I can’t say I wasn’t expecting it, since my technician warned me it would happen, but it still caught me off guard when a client pulled a picture of her toddler out of her purse and asked me if said toddler was allergic to her dog.
I peered at the picture of her daughter. It was a photo of a typical looking girl, no eyes swollen shut, nothing out of the ordinary. “Well,” I said hesitantly, “You need to ask your pediatrician.” She looked blankly at me. “If it’s a concern for you, there are tests that can be done.”
“Oh, it’s not a concern for me,” she said breezily. “My dad is convinced that she’s allergic to the dog and I need to get rid of it.”
“Based on what?” I asked.
“Pictures,” she said. “My husband wants me to get rid of the dog too, because it peed on his chair.”
I’m not even sure where to start with this one. “Well, your dog had a urinary tract infection, which we treated, and you said the dog isn’t urinating in the house anymore.” She nodded. “Is your daughter exhibiting any signs of allergies?” Shake. “Have you even spoken with your pediatrician?” Another shake.
“Can I get the name of some rescues?” was her next question. I told her I might know someone who would adopt her dog, since she was a really sweet and adorable pup. “Oh no,” she said emphatically. “I love my dog. I’d be heartbroken to get rid of her.” She clutched the dog to her chest, dog peering out at me from the depth of her owner’s bosom with a “I have no idea what’s going on either” expression.
I paused, lost in the Lewis-Carroll-esque meanderings of this conversation. “So, what exactly can I do for you today?”
“I don’t know,” she replied. “But I wanted the number of that dog rescue. And some Advantage.” Pause. “I just know my dad and my husband are hassling me and I really wanted to know if you thought my daughter looked allergic in her picture.” I looked again, to humor her, and just because she seemed to expect me to say something I added unhelpfully, “Cute kid.”
I assured her I had absolutely no clue about whether or not the child in the photo was allergic to the dog in the room. Truth be told I think the dog is the least of the problems in this picture, but that’s just me.