The 56 staff members at Newtown Veterinary Specialists work hard every day to restore ill and injured cats and dogs to good health and keep the busy state-of-the-art facility humming. But behind the scenes, a special program helps dedicated employees get into fine shape so they can stay at the top of their game providing life-saving services to pets.

Strong believers in workplace wellness, the hospital’s employers cover the cost of gym membership for staffers who make the commitment to attend twice weekly. The facility’s owners have led by example. Scott Schifilliti, MBA, and Deb Weisman, DVM, MS, board-certified veterinary surgeon, were first to join the gym at the Newtown Youth Academy. Taking it a step further, they’ve enlisted the support of the gym’s personal trainer to work one-on-one with each participating employee.

“We’re interested in the well being of our staff and encourage them to live a healthier lifestyle with more exercise and better nutrition,” Scott Schifilliti explained. “It’s a win-win situation. A healthier staff means fewer missed days at work, greater productivity, and a stronger commitment to our mission of providing excellent veterinary medical, surgical and emergency care for pets,” he said.

Susan MacMullan, clinical exercise specialist at the Newtown Youth Academy gym, coordinates the program. “When you exercise you feel better, sleep better and have less stress,” she explained. “Improved health and nutrition can lead to a happier, more balanced work life.” Susan provides two orientations for each employee and points them in the right direction to either lose weight or build strength. The program has been very successful. “The combination of using weights, incorporating cardio fitness, awareness of proper nutritional habits, and coming to the gym consistently is the secret of success,” she said.

New Year resolutions to lose weight and exercise more kick-started the campaign and about 20% of the staff have joined so far. Employees from every department participate, from board-certified veterinary specialists to client service representatives, with more joining every day.

Newtown Veterinary Specialists, celebrating its second anniversary in May, is an advanced veterinary emergency, critical care and specialty hospital open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Located at 52 Church Hill Road in Newtown, CT, it offers leading-edge medical and surgical care for pets that are injured or suffer from complex diseases and conditions that require the advanced training of a board-certified specialist. The facility features sophisticated diagnostic equipment, the latest treatment methods, and around-the-clock patient monitoring. The doctors collaborate closely with the family veterinarian to ensure complete, effective and coordinated pet care.

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