Are You Puli-ng My Leg?

, , , , , | Working | June 22, 2018

(I own a Puli, an uncommon breed of dog known for its coat texture. They aren’t born with that coat; it takes about a year for the cords to form, and for a few months while the coat is in “transition,” they look like a shaggy, curly-tailed poodle in dire need of a haircut. I am used to having people who work with animals immediately know about the breed and be so glad to get a chance to see one in real life. I have just moved to a new area and am seeing a new vet for the first time, as I think she might be getting an ear infection. The technician calls me into an exam room and starts asking the basic questions, ending with:)

Tech: “…[Dog] sure looks like she could use a haircut!”

(My dog is about eight months old, and very much in the transition stage.)

Me: “Yeah, at this age they do look terrible, but in a few months it’ll be much better.”

Tech: “Do you even brush her?”

Me: “No, that’s not how the coat works.”

(I get ready to give the usual brief overview of how the cords are formed and the work that goes into the coat at this stage, but the vet walks in right then.)

Tech: “Okay, I’m going to take [Dog] to the treatment room and get her weight and vitals.”

(The tech leaves, and the vet starts the usual conversation with professionals of, “Oh, wow, I’ve never really seen one, so that’s what they look like young, etc.” This goes on for a while; I don’t think anything is strange, because at our previous vet whenever [Dog] went into the treatment area, the whole staff had to come and see her. I can hear the sound of clippers turning on in the back, and think it must be another patient getting a haircut. Then, the doctor runs out of stuff to talk about and says:)

Vet: “Well, I’ll go back and see if I can rescue [Dog] from her new fan club so we can start the exam.”

(He opens the door to treatment and screams:)

Vet: “OH, MY GOD! WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU TWO DOING?!” *turns back to me* “I am so sorry; I really don’t know what to say. This is inexcusable. I cannot believe…”

(I push my way past him and see [Dog] on a table, with two very scared-looking teenage assistants standing next to her, and a straight line of shaved fur running from nape of neck to base of tail. [Dog] is happily wagging her tail, apparently glad to be introducing me to her new, bestest best friends.)

Assistant #1: “[Technician] said to start shaving her because it was going to be such a long process… but the fur isn’t coming off in sheets like with the dog you showed me on last week, so I stopped and…”

Vet: *who has been babbling this whole time* “This is unforgivable; I’m stunned. Obviously, there will be no charge at all for today. In fact, there will be no charge for any service [Dog] needs, ever, for the rest of her life. Wait. [Tech] said, what?!

Assistant #2: “Her exact words were, ‘Poor dog, just look at this coat. Another stupid owner who bought a doodle-poo and thinks it’s a real breed. You two get started shaving this mess; it’ll likely take an hour or more.’ And then she went to take a cigarette break. I thought she’d gotten the haircut approved.”

Assistant #1: “What did we do wrong?”

Vet: “You mean, besides doing a treatment without the owner’s permission? [Dog] is a Puli.”

([Assistant #1] instantly pales; [Assistant #2] looks confused.)

Assistant #2: “That isn’t a poodle mixed with a collie, is it?”

Assistant #1: “Remember last week when [Other Staff Member] and I were talking about rare breeds we would probably never see in real life? This is one of them; they are famous for their awesome fur.”

Assistant #2: “Oh, crap.”

Me: *having a hard time staying angry because of my very happy dog* “It’s okay; she isn’t a show dog, just a pet. And at least you didn’t start on the side; I mean, once it starts growing out again, it’ll almost look like it was an intentional haircut.”

Vet: “I just can’t believe that she would do something like this without permission; she should know better. I assure you this is not how we do business.”

Me: “I can tell. I would just like to look her in the face when you tell her she doesn’t have a job anymore.”

Vet: “I’m sure that can be arranged.”

(Watching that horribly ignorant woman get fired was one of the more satisfying moments of my life.)

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