Career Journey At Safari Veterinary Care Centers

The word Safari literally means “journey” and employment at Safari starts an exciting career path towards a destination of veterinary wisdom. Along the path, you experience a new way of practice where your knowledge is magnified and your effectiveness as a practitioner is supported by a delivery system focused on practicing veterinary medicine the way it should be … in its highest form.

Safari Standards

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Safari’s Standards reduce stress and conflict.

At Safari, we start with a set of written Safari Standards that serve as the guide book on the path to a team-based delivery system. These Standards serve as the guide posts, or “rules of the game”, describing the level of care and expectations of all team members as they work together to serve the needs of the client and the pet. These guidelines include Standards of Care, Communication, Service, Appearance, Conduct and Ethics. Written Standards ensure that all team members understand their role in supporting the veterinarian in the delivery of medicine and surgery to the pet, while ensuring the client’s needs are met as well.

Safari Workflow

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Safari’s Workflow gives you more time per patient and less stress.

The next step along the path of the Safari system is the utilization of the Safari Workflow. Workflow means how the pet and pet owner are shepherded through the system so that all their needs are met, all their questions answered, and their expectations exceeded. This workflow begins with the first phone or web-based contact with Safari and extends to how the Safari Standards are utilized by the reception staff to greet and educate the client about the services our veterinarians provide and their loved ones need. Within this workflow, the veterinarian’s role is to do only the things that a veterinarian can do. The trained technicians and assistants work to prepare the case for the veterinarian, assist in handling the pet, recording the dictated medical records, entering the charges, performing the routine diagnostics and explaining the recommendations the veterinarian may make.

This workflow enables the most important asset in the Safari System to be spared: “Veterinary Face Time”. This way the veterinarian can be the most effective at what they are trained to do. Within this workflow, the client’s perception of value is enhanced by all the members of the team guided by the Safari Standards to provide an efficient, consistent and accurate veterinary visit.

Veterinarian’s Purpose

Respect All Life

Safari’s Knowledgeable Team allows the Veterinarians to do those things only a Vet can do.

The veterinarian may come to realize early in this “Journey” that the purpose of the veterinarian is to share knowledge. Knowledge sharing is educating the client, educating the staff, and communicating the recommendations for the care of the pet in the most effective manner. Safari utilizes a proprietary database of veterinary knowledge in a software developed by Dr. Garner called VetPlan. VetPlan creates a written record of the veterinarian’s findings for the purpose of the medical record. More importantly though, VetPlan creates a “client friendly” version of this record for the client. This printed release instruction shares the knowledge of the veterinarian with the client and the client’s family. It is a printed representation of the veterinarian’s thoughts about the case that can also be used by the Safari staff to help the veterinarian be more effective in sharing case knowledge.

Veterinarians are trained to save lives, cure disease, and correct damage; all of which focus the purpose of the veterinarian on the pet. The Safari System, however, focuses on the client and how the entire team can better communicate with the client, so the informed client can now choose what is best for the pet.

Knowledge Sharing


Safari’s Knowledge Sharing increases veterinary productivity — you make more pets well and more money when you are more productive.

You might answer this question by saying, saving lives, ending suffering, treating illness or injury. And you would be correct to a degree. At Safari, however, we realize that the real purpose of your veterinary knowledge is to share it. Knowledge Sharing is the primary purpose of all veterinarians — even though they may not know it. We know that the more knowledgeable the client, the more likely he or she is to take proper care of their pet. Also, the more you are trusted, and your opinion is respected, the better your relationship with your client. Your principle purpose at Safari, therefore, is building client relationships through this knowledge sharing.

Understanding this purpose enables you to appreciate your membership in the most rewarding profession on Earth — being a veterinarian. At Safari, we have a system of practice that magnifies your knowledge; enabling productivity and patient care standards to soar.

We are looking for bright, energetic, people–oriented veterinarians who love to teach their knowledge to join our staff. Those that accept this challenge will be rewarded with the following five Safari attributes:

  • Learn how to Minimize the Complexity of Veterinary Medicine. Technology is defined as anything that increases certainty. Increasing certainty minimizes complexity. The more technology applied to a case the more certainty is created. Safari will support you by enabling the most advanced forms of technology to be applied to each case. Diagnostic technology at Safari includes in–house advanced laboratory, ultrasound, endoscopy, MRI accessibility and radiology (direct digital x–ray, dental x–ray and C–arm fluoroscopic). Therapeutic technology includes state–of–the–art anesthesia and monitoring systems for small animals and exotics, specialized micro–surgical instrumentation for eyes, exotics, laparoscopy and arthroscopy. Orthopedic surgical instrumentation including almost every power tool made.
  • Discover how to Create a Decision Path to a Diagnosis. How to pick and choose the most likely scenarios for illness by using ethical guidelines for decision making. Veterinary school gives you all the information but does not help you rate the relative value of these learned facts. Employment at Safari will give you support and guidance as to how to apply your knowledge to the case in the most productive manner. This guidance is based on decades of practical experience distilled into a meaningful set of guiding principles. These principles focus on doing what is best for the pet first, respecting all life, diagnosing before we treat, and touching before we teach, just to name a few.
  • Maximize Your Productivity to enable Financial Security. As a Safari veterinarian, you will require the advanced diagnostic and therapeutic tools and training to practice at the levels that match your educational attainments. These tools are expensive. In addition, you need to be productive financially for Safari to compensate you appropriately for your skill and knowledge. You will also need medical healthcare and benefits that you deserve to provide for a stable current and future existence. Fortunately, Safari has just the system that can engage your productive potential enabling you to capture the value from the knowledge you have obtained. Because veterinary medicine has evolved to a higher level its delivery requires a new system that engages the productivity of the whole team not just the veterinarian. Team–based multitasking workflows increase productivity and reduce stress, enabling you to practice veterinary medicine the way it should be — at its highest level.
  • Learn how to Dissolve Conflicts. Management of conflict is one of the key elements to successfully exist in today’s complex decision ridden society. Our decisions, when made focusing only on our personal needs, create conflict when placed in the context of a team–based environment. Each week Safari has team meetings designed to dissolve this conflict. These meetings are an essential element of Safari’s success and teach not only how to work together to serve our customer better but also how to live better in our complex, multi–cultural, pluralistic society. By valuing the opposing view, which we discover by the properly questioning, we can interact with fewer conflicts.
  • Learn how “Influence vs. Control” affects your whole life. Learn how to influence the proper outcome instead of stressing over control of all the variables. Your ability to influence the outcome of a situation varies inversely to the degree that you can control the situation. Learn how to influence outcomes instead of exerting energy trying to control the parts. Influence is used to attain future long–term goals with the understanding that small course changes today result in great differences in the final destination. By focusing on the destination these course changes become almost innate. At Safari, we want you to set high goals and we want to help you attain them. The more successful you are, the more successful Safari will be.

Team Motivation

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Safari’s Emotional Paychecks motivate the Team Members that serve You and the Safari Clients.

The Safari Team is huge compared to most veterinary practices. We have several technicians per veterinarian and several assistants serving the technicians, as well as boarding staff, grooming staff, reception staff, rehabilitation staff, and even cell technology staff. Team motivation is key to keeping everyone on the same page and focused on the needs of the client and pet.

Team motivation comes from the culture, and the culture has five dimensions: Beauty, Knowledge, Values, Wealth, and Power. These cultural dimensions are expressed within the language used and information shared by those in charge. At Safari, we provide team motivation and express our culture through weekly meetings that are attended by the entire Safari Team. The team is bonded by the information shared in these meetings and the meetings are managed so as to show appreciation for the excellent service we provide our client and appreciation for how to better serve those clients.

The five dimensions of culture defined:

  • “Beauty” is a term for. what an individual sees as valuable. If a person thinks something is beautiful, they want to share it with another person. This is an innate human quality. If you see something that you think is “cool”, it is human to find another human to show it to. To the degree they also think that thing or idea is “cool” is the degree that you are bonded to that person. The shared “Beauty” of veterinary care as provided by Safari is “cool”, and sharing the appreciation for that beauty each week is a way to enrich our culture and to motivate our team members.
  • “Knowledge” is essential to. cultural development. The knowledge of how things work about the veterinary care of animals is an essential part of our business. When you share your knowledge, your esoteric knowledge (or knowledge that is difficult to acquire or previously unknown), you give value to that person. That person is bonded to you, becomes loyal to you and is motivated to help support you as a veterinarian in the Safari System. This reinforces the need to share knowledge – not hoard it as many in our profession do.
  • “Values” are an expression of. what is fair, just, ethical and moral. Value appreciation is important to all people and all people are drawn and attracted to those that express those values. The Safari weekly Customer Service meeting reinforces the values we strive for and those values are exemplified in our Safari Standards and our Safari Ethics.
  • “Wealth” is essential in. any self-sustaining culture. Money is motivational, but it is not the “Wealth” that is denoted here. There is an emotional wealth that is received when you do something that is good. This wealth is inherent in doing good but is also magnified when another human appreciates the good you have done. We care for pets and I am sure they appreciate what we do, but it is difficult for them to show the same appreciation that their human owner can. When we all work as a team to care for pets, and the clients show their appreciation, and the team co-members show appreciation, it is called an “emotional paycheck” and that is more motivational than any money paycheck that you can receive.
  • “Power” is the ability to. choose. If you have power you can choose how to work, act and behave. If you do not have power, then others tell you how to work, how you must act, and how you must behave, which is not motivational. When team members have the choice of how to work, they are empowered and motivated. Empowerment comes from knowledge of veterinary care issues, giving them choice of how to deliver this information to the client or utilize it while working. Veterinarians working at Safari control how the cultural dimensions are managed, and by understanding the power of these concepts, a veterinarian can go further, save more lives and enjoy a more rewarding career.
Our Team

Wellness Counts

Wellness Graphic

Safari’s Receptionists go over vaccinations and routine wellness care, enrolling clients in Safari’s wellness plan and sparing the Veterinarians of this task.

Safari practices proactive veterinary medicine through wellness protocols. These wellness protocols, called the HealthMap, are focused on the following four aspects of the pet’s wellness care:

  1. Examinations and Immunizations
  2. Preventions
  3. Diagnostics
  4. Quality of Life

Our software, VetPlan, creates customized wellness plans for each of our pets. Safari receptionists, as well as the rest of the Safari Team, are trained on how to communicate the benefits of these plans. The Safari veterinary staff benefits from this structured, standards-based system because, by the time the veterinarian sees the client, these discussions and many of the decisions about the wellness care of the pet have been made.

The veterinarian then focuses on the exam findings and the communication of recommendations about future care of the pet. Properly delivered HealthMaps, for example, result in urine screens on “healthy” pets. Many times, these urine screens show crystals and inflammatory changes that support there are conditions for urolith development before there is an actual stone. This proactive approach prevents the need for surgery and arrests disease processes earlier, to the benefit of the client and the pet.

Dignose First

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When the First Focus is on Diagnosis instead of Treatment — Practice becomes fun and interesting.

Diagnose Before You Treat — Tired of trial and error medicine? At Safari, we target the illness with the proper diagnostics before we start specific treatment.

Touch Before You Teach — At Safari, we understand the client wants to know we care before they care to hear what we know. We will touch the pet and communicate with the client our heartfelt care and consideration before we offer our recommendations.

Teach Before You Reach — At Safari, we believe that “He who has the smartest client”, “WINS!” We love to teach about the care we give before we reach for medications. We understand there are always alternatives and involving the client in the care decisions serves the client and the pet best.

Advanced Medicine

Safari Strives to practice at the same level of medicine taught in veterinary schools.

Dr. Garner is board certified and has been since 1992, and as a result has been practicing a higher level of medicine on small animals and exotics for the past 25 years. The ‘Diagnose First’ paradigm creates the need for high level therapeutics. These therapeutics include intensive care, titration of cardiac care medications, oxygen therapy via intranasal catheterization, nebulization, constant rate infusions, chemotherapy and compounding of therapies for birds and exotic animals. Advanced medicine requires advanced team-based monitoring and maintenance of intravenous and urinary catheters, feeding tubes for reptiles, and crop feeding of the avian species. Endoscopically placed PEG tubes and esophageal tubes are common modes of therapy for debilitated or chronic critical care patients. Safari provides neurological administration of mesenchymal stem cells. Many of these pets suffer from paralysis which requires indwelling urinary catheter care and prevention of pressure sores. All patients undergoing general anesthesia are on calibrated ventilators, kept warm, monitored with pulse oximeters, ekg, and a caring technician. Advanced medicine is a team-based activity where monitoring and constant observation are critical.

Rehabilitation Therapy

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Safari’s Therapeutic Modalities work synergistically with your medicine or surgery to ensure a good outcome.

The success or failure of many orthopedic and neurologic procedures depends on the aftercare and rehabilitation. Rehabilitation is essential for neurologic damage and optimization of stem cell therapy.

Dr. Garner has been through the University of Tennessee CCRP course in Rehabilitative Therapy and our rehabilitation technicians are known worldwide for their expertise and care of pets. Our rehabilitation technicians at Safari select from a wide range of equipment to match the needs of the pet with the best physiotherapy regime. Starter exercises include balance pads and wobble boards, while more advanced exercises involve balancing with 1 to 4 paws on a donut or peanut. Safari has full rehabilitation facilities that includes:

  • Land and Water Treadmills… The treadmill is used for both balance and proprioceptive training (knowing where the feet are) and strength training. Strength training is best done with the water treadmill. The water treadmill is state–of–the–art in pet rehabilitation. The water buoyancy helps supports the weight of the pet, enabling the pet to use its limbs more naturally, while the moving floor encourages walking. This builds strength without damage to the surgical correction. Land (or dry) treadmills are an advancement for the pet that can use and bear weight, but still needs to work on coordination.
  • Therapeutic Ultrasound… Therapeutic ultrasound uses sound waves to deliver energy to tissues with two types of effects. Therapeutic ultrasound is primarily indicated in the treatment of chronic scar tissue and indolent decubital ulcers (bed sores). It may also be effective for palliation of muscle spasms and for enhanced tendon healing. Therapeutic ultrasound offers many benefits, some of which are heat energy delivered to tissues, increased blood flow, flexibility and extensibility of connective tissue, pain relief, decreased swelling and muscle relaxation.
  • Electrostimulation and TENS… Electrostimulation Therapy (or NeuroMuscular Electrical Stimulation –NMES), is the electrical stimulation of muscles, or the nerves that feed muscles. The purpose is to make the muscle contract. This contraction of muscles is necessary when there is nerve damage to the brain, spinal cord or other nerves that feed the muscles, and they cannot move on their own. Electrostimulation is also beneficial in cases where there is trauma or surgery to the bone, joint or muscle that makes it too painful for the muscle to move without electrostimulation. TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) is different from Electrostimulation. TENS is electrical stimulation to the skin; versus electrical stimulation to the muscles and nerves. When TENS is applied to the skin large nerve fibers (A-β) are stimulated. These A-β fibers synapse in the spinal cord and stimulate nerve fibers that block the perception of pain in the brain. This is called the gate control theory of pain. The frequency of electrical impulses that stimulate the A-β fibers also causes the release of endorphins from the pituitary in the brain. Endorphins are natural opiates that produce analgesia when released. The synapses in the spinal cord also stimulate another nerve fiber (A-δ). A-δ fiber stimulation blocks other nerves headed for the brain and are also involved in the mechanism of action for acupuncture. The effect of TENS is like the effects of acupuncture for pain control.
  • Cold Laser Therapy… Clinical studies have shown that laser therapy reduces pain and inflammation and, thereby, stimulates tissue healing, regeneration of nerve cells and reduces recovery time. Laser therapy can be used in addition to medication for pain management, or as an alternative to pills. Laser therapy is non-invasive, requires no sedation and is free from side effects. At Safari, we use a high-powered laser, so treatments take just a few minutes and can be performed on an out-patient basis. Laser therapy is suitable for all ages and all species of pets. Many pets show rapid improvement with reduced pain scores and less lameness after only 1 treatment. Treatment schedules are tailed to the pet’s condition and rate of recovery.
  • Pilates and Obstacle Courses… These lessons are designed to strengthen core muscle strength as well as to work on specific leg muscles. Balance exercises not only improve balance and confidence, they strengthen joints by making micro movements which exercise the muscles surrounding the joint. Improving balance and coordination is an important component of improving mobility in pets with chronic arthritis, post–surgery or recovering from injury.

Advanced Surgery

Safari offers Mentorship in Orthopedic, Neurologic and Soft-Tissue Surgery.

Not every veterinarian is interested in surgery, but this is not the case with Dr. Garner. If you are interested in surgery and want a surgical mentor, then Safari is perfect for you. Orthopedic surgeries requiring plates, screws and pins are standard. For cruciate ligament ruptures, we recommend the TTA or Tight Rope techniques. We also have a C–Arm fluoroscopic imaging device for closed placement of pins or realignment of fractures.

Neurologic procedures require advanced imaging and Dr. Garner uses a human MRI with his own settings. Myelograms are common when MRI is not feasible. The C–Arm is useful for placement of stem cells into joints or into intervertebral discs or when intrathecal injections are required.

Intra–abdominal and intrathoracic surgeries are commonly performed when necessary.

Soft tissue surgeries, such as routine spays and neuters, are done for the local shelter, as well as more advanced surgeries requiring skin grafts.

Arthroscopic and endoscopic surgical instrumentation is also used at Safari.

For the new graduate or more experienced veterinarian, the surgery at Safari has something to offer.

Advanced Diagnostics

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Safari Helps You reverse the trend of referring all the fun to others. We have all the equipment to make you the specialist.

Safari’s mantra of ‘diagnose before you treat’ requires advanced on-site diagnostic capabilities. These tests give us a “Window into the pet’s body” and include: advanced digital radiography, digital dental radiographs, ultrasound, echocardiography with color-flow doppler, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, myelography, endoscopy, bronchoscopy, arthroscopy, avian laparoscopy, full in-house chemistry, complete blood count, fluid analysis by flow cytometry and C–Arm Fluoroscopy for motion studies of the esophagus and larynx.

Stem Cell Therapy

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Enter the Future of veterinary medicine with regenerative therapy through Safari.

Safari has a complete, state-of-the-art stem cell laboratory. This is far beyond the centrifuge and enzyme system that many who do “stem cell therapy” in the veterinary profession utilize. Safari has all the requirements for a complete stem cell laboratory. These requirements are:

Stem Cell Therapy
  • Stem cell therapy requires the ability to collect tissues and process them in a sterile environment for administration or culture.
  • This process requires a biologic safety cabinet with laminar flow and ultraviolet sterilization.
  • Cell processing and culture requires incubators that can increase the CO2 and decrease the Oxygen tension so that the stem cells are grown in the optimal conditions.
  • Cell growth requires a sterile microscope for visualizing the growth characteristics without bacterial contamination.
  • Cell therapy requires viability testing, which requires fluorescent viability testing, thereby, requiring a fluoroscopic enabled microscope.
  • Cell therapy requires a count of the number of cells per ml, which requires an automated cell counter.
  • Cell preservation requires a controlled rate freezer that takes the cells down one degree per min until the point of ice crystal formation, then down 10 degrees per minute, then back to one degree per min until the -86C is reached.
  • Storage of frozen stem cells requires a liquid nitrogen storage system.
  • Running a stem cell laboratory requires trained laboratory technicians and the necessary space for them to work.

Stem cell therapy is transformational to a veterinary practice. Stem cells can be used to reset the major histocompatibility factors of T-cell, effectively stopping most autoimmune diseases. This allows us to treat IMHA, Pemphigus, Feline Stomatitis, Feline Asthma, Chronic Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca, Atopic Dermatitis, and many other similar diseases.

Stem cells are anti-inflammatory and can be used acutely in spinal cord and brain trauma to reduce damaging inflammation.

Stem cells are regenerative and can be used in chronic degenerative diseases, such as arthritis or degenerative disc disease. Stem cells promote neurogenesis and neuroplasticity, allowing pets with spinal cord damage or brain damage to respond to therapy.

Dr. Garner is a pioneer in stem cell therapy and has had advanced training in stem cell culture and propagation. Dr. Garner uses stem cells for therapy of many common, and not so common, illnesses in pets. Dr. Garner works with pet rescue organizations at a greatly discounted rate to gain the cases necessary to prove these treatments work.

Self Acutalization

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Become the Best Vet you can be at Safari.

At Safari, we hope to help develop you as a person as well as a veterinarian. We hope to show you a new way of practice that focuses on the dissemination of knowledge and to build upon the motivational emotional wealth that drives all veterinarians. We hope to teach you, not only the disciplines of diagnostics, medicine, surgery and exotics, but also educate you in the motivation and utilization of team members to magnify your effectiveness as a veterinarian. The metaphor of the tree is utilized to show that a strong practitioner has deep roots in the disciplines that support and hold up the boughs of the tree. These disciplines are important and need to drive deep to survive, requiring nurturing for constant growth and development. These roots are not perceived by the pet and, more importantly, the roots are not seen by the client, as they are underground. Above the ground is the tree trunk which supports the rest of the tree, and the limbs of the tree are the product of the knowledge that is hidden under the ground. The understanding of the needs of the pet and the needs of the client is this understanding that bears the fruit. The fruit is what is shared with the rest of the world, carried away because it is sweet, tasty and attractive. Within the fruit are the seeds of knowledge, that will again grow in new locations, spreading the benefits of your efforts far and wide. At Safari, we want to enable you to be fruitful in your professional life.

Exotic Medicine & Surgery

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As a veterinarian at Safari, it is not required of you to treat exotics, however, we do see a large number of these pets. Dr. Garner has been one of the only board certified exotic vets serving the greater Houston-Galveston area for 35 years; hence, Safari has a reputation to be “the place to go” for sick exotic animals. Dr. Garner owns two ring-tail lemurs and a zebra, and is one of the only vets in Texas that will see primates. In that regard, Dr. Klages, who is board certified in Lab Zoo and Exotic Animal medicine, is also a board member and vice president of the Association of Primate Veterinarians.

Dr. Garner has a special interest in exotic animals & birds and promoted this avenue of practice to differentiate Safari from the rest of the pack.

Safari believes in a proactive approach to wellness and preventative care with the utmost concern for the humane treatment to all species. We do not turn away from any challenge where we can make a difference; we embrace wildlife, exotic animals and even insects with the understanding that our mission is to promote life wherever we find it.

Safari not only has state–of–the–art diagnostic tools to treat the conventional pet, we also have specialized exotic equipment that is essential for the handling, diagnosis and treatment of exotics, birds and even primates; complete with an in–house, well–equipped Laboratory. Handling wild or exotic animals requires specialized training, skill and expertise. Birds, in particular, require small instruments and magnifications for surgery, requiring special skillful knowledge. One must be comfortably confident, cautious and efficient in the treatment of exotics.

Anesthesia of exotics is necessary in many cases for proper examination. At Safari, we only use Sevoflurane, which is a gas anesthesia that has been proven safe for our exotic animals. Wild or exotic animals hide their symptoms so as not to appear vulnerable to other animals in the wild that may prey on them. The more exotic the animal the less obvious disease becomes, therefore, an animal that is very sick on the inside appears healthy on the outside. It is this reason that we must sedate and palpate, listen and look at all the body systems to make sure the pet is well. Blood and urine tests are essential to knowing if an exotic animal is healthy or not.

Safari has created well–educated, qualified staff that is knowledgeable in the care of each species. We stay up–to–date on exotic medicine and continue to educate our team members and our clients. Many of the exotics treated at Safari come to us with health problems that are a result of the owner not being properly educated in the care of that specific species. It is for this reason that educating our client’s and keeping them up–to–date is extremely important to us.

Exotic Medicine & Surgery


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