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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Pet Peeves #2 & 3

Excuse me while I rant. Today I had to face my other pet peeves (see September's entries for my first one).

Pet Peeve #2
When you go to a doctor's office, do you expect to be in and out in a matter of 10-15 minutes? I'm talking about any human doctor. Of course, this is a pretty ridiculous expectation. When I go to the doctor, I take a book and consider myself phenomenally lucky if I get out in less than 30 minutes. Yet for some reason, people expect this speed from veterinarians. I can't for the life of me figure out why.

Today I had a client scheduled for a 2:00 appointment. She came in at 1:30 and was checked into the computer shortly after. We're at lunch from 1-2, so she had to wait until we came back. She was back in the room at 2:00, and came out complaining about the wait at around 2:10. By 2:15 the pet nurse was in the room. She came out and was putting her notes in the medical record when I came out of another room. She and I were discussing the case, when the receptionist came to the back saying that the client was asking if anyone was coming in the room. The pet nurse had just gotten out and was telling me what the pets were there fore! I was getting ready to go in the room when the client got fed up at the wait and left. She was furious that she had been waiting for so long without being seen by a doctor. This was all less than 30 minutes after her scheduled appointment and after a pet nurse had been in the room! And I was getting ready to go in and see her pets! Anyone else think that she was being really unreasonable?

Pet Peeve #3
When can you go to your own physician and expect to be seen just before closing? And do you as patients or clients realize that doctors have lives and families also? At about 30 minutes until closing today someone we had never seen before called up and said that they had picked up a stray that had a problem with the leg. We said that by the time they got there we wouldn't be able to do any x-rays or lab tests if they were necessary. We recommended taking the dog to the emergency clinic or come in tomorrow morning when we had the time. The client hung up and called back 10 minutes later wanting to come in. This was now 20 minutes until closing, and the client was still on the phone with us. We kept telling her that even if she came in, we would only have time to do a brief exam, and then would have to refer her to the emergency clinic or get the dog back the next day. At 6:45 (we close at 7:oo) she insisted on coming in, despite our warnings and recommendations. We told her that she needed to be there within 10 minutes in order to be seen. I walked out at 6:58 without her having shown up. My wife, kids, and I had planned a "family movie night" for when I got home. Is it really so unreasonable of me to want to go home to my family on time after having been at work for 10 hours?

I wish I could say that these were rare occurrences. Unfortunately, they're not. Things that people would never ask or expect out of their own doctors, they routinely ask and expect from vets. We work hard and really try to be there for their pets, but sometimes there are people with totally unreasonable expectations that want us to be a drive-thru doc.

So here's the lesson for the day, folks. Be nice and patient to your veterinarian. Realize that they are highly educated and skilled doctors that deserve common courtesy and respect. And don't expect to walk in just before any business closes!


  1. i was a dental assistant before i was a mother, and we had these exact same problems! in addition, we had people (a LOT of people) who would show up ridiculously late for their appt, and still expect to be seen, ASAP. those were usually the people who wouldn't pay at the time of their visit too, but would ask us to "just send a bill". argh, PEOPLE!! i just had a visit with my new vet, btw, and i brought a book to read and my checkbook, adn i was ten minutes early. ;)

  2. oh, and i liked him. he seemed to know his business, and didn't mind my barrage of questions. (i treat everyone that way though, not just the vet) my kitty is overwieght, and we put her on a diet. i don't over feed her or do table scraps or anything, she's just a laid back, sedintary cat, so i just needed to cut down on the amount of food i give her. (i was only giving her a cup a day, but we cut back to 2/3-1/2 cup a day) so far so good, she's not complaining! we'll see if she loses any weight though, lol!

  3. Glad to see that vets aren't the only ones dealing with this problem. Well, I'm not GLAD to see's just nice that other professionals can sympathize.

    Since the topic is relevant to your kitty, I'll address obesity as a topic this week.

  4. Actually, I think you are wrong here. The woman was sitting in a little room with nothing to do, waiting for 15 minutes before the nurse even came in. Why? You had just all been at lunch, right? So who were you dealing with ahead of her? Or were you just goofing off while someone took time off from their job for a scheduled appointment, and couldn't see the actual vet within a half hour of the time? If my vet did that to me, except when there was some obvious emergency, I would switch, and I would be right. I HAVE switched doctors over this issue- it costs me money to leave work for these things- the least you can do is be ready when you agreed to be. You dont schedule someone for a time you dont intend to see them.

  5. Anonymous, I hate to say it but you must be one of these people that I'm talking about. I can assure you that we weren't goofing off, and always plan to start seeing the clients right away. However, sometimes there are little delays as we try to pick back up after lunch, and we can't always get into a room right away. I don't think that 15 minutes is unreasonable to wait, and I would have been in the room very shortly after that, so she wouldn't have had to wait for a full 30 minutes for me to see her. I think that someone who switches doctors because they had to wait for 15 minutes is being completely unreasonable, and I can't say that I would be sorry to see them go. They are the kind of people that are difficult to please and get upset over the least little thing.


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