A day in the life...6:12am: Woke up, showered and got ready for work. I drank the obligatory Diet Caffeine Free Coke and went outside with the dogs. I grabbed my sunglasses and purse and was out the door at 7:22. The drive to work was fairly easy. Unlocked the door at 7:32 – blissfully unaware of what was ahead.
9:30am: A client walked in and demanded to be seen, “Right Now!” His dog had been limping for 3 weeks and apparently it had become an emergency overnight. We squeezed him in the appointment schedule. It turns out; his dog’s leg had obviously been broken the entire 3 weeks he’d been limping. The big tip off: bone was sticking out of the flesh. Unfortunately, his owner only had $20 – not even enough to cover the cost of the exam – and demanded we fix it. He then proceeded to call us selfish, money-hungry, good-for-nothing assholes who only wanted to steal from people and didn’t give a damn about his dog. As always, we offered to fix the dog if he signed ownership over to the clinic, giving him no right to demand the dog back. Usually, this weeds out the people who really care about their pets from the ones who shouldn’t be allowed to own pets (let alone reproduce) and we arrange payment plans with the ones who offer to sign them over. To no one’s surprise, Mr. Moron didn’t want to do that. He decided that throwing a temper tantrum would be a better idea and broke one of the chairs in the lobby right before stomping out.
10:45am: A woman calls up hysterical; she said she needs to euthanize her dog and needs to do it today. We get her an appointment later in the afternoon. She continued to call every 30 minutes until her appointment time to see if we had any cancellations.
11:00am: Appointment number 10 walks in the door. It’s a cat scheduled for annual vaccines and claimed she had no health concerns when she set the appointment two days ago. I put her in a room and it’s apparent there’s a big health concern – her cat’s eyeball is protruding out of the socket – barely attached to the retina. I asked nonchalantly if she had any health concerns and she responded – no. I questioned her about the eyeball getting ready to drop onto the exam room floor and she says, “Oh, that...it’s been like that ever since my dog attacked him a month and a half ago. It doesn’t seem to bother him, but he hasn’t been as active since. Come to think of it, he hasn’t been eating very much either.” Ok, I’m reasonably sure this cat is trying to commit suicide. I tell her that the doctor isn’t going to give a cat this sick vaccines, and it will probably just be an exam. We referred her to the eye specialist in town, but I have a feeling she isn’t going to go.
11:25am: Next appointment – a very cute puppy. This is hands down the best part of the day. I wish I could’ve enjoyed it while it lasted.
11:32am: An owner carrying a hit by car dog comes running into the clinic. For the next 45 minutes we try to stabilize the dog while the owner decides what to do. She can’t get a hold of her husband and refuses to make a decision about his care alone. The dog is covered in road rash, bones are jutting out of his leg, and it sounded as if his left lung collapsed. He will die if he doesn’t go to surgery soon. Finally, her husband calls her and gives us permission to euthanize. It sucks that money is such a necessity – I wish we could save everything that comes in that’s save-able. We euthanized him and as the woman is checking out she mentions how he got hit. She was driving to Wal-Mart in her truck and had the dog in the back. No topper, no kennel, not even a short chain to prevent him from jumping. He saw something that caught his eye and jumped out while she was driving about 30 miles an hour. So, the truth eventually came out, he wasn’t hit by a car. He jumped from a truck.
12:52pm: I finally get a lunch. I go to my grandmother’s house and try to relax. She’s having problems with her computer; I spend my lunch hour fixing it.
2:00pm: Time to start seeing appointments again. Our first few were routine things: annual vaccines, health certificate, and Humane Society exam.
3:03pm: Our next appointment scheduled is for a growth near a dog’s neck. A Dalmatian comes in with a serious open wound on his neck. It seems his collar, which was way too small, had cut him. It was left to fester and eventually when the putrid smell of maggots got to the owner he figured it was time to be seen by a doctor. Owners are oblivious to the most obvious things. Although you couldn’t see the maggots until we debrided the wound, you could definitely tell there was something wrong with the poor dog. He sat there like a frightened child while we cleaned out handful – and I’m not exaggerating – after handful of maggots. It’s disheartening that we have to fix up these sweet dogs and send them back home with their evil owners. Ninety percent of them would be better off euthanized. You’d think it would be illegal for people to treat their animals like this. I have yet to see a charge brought upon anyone we report to the Humane Society; our laws suck.
4:18pm: The euthanasia lady comes in surprisingly calm. She has her 3 kids with her – all of them under ten. I go over the mandatory paperwork and have her sign a consent form. We’ve never seen her pet before and we require an exam prior to euthanasia; it’s our policy not to euthanize healthy animals. She goes into the exam room and I start looking the dog over. It’s a young Border Collie. I ask why she wants to euthanize...is the dog sick? Here is her response word for word. “My husband doesn’t like the dog; he says he barks too much. He wanted a boxer instead; he heard they were better dogs. Also, it’s really expensive to feed him. We can’t afford it. I just lost my job last month.” I asked her why she insisted on euthanizing today. We could help her look for a new home if she could keep him for awhile longer. I even offered to donate some food to her. Her response: “No, that’s ok. I just want to put him to sleep. We’re going to go pick up our new puppy from the airport at 6 tonight.” This is why I hate people. She’s one among many ignorant, useless, worthless people. The doctor went in to talk to her and told her we refused to euthanize a healthy puppy. She wouldn’t sign the dog over to us because she didn’t want it to end up as some “lab experiment”. She left, but not before asking me about the free food I offered earlier. I told her in the nicest way possible to fuck off.
5:49pm: Our last appointment of the day is finally in a room. She said her little Yorkie was straining to defecate and crying in pain when he tried. She told the doctor it had started yesterday. The smell alone told the story of what was wrong. The doctor brought him back and we started to shave him. The hair had matted around this ass and it was completely caked in shit. The matt had to be at least 3 inches thick. The smell was vomit inducing and it had clearly been like this longer than 24 hours. The poor dog was crying in pain as we shaved and cleaned him. He pushed so hard to go to the bathroom that he had a prolapsed anus, his colon was completely full of feces and his poor little asshole was literally the size of a Coke can. The owner swears it wasn’t like that yesterday morning, but this couldn’t have happened over night. The doctor estimates it was more like 5-7 days. Ok people; imagine not being able to go to the bathroom for 7 days. How fucking painful! The owner declined the pain medication and antibiotic because they were too expensive. I hate people.
7:48pm: Finally done cleaning up. I lock the doors to the clinic and go home.
Now, I realize that this must have bored you to death, but I had to share it. People are so ignorant when it comes to their pets. Everyone seems to think that vets are out there to rob you blind. It’s not true. Most vets start out making less than $40,000. We work in the veterinarian business because we love animals, not because we enjoy taking your money. So, next time your vet bill is $100, don’t bitch...it’s 1/10 of what a human doctor would’ve charged.