Fluffy’s More High-Maintenance Than Most Pets Of His Kind

, , , , , | Healthy | March 23, 2020

(I work at the front desk at an animal clinic that is located on a street with many assisted living facilities. Most of them are not pet-friendly — they may have an office cat but residents can’t have personal pets — except for the largest of them which is right next door and pet-friendly.

We have a deal with the management of this facility where, whenever a new resident moves in with an animal, we set them up as a patient with us, the facility handles all their billing, we send care instructions to them to make sure the residents don’t forget the doses, and when making appointments we contact both the owner and the facility so they can make sure the owner doesn’t have something else scheduled that day and doesn’t forget their appointment.

For the humans who think they are more self-sufficient than they really are, we make sure someone from the facility is available and needs to take “important paperwork” over to the clinic at the same time the owner needs to leave, to make sure they get there and back safely. Sometimes they slip through alone, though, or decide they have an appointment when we don’t have them on the books, so we are used to having random elderly people coming in.

A clearly distraught elderly woman carrying a small dog carrier comes in one day.)

Woman: “Please, you have to help me!”

Me: “What can we do?”

Woman: “It’s Fluffy! He’s not acting right and I think I need to put him to sleep.” *sobs*

Me: “Oh, dear, we’ll get you and Fluffy in to see the doctor and take a look at him to decide if that is the best thing to do, okay? Now, what is your name so I can pull your chart?”

Woman: “It’s [Name I don’t have in my system].”

Me: “I can’t find you on the computer; have you been in before?”

Woman: “Oh, no, Fluffy and I just moved into our new apartment today and you are so much closer than his old doctor.”

(I figure she is so new the facility hasn’t had time to bring us her paperwork, so I get Fluffy’s age and breed and go about making a chart. We’ll get the rest of her information from the facility when we contact them. Thankfully, we’ve had a cancelation so I can get her into an exam room right away.

A while later, she comes out of the exam room with the doctor, with one of our techs carrying the carrier for her, much happier than when she came in.)

Woman: “And you really think it will cure him, Doctor?”

Doc: “If it doesn’t, you just have your doorman give me a call and we’ll get you back in, no charge. Now, I’m going to have my son carry Fluffy home for you. You have a good day.”

(The doctor is referring to our tech who isn’t actually his son, but that’s the code we use to let the front desk know the resident is not paying us directly and to just smile and say goodbye rather than following the normal checkout process. As soon as she and the tech are out of the building I turn to the doctor.)

Me: “So, we’re charging an exam and what else?”

Doctor: “Nothing.”

Me: “So, just the exam?”

Doctor: “No, Fluffy isn’t real.”

Me: “What?!”

Doctor: “He’s a stuffed toy; he’s just been laying around all day for weeks now. So, I told her we were going to try an experimental treatment, and if it works, that’s great, and if not, she can bring him in to be put to sleep later. Then, I drew up some air from an empty vial and injected it. She said he already looks perkier. Poor thing; she is really far gone.”

(Tech returned almost an hour later. The woman wasn’t from the facility next door, or even the one on the other side of them. She was from the one almost all the way down the block, and they had to check into all of them because she couldn’t recall which apartment building she lived in.

To their staff’s credit, they thought she had gone to get lunch with her daughter and her daughter thought her mom was taking a nap after an exhausting morning of moving in. Nobody knew Fluffy had been feeling bad, or that he was capable of feeling bad.  

The experimental treatment worked great for a month, and then Fluffy relapsed and had to come in for another treatment. We gave him his shot once a month for three years, and then one day he just stopped coming in.

Six months later, the daughter brought him in; her mom had become too ill to take Fluffy for his shots so she had just taken him out of the building for a bit and then come back and told her mom he’d had his shot, and now her mom said she couldn’t take care of Fluffy anymore so could we find him a new home. We found him a nice place in the doctor’s office; he’s our supervisor.)

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Stand And Deliver (And Install)

, , , | Working | March 19, 2020

(I have to buy a new TV — a 55″ — from a popular electronics store. It is going on top of an electric fireplace with a pretty mantle that I have just gotten and put together. I make sure to have it ready before the TV is delivered so that the delivery guys can put it on. When they arrive, they come in with the big box and proceed to leave it on the floor before starting back towards the door.)

Me: “Wait, aren’t you guys going to unpack it and put it up for me?”

Delivery Guys: “Sorry, but we don’t do that unless it’s requested when you order it.”

(I had not selected the option to have it set it up for an extra fee, assuming that by “set up,” that means plugging it in, programming it, etc. All I need, and expected, is to have the TV unboxed and put where I want it. It has been seven years since I bought my last TV from this same store, and that time, it was a given that they would do that.)

Me: “I wasn’t expecting you to actually hook everything up and set up the WiFi or anything, but I thought you would at least put it where I wanted it. I’m 4’11” and live alone, and there’s no way I can get that TV up there by myself!”

(The delivery guys apologize again and say that they’re only to bring it in, and I begrudgingly thank them as they leave. I turn to the box and wonder how exactly I’m going to get that up on my mantle. Then, the doorbell rings, and I open it to find that the delivery guys are back.)

Delivery Guys: “We’ll put it up for you.”

(I let them back in, and they unboxed the TV, drilled the feet on — something else I’d have needed to do — and put it up on the mantle. I gratefully gave them $20, which they tried to refuse, and a couple of canned sodas for the road. They were very nice to come back and do that, because they certainly didn’t have to. Thanks, electronics store delivery guys!)

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Do Your Hair Toss, Check Your Nails

, , , , , , | Working | March 17, 2020

(I have just moved to a small town after leaving an abusive relationship. As I’m starting a new job and my birthday is coming up, I decide to treat myself to a haircut.)

Hairdresser: “What would you like today?”

Me: “I’d like it cut to here–” *indicates to shoulders* “–with layers and half a head of foils, please. Will it be any more than [amount I have budgeted for]?”

Hairdresser: “That’s not a problem; I can do it for that.”

(As she’s cutting my hair, we chat.)

Hairdresser: “Are you new in town?”

Me: “Yes, I’ve just moved from [City] and start work on Monday at [Local Hotel]. My birthday is coming up, so to celebrate I thought I’d treat myself.”

Hairdresser: “Happy birthday and welcome to [Town]!”

(Once we finish with the foils and it’s time for me to pay:)

Hairdresser: “If you have time, I’ll do [expensive hair treatment].”

Me: “I only have [amount we agreed on].”

Hairdresser: “Don’t worry.” 

Me: “Okay, thank you.”

(When I go to pay)

Me: “Thank you! I love it. I definitely will be back.”

Hairdresser: “Great, I’m glad you like it. That’s [amount half of what we agreed on]. Happy birthday and good luck with the new job.”

Me: *almost in tears* “Are you sure?”

Hairdresser: “Perks of being the owner; I can charge what I want.”

Me: *crying* “Thank you, this means a lot. I’ve had a tough time lately and thought this might give me a boost.”

Hairdresser: “You’re welcome. If you ever need someone to talk to, you are welcome to come here for a cuppa.”

(Years later, with her support, I’ve married, had kids, and moved away, but I’m still friends with the other hairdressers and she’s become like my second mum.)

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Angels In The Outback

, , , , , , , | Working | March 17, 2020

(I’m on holiday when the town I live in is evacuated due to bushfires that have claimed three lives and damaged or destroyed over 200 homes. My husband, our three kids, and I have been staying in a motel for a week when the owner knocks on our door just after the evacuation orders are given. We are due to check out the next morning.)

Owner: “You guys are from [Town], right? I just heard that it’s been evacuated.”

Husband: “Yes, we’ve just heard. We might need to extend our stay if that’s possible.”

Owner: “You should be able to get housing through [Government Service]. I have a contact there; I’ll see what I can do. If not, we’ll work something out. Don’t worry about checking out tomorrow; just come to the office around 9:00.”

Me: “Thank you so much.”

(The next morning, he calls his contact, but due to us not being in our home they can’t help us.)

Owner: “Look, don’t worry about paying for the room. It’s yours as long as you need it; you guys have enough to worry about.”

Me: *crying* “Wow, thank you so much. This is our first holiday since before [Oldest Child] was born. I don’t know what we’d do, otherwise.”

Owner: “If you need anything, let me or [Owner’s Wife] know.”

(Thank you to these angels who have given us a little bit of hope when we don’t know if we could lose everything as there are catastrophic fire conditions throughout New South Wales and Queensland today. Please keep the people living in these areas in your thoughts and prayers.)

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When Life Gives You Lemonade…

, , , , , | Working | March 10, 2020

(On my thirteenth birthday, my family moves halfway across the country — yes, on my birthday itself. We have a party before I leave, but I am perhaps understandably a bit miserable about the move and the timing of the whole thing. Once we’ve settled into the new place, we go out for pizza as a family. I have a sweet tooth and dessert is usually my favourite part of a meal out, but on this occasion, I’m too full and grumpy about the move and don’t want a dessert, which my parents seem quite concerned about.)

Mum: “Oh, go on. Have a little cake or something! It’s a treat!”

Dad: “You can make room for dessert, surely? They have your favourite…”

Waiter: “We could do a smaller portion for you, if you would like?”

Me: *quite confused by their insistence* “No, I don’t want anything!”

Mum: “Not even a little thing?”

Me: “Well, I guess I wouldn’t mind another lemonade.”

(My dad begins to object, but the waiter interjects.)

Waiter: “Lemonade! Coming right up!”

(He disappeared into the kitchen area; my parents continued to seem disappointed about my lack of dessert. I was still quite confused about this until the waiter reappeared with a bottle of lemonade, with a napkin tucked into the neck of the bottle, supporting a birthday candle! I suddenly realised that my parents had asked the waiter to put the candle in my dessert ahead of time, and I’d spoilt their plan by not ordering one. The waiter’s improvisation made me laugh and really cheered me up at a time when I needed it. It was a long time ago but I still think of it fondly, and yes, he did get a generous tip from my parents.)

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