Monday, April 16, 2012

I wouldn't believe this one myself if it wasn't true

This one's a doozy --

A few months ago, during a busy weekend night shift, a man arrived, clutching a blanket to his chest.  The blanket was wrapped around something, which my technician assumed was a sick or injured pet. (Good assumption, right?)

Tech: "Hello sir, how can I help you?"

The man whispered, almost inaudibly. "I need some medicine."

Tech: "What's wrong with your pet?"

Man:  "I have a sick mouse.  I rescued him from a trap 7 days ago, and I've been feeding him, and caring for him, but I need some medicine."

Tech: "Okay, let me see him - I need to get an idea how sick he is, and gather some vitals, and then I'll go get the doctor."  The technician escorts the man and his blanket into an exam room, and asks him to get the mouse out for a triage evaluation.

The man starts to unwrap the blanket.  After he removes the first layer, he pats a clearly empty section over and over, as if he can't locate the mouse.  Meanwhile, a lump clearly is present in the remaining part of the folded blanket.

Man: "You're scaring my mouse, he won't come out unless you leave the room. We're usually in tune and right now I just can't find him."

Tech: "Okay, but I'll need to evaluate him when I come back."

The man finally pats the obvious lump on the table. "Oh, wait, I found him!"  He unwraps the blanket further, which reveals a hamburger take out box, tied shut with a sock.  He carefully and slowly unties the sock, and opens the box.

The technician peers inside the box, and sees a mouse, lying on its side, motionless, not breathing, cold, stiff, and clearly dead.  It appears to be a field mouse that was killed by whatever trap the man "rescued" the poor thing from a week ago.

"Sir, I'm really sorry, but your mouse isn't alive."

Man: "Yes, yes he is!  I know he is, and you are wrong.  I am a healer, and I have healing hands, but this time I just need the medicine too.  I just fed him before we got here and I saw him move yesterday."

"Sir, your mouse does not have a heart beat, and I don't think he's been alive for some time.  He's not moving, he's not breathing, and he's in a really awkward position."

"No, you're WRONG! I just need the medicine!"

My tech listens for a heartbeat for the man's benefit - nothing.  At this point, it becomes pretty obvious that this man is bat-shit-crazy, and she needs to get out of the closed exam room before something freaky or dangerous happens.

The tech tells the man that she's going to go ask the doctor if there's any medication that can be dispensed, in order to remove herself from the exam room.

She relays the story to me, and we realize the entire lobby had heard the conversation through the exam room door.  The other clients are concerned for my technicians safety, and ask her if she is okay.  Of course, we have nothing to help this dead mouse be less dead, so the technician returns to the man, and talks to him in the doorway, where she is in view of the other clients.

She informs him that there's nothing we can do.   He argues with her for some time, and finally gets ready to leave.  He wraps his dead mouse back up in the hamburger box and blanket.

Just before he leaves, he says, "I'll come back, when my mouse is better, and I'll make you believe me!"

Saturday, April 14, 2012


Apologies for the long delay, readers.  This blog is a work of passion for me, so when I'm not inspired to write a post, I can't force it.  I've been outrageously busy at work, and taking care of lots of duties outside of work. Forgive me for the absence  - I try to only write when I have something to say!

This last few days has brought me many clients who are just downright angry. I actually wish I understood human psychology a bit better in order to understand this phenomenon.  Clients angry, even  furious at me and my staff for things we couldn't possibly be responsible for - but yet, they perceive us as the bad guys.

Example #1 -

A woman brought her cat to me who had been a cat fight the day prior.  He was painful over his left side, and on initial exam, I shaved some hair and found puncture wounds as well as swelling over his belly.  The wounds were in a precarious location, and possibly penetrating the abdomen, causing an abdominal hernia.  I gave the kitty pain relief medications, and spoke to the client.

I recommended radiographs to evaluate for possible body wall damage from the bite, and to look for entrapped bowel or dangerous fluid within the belly, as a result of the bite.  These conditions could be quickly fatal if not addressed immediately.

"YOU PEOPLE!!.......!!" The client screeched. "I CAN'T PAY FOR THIS!"
I tried to calmly explain to the client that we did offer a payment plan in the form of CareCredit, a third party credit system which allows interest -free payment periods, and can provide instant approval for credit.


Again, I tried to calmly explain to the client that our prices are set by our fixed costs, costs of the machinery, repair costs, maintenance, etc and that I understand her dilemma, however I cannot change the prices.  I asked her if she wanted to apply for care credit- she replied, "I DON'T CARE."

Finally, we convinced her to fill out the paperwork and, alas, she was approve for credit (and thus, a payment plan through CareCredit) and her kitty was well taken care of.  She suddenly acted polite and friendly.

Example #2
Clients found a stray, sick looking Shepard cross dog on the side of the road in their small town.  They called us and described that the pet was sickly and appeared to be dying.  We offered for them to bring it in, and we would evaluate it on a stray - pet basis, and they would have no financial responsibility.

 (This is a LUXURY - almost every other clinic in our area refuses to provide any similar service.  We provide this at no charge to the public to prevent animal suffering, because we really do care.  When the found pets are un-injured, we send them to the shelter to be found by their owners, and when they are minimally injured, we provide emergency care.  When they are critically injured, and no owner can be found (no collar, no chip, etc), then unfortunately some times, we do have to provide euthanasia to prevent suffering. All pets who are brought in and treated through this program are signed over to the hospital until their true families come forward; if none is found, we then transfer them to the local shelter for adoption.  We cannot return them to the finders directly due to legal concerns and the importance of giving the true family a chance to find their pet.)

The clients brought us the found Shepard cross, and he was emaciated.  His skin was jaundice, and he appeared to be truly near death. He appeared to have a fluid filled, distended abdomen. Due to his extremely ill nature, euthanasia was provided to prevent suffering.  This was the right decision for this poor, neglected dog who had clearly suffered too much already.

Hours later, a friend of the finders of the dog called and requested information on adoption.  We told them that unfortunately, the found pet was not adoptable, and we thanked them for taking the time to bring the poor guy in and prevent suffering.

The caller became LIVID.  Screaming profanities at my technician, yelling that we don't care about animals, and demanding to speak with the owner of the business.  She went on for several minutes before my tech could no longer handle the verbal abuse and was forced to end the phone call.

Why so angry at us? We provided relief of suffering, at no cost, to an stray animal who was clearly in a critical condition.  I can only guess that the "Finders" were truly the owners of the "stray" dog, and thought that we would provide care for free, and that they could pick up their dog under the guise of adoption.

 It's people who abuse the system like this that ruin it for everyone else!  WE are here to do the right thing for the PET, and unfortunately, some clients will never understand what we really go through to help pets 24/7.