not your typical groomer. I'm a passionate animal lover with a heart full of love for our furry friends. Every day, I get the incredible opportunity to work my magic as a groomer at the renowned Grafton Animal Hospital. I can't express just how much I adore what I do. It's not just a job; it's a calling. I find immense joy in transforming your beloved pets into the best versions of themselves. Whether it's a shaggy dog that needs a fresh haircut, a cat in need of a spa day, or ...
  • Tracy   Photo

    Practice Manager

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  • Ricky   Photo

    Front Desk Supervisor

    Ricky came to Grafton Animal Hospital in April of 2011. He was a little shy at first, but once he became more comfortable with us, he became one of the team. Ricky is a Congo African Grey Parrot. We think he is around 10 years old, but no one is sure. He will sometimes put on a show of whistling, talking, singing and dancing, and imitating sounds like telephones and coughing. Visit our Facebook page for an opportunity to see Ricky in action.
  • Lucy   Photo

    Staff Meeting Coordinator

    Lucy joined the Grafton Animal Hospital reception team as the new Noisemaker bird in September 2016. After losing our long-time mascot, Croaker, earlier that year, we learned of a young Quaker parrot available for adoption at the Peninsula Regional Animal Shelter and decided she might be a good fit for the clinic. Lucy quickly made herself at home and before long, she was showing the staff who was really in charge. She is generally pretty friendly, so you will often see the staff holding her. ...
  • Daisy & Duke   Photo
    Daisy & Duke

    Staff Meeting Coordinators

    Daisy and Duke joined the GAH team in June of 2009. They were stray kittens that needed a home, and Squeaks was in need of a brother or sister. After some convincing, we were able to keep both. If you haven’t seen our kittens roaming the clinic, it’s because they are still learning their way around. For now, they are great morale boosters that keep us entertained during our staff meetings.
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    Grooming Manager

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    Kennel Care Team

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