Clinic Stories

Dishonor

When I arrived back to the office for evening appointments, an associate veterinarian had already been working on the dog for an hour and a half. The dog, five months old, was surrounded by staff members as blood was being transfused. Though no effort had been spared he was losing his battle. I then learned that the owner was from a very poor area and had not been asked for a deposit. The associate was working only on the instructions from the owner that she wanted anything possible done to save her dog while she waited anxiously in the reception area. The puppy died before I could speak to her.

The owner, Ms. T, was brought into an exam room while her father sat in the waiting room. I broke the news to her that the puppy had died despite the heroic efforts of the associate but she was expected to pay for the blood work, X rays and transfusion. She politely remarked that she understood and went to the reception desk to pay while I began evening appointments.

When the appointments finished, I saw Ms. T’s father still in the waiting room. I then learned that Ms. T said she needed to go home to get money and would be right back. By now nearly two hours had passed and she lived within a few miles. Calls to the home were unanswered. I spoke to Mr. T to get more information. He was senile and confused and made remarks like “Where’s my daughter?” and “Why would she leave me here?” and “When is she coming back?” As he became more agitated he swayed back and forth, then feebly tottered around repeating the same questions to himself. We calmed him down and called a cab to take him home. Mr. T and his daughter were never heard from again.

I have had many clients leave without paying a bill and several abandon their pets. This was the only time someone left her semi-invalid father behind as collateral.

Back to Top