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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

"You Will See Me NOW!"

Is it a full moon?  Based on a cluster of recent clients, I think it's a possibility.  In the past few days we've had three different clients be absolutely demanding and insistent on being seen immediately.  All of them are good, long-term clients, and none of the situations was an emergency.
The first client, Mrs. Panic (not her real name) called because her dachshund, Ooze (not his real name), had some bloody urine.  It was a busy day and we said we'd work her in, but one of the doctors was in surgery and the other at lunch, plus a full appointment schedule.  She said "I'm coming in right now and anyone else will just have to wait!"  We actually called the doctor who stepped out for lunch and asked her to come back.  It turned out that the "bloody urine" was some kind of red-tinged goo and the urine we collected was completely normal.  Ooze was perfectly fine and we never did figure out where the goo came from, but it didn't look like it came from him.
A day later Mrs. Worry brought in her elderly schnauzer, Gerry, for a routine exam and checkup.  Her other dog was dropped off for a dental cleaning, so she let Gerry be dropped off at the same time.  She brought them in before I arrived and told my receptionist that she wanted me to see her dog "before he touches any other animal!"  She was concerned that with Gerry being so old it would be stressful to have her here for long.  Keep in mind that this is a dog I've seen for years and even though old has had no serious problems.  And I had a full morning appointment schedule with several sick pets that needed to be seen first.  I finally got to looking at Gerry around lunch time, and they were ready to go by 3pm.  When I called Mr. Worry he didn't have concerns about the wait and was as pleasant as always.

The last of this run of impatient people happened the following day.  Two dogs were dropped off on a busy day for routine preventative care services and the owner said that they didn't need to pick up at any certain time.  Since they were the last drop-offs to arrive and we had lots of other patients, we waited to work on them later in the day.  Around 3:00 the client called and was upset when we said that the dog's weren't ready.  She went on a rant about how she had a 4:00 appointment and then couldn't pick them up until after 6:00.  She didn't drop off until around 11:00 that morning and we close at 7:00, so we didn't see the problem.  It was more surprising because they didn't have any sense of urgency when they dropped off.  My receptionist had to do some smooth talking to calm her down and agree to let us keep the dogs a little longer.  She finally showed up around 6:50, still a bit miffed but calmer.  By the time we were done going over the exam and discharge instructions she was as pleasant as could be.

I know that people want their pets back as soon as possible, but I don't think people really put thought into the fact that we have a dozen or more pets in our clinic besides theirs.  Believe me, we don't want them to stay any longer than they have to either!  We go through pets in the order they came, but put sick pets over well pets in the priority list.  When there are a lot of sick pets that means the well ones may have to wait longer.

I've said it before and will keep saying it.  If anyone wants to go into veterinary medicine because they don't like people, they are in for a very rude awakening.


  1. As someone who interviews potential vet nurses every year, I can vouch for that last line. If you are thinking you can hide with the animals you are in for a shock. Luckily I love people but like many vets, I don't like human soothing the weird, scared, difficult, depressed owners was one thing I could do to buffer my taciturn, blunt male's not a gender thing, just a fact about some vets. Thanks for the post Chris :)

  2. When I read things like this I really hope that I am not considered one of those problem clients at my vet's office! I try to be accommodating and once agreed to allow them to reschedule an appointment I had for my dog at the time because they knew they were going to be backed up because of a serious emergency that had happened earlier in the day. I guess it's impossible to please people all the time, whether it be vets or their clients.

  3. My vet's practice fixed that. They now have two types of appointments and if you want in immediately and cannot wait it is an emergency visit that is considerably more expensive. I understand that and have had to come as an emergency and gladly paid to get right in ( epi)
    It also helped with wait times now. If your appointment is scheduled you do not end up waiting like before. Win win


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