This Practice Is Now Dead To Them

, , , , , , | Healthy | December 24, 2018

(I have worked at a veterinarian office as a receptionist for the last ten years and know how to read people pretty well. At this particular practice, pets that are getting procedures done are scheduled to be dropped off no later than 8:30 am. This means that by the time I come in at 9:00 am, all the procedure pets are already at the office. The first thing I do is check the schedule to see what appointments are due to come in. A husband and wife come into the office looking visibly distressed. The husband is holding a bundle of towels in his arms very protectively. This is common for people who are coming in with very sick or old pets. I motion for them to come over to my desk.)

Me: “What’s going on there?”

Husband: “This is [Dog].”

(He looks like he is about to cry and doesn’t elaborate the reason for his visit. I remember from looking at the schedule that there is a pet by the same name due to come in to get euthanized. The office has a very strict euthanasia policy. The doctor must examine the pet prior to the procedure, and if the pet appears healthy we will not euthanize. I can partially see the pet wrapped in the towels and can tell that it matches the breed due to come in, but looks it to be healthy. I make a note in the chart so the doctor knows what he is getting into when he does the exam. I motion for them to follow me into the room we leave open for pets that are getting put to sleep.)

Wife: “[Doctor] said we can wait in the office until the procedure is over.” *sniffing into a tissue*

Me: “You can stay as long as you like; there is no rush. If you like you can even stay in the room with her. Let me just get you to fill out the forms, and I will let the doctor know you are here.”

Wife: “We already filled these out.” *barks at me without looking at the forms*

Me: “Okay, let me check your account and see if I can find them.”

(I check the account, and I don’t see any signed euthanasia forms.)

Me: “I am so sorry, but I was unable to find the signed forms. Do you mind filling them out again for me?”

Wife: “Fine.” *goes to sign forms again without looking at them*

Husband: “EUTHANASIA! WHAT THE F***?! [Dog] is here for a [drop-off procedure]!”

Wife: “WHAT?! OH, MY GOD! WHAT THE H*** WERE YOU THINKING?! WHAT IF I SIGNED THAT?! YOU WOULD HAVE KILLED MY DOG!”

Me: “I am so sorry. It was an honest mistake, but don’t worry; we never would have euthanized your pet. [Doctor] always does an exam…”

Wife: “NO! You tried to kill my puppy!”

(Both husband and wife left the room, all the while yelling that I tried to kill their dog to all the other clients in the waiting room. I went straight to the office manager and let her know what happened. I let her know that I didn’t know that there were two dogs that have the same name and breed due to come in on the same day, as well as having a drop-off procedure come in later then is required. I admitted that I didn’t ask the client’s name and that was my mistake. My office manager agrees that it was an honest mistake and anyone would have made the same one. Later an agent from the Better Business Bureau called and took my statement about the incident, and I never heard anything about it again, nor did those clients ever come back.)

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