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Having Second Thoughts About This Place

, , , , , | Working | December 14, 2021

The vet that I take my dog to also offers boarding. I call to get him in because I’m going to be out of town.

Me: “I’d like to board my dog the ninth through the thirteenth.”

Receptionist: “We’ve got space then. I’ll go ahead and put him down.”

I know she meant she’d write it down on the schedule, but maybe don’t use the phrase “put him down” while working at a vet’s office.

Good Thing You Had Another Basket To Put Your Eggs In

, , , , , , , | Healthy | November 27, 2021

We keep backyard chickens. One day, we find that our hen Emma has been savagely attacked — we believe by a raccoon — as she was brooding on her nest. Emma is a big chicken; she probably got the injury because she stood her ground and fought the raccoon rather than letting it have her eggs. And since two small Silkie hens have disappeared, presumed dead, we credit Emma with saving the lives of the other two hens that are still safe.

We take our war hero to a vet that we use a lot, not because we like them, but because they are close by, open twenty-four hours, and treat birds. Emma is indignant and unhappy and obviously in a lot of pain, but she is feisty and pretty energetic for a hen with a giant piece of flesh torn out of her backside.

Immediately, I start to see red flags. They warn me that Emma might have to be put down because, if she was bitten by a raccoon, she might have rabies. Chickens get rabies so rarely, I don’t believe it’s ever happened in the US; the CDC claims chickens can’t get it. Because they don’t have saliva, they can’t transmit it if they do get it. Then, they tell me that there is nothing they can do. They can’t stitch her up. They strongly recommend that we put her down because chickens don’t survive injuries like this. They tell me she is “dumpy” — meaning withdrawn and low energy, seen in dying birds but also in ones that are just in a lot of pain — and that she cannot recover from this.

I have seen many chickens die. Emma does not strike me as a dying chicken. My husband and I agree that we cannot leave Emma with this vet. They’re quoting me $1,400 for an overnight stay, which is bad enough, but they’re recommending euthanasia so strongly that they make me sign paperwork saying that I am refusing the recommended treatment against medical advice. We both feel that if the vet there feels so strongly in favor of euthanasia, Emma will not survive the night.

There’s another vet that takes birds forty-five minutes away from my house and they’re not open twenty-four-seven. I demand my bird back. She has had no treatment aside from her wound being washed. They give me antibiotics and painkillers to give her but they have not given her anything for pain or wound treatment themselves. And by the time they finally hand her over, it’s fifty minutes until the other vet closes.

I drive like a bat out of h*** to the other vet and show up minutes before closing. They check her in and take her back immediately for wound care and painkillers. After about half an hour, the vet comes to see me. He wants to do surgery on her in the morning. He says that chickens are one of the toughest birds out there and he’s seen chickens live through worse. And the cost of surgery and an overnight stay is going to be like $350.

Emma has a long and tedious recovery, penned in our house because other chickens will attack a bloody wound. We have to give her antibiotics and painkillers by hand for twenty days, and she has to go back three times for dressing changes and once for an additional surgery, but for a sum total of around $600, I end up with a healthy if cranky chicken whose feathers have grown back so you can’t even see her wound, who is still laying eggs despite the injury to her butt, and who is once again Top Bird in the pecking order around here.

I’m never taking a bird to the first vet again if I can help it.

Off To A Good Start

, , , | Right | November 22, 2021

I’m a receptionist at a vet’s office.

Me: “Hello.”

Caller: “I would like to reschedule my appointment.”

Me: “Okay, when was your appointment?”

Caller: “I don’t know.”

Another Kind Of Anti-Vaxxer

, , , | Right | November 11, 2021

I work in a vet clinic. Whenever we set up an appointment for a new client and their animal, we ask what clinic they went to previously so we can transfer their records to us. This may seem like common knowledge, but it proves not to be in this case. At the very least, we have to have vaccine records, especially if the client is looking to spay/neuter their pet. Legally, we cannot do ANY surgery without vaccine records; if clients have no records, they have to start the vaccine sets all over again with us and then we can book surgeries going forward.

When talking to new clients, I explain all of this. Most understand and some even have prepared these documents ahead of time, which makes the veterinarian’s job much easier. But sometimes, we get clients who just cannot understand that this is how things are done.

This conversation takes place over the phone.

Me: “Thank you for calling [Clinic]. This is [My Name]; how can I help you?”

Client: *Sounding irate* “How much would it be to neuter a thirty-ish pound male dog, and how soon can I do it?”

Me: “I can certainly check for you. Have you ever seen us before?”

Client: “No, I just moved here from Ontario. I haven’t taken him to a vet yet down here. I need to get him fixed.”

Me: “I see. So, for his weight range, the surgery estimate is around [price]. I’m just going to ask for some information and we can look at booking the surgery from there.”

I assume the client has her vet records and proof of vaccines, which turns out to be a mistake. I ask for the client’s information so I can start a file for her. She is blunt with all her answers and seems vaguely mad for some reason.

Client: “Why are you asking all these questions?!”

Me: “I’m sorry this is taking some time, but I need your information so I can put you in our system. Once I do that, I can start booking your appointment. You said you moved here recently? Do you happen to have a copy of your previous vet records?”

Client: *Huffs* “No! I had an emergency move from Ontario so I didn’t think to get them!”

Me: “I completely understand. However, in order to book your dog for surgery, we do need those records—”

Client: *Cuts me off* “I just said I didn’t have them! I had an emergency move from Ontario!”

She pronounces “emergency” very slowly and condescendingly.

Me: “I do understand; but by law, we require at least his vaccination records, because he needs to have his core vaccines and rabies up to date before we can do surgery.”

Client: “Well, I don’t have them. We got him vaccinated in Ontario years ago, so there’s no problem.

This is absolutely a problem.

Me: “I’m very sorry, but we need these records to move forward. Is there any way you can contact the clinic and have them email the records to you?”

Client:Excuse me? I just had an emergency move from Ontario! I don’t have time to do that!”

Me: “I see. You can discuss this with the vet—”

The client cuts me off again, speaking with a snarky laugh.

Client: “So, tell me, are there any hidden fees I need to know about?”

Me: “I’m not sure what you mean? There aren’t any hidden fees. Before we do the surgery, I need to book you an appointment for an exam with the vet, and once we’ve seen your dog, we can book the neuter.”

To be fair, it is my fault for not saying anything about the exam beforehand, but I also thought this was common knowledge. After all, you wouldn’t call a human doctor and ask for surgery without seeing them, right? But apparently, this was the completely wrong thing to say.

Client: *Yelling* “So there is a hidden fee! I knew it!”

I’m pretty fed up with this person, so I decide I will no longer try to please her. My tone is still professional but firm.

Me: “I’m really sorry, but this is not a ‘hidden fee’. If you switch vet clinics, no matter where you go, they will first book your pet in for an exam with a vet before doing any surgery. The exam fee here is [price] before taxes. I can get you booked in for this appointment in the next few days if you’d like to come in soon.”

Client: “Well, can we do the exam and the surgery on the same day?”

I’ve never had a client ask to do this. I know for a fact that we don’t allow this, and it also makes no sense as we have not seen her dog before. I respond as politely as I can.

Me: “I am sorry, but we are unable to do that. This is the process in order to book a surgery: we book you in for a first exam and the vet meets you and your pet, and then, once we have your records that confirm he is up to date on his vaccines, we can book the neuter. This is standard practice and is not only clinic policy, but the law, as well. If you’d like to proceed, I can give you a few upcoming dates to book the exam and you can let me know what works for you.”

Client: *After a few seconds* “Fine. I guess if I have to, then I’ll do it. When can I bring him in?”

I silently exhale in relief and go over some dates and times with her. I tune out her ranting and complaining, and as soon as she takes a breath, I thank her for calling, say her appointment date and time once more, and hang up the phone.

Coworker: “Do I even want to ask?”

Me: “Nope. I’m writing a note about everything she said so [Vet] knows what he’s getting into.”

I write out a few paragraphs in the file to document our conversation so the vet will know what’s going on. Unfortunately for this client, I booked her appointment with our vet who can be particular about the people he sees: he hates it when clients are late, and he doesn’t take any bulls*** from them, either. I didn’t book her with him on purpose, but oh, well.

The day before the client’s appointment, I call to confirm but she doesn’t pick up — thankfully! I leave a message and go on with the day.

The time of her appointment comes and goes and she is not here. The vet comes up to the front desk as I am about to call this client.

Vet: “If you’re about to call her, don’t bother.”

Me: “You don’t want me to?”

Vet: “I just read your note; I wouldn’t put in the effort. She’s made no effort to be on time and respect our time, so I wouldn’t do the courtesy of calling her. If she does show up, just say we have to reschedule as she’s missed her appointment. I’m in no rush to see people like that.”

Me: “All right, will do.”

The client never did show up or call us that day, to no one’s surprise. I marked her as a no-show. Luckily, the other receptionists and I have not received a call from her so far.

Mothers Like This Are The Worst Breed

, , , , , , | Right | October 15, 2021

My mother has a notoriously aggressive dog. It’s small, but it’s prone to biting and my mom actively encourages it, making her growl and snap because she thinks it’s a funny party trick to show guests. She and the dog have been banned from most groomers. She asks me to carry the dog to a vet and groomer for her.

Me: “[Vet]? Are you sure? I thought she couldn’t go back there?”

Mom: “I called and they said they can take her.”

Me: “Why?”

Mom: “What do you mean, why? She’s a good girl! The old groomer just didn’t know what she was doing! The new groomer said she’d take her!”

Me: “Okay.”

I go to the vet. They don’t do appointments so they don’t know I am coming.

Vet Tech: “Hi! What can I do for y’all today? What a cute puppy, my goodness!”

Me: “Yeah, she’s… she’s… I’m here for grooming.”

Vet Tech: “Okie dokie! What’s the name?”

Me: “[My Name.]”

Vet Tech: “Sorry, sweetie. I don’t have a file for you.”

Me: “Oh, my bad! It’ll be under [Mother].”

Vet Tech: “All righty! I…” *Stares at screen* “One second.”

She goes to the back and returns less than a minute later.

Vet Tech: “[Dog] is approved for vet visits only. You were informed of this.”

She is instantly very serious and no longer happy to see the “cute puppy.”

Me: “So… what do I do? My mom said she called, and you said it was okay?”

Vet Tech: “No. It’s not. You could go to a groomer she hasn’t seen before, because she won’t be barred from there.”

Me: *Drowning in embarrassment* “Okay… let me go call my mom, I guess.”

I step outside and call her. She’s pissed at me, as if it’s my fault. I get her to admit she never gave the vet tech her name or dog’s name over the phone and the vet tech only said that walk-ins for grooming were allowed in general, not that our dog’s ban got lifted.

She’s still mad. She tells me to wait outside for a few minutes and hangs up on me. Through the window, I see the vet tech answer the phone and have a many-minute-long conversation with hate on her face the whole time. When she’s done, she gives me a look like I killed her entire family and I get a text from my mom saying to try again.

Me: “Hi… Did… my mom call you?”

Vet Tech: *Visibly upset* “Yes. [Dog] can get a bath. A bath. Pick her up at three.” *Snatches the leash from me*

Me: “Okay… Be careful, she can be a little rude.”

She shot me a death glare. I cried the whole way home from the embarrassment. They ended up asking me to get her at one and only her back had been washed. I left a big tip with my mom’s credit card.