From the annals of strangest clients ever in small animal veterinary medicine comes the sad story of a woman convinced that every vet she tried was utterly blind to her cat’s true problem.

 

A well-dressed, older woman arrives at his hospital with her cat, Ginger, bundled in a large blanket. She sits down and fills out the paperwork necessary for new clients while the receptionist eyes the bundle cautiously, hoping no rambunctious dog runs in to disturb the ailing cat. Something does not smell right about this, the receptionist astutely concludes, and she tells the doctor so.

 

It’s finally her turn to enter the examination room. She lays her bundle carefully on the table and settles down to the business of explaining the cat’s symptoms and how frustrated she is that no other vet has been able to definitively diagnose Ginger’s condition.

 

As the doctor carefully begins unwrapping the layers of blanket, a putrid odor suffocates the room and its occupants. The woman is obviously unperturbed by the smell, but when he recoils somewhat, she urgently seizes upon his expression, "Doctor, what have you found?"

 

"Um…he’s gone,” he says gently.

 

She looks at him questioningly, "So…what are you saying?"

 

"I’m saying that Ginger has suffered a fairly severe rigor mortis subsequent to a somewhat acute case of death. He’s no longer with us."

 

She looks through him, rolls up her bundle, and says, "You’re all the same!" before wafting out of the hospital, resolved to find yet another opinion.

 

Addendum: I understand that after this woman tried several hospitals in the area, word got around about her. Finally, one vet had the foresight to call the police. The police presumably separated her from the health hazard she had been carting about for days.

 

I assume there was an altercation involved, but, alas, it was unquestionably the correct action. In Miami she would have probably been Baker-acted (remanded to mandatory psychiatric care) had her reaction been violent or sufficiently extreme.

 

Everyone must be granted the right to grieve in their own way but not at the expense of their health and that of the community at large. A very sad story, indeed, which illustrates (albeit pathologically, in this case) the extremes of attachment we sometimes feel for our beloved pets.