Acting Sick As A Dog

| Washington, DC, USA | Working | July 7, 2015

(I take my dog in to my regular vet office on an emergency basis because he has a bad eye infection. He’s had eye infections before, owing to genetic tear duct problems, and has always tolerated examination and treatment well.)

Vet: *who I’ve never seen before* “So, you’re here for an eye infection, I see. Please put your dog up on the table.”

(I place my small, friendly dog on the table, keeping a hand on his collar and one on his side to keep him calm. He has never had a problem with the vet before, and I have always been allowed – even encouraged – to keep contact with him to make the process less threatening.)

Vet: “Please step away from your dog so I can examine him.”

Me: “Are you sure? You’re going to be handling his face, and he’ll probably be more comfortable with that if I’m in contact with him to let him know it’s okay.”

Vet: “Yes, I know what I’m doing here. Now please step away from your dog.”

(I do as instructed and step away from my dog. The vet proceeds to grab for his face roughly with no warning. Unsurprisingly, my dog growls and cowers away from her.)

Vet: “Your dog is aggressive; we need to muzzle him to examine his eye.”

(She proceeds to try to roughly shove a too-small muzzle onto his snout, which he also doesn’t take kindly to.)

Vet: “Your dog is aggressive and uncooperative; you’ll have to take him elsewhere for treatment.”

Me: “Can I please see [Other Vets who have treated my dog in the past]? If you look at his file, you’ll see we’ve been coming here for a few years, and it’s never been a problem before. He’s not aggressive or uncooperative. You’re just handling him very roughly when he’s already ill, and not allowing me to comfort him, and I don’t blame him for taking that badly.”

Vet: “No, we don’t treat bad dogs or owners. Please see the receptionist to pay for this waste of my time and see yourself out.”

(Sobbing both because I feel bad for my dog and because I think I have lost an otherwise great vet office, I take my dog and go up to reception, seeing a receptionist who I’ve seen several times.)

Receptionist: “What’s wrong, [My Name]? Did you get some bad news? Please tell me [Dog] is okay… You’re some of my favorite clients! I thought you were just in for a routine eye infection…”

Me: *through sobs* “Yes, it’s just an eye infection, and he’ll probably be okay, but [New Vet] handled him roughly and then ordered me out without treatment when he balked at having his face handled and then being muzzled. She wouldn’t even let me try to comfort him or help. I love you guys, but I guess we’re done here.”

Receptionist: “Oh, no, you’re not. You wait right here and stop that crying.”

(She disappears into the back, and returns dragging the founding and owner vet behind her.)

Owner: “I hear that our new vet refused your little man treatment. Can I examine him?”

Me: *still sobbing* “Well, he’s probably going to be less than agreeable given what just happened, but I suppose it can’t make anything worse.”

(The owner/founding vet sits down with my dog right on the floor of the lobby, lets him crawl up in his lap, and takes a look at his eyes.)

Owner: “Yep, looks like the infections you’ve brought him in with before. Can we go back to a room and make sure it’s not an ulcerated cornea?”

(We take him back to a room, do the test GENTLY AND WITH ME COMFORTING HIM… All is basically well and I’m given the normal prescription to get him through that. As I’m leaving…)

Owner: “And don’t you worry about what happened before… We’ll deal with that! You are a valued client, so I expect to see you in a few months for his yearly!”

(When I went in the next time for my dog’s yearly, I was told that the first vet we saw on that visit had been fired and ‘blackballed’ whenever someone called for a reference! It was very weird since she actually had a reputation as a good vet before she was hired at that office!)

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