Today, at work, I was insulted by a customer.
An upset elderly customer. She was upset because her puppy, Peanut, wasn't responding to her surgery as planned.
The puppy had a hernia, which was repaired on Monday.
She called this morning saying the puppy's belly was swollen and was having a hard time going to the bathroom. I told her to come straight in and we'll take a look and see what's going on with Peanut. She said, "okay."
Around lunchtime, I took a phone call, and it was this woman. I answered the phone as usual, "Small Town Vet Clinic, this is Miss CB" and her response was, "Is this the vet clinic?" I replied with, "Yes, ma'am, it is." Her response was, "And who are you?" I replied with my name. She told me her name and said that she was really upset that the doctor had "butchered her dog".
I was taken aback. No one butchered anything.
I responded with, "Ma'am, I'm very sorry that you feel that way, but it was not our intention for anything bad to happen to Peanut."
She responded, in tears, "I'm sorry you're so insensitive."
My response was, "Oh ma'am, please do not mistake me for being insensitive. Please understand that no doctor or technician would knowingly cause harm to any pet that walks through our doors. I am sorry that Peanut doesn't seem to be responding well."
She cried. Continuing to tell me how the doctor "butchered her dog".
At last she said, "I'm taking her to Davis. That doctor butchered my dog."
And she hung up.
I turned around to see my office supervisor staring at me, ready to take a bite of her lunch, with a look that said, "WTF?"
I told her what the client said, and asked if I had - at all - sounded insensitive. She said, "No. In fact, you handled that call really well. You know, that woman has been a client with us for a very long time. I'm surprised she reacted like that." Then she promptly got up and went to the doctor (the one the client complained about), told her what happened and then the doctor has for my input. She said she would try calling her to see if she could talk to her.
It didn't make much sense that she had wasted 5 hours of the day away after having called me the first time, then call to say she was taking her dog to UC Davis Vet Hospital - 3 hours away and would be close to closing time by the time she got down there. And if she were to wait another day, her puppy would be even worse off.
What we figured was that perhaps she was letting the puppy run around, which could cause sutures to break, re-creating the hernia, or causing worse harm. She probably took the puppy to another vet clinic, and the doctor there could have taken the client's word at face value, and saying that the doctor who performed the procedure had done it wrong. It seems the most logical explanation.
To my followers and friends that are pet owners: Please know that people don't spend several hundred thousand dollars to obtain their Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree to "butcher" animals. They work their asses off to obtain that degree because they have a love of animals, and they want to help. When your vet gives you explicit instructions, please follow them. No veterinarian wants to ostracize clients by "butchering" their animals, because trust me, that is no way to keep people coming through the front door.
Remember that bad word of mouth always travels faster than good. And nobody wants that.
Remember that no matter what, shit can happen, even when you follow directions. We never know how each animal is going to react or heal after an injury or surgery.
But above all, please know that whatever happens, your veterinarian never wants anything bad to happen to your pet.