The Crazy Things Veterinary Clients Do
After a kooky couple of weeks I’ve decided it’s time to offer another round of vet-in-the-trenches stories. Yeah, sure, it’s like talking out of school, but know this: The names, dates, genders and other identifying features in these storylines have all been changed to protect the defenseless and indefensible alike.
Plus, there’s nothing like crazy client stories to help us all come down from a contentious round of controversial conversation.
1. The stiff dog in the lobby.
Dead, sadly. But the owner was not so sure. This seventeen-year-old dog had lived her life well, but it had happened suddenly that morning, about an hour or so prior to the lobby presentation. Obviously. Otherwise, her eyes would not have been lifelessly dull and glazed, her legs would not have been sticking straight out beneath her blanket, and her tongue would not have been protruding stiffly from her mouth.
It was a clear case of death, but in her blind grief, the owner was unconvinced. Still, you’d have thought that my own serviceable way with a stethoscope would have laid all doubts to rest, but it seems my own senses were not sufficient. Not until another, more trusted veterinarian had arrived to work that morning did she accept it. So sad to see her sitting there impassively with a rigid dog in her arms. And so strange.
2. The kitten in a jar.
No, not a story about a kitten stuck in a glass receptacle. This is no tale of woe on such a literal order, nor is it a round of recriminations aimed at the Bonsai Kitten freaks. Rather, it’s to do with a scenario involving a kitten we'd offered up for adoption: An eight-week-old wonder with plenty of tuxedo-cat sass — and still desirably tiny to boot.
Inexplicably, however, this not-yet-one-and-a-half-pounder was not tiny enough for this would-be adopter. The woman took one look at the kitten and exclaimed, "Oh my, but he’s large. Do you have any smaller ones that’ll stay that way? I’d like one no bigger than a jam jar."
Without batting an eye, the kennel assistant offered up an unforgettable nugget: "Ma’am, I believe what you're looking for is called a hamster."
At which point said kennel help should have been instantly promoted.
3. The ridiculous phone call.
The client claimed her cat has just eaten a toad. It’s almost dead, she says. It might even have caught rabies. Or the plague. At which point we suspect a crank caller. But no. The woman came in later and offered up a perfectly healthy Pomeranian with zero clinical signs … excepting an unruly temperament and a green set of malodorous choppers.
Did I say cat? Toad? Rabies? Plague? So sorry, I must have been confused. (That, or under the influence of serious hallucinogenics.)
4. The agoraphobic dog.
"Doc, I swear she won’t go out anymore. She needs something for her 'stage fright.' Ever since the Fourth of July she refuses to set foot outside, pees and poops in the house, and quivers whenever we take her out on the leash. What’s wrong with her?"
On further questioning, it’s revealed that the unsuspecting pooch was made to wear a collar made of flaming sparklers during the firework festivities on the Fourth.
Evil knows no bounds.
Now it's your turn. I'm sure some of you veterinary professionals and innocent bystanders have seen worse. Give it up …
Dr. Patty Khuly