HOPKINS, MINN. - From the outside, Mission Animal Hospital in Hopkins appears to be your typical pet clinic. On the inside, besides being new, not much is different there either.
But when you ask customers what they paid, there's certainly a noticeable difference.
"Today it was only $20," smiled Karina Mancini, who took in her cat for a check-up.
Mancini figured she saved about half off the regular cost.
"There's still a section of the population who simply cannot afford care," said Mission Animal Hospital's founder Melanie Sharpe.
Sharpe, who used to work at animal shelters, said it's pretty common for pet owners to give up their animal because they can no longer afford their care, especially when a surgery is needed.
"We wanted to try and operate a hospital a little bit differently," said Sharpe. "A little different model."
The basic idea is to keep overhead and expenses low so that costs are not passed down to the pet owner. The mission is to allow lower income people the same quality care without the cost.
So called "Green" members have to qualify for the reduced rates. They must be able to show a W2 or some other sort of identification that proves they are in the lower income bracket.
If there was any question about a need, it's now being met at Mission Animal Hospital.
"I saved fifty percent off of a full vet bill because they offer this service," said Mancini.
"The phone started ringing on the first day and it's just a steady stream we've been busy ever since," said Sharpe.
(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)