Clinic Stories

In The Middle of the Night

Though those days are mostly gone, there was a time when we routinely came back to the office at night for emergencies. My personal record for after hours emergencies on a week night is eight – from 7:30 PM to 8 AM the next morning I saw eight different clients with their pets and worked on the days on both ends. With emergency clinics now in abundance we rarely get an overnight call.

On occasion I have had the request to make an emergency nighttime house call. Now, you may be thinking that the answer is automatically “No”, or that I would not go into Paterson at night or that I would not get out of bed to make a house call to someone I had never met. But I have and many times. One of the Paterson night house calls is a story by itself, “A Lingering Odor” found on our website.

Several times I have gone at night to pick up a pet that passed away and the owner could not bear to have them in the house. Often the deceased pet is too big for the owner to carry or in one case was wedged next to the only toilet in the house. The owner would not use the toilet with her dead dog next to her.

One owner moved into a new house and her kitten got stuck in a rodent glue trap behind the furnace. The kitten fiercely resisted her attempts to help so I went to her house around midnight, and in this case took the kitten back to the office to treat him.

I took care of a cat, at his home and in the night, with a rubber band wrapped around his leg owned by two disabled people with no money. I could not bear the thought of the cat suffering when I could quickly provide a remedy.

Being open seven days and having someone on premises more than 14 hours most days, we don’t have to come back for many emergencies. House calls, though, still are an important part of our services.

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