Some People Don’t Deserve Dogs

, , , , | Healthy | July 5, 2018

(I recently started working as a veterinarian at a clinic. We have one client who has become infamous for not giving his dog the sedative medications we recommended to help keep him comfortable during his visits. His anxiety at the office is so bad, we requested two different medications be used together, though often neither are given. As a result, whenever we have to do anything with the dog, we require the owner to place a muzzle on him, and our technicians have to wrestle with the dog while he is crying out in fear. We expect the client may get some kind of thrill watching these exchanges. The owner and dog are here for their recheck appointment with me, after choosing to try over the counter medications to try to deal with his dog’s problem. It is only me, the owner, and the dog for the exchange.)

Owner: “I think the skin is doing much better! Before, I couldn’t run my hands down his back, but now I can without a problem.”

Me: “That’s great. Is it true he’s still itching?”

Owner: “Yeah, but the scabs have gone away, except for one like this one on his side.”

(He show me one small scab. When I try to touch it, the dog barks and jerks in fear. The owner smirks a bit.)

Me: “Well, that’s good that the scabs have healed, but we’re still left with what to do about the itching. Our options are—”

Owner: *interrupting* “I know, I know, but look how much better it is! Isn’t the belly so much better?” *picks up terrified dog to show me his abdomen, freaking the dog out further*

Me: “It may be, but I can’t touch your dog to see how the skin is really doing.”

(This seems to really annoy the client.)

Owner: “Yeah, you can! I’ll just hold him really tight!”

Me: “But your dog is terrified, and that is not the type of relationship I want with your dog. That is why we want him to be on those medications when he comes in. That way, he can be more comfortable, and I can reward him with treats when he behaves well.”

Owner: “No, really it’s fine!” *hook his arms around the dog to hold him, further scaring the dog* “Here! Doesn’t the belly look so much better?” *lifts the dog again*

Me: “Yes, the belly looks better from what I can see, but I can’t touch him. I’m not going to foster that kind of relationship with your dog. We have two options. Either I can take him in the back with my techs–” *he had previously behaved better away from his owner* “–or you can come back when your dog has had his medications.”

(At this, the owner stormed out of the room, walked past the receptionist, and headed out the door. I zeroed out the re-exam fee, as I didn’t expect to charge him for a visual exam only, and put in a note about our interaction. I just hope he will start giving his dog the medications, rather than trying to force his dog into fearful situations.)

You Can’t Snake Your Way Into Heaven

, , , , | Healthy | July 4, 2018

(A very distraught-looking woman rushes into our emergency vet clinic with a garter snake in a shoebox. It would seem that she accidentally ran it over with her car while backing out of the driveway. The snake was horrifically mangled, but is still somehow unfortunately alive. It becomes instantly clear that it’s not going to make it.)

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but unfortunately I don’t think we can do anything to help this snake. At the very least, we can put him to sleep so at least he doesn’t have to suffer anymore.”

Woman: “I understand.”

(She looks very upset and begins crying.)

Me: “Just think of it this way. He’ll be chasing mice in Snake Heaven.”

Woman: “But snakes don’t go to Heaven! He’ll be partying down in Hell with the Devil!”

(She then walked out of the clinic, still crying, leaving me with the dying snake in the shoebox. I wish I could say that was the weirdest response that I’ve ever received when trying to comfort someone, but it’s not even close.)

Are You Puli-ng My Leg?

, , , , , | Working | June 22, 2018

(I own a Puli, an uncommon breed of dog known for its coat texture. They aren’t born with that coat; it takes about a year for the cords to form, and for a few months while the coat is in “transition,” they look like a shaggy, curly-tailed poodle in dire need of a haircut. I am used to having people who work with animals immediately know about the breed and be so glad to get a chance to see one in real life. I have just moved to a new area and am seeing a new vet for the first time, as I think she might be getting an ear infection. The technician calls me into an exam room and starts asking the basic questions, ending with:)

Tech: “…[Dog] sure looks like she could use a haircut!”

(My dog is about eight months old, and very much in the transition stage.)

Me: “Yeah, at this age they do look terrible, but in a few months it’ll be much better.”

Tech: “Do you even brush her?”

Me: “No, that’s not how the coat works.”

(I get ready to give the usual brief overview of how the cords are formed and the work that goes into the coat at this stage, but the vet walks in right then.)

Tech: “Okay, I’m going to take [Dog] to the treatment room and get her weight and vitals.”

(The tech leaves, and the vet starts the usual conversation with professionals of, “Oh, wow, I’ve never really seen one, so that’s what they look like young, etc.” This goes on for a while; I don’t think anything is strange, because at our previous vet whenever [Dog] went into the treatment area, the whole staff had to come and see her. I can hear the sound of clippers turning on in the back, and think it must be another patient getting a haircut. Then, the doctor runs out of stuff to talk about and says:)

Vet: “Well, I’ll go back and see if I can rescue [Dog] from her new fan club so we can start the exam.”

(He opens the door to treatment and screams:)

Vet: “OH, MY GOD! WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU TWO DOING?!” *turns back to me* “I am so sorry; I really don’t know what to say. This is inexcusable. I cannot believe…”

(I push my way past him and see [Dog] on a table, with two very scared-looking teenage assistants standing next to her, and a straight line of shaved fur running from nape of neck to base of tail. [Dog] is happily wagging her tail, apparently glad to be introducing me to her new, bestest best friends.)

Assistant #1: “[Technician] said to start shaving her because it was going to be such a long process… but the fur isn’t coming off in sheets like with the dog you showed me on last week, so I stopped and…”

Vet: *who has been babbling this whole time* “This is unforgivable; I’m stunned. Obviously, there will be no charge at all for today. In fact, there will be no charge for any service [Dog] needs, ever, for the rest of her life. Wait. [Tech] said, what?!

Assistant #2: “Her exact words were, ‘Poor dog, just look at this coat. Another stupid owner who bought a doodle-poo and thinks it’s a real breed. You two get started shaving this mess; it’ll likely take an hour or more.’ And then she went to take a cigarette break. I thought she’d gotten the haircut approved.”

Assistant #1: “What did we do wrong?”

Vet: “You mean, besides doing a treatment without the owner’s permission? [Dog] is a Puli.”

([Assistant #1] instantly pales; [Assistant #2] looks confused.)

Assistant #2: “That isn’t a poodle mixed with a collie, is it?”

Assistant #1: “Remember last week when [Other Staff Member] and I were talking about rare breeds we would probably never see in real life? This is one of them; they are famous for their awesome fur.”

Assistant #2: “Oh, crap.”

Me: *having a hard time staying angry because of my very happy dog* “It’s okay; she isn’t a show dog, just a pet. And at least you didn’t start on the side; I mean, once it starts growing out again, it’ll almost look like it was an intentional haircut.”

Vet: “I just can’t believe that she would do something like this without permission; she should know better. I assure you this is not how we do business.”

Me: “I can tell. I would just like to look her in the face when you tell her she doesn’t have a job anymore.”

Vet: “I’m sure that can be arranged.”

(Watching that horribly ignorant woman get fired was one of the more satisfying moments of my life.)

Barking Up The Wrong Vet

, , , , | Healthy | June 1, 2018

(I am working the overnight shift at an emergency veterinary clinic. The phone rings and I answer it:)

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

Caller: “Is this [Other Clinic]?”

Me: “No, ma’am, this is [Clinic].”

Caller: “Okay, so this is [Owner of other clinic’s office]?”

Me: “No, ma’am. That’s [Other Clinic]. This is [Clinic].”

Caller: “Okay, well, I’m right outside your office at the intersection of [Road #1] and [Road #2]. My dog has an emergency.”

Me: “No, ma’am, that is [Other Clinic]. They are closed because it is two am. We’re [Clinic], which is right down the road. Head south on [Road #1] for about two miles until you go under the overpass, then we’re on your right-hand side.”

Caller: “Okay, are you on the left or the right?”

Me: “We’re on the right-hand side, ma’am.”

(Twenty minutes later she calls back.)

Caller: “I went all the way down to the overpass and didn’t see you, so I turned around. Where is your office?”

Me: “You have to go under the overpass before you can see our office. We’ll be on your right-hand side once you pass the freeway.”

Caller: “Okay, I’ll be right there.”

(It took her another thirty minutes to find our clinic. Her pet’s emergency? He needed a nail trim.)

Puff! And You Have A Doctorate

, , , , | Healthy | May 29, 2018

(I’m taking my cat in for a checkup. My name is Dr. Smith; the cat’s got an odd, definitely non-human name. Let’s say it’s Puffles.)

Receptionist: “Puffles?”

(I get up and come over with the cat in a carrier.)

Receptionist: “Hello, Miss Puffles. So, the cat’s name is Dr. Smith?”

Me: “No. My name is Dr. Smith.”

Receptionist: *squinting at the screen* “It says here that your name is Puffles, and the cat is Dr. Smith.”

Me: “I don’t know how that happened, but it’s wrong.”

Receptionist: “Are you sure?”

Me: “I can assure you that this cat doesn’t have a doctorate.”

(The cat can’t even figure out how to fall off a chair, and yet it gets my PhD!)

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