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We Ain’t No Quitters, Especially When It Comes To Dogs!

, , , , , , | Healthy | August 31, 2022

Content Warning: Animal Injury


I have a lot of stories from working in veterinary care, but this one is always going to stick out in my mind, for reasons that will soon be obvious.

A woman who is not an established client shows up at our clinic one day without warning, stating that her ranch dog has been attacked by some other dogs and “might need a stitch.” We’re not going to turn someone away if their dog is injured like that, so we do our best to accommodate.

I go out to bring the dog back for an exam and see a gaping bite wound about the size of my fist; it definitely needs more than just a stitch. The plan is for the dog to stay the night and have surgery the next day.

The primary vet has me put together an estimate for the procedure. It’s not cheap. The doctor goes up front with the estimate to discuss and comes back looking pretty upset.

The dog’s owner, upon seeing the cost, said, “Just put him down. I can get another dog.” The dog is young and otherwise healthy, and the vet is not willing to euthanize him for a treatable wound.

So, he offers her an alternative: she relinquishes the dog to us, and we adopt him out to a family willing to pay the medical fees after the procedure. Thankfully, she agrees, and after the papers are signed, she leaves the clinic, never to be seen again. All in all, it’s a very eventful thirty minutes.

As for the dog, he made a full recovery and is currently sleeping quite contently on my living room floor!

We’ve Seen Cats With Weirder Names

, , , , , , , | Right | July 16, 2022

I named my cat Muesli, like the cereal. Not everyone has heard of this kind of cereal, but then again, very few people ever have the need to pronounce my cat’s name, so it doesn’t really matter.

One day, however, I bring Muesli to the vet for his annual checkup. We’re sitting in the waiting room when we hear the vet tech reading from a clipboard.

Vet Tech: “Okay, the vet’s ready to see… uh… is it… Mussolini?”

No. No, it isn’t. I did not name my cat after a fascist dictator.

Kittens May Be Too Much For You, Lady

, , , | Healthy | July 14, 2022

I work in a veterinary clinic. We have a new client who’s only been coming to our office for a little over a month. However, she has been in three times already and calls almost every day, and she often calls multiple times a day on those days.

She freaks out over everything her kittens do and anything that happens to them. They get diarrhea? Apocalyptic panic. They scratch the furniture and are energetic because they’re kittens? Hysterical crying.

And if we don’t call her back with answers from the vet within twenty minutes of her calling, she calls back and gets upset that no one is responding to her. She once called the local emergency vet in the middle of the night to complain to them that we hadn’t responded to the message she left. We were closed, but that little detail didn’t matter to her. 

This past week, she was in with her kittens for a skin issue, and the vet stayed late to see her. We’ve given her a skin cleanser that needs dilution and have explained how to do so: one part cleanser to ten parts water (one tablespoon cleanser plus ten tablespoons water).

Client: “I can’t do this! I don’t understand!”

The tech explains again how to do it, making it very simple and non-technical.

Tech: “And then you put it into a spray bottle and spray the kittens.”

Client: “I can’t! There’s no [Superstore] near my house; I can’t get a spray bottle!”

Starting to get emotional, the client gestures to a bottle on the counter full of spray disinfectant.

Client: “Can I buy that one?”

Receptionist: “No, I’m sorry. That’s the clinic’s disinfectant spray; we can’t sell it to you.”

The client began to cry as if we’d told her we were going to burn down her house. The conversation was repeated multiple times, and the client insisted she had more questions for the doctor, who was in with a late emergency. We’d been closed for an hour, but she refused to leave. Eventually, the tech managed to get her out, but she stood outside for a while, not leaving the property. She did finally seem to be leaving, but we were apparently wrong.

She got in her car but just sat there, staring at the office door. We periodically peered outside, and she was still there each time. And unfortunately, the vet’s very distinct car was parked less than ten feet from the client’s. We realized quickly that she was planning to corner the vet at her car and make more of her demands.

When we finally left, nearly two hours past closing, the staff scattered to their cars quickly, hoping to not get caught by the client (she thinks we’re all basically able to do anything the vet can do), and the vet finally made a beeline for her car. In a miracle moment, the client had turned away to check on the kittens, just long enough for my boss to hop in her car, whip out of the spot, and peel out like her life depended on it.

I’ve seen some really weird stuff working here, but that was the first client I’ve seen wait outside like that to basically stalk the vet.

Pip The Potato: A Story Of Triumph Over Evil

, , , , | Right | July 9, 2022

It was the last appointment on the Saturday before New Year’s Eve. In walks a Chihuahua breeder we had never seen before or since. She had her child and a six-week-old puppy the size of a large hamster to ask us why his eyes aren’t open yet.

My veterinarian, the kindest sweetheart of a human being you’ll ever meet is explaining through the excited face-licking from this puppy that:

Veterinarian: “He has a condition called bilateral microphthalmia, his eyelids are open, but the eyeballs never formed.”

Breeder: “Put him to sleep, I can’t sell a blind dog.”

Immediately the kid starts crying. In a tone as icy as the Michigan winter outside my vet says:

Veterinarian: “Give him to me and I won’t charge you for the visit.”

The owner agrees. I’m heavily pregnant and I need a blind teacup Chihuahua like I need a hole in my head, but I convinced my vet to let me foster him for the weekend, so she doesn’t cancel her holiday plans to care for this literal ten ounces of dog. Monday’s a holiday, Tuesday we close for a blizzard, and my husband has named him in the meantime. So that’s the story of Pip, my foster failure of a breed I swore I’d never own. He was all of two-and-a-half pounds fully grown and the friendliest little potato you’d ever meet.

Oh, and about six months down the line, a good regular client asked out of the blue if a little blind Chihuahua puppy ever came in. This was the person who gave the breeder lady our name. She was glad he was in good hands but when we told the tale, she said:

Regular Client: “I told her I’d adopt that puppy!”

Apparently, that breeder just couldn’t give anything away for free.

There Should Be Some Kind Of Test To Own Pets

, , , , , | Healthy | July 2, 2022

I am a veterinarian. I hear all sorts of different reasoning and preferences for why people elect to do or not do certain things to their pets. My job is to inform clients of the pros and cons of different options and make a medical recommendation. After that, I generally respect their decisions even if I disagree. However, this client really took to the cake for making strange decisions.

It was a new client with an adult female cat several years old who had previously received veterinary care but was just moving to a new clinic. I noticed in the records that the cat was intact (unspayed), which is unusual. I decided to investigate.

Me: “I noticed that [Cat]’s records say she is not spayed; is that correct?”

Client: “Yes.”

Me: “Is there any particular reason or concern you have for not spaying [Cat]?”

Client: “Well, I was just concerned about surgery. I just don’t want to put her through unnecessary surgeries, you know?”

Me: “Certainly. Just to check in, are you aware of the increased risk of mammary cancer in unspayed female cats? And are we keeping her away from intact males?”

The client confirms these things and doesn’t seem to want to discuss it more.

Client: “I just didn’t want any surgery…” *pause* “…but, she wasn’t being a good kitty…” *chuckles* “…so we did have her front claws removed.”

Yes, folks. She didn’t want her cat spayed to reduce risk of cancer because of the surgery aspect, but she had the cat surgically declawed. I genuinely did not know what to say. The real kicker to that weirdness? On the way out, the client said to our receptionist that she “just likes [Cat]’s personality more when she’s in heat.”