As I was leaving the house this morning on my way to work, my phone rang. “Hi, it’s Carmen,” said my tech. “I know you’re probably just about to leave anyway, but I wanted to let you know Comet is here and he doesn’t look good.”
I grabbed my keys and shot out the door.
Comet is owned by one of my favorite clients, an extremely sweet woman who adores her cats. Not three months ago, she lost a recently adopted cat to a nasty virus that has been striking hard in the local shelters. It hit very fast, and despite all our efforts, he died. I spent a lot of time turning over in my head every decision I made, every diagnostic I did or didn’t do, and wondered what I might have done better. Would it have made a difference? Probably not, but still. His owner had nothing but thanks for me, which of course made me feel even worse because regardless of what I did, he was still dead.
Comet was in last week because he wasn’t feeling well. I did some tests, I was waiting for some results, and I called on my days off to follow up on his care. I didn’t want to drop the ball on anything because I got the feeling she had just barely recovered from her other pet’s death. I spent last night planning a course of action with my boss for Comet’s diagnostics today. We weren’t going to lose this one. I was worried about some recent results but I was still hopeful we could figure out what was going on with him.
Once I was on the road and had my Bluetooth hooked up, I called back to give the tech some things to start while I was driving. “Hey, it’s me,” I said to the receptionist. “Tell Carmen to get a PCV going and run him on O2 if he needs it. I’ll be there in 10.”
“On who?” she asked.
“Comet,” I said. “Carmen knows what’s going on.”
“Comet just died.”
I spent a long time in the room with Comet’s mom, as surprised and unhappy as she was.
“Why did he die?” she asked.
“I don’t know,” I replied, honestly. “We never got a chance to find out.”
We talked a bit about necropsies, what we could learn, what we couldn’t. She decided not to have one done.
“Thank you so much for everything,” she said between her tears, and all I could do was hug her back.
“I don’t feel like I’ve helped you very much,” I replied. Half of her household pets now, gone under my watch. And she thanked me.
She is a very kind person. What a way to start the week.
I think it speaks volumes about the kind of care you gave to her beloved friends that she appreciates you.
I have only been through this once myself, with losing Chase to cancer, and our vet that was treating him just kept apologizing to us that he was sorry he couldn’t buy Chase more time. He even wrote us a sympathy card still apologizing.
We thanked him over and over, even as we were laying on the floor with our boy still saying goodbye after his euthanasia. We even sent him a thank you card for everything that he did for us and Chase.
Yes, we lost Chase, but we do not blame his vet for that. We appreciate all of the wonderful care that the Dr. has given us and our pets during the time they were ill, (heck, even their yearly check ups when they are healthy) how gracious they are, the time they put in to us, making the visits very personable, never rushing to the next client. We appreciate that, even if we do end up losing our pet in the end. I am sure this lady felt the exact same way, she was just happy to have a Dr. who truly cared for her and her pets.
Dr. V says
Thank you for that Jamie. I am glad you had someone so compassionate with you when Chase was so sick.
You are welcome. We truly loved Dr. C. as we had been through 5-6 vets in Chase’s 9 years of life, before we felt like we found someone who really cared for us/Chase and didn’t treat us like an in and out appointment. (Chase had a lot of allergy problems, so we were at the vet more than the once a year visit quite a bit.) Sadly we didn’t find him until the last few months of Chase’s life, but I am glad he was the one who was there in the end.
It is nice to know that there are still many others in the field who really do care and are compassionate about what they do.