It’s A Dog’s (Very Short) Life

, , , , , | Right | December 2, 2017

(A customer calls us up asking for her dog to be euthanised. From the call, her dog seems to be extremely old, and suffering considerably. As she isn’t registered with us, we offer to take a look. I am called into the reception after she arrives.)

Receptionist: “[My Name], this is the, umm, ‘old’ dog.”

(I see the customer holding what a dog that I would say is about five or six. It seems perfectly happy and content.)

Me: “Sorry, Mrs. [Customer #1], I thought your dog was elderly and in poor condition.”

Customer #1: “It is! Just look at him. He’s barely holding on. He’s much too old. Just take him, please.”

Me: “How old is he?”

Customer #1: “Five!”

(I look at the receptionist and she is a bewildered as I am.)

Me: “Dogs typically live ten to fifteen years, and this breed can outlive that, easily, with proper care. Judging from his demeanour, he seems fine.”

Customer #1: “Oh, you don’t know what you’re talking about! Fifteen years is far too long. Just take him, please.”

Me: “I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to refuse.”

Customer #1: *huffs* “Why won’t anyone kill my dog?!”

Customer #2: “Because he’s f****** healthy! If you don’t want him, I’ll take him.”

Customer #1: *excited* “Really? You’ll take my old, suffering, close-to-death dog?”

(After [Customer #2] got his own dog back, they both left. Two weeks later, [Customer #1]’s dog was registered with us, and was perfectly healthy. He was recently in for his vaccinations, and [Customer #2] said [Customer #1]’s children were devastated that she was getting rid of him, but since then they regularly go to his house to play with and take care of him, in the company of an owner who isn’t out to kill him.)

Try Not To Embrace It Too Much

, , , , , , | Related | December 1, 2017

(My sister has recently had a baby, and I’ve gone over to see her newborn. She uses this as a chance to take a much-needed bath and get food while I rock the baby to sleep. She comes back in the room thirty minutes later to find that the baby is asleep in the crib, and I have picked up their dachshund to rock and sing to. She gives me a strange look.)

Me: “I’m still in cuddle mode.”

Sister: “As long as you don’t try it on me, we’re good.”

Getting Cagey About Buying A Pet

, , , , , | Right | November 29, 2017

(I am a manager at a pet store. One day when I come back from my lunch break, another manager approaches me.)

Manager: “Hey, we kind of have a situation. There’s a family here that came in looking for hamsters, but they’re not really listening to any of us. We told them that they can’t mix different species of hamsters together, and they can’t put a hamster in with a guinea pig, but they have these two boys that both want something different.”

Me: “Can’t they buy two different cages?”

Manager: “They don’t seem really interested in doing that. I told them that they might be able to put together two hamsters that grew up together, but I don’t know. Hamsters are territorial, so it’s just not a good idea. Plus, the boys keep changing their minds on what they want, and [Employee] is kind of uncomfortable selling to them. Could you go over there and back her up? I really need to do the fish count before my shift ends.”

(I find the family with [Employee]. The family consists of two young boys and three adults who I’m guessing are the mom, dad, and grandfather.)

Me: “Hi! What are you thinking of getting today?”

Grandfather: “Well, we aren’t really sure. We were kind of thinking maybe a guinea pig?”

Boy #1: “I want a hamster.”

Boy #2: “I want a guinea pig!”

Me: “Were you guys thinking of getting two different cages?”

Grandfather: “We don’t really know. What do you think?”

Me: “Honestly, I think your best bet would be to get some of our care guides and take them home. They are free brochures that list how to take care of our different animals, so you could look over them and compare the different pets you like. That way, you’ll have time to think about it and really make sure you know which animal you want. You really don’t want to buy a pet on impulse, you know? Guinea pigs live for seven years.”

Boy #2: “Wow! That’s a long time!”

Me: “Yep! So, it’s a really big commitment.”

Dad: “We’re not going to abandon it! We take good care of our pets! We keep them until they die, and then we bury them in our yard!”

Mom: “Okay, it sounds like we need to take you boys home and really think about what animal you want, okay?”

(I figure the situation is resolved and go track down the other manager, who is visibly relieved when I tell her that I talked them out of getting a pet today. Other than the weird defensive outburst from the dad, I personally didn’t really see any red flags from the family myself, but I definitely trust my coworkers’ judgment. The family hangs around for a while. I later see them talking with [Employee] again, and they eventually leave the store empty-handed. Ten minutes later, I get paged to the front, where the mother is waiting.)

Mom: “I want to talk to a manager!”

Me: “I’m the manager. How can I help you?”

Mom: “My family came in to get a guinea pig, and everything was going fine. We had all kinds of employees coming and talking to us, and it was really good customer service. But then your employee told us that we have to buy the cage first and get the guinea pig tomorrow! Now my boy is crying in the parking lot! How are you supposed to tell a seven-year-old that he has to wait until tomorrow?”

(Right on cue, the two boys come back into the store, both dry-faced. They try to give me the puppy eyes, but it has no effect.)

Me: “Did [Employee] give you a reason why you have to get the cage first and the guinea pig tomorrow?”

Mom: “Yes! She said it was less stressful for the guinea pig to do it that way!”

Me: “She’s right! We like to recommend that people get the cage first. That way you have plenty of time to set it up and have it ready, so the pet isn’t stuck in a box for a long time–“

Mom: “I’ve never heard of that! You know what? We’ll just take our business elsewhere!”

(She ushers out her two boys, looking furious that I sided with my employee over her. Another ten minutes later, the dad comes in.)

Dad: “Where’s the other manager? The one who was counting fish?”

Me: “She went home half an hour ago. I’m the only manager left today.”

(He walks out, and the family finally leaves our parking lot. My dog trainer, who overheard my conversation with the mom, later approaches me.)

Dog Trainer: “You know the answer to her question? The one about how to tell a seven-year-old that he can’t have a guinea pig today?” *squats down until she’s eye-level with an imaginary child* “NO!”

A Place Where Your Pet Can Stretch Its Leg

, , , , , , | Working | November 29, 2017

(My mother and I are dropping off our cat at a boarding place, and we are asked to fill out a sheet describing her physical well-being, noting things such as her allergies. We are almost finished.)

Me: “Don’t forget the leg.”

(My cat had her back leg amputated at a young age.)

Mom: “Of course.”

(She writes it down on the sheet. Just then, my small cat squeezes out of her carrier and starts limping across the tile floor. We catch her, place her back in her carrier, and hand the sheet to the woman behind the counter. She scans the sheet.)

Woman: “Oh, [Cat] has three legs?”

Mom: “Yes.”

Woman: “You know, I thought she had an odd gait. That would explain it.”

Mom: “…”

Good Thing They Didn’t Weight Any Longer

, , , , , , | Working | November 28, 2017

(I am about ten years old. My family has just returned from a two-week vacation and my mom, sister, and I are picking up our dog from a boarding kennel. Though we have boarded her many times before, this is the first time using this particular facility. When the employee brings out our dog, she is noticeably thinner.)

Mom: “How come she looks so thin?”

Employee: “She ran out of food.”

(My mom left some food with her when we dropped her off, assuming it would last.)

Mom: “You didn’t feed her? Why didn’t someone call me? You could have bought more and charged it to me. This is ridiculous!”

Employee: “Ma’am, you should have left more food with her. You only gave her enough to last a week and a half.”

Mom: “She’s been without food for three days?! Look. I’m sorry. I thought I had enough, but surely someone could have called or something. There was no reason for her to starve!”

(My mom paid and left. We subsequently weighed the dog and found that she had lost three pounds; a lot for a 17-pound dog. I know my mom made a mistake, but they at least could have called or fed the dog and charged us when we picked her up. I’m not sure, but my mom may have reported them. We certainly never returned there.)

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