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The Cat Isn’t The Only One That Needs Holding

, , , , | Right | May 25, 2020

This takes place on Memorial Day, so the clinic is closed. I’m the only one scheduled to work this day, coming in for an hour or so to feed and medicate any animals in the boarding facility or hospitalized patients.

One of my duties is to check any phone messages and reply to them, if possible. I’m a high school student who just works as a veterinary assistant after school, on weekends, and some holidays.

Me: “Hello, is this Mrs. [Client]? This is [My Name] calling from [Clinic]. I received your message about needing some assistance with your cat. Is this a medical emergency?”

Client: “Oh, thank you for calling! No, you see, I need to give my cat some fluids, but I can’t hold him still. I know you guys are closed today, so I can’t bring him in, but I was wondering if you could send someone to my house to help me?”

We do offer house call services, but it’s very rare and rather expensive.

Me: “Unfortunately, since we are closed, there are no technicians on staff today, so there is no one available to send to your house. However, you can bring your cat in any time tomorrow, when we are open, and we’ll be happy to administer his fluids. It would be about a ten-minute appointment.”

Client: *Suddenly angry* “I have to work tomorrow! I’m not working today! I’m off because it’s a holiday! Why can’t you come to my house today?” 

Me: “As I said, we are closed today. You are off today because it’s a holiday; so are we. You work tomorrow; we do, too.”

Client: “Well, if I could even bring him in tomorrow, it would have to be very late. At least 4:30.”

Me: “That’s great! We’re open until 5:00.”

Client: *Rudely* “Oh.”

Me: “Would you like me to put an appointment in the computer for 4:30 tomorrow?”

Client: “No. I have to be at work at 9:00 in the morning! Do you know how early that is?”

Me: “Well, if the afternoon is too inconvenient, we open at 8:00 am, and you can drop your cat off for the day as early as 7:30. You can pick him up after work, if that would be easier for you.”

Client: “No! I can’t do that! I need someone to come to my house right now and hold my cat.”

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but there is no one on staff today. Everyone is off for the holiday. We are closed.”

Client: *Demanding* “Wait a minute. You’re there! You come to my house.”

Me: “I’m afraid I can’t do that. I am not qualified to make house calls.”

Client: “But I only need you to hold my cat for a minute! I’m sure even you can handle that.”

Me: “It’s against policy. I’m just an assistant; house calls are technician appointments.” 

Client: “I don’t even live far! It’s easy! You’re just being lazy!”

Me: “Ma’am! I am just a high school student who was assigned to work the holidays. I don’t even have a car! I cannot come out to your house! The best I can do is schedule you an appointment for any time you wish tomorrow.”

Client: “Well, if you can find anyone there who is willing to help me, then you call me back. I know that someone will!”

Me: “All right. If I can find any staff who is willing to come to your house to hold your cat, I will certainly let you know–“

Client: “Finally!”

Me: “–but I must warn you that that is very improbable, because we are closed today and there is no one here! If you would like to schedule an appointment for tomorrow, please leave a message for the receptionist, and do enjoy your holiday. Goodbye!”

I hung up.

Weighing Your Options

, , , , | Healthy | May 20, 2020

I am a veterinarian working at a hospital, performing a routine examination on an animal. Falsifying any medical records, no matter how small, puts me at risk of losing my license.

Me: “Fluffy looks really good except for some dental tartar. We’re just here to update the rabies vaccine, right? I don’t believe he’s due for anything else.”

Owner: “Yes, and if you wouldn’t mind, I need you to change his weight on the rabies certificate; my new apartment won’t let dogs live there who weigh over fifty pounds.”

I look down at the dog, who is pushing eighty pounds.

Me: “I don’t think I’m going to be able to do that today for you. Is there anything else you need, though? Heartworm prevention?”

Owner: *Sighs heavily* “Well, they’ll kick me out if you don’t put down a lower weight, and I just recently got divorced, and all of this has just been a huge hassle.” 

Me: *Gives the vaccines* “Yes, I understand. That sounds like a difficult time you’re going through. Well, Fluffy did really well! My assistant will check you out at the front desk.” 

I proceed to leave the room and a moment later, I hear from the receptionist that the lady is getting pushier about changing the weight so I go up there.

Me: “It really isn’t possible. The certificate is a legal document and your dog is nowhere near fifty pounds.” 

Owner: “Well, that’s just really not helpful. You’re making a difficult time even harder for me!” 

I reiterated myself several times before the lady left fuming. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the only time I’d been asked to falsify things.

Preventative Procedures Protect Patients And Pets

, , , , , | Healthy | May 14, 2020

Because of the recent health crisis, our vet has decided not to allow people in the building. This is made clear when you make the appointment. You call to say you’ve arrived and someone comes out to take your pet. Then, the vet calls to discuss the visit and payment is taken when your pet is returned. It’s extra work and wait time, but I understand their caution.

I am waiting in my car for my vet to run my bank card when a woman pulls up and gets out of her car. She has a small dog in a blanket in her arms. She approaches the door and pushes, but it is locked. She looks through the window, knocks, and then steps back. I think that is when she notices the sign on the door, explaining the new procedure. The woman takes a picture of the sign using her phone camera and then knocks again, harder this time.

Finally, the receptionist comes to the door. Before unlocking it, the receptionist pulls her mask over her face. The woman on the outside — who is not wearing a mask — rolls her eyes and twirls her free hand in a “hurry up” motion.

Receptionist: “Yes, ma’am?”

Woman: “We have an appointment.”

She tries to push the door open but the receptionist holds her ground.

Receptionist: “Okay, I’ll get your paperwork together if you’ll just head back to your vehicle and—”

Woman: “No, just move. This is ridiculous.”

Receptionist: “I know it’s strange, but we have adapted a new protocol because of—”

Woman: “I don’t care. You can’t deny me entry when you’re expecting me.” *Pushes again* “Move!”

The receptionist does not move but pushes the door shut and locks it. The woman pounds on the glass so hard it shakes. A moment later, the receptionist returns with the vet. This time they do not unlock the door.

Woman: “Finally! This girl won’t let me in!”

Vet: “I am sorry, but we cannot allow you in the building.”

Woman: “This is illegal!”

Vet: “No, ma’am, I assure you it’s not.”

Woman: “How can you do this?”

The vet explains how things are currently being run.

Woman: *With her nose in the air* “Well, I’ll just go to another vet!”

Vet: “Have your new veterinarian call me for your dog’s medical history.”

The vet and receptionist walk away, leaving the woman fuming at the door. She stands there for a little while before getting back in her car and driving off. The receptionist then comes out with my bank card and receipt.

Receptionist: “Hi, sorry for the wait. I was coming out to you before… but… that woman…”

Me: “Totally understandable. I wouldn’t have come out, either.”

I don’t know what happened with that woman, but I do know that every vet office in the area is run by the same medical staff and operating under the same protocol.

Dog Owners Should Test Those Leashes Themselves

, , , , , | Right | May 12, 2020

I work in a vet clinic that also boards dogs and cats while their owners are on vacation. A client is picking up her dog after it has boarded with us for about a week, and because she did not leave a leash or collar with us or bring one to pick the dog up with, I bring the dog out on a disposable nylon slip leash that she can keep. The dog is very excited to see her owner and pulls on the leash to get to her, which is unusual for her. 

Me: “Here she is!”

Owner: “Be careful with her; don’t pull the leash so hard! She had surgery to remove a tumor from her neck a few weeks ago!”

Me: “She’s just excited to see you; don’t worry. She never pulls on walks.”

I return to the back and talk to my coworkers.

Me: “If she was so worried about her dog’s neck, she should have brought us her harness, or at least a collar.”

Coworker: “Some people just don’t get it.”

Three days later, the owner’s husband came back to bring the dog to board with us again. He brought her in on the same blue plastic slip leash. When I took the leash, he reminded me to be careful of her neck, despite the fact that if he’d bought a harness nothing would ever even need to touch her neck. I put her in a run and banged my head against a wall repeatedly.

Humans Aren’t The Only Creatures Capable Of Drama

, , , , , | Healthy | May 8, 2020

The office I work at has a contract with the city police department. We take and treat all sick and injured strays and anything the animal control officers feel needs medical care before going to the shelter. We are open late nights for emergencies, and we get calls fairly regularly from police dispatch saying an officer is bringing in something.

One night, we are running short-staffed due to family emergencies with the people scheduled. Thankfully, it’s a slow night. Then, we get a phone call.

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

Dispatch: “This is [Police Department] dispatch. We have an officer-involved shooting, officer injured, in route, eta ten minutes.”

Me: “Um, this is the veterinarian.”

Dispatch: “I know; it’s a K9 officer.”

Me: “Oh, um, okay. How bad is he hurt?”

Dispatch: “Unknown. All I know is that they are on their way to you and I was told to call and give you a heads-up.”

Me: “Okay, then, thanks”

I go tell the doctor, he freaks out, thinking this officer has been shot in the chest or something and is going to die on our table because we are really not equipped to handle a gunshot right now. We get the surgery room as ready as we can and wait until they pull up.

The officers all get out of the car. The K9 is limping but walking on his own, and we all let out a sigh of relief.

The K9’s partner can’t tell us much for confidentiality reasons, but this is what he could tell us. There was a suspect with a knife, an officer with a gun, and an officer with a dog. During the capture of the suspect, the dog was released and the gun was fired. While the other officers were booking the suspect, the K9’s partner noticed that the K9’s paw was covered in blood, and the K9 would not let his partner touch his foot. So, they came to us.

We get the officers inside and get the K9 on the exam table, and then it takes a muzzle, his partner, both our techs, and me all holding onto different parts of the dog to keep him on the table while the doctor tries to look at his paw. The paw is soaked in blood. Step one is to pour hydrogen peroxide on it to clean it up and find the wound.  

After a while, the doc asks a question.

Doctor: “Are we sure this isn’t transfer from the suspect?”

Partner: “Suspect was not injured.”

Doctor: “Are you 100% sure about that? I’m not seeing any cuts or anything”

The partner called in over the radio to confirm that the only injury involved was to the K9.  

The doc had a completely clean paw in his hands and was looking between toes and not finding any broken skin. And then, we saw it: a single drop of blood forming midway down a toenail.  

Big brave police dog chipped a nail and acted like his foot had been shot off.


This story was featured in our May 2020 roundup!

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