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All Good Doggos Deserve A Good Sendoff

, , , , , , , , , , | Friendly | November 26, 2023


I had the same dog for half of my life. When she finally passed away last year at almost sixteen, I was devastated as she was my best friend. My mom paid for the cremation as money was very tight right then, but I didn’t ask her to pay the extra to get her cremated separately — they return the dog’s ashes that way — as I already felt bad enough about the whole situation.

I posted on Facebook about a rosebush I had planted in her memory, and it came up that I hadn’t been able to bring her home because of the money. When people on the page I posted her plant on found out, they called the vet to pay the difference so I could bring her home.

Not only that, but a month later, I found a puppy that I wanted and made arrangements for the breeder to hold him for me until I could get the rest of the money for him. (Don’t judge; none of the shelters had a dog that would work for my needs.) A friend paid the deposit for me, but I still needed a few hundred to finish paying for him. I mentioned that on a breed-specific Facebook page that I was making payments, and a complete stranger sent me the rest of the money I needed to bring him home.

It took a crappy situation and made it better by reminding me that there are good people in the world and by giving me a new dog to love.

Don’t Trust, Just Verify

, , , , , , | Working | October 9, 2023

I recommended a charity vet to my disabled friend whose dog might have cancer. My friend cried that there was no way they could ever afford to help their dog, and I suggested that the charity vet might be able to fundraise the difference.

Later, we had this conversation over text.

Friend: “[Vet] only does spay/neuter.”

Me: “Then why do I always get letters in the mail telling me about how my donations go to life-saving surgery?”

Friend: “I don’t know. I told them about the mass, and they said, ‘We don’t do regular vet appointments here.’ Maybe they changed.”

Me: “Sometimes receptionists are wrong. I’ll look into it. I mean, I got a letter fairly recently. I could be wrong, or they could have changed. But I’ll see if I can find out anything different. What exactly did you ask for on the phone?”

Friend: “It was over email. I just called and left a voicemail just now, too. The voicemail message says something about non-spay/neuter surgeries. They should have told me more in the email.”

Me: “Not everyone is good at being part of society. That’s why I’m always skeptical.”

Moments later…

Friend: “They called me back and said that after she gets diagnosed at the regular vet, if she needs surgery, I can send them an email with those medical records and they will help.”

Me: “I’m glad you didn’t give up after the first email.”

If there is one thing I’ve learned from Not Always Right, it’s that sometimes people are wrong, (or bad at communicating, or willfully negligent) and to double-check.

Really, though. It’s so insensitive to hear that someone thinks their dog has cancer and reply that they only spay and neuter.

This Lady Doesn’t Deserve Those Cats

, , , , | Healthy | September 27, 2023

A client is scheduled to bring her two older cats in for back-to-back appointments. I despise this woman for several reasons, but the main one is her resentful attitude toward her younger cat. She feels that he should be grateful that she gave him a home — as we all know, cats normally express gratitude toward their owners for giving them homes.

The day before the appointment, [Client] calls.

Client: “Hi. I have [Cat #1] and [Cat #2] scheduled for tomorrow. I’m going to try to catch [Cat #3] and bring him in, too.”

Me: “We don’t have time to see an additional appointment; our afternoon is fully booked.”

Client: “Then I’ll just leave one of the other two at home.”

I see that [Cat #3] is due for a vaccine in two months.

Me: “What does [Cat #3] need to be seen for?” 

Client: “It’s just a check-up, but I probably won’t be able to get him. [Derogatory nickname for Cat #3] can’t be touched!”

She ends the call without answering any of my standard questions.

I decide not to waste my time calling back and trying to pry information out of her, add a tentative appointment for [Cat #3] to the schedule, and note in each cat’s appointment that we may be seeing any two of the three cats.

Half an hour before the appointment, [Client] calls again.

Client: “I’m going to be late because there’s an accident. I’m at [intersection about half an hour away].”

Me: “Okay, but if you’re—”

Client: “I’ll get there when I get there.”

Me: “If you arrive aft—”

Client: “We’ll just skip whatever we can’t fit in!” *Ends the call*

I was trying to tell her that if she arrived more than twenty minutes into her cats’ combined appointment slot, we would have to reschedule her. I wonder what she would have skipped. The bloodwork that was her primary reason for scheduling? One of the cats she had so much trouble bringing in because she lives really far away?

Shockingly, four minutes before the appointment time, she arrives.

I am on the phone with another client, and my two colleagues are unpacking a delivery in the back.

Client: “I need the girls to carry my cats in! Their carrier is huge and I can’t lift it.”

I put my client on hold, grab my colleagues to help her, and resume helping my client on the phone. In my peripheral vision, I see each one of them carrying one end of a dog crate large enough for a boxer past my desk and into the exam room. I have to put my client on hold again to find their physical chart on the shelves behind me. I desperately try to avoid making eye contact with [Client], both so she won’t try to poach me from the client I’m already helping, and because she makes me uncomfortable. No dice.

Client: *To me* “Can I just go in?”

Me: “[Colleague] will be right back to check you in.”

Client: “[Cat #1] and [Cat #2] are here. Isn’t that all you need?”

Me: “We need to confirm the appointment details.”

Client: “They’re just checkups and bloodwork!”

She starts to turn toward the exam room. I turn to face [Client] fully and lock eyes with her.

Me: “We have to confirm the details of every appointment. This. Does. Not. Change.”

I return to my phone call. [Client] waits the ten more seconds it takes for my colleague to return and get her checked in.

Unfortunately, I have to check [Client] out at the end of her appointment, but then, a blessed phone call rings through the second I give [Client] her receipt, and I have an excuse not to interact with her anymore. My colleagues carry the massive crate back out. I hear someone suggesting [Client] hold the door for them.

Client: “I can’t do anything! Why are you asking me to help?”

You Could Put Any Liquid In It! (If You Ever Find It…)

, , , , | Right | July 31, 2023

I work at a veterinary hospital. It’s the middle of a busy day when we get a call from a woman looking for a lost item she left at the hospital several days ago. We’re part of a large veterinary group with dozens of locations.

Woman: “I left my coffee mug there a few days ago and a girl said you’d hold onto it for me. I want to come to get it. Is it still there?”

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but I don’t have any coffee mugs in our lost and found. What was the name on your account? I can see if any of the reception staff put a note on your account as to the mug’s location. And can I get a description of the mug?”

She rattles off her information. I’m searching our system when she gives me the mug description, and I have to bite my tongue to keep from laughing at the last bit.

Woman: “Well, it’s from [Famous Coffee Chain], and it’s kind of a shiny silver color, and you put coffee in it.”

Me: “Ah… Yes, of course. I don’t see any notes on your account, but it also appears you’ve never been to our location?”

Woman: *Long pause* “Is this not the [Location that is nearby but is in another state] location?”

Me: “I’m so sorry, no. It’s the [Our City] location. I can certainly give you their number, though.”

She was embarrassed and apologetic, but I gave her the number and she hung up. I’m very glad she clarified the function of a coffee mug for me, though.

The Passing Of A Legendary Dog

, , , , , , , | Healthy | July 28, 2023

CONTENT WARNING: Animal Illness, Death


I’m the writer of the story A Streetcar Named Cheshire, about a time when a fellow traveller on a streetcar insisted that my cat was a dog. This is the story of the wonderful vets who helped us through tragedy during the recent health crisis. 

Two moves, a marriage, and a kitten adoption later, my cat is now around sixteen years old. I’ve been seeing the signs that she’s getting old, and she’s on three different medications to keep up her quality of life. I’ve already made up my mind that she’s not going on a fourth, and I can see that the medication she is on isn’t working anymore.

I’m now waiting for the health crisis to pass to take her to the vet for her annual checkup and to book putting her down. Then, I get a phone call at work while my husband is working at home.

Husband: “Something’s wrong with [Cat]. She just started screaming and is panting really hard under the bed! She just pooped herself twice!”

Me: “That’s not normal… Well, she did have a similar event last year.”

Husband: “Yeah, when she was constipated. This is different.”

I’m already getting the nod of approval from my boss.

Me: “I’m on my way home. Let me know if anything changes.”

While on the bus home — my husband has the car today — I get a text from him

Husband: “[Cat]’s back legs aren’t moving. She just dragged herself from under the bed.”

I rush home to find her panting in her litter box. She doesn’t move her legs when I touch the bottom of her paws and doesn’t blink when I touch her eyes. Her normal vet’s office is already closed for the day.

Me: “We’re taking her to the emergency vet. I think she had a seizure or stroke.”

This is where the wonderful vet steps in. When we get there, we’re not allowed in, but they take her to the examination room. After giving her heavy pain medication and oxygen, they confirm that she has a massive blood clot in her heart. No medication could have stopped it or can reverse it, and surgery is out of the question.

Me: “I know I can’t be with [Cat] when she dies, but can I say goodbye?”

Vet: “Of course! You can’t take long, but you can say goodbye.”

They let me have about five minutes with her, more than I thought possible. She wasn’t in pain, and once she had passed, they brought her to the car, wrapped in a blanket and in a cardboard kitty coffin. The health crisis stopped me from giving her the death I wanted, but the vets made sure she was comfortable and gave me the emotional closure I needed. Thank you to them, and goodbye, my sweet queen.