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    A Little Bird Told Me That This Customer Is An A**

    | USA | Bad Behavior, Pets & Animals

    (I work at an animal shelter that only takes dogs and cats. Despite this, a man walks in with a scarlet macaw in what looks like one of those old-fashioned hanging canary cages that is obviously much too small for it.)

    Me: “Can I help you, sir?”

    Man: “I don’t want this parrot anymore.”

    Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but this shelter only takes cats and dogs. We don’t have the necessary provisions to care for exotic birds.”

    Man: “What do you mean you don’t take birds? You’ve always taken birds here!”

    Me: “No, sir, I’m pretty sure we haven’t. Only cats and dogs.”

    Man: “What am I supposed to do with this thing then? I bought it for my daughter’s sixth birthday two months ago but she got bored with it already because it doesn’t talk! All it does is scream!”

    (Almost as if by command, the parrot starts screaming. I have to start talking loudly to be heard over it.)

    Me: “Well, sir, I actually have a list here of other shelters and rescues in the immediate area, and I can give you the address of a bird rescue that’s a few blocks from here, or if you’d prefer, I know of a vet clinic that accepts animals that their owners can no longer care for. I’m pretty sure they accept birds.”

    Man: “I don’t have time for this! I have things to do! I’ll just leave it here and you can take the bird there yourself!”

    Me: “I can’t do that for you, sir. You’re going to have to take the bird.”

    Man: “So are you saying you aren’t going to take the parrot for me?”

    Me: “Yes sir, that’s exactly what I’m saying.”

    Man: “This is unbelievable!”

    (He storms out with the screaming parrot and makes sure to slam the door on the way out. A coworker who was in the back comes out to check on me.)

    Coworker: “Did that man just say he bought a parrot for his daughter’s sixth birthday and now they don’t want it just because it doesn’t talk?”

    Me: “Yes, he really did.”

    Coworker: “Wow. They really need to make it mandatory to take a test to prove you actually know what you’re doing to weed out the idiots before you can get pets.”

    Me: “You should have seen the cage it was in, too. There weren’t any toys and it was really small and something tells me that it wasn’t just a travel cage.”

    (Nothing much happened after that until about an hour later when an elderly woman came in.)

    Me: “How can I help you, ma’am?”

    Woman: “Oh, I would just like to adopt another cat, preferably one that’s a little older.”

    Me: “Certainly, ma’am. I’ll gladly help you find the right cat for you.”

    Woman: “Also did you know there’s a parrot sitting in a cage outside?”

    Me: “There’s what?”

    (Sure enough, the man left the parrot sitting outside on the sidewalk, exposed to the cold November air. We brought the bird in and warmed him up and despite having sat out in the cold for an hour, he was perfectly okay. The man had the audacity to come in a week later with his daughter, who acted like a spoiled brat the entire time, and demanded to adopt a puppy, but thankfully when I told my boss who he was, she let us refuse to give them an animal. The story had a happy ending, though. One of my coworkers stopped in to pick up her paycheck and saw us with the parrot and immediately fell in love with him and decided to take him home with her. He got along well with her other parrot and now has a happy home with someone who doesn’t care that he doesn’t talk. She named him Screechy.)

    A Very Purr-sonable Cat

    | Dearborn, OH, USA | Crazy Requests, Pets & Animals

    (I work at a shelter that has a big Maine Coon cat that has the run of the place. He never goes outside and likes to sit on the lap of whoever is at the computer working. Even though he’s huge, about 28 pounds, most of it is muscle. He’s a very docile cat and loves people. For the most part, our customers love him.)

    Coworker: “[My Name], we got some people pulling in. Can you grab Corky?”

    (I grab the Maine Coon and set him on the counter in a crouched position, holding his flank lightly to keep him still. He’s already trilling excitedly at the thought of guests.)

    Coworker: “Hi, welcome to [Shelter]. Can we help you?”

    (A woman, man, and two kids wander in.)

    Woman: “Yes, we’d like to take a look at your kittens.”

    Coworker: “Sure. [My Name], can you take them to the cat room?”

    Me: “Sure. Here, take Corky.”

    (I go to hand her Corky and the woman suddenly screams.)

    Woman: “That’s a Lynx! You have a LYNX here!”

    (She grabs her kids and yanks them back.)

    Me: “Oh, no, ma’am, this is Corky, our resident Maine Coon. He’s not a Lynx; he’s just a very large breed of cat.”

    Man: “What the h*** kind of place is this?! Those animals are dangerous! Why do you have one running around where children are?!”

    Me: “Uh, sir? Maine Coons are extremely friendly. The biggest danger to your kids is he’d just knock them over by accident.”

    Woman: “How DARE you threaten my babies! I’m reporting this awful place and have you arrested for harboring that vicious thing!”

    (They storm out, leaving us to stare after them in bafflement. We got a visit later from a local police officer.)

    Officer: “Hey, I got a call about a ‘vicious rabid animal’ on the loose in this building.”

    (I pick Corky up off the counter. Corky is a happy combination of purring and trilling at the sight of him.)

    Officer: “Uh huh, that’s what I thought.”

    Introduction To Reality

    | CA, USA | Pets & Animals, Theme Of The Month

    (We do dog intros with the owner’s dog and our dog to make sure that when our dog goes home it won’t attack their dog and vice versa. During the intros we ask the owner to wait outside so that we can see how their dog reacts one on one with the other dog. The dog the old woman has picked to do a dog intro with isn’t friendly with her dog at all. She tried to bite several times and the woman’s dog looks very uncomfortable.)

    Me: “Unfortunately, your dog and our dog didn’t get along, so I am not able to approve this dog intro. But if there is another dog that you like we can do another dog intro.”

    Older Woman: “But I wanted that one. I want her!”

    Me: “I am really sorry but I cannot let you take that puppy home. She tried to bite your dog.”

    Older Woman: “But that’s the dog I want. OH, I really want her. I am going to take her home.”

    Me: “She was being really unfriendly with your dog. Your dog was being very nice, but was trying to get away from her. I would be happy to do another dog intro, though, if you have another dog in mind.”

    (She keeps telling me how much she wants the dog.)

    Coworker: “Ma’am, we are not allowed to let you take the dog home. She would just attack your dog.”

    Older Woman: “Okay, I’ll see if there are anymore dogs.”

    Me: “That sounds great! Unfortunately you cannot take your dog out to the kennels, but I would be happy to hold your dog for you while you look!”

    Older Woman: “Okay.”

    (I sat in the lobby with her dog for almost an hour, waiting. People went out into the kennels to make sure she was still there. Eventually she came back and said she didn’t want to see any other dogs and left still mumbling about how she still wanted that dog.)

    Has A Cat’s Chance In Hell Of Adopting

    | Kearney, NE, USA | Crazy Requests, Pets & Animals, Theme Of The Month

    Me: “Hello! Are you interested in finding a pet today?”

    Customer: *with young son* “Yes. I would like to adopt two cats.”

    Me: “That’s fantastic! We have many to choose from.”

    Customer: “Too bad my landlord won’t let me have more than one pet at my apartment.” *handing me her phone* “Here’s a picture of my son’s cat.”

    Me: “You already have a pet?”

    Customer: “Yep.”

    Me: “And you want to adopt two more?”

    Customer: “Yes.”

    Me: “But your landlord says you can only have one animal in your home?”

    Customer: “Oh, the two cats I adopt here won’t live with me! My father just passed away and his house is lonely so they’ll live there.”

    Me: “I’m so sorry to hear about your father, but we can’t do an adoption for cats to live alone in a house.”

    Customer: “Why not?”

    Me: “Because we want to make sure that the animals would be properly cared for and if no one lives with them they could run out of food and water or get trapped during an emergency and you might not know about it for days.”

    Customer: “Well, I’m paying for the air conditioning to be on at his house so someone should live there!”

    Me: “Maybe you could live out the lease at your apartment then move in to your dad’s house.”

    Customer: “No, I don’t want to have to move my stuff. What if I just tell you I live there?”

    Me: “Since I already know that that is a lie, I would not feel comfortable doing the adoption.”

    Customer: “Do you even care about the animals here?!”

    Me: “Yes, that’s why I don’t want them it have to live alone in a house. They deserve to be cared for.”

    Customer: “Maybe I’ll just spend every night at the house so I know they’d be okay!”

    Me: “Would your son stay with you?”

    Customer: “No! He’s afraid of the house!”

    Me: “So, you’re willing to let your young son live alone just so you can adopt these cats?”

    Customer: “I’m gonna tell you whatever you need to hear so you’ll give me these animals!”

    Me: “Ma’am, I truly am sorry that you lost your father. But the situation you are in right now simply makes me unable to let you adopt an animal from us. If you move or can provide us with written proof that your landlord will allow more pets, come back and see what cats we have at that time.”

    Customer: “You’ll be hearing from my lawyer! You don’t even care what happens to these animals!” *storms out the door*

    She’s Going To Have Kittens

    | Vancouver, BC, Canada | Pets & Animals, Wild & Unruly

    (I volunteer at a cat shelter and am usually on care duties, but I manage adoptions when there isn’t a more experienced coworker available. On this day I’m one of only two people working, so when someone interested in adoption enters, I take care of them.)

    Customer: “I’m looking for a cat that’s docile and easy to care for, but isn’t scared of everything or so shy you never see it. Y’know?”

    (There are many cats that match this description, so I introduce them to the first three that stick out in my mind and invite them to take a look around the shelter on their own while I take care of the other units. They thank me and I leave for ten minutes. I later catch up with them as they’re exiting the kitten unit.)

    Customer: “I found the perfect one!”

    Me: “Oh, really? That’s great! Which one?”

    Customer: “The little black and grey one just in there.” *points*

    (There are two matching that description, so I invite them back into the unit with me and they show me the kitten they want. To my horror, it’s one of the worst-behaved cats we have, deceptive in that it will purr and cuddle you before it pisses all over your clothes and tears up the blinds.)

    Me: “Oh… this one? I feel like I should warn you that she’s had behavioural issues in the past. She’s the reason this room doesn’t have any cushions in it and she has a bad track for urinating on clothes. I wouldn’t recommend her over the other cats I showed you.”

    Customer: “What?! No! You must be thinking of that one.” *gestures to the other black and grey kitten, with distinctly different facial markings, sleeping in a bed* “This one’s so sweet. She just came right up to me and cuddled me the entire time I was in here.”

    Me: “No, I’m positive it’s this one. She is very loving, but she’ll shred all your furniture. I’m afraid that if you adopt her you’ll have to spend a lot of your time working through her destructiveness, if you can at all. Since you’re looking for an easy to care for cat, I really don’t think she’d be a good match.”

    Customer: “Blah! This is the one I want. I’m sure of it. Don’t you want them to get adopted?”

    (We argue back and forth for a short while. I’m reluctant to put their application through to the shelter owner, but they’re insistent, and I don’t have the option not to, anyway. Three days later they pay and pick the kitten up. They arrive at the shelter again in two weeks and catch me as I’m emptying litter boxes.)

    Customer: “You! You’re the person who let me adopt that s***-brained f****** cat! I should sue this place!”

    Me: *remembering them* “You adopted the black and grey kitten that I specifically warned you not to adopt?”

    Customer: “Yes! She f***** up all my drapes and pissed on everything in my f****** closet! I should make you pay for the damage!”

    Me: “I’m sorry for your belongings, but I told you this would happen before you even placed your application. There’s nothing we can do to reimburse you.”

    Coworker: *approaching the shouting* “I can help you in the office. If you would follow me?”

    (They follow her, ranting about their drapes and my incompetence. Turns out the kitten did more than $500 worth of damage, but we’re in no way liable to compensate their loss. The kitten was returned to the shelter and was later adopted by a woman who was able to rehabilitate her.)

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