Wishing You Could Flip Them The Bird

, , , , | Right | March 15, 2019

(On a busy Saturday, a customer comes in with her three-year-old son and her mother to purchase a parakeet.)

Customer: “We’re going to take him to the vet to have his wings clipped.”

Employee: “Really? You don’t have to go to the vet for that. They charge for it, and we can do it here for free if you want.”

(No one in my store enjoys clipping the birds’ wings. Not only does it fail to benefit the bird in any way, but it’s also a literal pain in our fingers; birds bite. Still, since customers sometimes want it done, we will clip the wings if they ask… or in this case, to save the customers some money. The customer agrees, and my employee clips the wings and sends them on their way. About half an hour later, I get a phone call.)

Me: “Thank you for calling [Pet Store]; how can I help you?”

Customer: “I just purchased a bird there, and when we got it home, it was all bloody! Your employee cut the bird’s wings, and she obviously did a bad job!”

Me: “Oh, that’s strange. If you bring the bird back, we can take a look and see what’s going on.”

(I let my boss know what’s going on, and then I approach my pet care employee.)

Me: “You clipped a bird’s wings a while ago, right? I have a customer who called and said you injured it.”

Employee: “Really? I clipped them the same way I’ve always done it, and I didn’t see any blood.”

(When the customer comes back with the bird, my employee and my boss both take a look at it. The bird’s injury is not on its wings, but on its side.)

Customer: “See? You guys didn’t cut its wings right! We got this bird because it was getting picked on by the other birds, and now you’ve hurt it worse!”

Me: “It looks like the bird’s wings aren’t hurt at all. There’s a small wound on its side. If you’re right, and the bird was getting bullied by the others, I think one of the other birds might have scratched or bitten it, and the wound tore open from the stress of getting caught, clipped, and put in the box. What we can do is you can return the bird to us—“

Customer: “We don’t want to exchange it! My son is attached to it already.”

Me: “No, ma’am, we don’t want you to exchange it. If you return it, we can take it to our vet here in the building, and we can nurse it back to health, and we can sell it back to you once it’s healed.”

Customer: “We don’t want to do that. My son will miss him!”

Boss: “Well, I’ve cleaned the wound and stopped the bleeding, so it looks like you can take the bird home today if you prefer to do that. I would just leave him alone for a few days and give him time to heal. If you do that, he should be fine.”

(Two days later, the customer and her mom storm into the store with their bird, who is now bleeding worse than ever. They completely dodge my boss and go straight to the vet, who is in our building but technically part of a separate company. The vet tells them that she has to keep the bird overnight, which they are NOT happy to hear. All of this happens on my day off, so when I come back to work the next day, I have no idea that their bird is even in our building. I get a phone call when my shift starts.)

Customer’s Mother: “I brought my bird in because it was injured; how is it doing?”

(I search everywhere for the bird, starting with our sick room in the back, which is where we keep any injured or ill animals to nurse them back to health. The bird isn’t there. I finally find the bird at the vet.)

Me: “I just talked with the veterinarian, and it sounds like your bird is doing just fine. She thinks we need to keep the bird here for a few days to make sure it heals properly–“

Customer’s Mother: “A few days?! That’s too long! We want him back now! He still belongs to us!”

Me: “Did you return the bird to us at the register?”

Customer’s Mother: “Of course not!”

Me: “That’s strange; I’m not sure why my boss would let you do that. We usually have customers return animals to us, so that way we’re the only ones who get charged with a vet bill–“

Customer’s Mother: “There’s no way I’m paying for all this!”

Me: “I didn’t say you would, ma’am. That’s why I’m trying to figure out why it wasn’t returned to us. I wasn’t here yesterday. I’m going to call my boss and figure out what’s going on, and I’ll call you back.”

(I contact my boss, who tells me that we’re going to pay the vet bill, even though the customer never returned the bird. I’m worried that we’re now responsible for a bird that technically isn’t ours. Not only is it against our policy, but now we’re liable if something happens to him. I call the customer back.)

Me: “All right. I talked with my boss, and it sounds like we will be paying the vet bill, and your bird is going to be fine. We’re going to keep him here until he’s all better, and we’ll call you when he’s ready to be picked up, okay?”

Customer’s Mom: “Can I call you in the meantime to check on him?”

Me: “Absolutely!”

(Late in the evening, I start getting frantic calls and texts from my boss AND the store manager, both asking me what on earth I said to the customer’s mom. Apparently, the customer posted on a local Facebook group, claiming that we “insisted” on clipping the bird’s wings against HER judgment, that I tried to make HER pay for the vet bill, and that I tried to make her exchange the bird for another one so we could KILL her bird for being “too much trouble”! Meanwhile, her Facebook followers were eating up the story and telling her to sue us.)

Store Manager: “Is any of this true?”

Me: “No!”

(After I explained the truth, my store manager realized that the bird was a massive liability. She called the customers and told them that they were free to pick up their bird anytime. The customer’s boyfriend came back in the next day and took the bird, stealing the cage it was in while he was at it. The customer made a second Facebook post about how “traumatized” the bird was from the ordeal because, “he won’t let me touch him,” even though the vet told her AGAIN to leave the bird alone until it healed!)

When It Comes To Animal Welfare, They’re Not Horsing Around

, , , | Healthy | March 14, 2019

(I am home alone on our farm one afternoon — my family is out on errands — and there is a knock on the door. When I open the door, a man is standing there and there’s an SPCA van in the driveway.)

SPCA: “Hello, miss. We’ve had a complaint put forth about your animal welfare.”

Me: “What?!”

SPCA: “That horse over there.”

(He pointed at a horse in the field that my mum had taken in from a neighbour who was going to send her to the glue factory — yup, that’s really a thing. She was clearly sickly and dying, but we were giving her the best life we could until she passed, something her previous owner had no intention of doing. It was a serious charge and took almost a week to clear up… and $200 to get the vet out and write a note that we were giving her all the care she needed.)

The Power Of Man’s Best Friend Is Overtaken By The Power Of Kindness

, , , , , | Hopeless | March 13, 2019

I worked at an animal shelter a few years ago. An older woman came in looking for a small dog. She wanted to visit this small, white poodle that had just been put on the adoption floor that morning. I put them in a meet-and-greet room and placed the dog on her lap. A few minutes later I went in to check on her and she started telling me her story.

Her twenty-year-old daughter had been murdered three weeks ago. She told me how she had to spend $7,000 to bury her baby and that there were over twenty possible suspects.

As she cried telling me her story, this older poodle sat in her lap quietly and let her pet him. She asked if she could put in an application for him and what the adoption fee was. She started crying more when I told her it was $110, because she couldn’t afford that much right now.

I told her to hang on, to put the application in, and that I would work out the rest. I could tell that both the woman and the dog needed each other. I spoke with a coworker and told her I was going to pay the adoption fee. She decided to split the fee with me, instead. Her application was approved, and she somehow cried more when I told her the fee was taken care of. She thanked me over and over again as she carried that little dog out.

I cried when she left, happy to know I could help someone piece things together again.

InGen Up To Their Tricks Again

, , , , , , | Right | March 11, 2019

(My boyfriend and I are standing at the new clouded leopard exhibit at our local zoo, which recently expanded and added several new animals. Next to the exhibit, there is a sign comparing the clouded leopard’s jaw and teeth to that of a sabertooth tiger, as they are strikingly similar. Sabertooth tigers have been extinct for about 10,000 years. While we’re standing there, a family of a mom, a dad, and a roughly fifteen-year-old daughter walk up to the exhibit.)

Mom: “Oh, what’s this one?”

Daughter: *glancing at sign* “It’s a, uh… sabertooth tiger.”

Mom & Dad: “Oh, wow!”

(They leave.)

Me & My Boyfriend: *stunned silence, wide-eyed disbelief*

(Then, a man who appeared to be in his forties walks up with a little girl, probably seven or eight.)

Man: “Look, honey! It’s a—“ *looks at sign* “—sabertooth tiger! How cool!”

(My boyfriend and I stood there for the next five minutes trying to rationalize what we had just witnessed. We then spent the rest of the day trying to imagine what kind of provisions a zoo would need to take in order to actually house a saber tooth tiger.)

With Pet Ownership You Can’t Drop The Ball

, , , , , | Related | March 9, 2019

(I just came back from bringing our male cat back from the vet. He’s only eight or nine months old, but I took him in to get fixed, only to end up bringing him back, and trying very hard not to laugh, having learned something new about male cats.)

Mom: “So, uh… Why are you trying so hard to not laugh, and why isn’t Roadie at the vet?”

Brother: “Is my cat okay?!”

Me: “Well, uh… Here’s One-Nut Roadie.” *hands him to my brother and laughs*

Mom: “Wha…”

Me: “So, uh… Apparently, like human males… a male cat’s testicles have to, uh… drop… into his, uh… hangy bit there… and, uh–” *laughing too d*** hard*

Mom: *checks* “HE REALLY ONLY HAS ONE THERE!”

Me: “Th-the other may be in his belly still, or it’s about to drop, b-but we don’t have the money right now to have him cut open to get it out.” *still laughing*

Brother: “Really?”

Me: “Now we have No Nuts and One Nut!”

Mom: “I think your sister needs some sleep.”

Brother: “You think?”

(I was sleep deprived, but it still tickles me funny today. I never knew that about a male cat, but I do now!)

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