We have two dogs, and because of the differences in their ages we schedule their exams and vaccines separately. Last week it was the younger dog’s turn, so we made an appointment for her at the veterinary hospital with our usual vet.
It was obvious right away that the downturn in the economy has hit the animal hospital hard. Always before when we have been there for an appointment, the waiting area has been full of people and we have had to stand in line and wait for our turn to speak with one of the four receptionists. This time there was no line, only one receptionist, and no one else waiting for an appointment. Our dog was weighed and we were ushered into the examination room to find our vet already there, waiting with our dog’s records in her hand. Usually we have to wait for her to appear… sometimes even as long as an hour past our appointment time because she has so many other patients.
Another difference was the telephone calls… or lack of them. Our appointment lasted for over forty-five minutes and I think the telephone rang only three times. Usually the telephone is ringing constantly.
But probably the biggest difference of all was when the receptionist handed me the bill. The price of EVERYTHING on the bill had increased since our visit there with our other dog less than three months previously.
This visit could have been a bit rough because this particular dog has developed a strong dislike for the vet. When she was a tiny puppy she had some serious health issues and some of the things the vet had to do to her were extremely painful. The vet said that our dog associates her with pain and unpleasantness and that it was normal that she would “warn her off.” She said that she would respect the validity of our dog’s feelings and keep her distance… so although the exam was as thorough as ever, the vet did not actually touch our dog after her initial attempt was met with a curled lip and ferocious snarl. Our dog kept up a low growl throughout the exam… I held her in the various positions the vet needed her to be in, held her mouth open so her teeth and throat could be checked, and held her steady for the vaccines. It wasn’t difficult because this dog is a gentle soul. She trusts me completely and has never even tried to bite anyone before, and I knew she would not bite me.
She also weighs just slightly over four pounds!