Saturday, June 11, 2011

People suck.

Today, I had the misfortune of meeting a heinous, evil person.

"Greg," a 40 something, normal-enough looking man, brought in his 10 month old yellow lab, "Jesse" for vomiting of 2 days duration.  Jesse was not eating for 2 days, and had not produced any feces.  She was known for eating objects, and yesterday had vomited up football leather and some ceramic pieces.

Her abdomen was painful, she was dehydrated, lethargic, and clearly nauseated. I recommended radiographs, and Greg agreed.  Her history and exam were extremely consistent with foreign body/GI obstruction, and likely, she would require exploratory surgery.  Unfortunately, Greg informed me that surgery was off the table.  Initially I understood his position; exploratory surgery is expensive, and perhaps Jesse would not have an GI obstruction.  If she was obstructed, surely he would change his mind. Right?


Jesse's radiographs were clearly obstructive; there was nothing equivocal about them.  A large, jagged rock was present in the duodenum; the stomach was dilated with fluid and the remainder of the intestines appeared dilated and plicated.  Surgery was clearly indicated, and the sooner, the better.

Greg coldly declared that there was no way he was going to spend the money on "this damn dog."  I offered him Care Credit, our financing plan -- but he declined.  Greg informed me that he already had the finances available, but had no interest in spending money on fixing his dog. "She'll just do it again, and I don't want to pay for her surgery if she's just going to eat something else."

I was taken aback by his cold, uncaring attitude.  I offered him an attempt at medical management, or to contact other veterinarians in town (including his primary care veterinarian) to determine if costs might be cheaper and within his range.

"Absolutely not" Greg said. "I'll take him out back, and .... well, you know.  I'll take care of it."

I've heard this before, and I wasn't surprised by a client hinting at shooting their own dog, but I still don't condone it.  I expressed my concerns for this choice, however he was unwilling to change his mind.

I then offered to give his dog some pain medications in preparation for his plan to take her home.  He refused.  This is when I became infuriated -- an injection of a pain reliever is less than $30, and would provide his pet with some comfort in her last few hours.  He declined not out of concern for finances - he explained explicitly -- but because he just didn't care.

Awful.  Awful, horrible, terrible, no good human being.

Eventually, his wife convinced him to allow euthanasia.  Thank goodness for her - I was able to let Jesse pass peacefully.  As much as I wish I would have been able to fix her, I'm honestly thankful that this monster of a human didn't take her home.


  1. I second that wow. Now, what happens after a client declines absolutely necessary treatment the the case you describe here and then leaves the hospital? Do you have any legal requirement to report them to humane authorities?

    In our general practice situation, if we encounter a situation like this and the client declines all care (or euthanasia) and chooses to leave with the pet, we can choose to contact the SPCA to report them at that point.

  2. Yes, Jenn -- I would have been faced with that decision had he taken his dog home. I had the AMA form all ready for him to sign before he left, and if he had not made a euthanasia decision, I was mentally prepared to call animal control and report the situation. Fortunately, his wife (who wasn't a heartless jerk) convinced him to do the right thing.

  3. What a sad situation. I don't understand how someone could be so uncaring. I feel for his wife! I'm glad that she at least was able to convince him to allow euthanasia so poor Jesse wouldn't suffer anymore. :( -Tammy