Dear Veterinarians of the World,

Just wanted you all to know what went down tonight with a few members of your profession.  Now maybe the following isn’t the way you roll, so forgive me for singling out the entire profession, but I’m a little hot right now.

My friend has a beautiful 10-year-old Rottie mix (mixed with what I don’t know Burmese Mountain Dog?  GSD?) not germane to the tale.  The dog had an appointment with a member of your humble profession.  The dog never saw the appointment because her owner couldn’t heft all 100 lbs of him into the car.  Something had gone horribly wrong earlier in the day and he couldn’t walk.  What happened?  My friend still doesn’t know.

Panicked and clearly exhausted my friend called her dog’s regular vet who casually offered that “if he had time, he’d might stop by,” which is admirable and appreciated.  She waited and waited to hear back.  Nothing.  Friends who love both dog and owner urged her to contact another vet (the primary had given her some names of DVM’s who  might make a housecall.  A very kind thing to do.)

Now, here’s the part responsible for my seeing red…the reason I want to throw something.  She called the vet referrals and during each conversation, the respective vets asked, “So, what do you want to do and how are you going to pay?”  One emphatically said she didn’t accept checks or credit cards?  My friend did not call “1-800-Euthanizeme”.   She needed a vet to come out and “evaluate” the situation.  Examine the dog, draw blood, you know the stuff that vets go into student loan hell to learn to determine an animal’s medical status.  My friend did not call 1-800-Darkvet, the grim reaper of the animal world.  It was all I could not to snatch the phone out her hand and say, “Hello, we’re asking you to do your job.  In the twenty minutes you’re taking to determine how the dog’s going to die, you could be here by now seeing if the animal might live. Let’s check for infection shall we?  You know.   Do the assessment this owner needs so she can make informed decision.”  Sheesh.

My friend has exhaustion written all over her face.  She’s cried tears of fear and frustration.   She’ll stay awake with her “little boy” willing him to make it through the night.   Not one member of the canine medical profession has stepped up to visit a dog in distress.

I truly understand the legalities involved.  I understand the “obviousness” of a situation when one deals with life and death every day, but I will never understand how not one, but three vets can jump to the conclusion that the animal’s got to be dispatched sight unseen.  If the human medical profession worked that way, they’d be protest heard round the country.

As I left her house, I offered to be with her when a vet did arrive…to ask the right questions.  To listen.  To be there no matter what the prognosis.  I sensed my friend needed to hear my offer and would not hesitate to accept it.

My thoughts drift to “Ma” as she labored to give birth to twins.  She lives in New York on a place named “Bedlam Farm”.   I recalled Ma’s owner wrestling with “the decision” when the situation became grave.  She turned a corner and now fulfills her role as mother with grace and dignity.  Her owner insisted she have a medical care.

I, for one, am disgusted, but I’ll offer prayers tonight to the Almighty who has infinitely more going for him than the other vets.  The prayer I say tonight goes like this, “Heavenly father, who knows a heck of a lot more about your own creation since you made it, please deliver my friend and her dog from this awful distress.  Send them a knowledgeable vet who remembers why he entered the profession in the first place to provide comfort and care for those who cannot speak for themselves.  To assess before jumping to excess.  Amen.”

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