Dog at Vet

As the man pulled off his shirt and draped it over his dog, I remember thinking, “I hope my technician comes in right about now. No, wait. I don’t.”

The appointment had been uneventful until I informed the dog’s owner that his dog had a heart murmur. The man replied, “If you think he’s got a heart murmur, listen to this!” and off came his shirt.

While the request was odd, I have to admit I was intrigued. It turned out the man did indeed have a much more impressive heart murmur than his dog. In fact, he was just a week away from surgery to have the heart defect corrected.

As he retrieved his shirt and his dog, I couldn’t help but notice a look of almost paternal pride on the man’s face. It was as if he was considering his dog’s mild heart abnormality and thinking, “Yep, that’s my boy.”

While I’m glad that I got a chance to bring this little family closer, the incident did cause me to stop and consider some of the more unusual interactions between pet owners and veterinarians.

Above and Beyond

As a profession, veterinary medicine is one in which we are used to going to great lengths to meet the needs of the families we serve. Being asked to make a house call, visit a sick patient outside in the owner’s car or stay past closing time are all quite common in our line of work.

Still, even in this business, while we strive to make pets and their people as happy as possible, there are some requests that strike us as a bit much. On my Facebook page, I asked veterinary professionals to tell me some of the most bizarre requests they’ve gotten from pet owners. Here’s what they reported.

  1. We had a client who wanted us to neuter her dog instead of spay her because it was cheaper.
  2. A client was boarding a dog at the clinic and requested that we keep a photo of the family in the kennel with the dog. And not only the photo, but a frame that you can record messages into. The family requested that we play the message at least six times a day.
  3. We once had a woman who wanted us to take a look at her duck because it "wasn't swimming." Her chicken was fine, but it sure wasn't a duck!
  4. We had a client claim that the reason her cat kept getting sick was because it was urinating on mothballs and that the urine added to the mothballs was making meth, so the cat was high.
  5. I had a client ask for a copy of my license so she could open up a veterinary account at a distributor to get “flea medicine.” She promised not to buy controlled drugs.
  6. I was asked if I could provide a list of veterinary medications that could be used by humans and if I could help procure these medications in case of a doomsday scenario. (This client is a "prepper.")
  7. We were asked to perform a private cremation for a cat's tail after he had a tail amputation. We did it, too!
  8. We had a client bring in a cat to be neutered. He asked if, prior to the surgery, we could place his cat in a kennel with a female cat for one final … . Our sharp receptionist politely responded with, "I'm sorry, sir, but we no longer offer that service."
  9. We had a client insist we refer to her pet as "Mister" until he got to “know” us. He would then let us know when it was OK for us to use his given name.
  10. A pet owner asked for testicles from his dog back (after the dog was neutered) so he could keep them in a jar at his office. When his daughter was old enough to date, he planned to bring the boyfriend in the room and explain what happened to the last boyfriend who didn't treat her well.
  11. Umm, we've had more than one person lift a shirt to show us a rash.
  12. A client asked the male doctor to dress like a woman and wear a wig because the dog didn't like men.
  13. We had a client come in the other day for an exam, worried about the two large lumps on their "female" dog's underbelly. Turns out the dog was not a female after all!
  14. New clients requested that I cover the windows and turn out the lights when they arrived for their pets’ appointments — because they were vampires. (They ended up being wonderful pet owners.) New staff members thought I had lost my mind when I informed them of this client’s special needs.
  15. We had a client ask if she could hold her kid's birthday party in our hospital during work hours.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. See the complete list of more than 500 submissions on Dr. Andy Roark’s Facebook page.

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