1 month into my career as a vet, a client walked into an exam room with Mulan and tried to get me to euthanize her because she was allergic to fleas. At the time, I thought that sort of thing happened all the time, someone showing up in your hospital with your very favorite breed of pet, needing to give them up.
It never happened to me again. I have to believe our paths were meant to cross (especially since my not-so-sentimental colleague at the time might very well have obliged her request.)
As one might expect, the staff of a veterinary hospital is pretty pet-oriented. We all have pets- most of us, multiple pets- with the exception of our one anomalous staff member with no animals, much to everyone’s bafflement. He has a young family, he’s understandably busy, and he just hasn’t gotten around to it.
When our no-nonsense receptionist took a break this afternoon, she asked this staff member to watch the front desk for her. 10 minutes later, he walked into the back with a really cute little puppy.
“Who’s that?” I asked.
He shrugged. “This lady came in, handed me the dog, said she couldn’t keep him and left.” He paused. “At least he had a parvo vaccine.”
The receptionist, who had just entered the room, looked at him like he was out of his mind. “What do you mean she gave it to you? Why did you let her do that? We don’t take relinquishments!” She started to look panicked. “What are we going to do with him? We can’t keep a puppy here! What am I going to tell the boss??”
As I started to run through the list of options in my head, it occurred to me that the staff member was still holding the puppy with absolutely no effort to hand him off to anyone else. It was, dare I say, a bit possessive.
“Did you call your wife?” I asked suspiciously.
“She’s fine with it,” he admitted.
This marks the fourth fifth pet this year turned over at our clinic who would up adopted by a staff member. Not that I condone veterinary hospitals as a dumping ground for unwanted pets, but the times I’ve seen it happen, the staff has always wound up working very hard to get the pet adopted out. Not once has a pet been turned over to a shelter. We’re suckers.
I can’t say I approve of someone doing what she did, but you have to admit it could have turned out much worse for the pup.