Thursday, March 15, 2018

At An Emergency Vet Clinic

The clinic we use (because I am friend's with one of the vets) is a 24 hour emergency clinic. It is one of those things I like about it. There is a vet there 24 hours per day. So if your pet stays overnight they are not alone.

Over the years, I have seen/heard some interesting things. One time when our angel Loki was dying and we were at the clinic about every 2 weeks for 11 months, they were coordinating the airlift of a dog from Northern Ontario who had accidentally been shot. There was a very funny time I was there with angel Bagheera and two young men had brought their 21 year old cat, who died peacefully in her sleep, for cremation. When asked if she was long or shorted haired, the pair burst out laughing that she had been long haired but they had shaved her because she could no longer groom herself.

On my visit with Lee last week, here are some of the things we saw/heard.

-There was one 4 month old puppy there for a normal check up.
-A Lady came in to get the cremated remains of her pet and was presented with a lovely box, she slipped into her purse and left quickly.
-Two young guys, who had fairly severe developmental disabilities, were sorting out the pick up of eye drops for a pet.
-There was a Lab who could not stop barking, that it sounded like had some sort of seizure.
-There was the crying lady, with an animal in a crate, Bailey, they didn't even wait for a tech to come for triage, they ran it to the back and whisked the lady (and shortly after a man) to the back room.
-There was the family (girls aged about 6 and 8)  with a small dog, who had cut his lip in the morning on a toy and they thought it looked bigger and swollen. They were not impressed they were told the wait would be up to 3 hours. The tech had suggested, as the dog was eating and did not seem like he was in pain, to make an appointment for tomorrow and go home.
-There was someone who refused more treatment for their pet, wanted the bill and wanted to go home.

Who knows what else happened, that we didn't even know about. I have spent hours over the years in this waiting room and must say, it has never been boring.

Veterinarians and vet techs have one of the highest suicide rates. I recently listened to a podcast by Death, Sex and Money, on this problem. They see and deal with death more than any other profession, including hospice workers. You can check out this podcast HERE.

As a crazy dog owner, I know they also have to deal with us when it is not life and death. If I had been in the place of the family I described above, I likely would not have gone to the vet that night for a small cut. I likely would have waited and watched. However, I don't judge them for making that choice. They were clearly distressed. While I am confident that there story likely has a happy ending (unlike maybe the crying lady's), it was stressful, emotionally and maybe financially challenging.  My guess is if they waited another 3 hours, they may have been even less happy. The vet they saw may have just had to tell a family to say goodbye to a beloved animal, and now has to deal with a person who is angry. I don't envy their job.

Today, I solute all the men and women out there who dedicate their lives to helping ensure our furry family members receive the best care possible.


  1. Oh my goodness...I almost had a heart attack when I read the title! I thought you meant you were CURRENTLY at the Emergency Vet Clinic! So glad you are not! I had no idea that they had the highest suicide rate. Thank you for including the link for the podcast...I will definitely check it out. I, too, salute all of those who dedicate their lives to ensuring our furry family members live their best lives.

  2. Those Vetpeeps do have a lot to deal wiv, not just poorly pets (of all kinds) butt often upset and worried Peeps as well
    Loves and licky kisses
    Princess Leah xxx

  3. I'll second that... it can be such a darned hard job... and there are this moments they rather would cry with their patients... but they do their job even with tears in their eyes. I always have mixed emotions when I sit in the waiting room of our vet fingers are crossed and there is this neverending mantra in my head: please let no one die today...

  4. Hari Om
    Like Jeanne, I held my breath till I got into the post... then remembered you had said you'd write about your visit. So true, the stress of such a job. A lovely post of gratitude this Thursday! YAM xx

  5. My niece is graduating from high school which will qualify her to be a Vet tech this spring. She's going on to a pre Vet program this fall. I suspect like most high stress professions that deal with death and dying there has to be an outlet for the stress to stay mentally, emotionally, and physically healthy.

    We have an amazing Vet from my home town and a separate emergency Vet. Thankfully we've only needed the emergency Vet a few times. They do regular care, too, but there is a real family atmosphere at our regular Vet.

    I've found it interesting there are lots of dog owners in our neighborhood. Just listening to conversations over the years, I don't think any of us use the same vet and we are all extemely sure ours is the best. I've come to the conclusion it is about finding what works for you.

  6. We love our Vet and they too are the 24/7 E-Vet. It's a very stressful job for them and we commend them all for loving our little one's.

  7. Paws up and tail wags to one and all (and some human hugs as well) who have made the commitment to work in the veterinary field. They have patients who cannot speak of their feelings or their pain, they can't say "where it hurts" ... and yet they can look into those eyes and see "it hurts" and they do all they humanly can to end the hurt. And yes, they must make judgments on "who comes first" and whose need may be the greatest at that moment in time. And they must in the most difficult of times speak news none want to hear. We do salute them. We do thank them.

  8. It is not an easy place to work at a vet. Working at a shelter can be even more stressful as not every pet can be saved. The podcast sounds interesting and we bet our mom will give it a listen.

  9. We went to an emergency vet for our rat poison incident. We're so grateful for all the care they provided!

  10. Ghostwriter has been a nurse for 37 years and works with the elderly. She has seen many deaths. She says she still couldn't be a vet or a vet tech.

  11. We are giving VETS around the world a standing ovation!! Yes indeed and the ER vets are a blessing after hours. We have visited our ER vet hospital several times over the last year, for EMERGENCIES, pp in urine, extreme tummy distress. People need to remember E R stands for emergencies reserved for the very sick. It doesn't stand for 'convenience' because I don't want to take you tomorrow.
    Wonderful Post K10
    Hugs HiC

  12. Bless the ER vets. They are all hero's!

  13. Vets and vet techs are Angels.....we are so lucky to have people taking care of Teddy and before him Angel Sammy and Angel Eddy and seeing that they truly care deeply for their well being. Not just the animals but the people too - hugs, sympathetic ears, honest advice, REAL CARING. Our vet takes time to talk to us, tell us the TRUTH and not what we want to hear necessarily - and when I chat with others in the waiting room they all say the same thing. I would wish that kind of care for every single pet in the world - and every human who loves them.

    Hugs, Pam

  14. It certainly is an interesting place - for all the best reasons and all the worst. Mom and I and her past angel doggies have spent countless hours at the emergency vet. We join you in saluting those folks. They're the best.

    Love and licks,

  15. Oh my when I saw the blog post title I thought the worst. I can imagine that vets and vet techs see all sorts. I can remember sitting in my vet's office sometime after letting Ceilidh go. There was a family there, at first I only saw the father and a boy about 10, talking quietly then the boy started to cry, then the mother came out alone from the exam room crying. I was sure I knew what had happened and I could barely contain my tears. I wouldn't be able to be a vet or a vet tech.

  16. Two of my husband's friends from college who we still hang around with, married one another and live in Chicago. She is a Vet. It it is indeed stressful, and just coming home to the chaos of two kids under six and a husband makes her feel more centered, she says. I remember I had to help Barkley to the bridge when they couldn't manage his cancer pain any longer. I was on the floor with him, patting him and singing to him until he was gone. I looked up and my vet was quietly sobbing.

  17. We agree...we love our vets and vet techs for everything they do for us.

  18. Would that be "owner of crazy dogs" or "crazy owner of dogs"?

    We have a great emergency clinic that we've occasionally brought the cats to. Expensive, but worth it, because they got excellent care.

  19. We don't have emergency vets here but our vet has always has someone on call. We have been there and seen some of the same things. When Greta was so ill our vet took her home with her at night to care for her. We will be forever grateful for her dedicated care
    Hazel & Mabel

  20. What a beautiful and much needed tribute to those who care for our fur-kids!

  21. My granddaughter will be graduating from a vet tech program in about 6 weeks and she tells me about pet pawrents who tend to be over-protective and over-reactive. Ironic since most younger people tend to Google EVERYTHING 24/7 and yet hit the panic button about getting their pet to the vets for the most minor of things. Lovely tribute to those who take care of our fur-babies.

  22. I did not realize how difficult it was to be a vet until one of the participants in my training program went to do a work experience at the local vet's office. The things I learned at the pre-employment interview really opened my eyes to how difficult the job actually was. I've had a lot of respect and empathy for what they do and how they do it ever since.
    Love Barb

    1. I hit publish too soon, I wanted to say what a wonderful post you wrote about the difficulties a vet goes through on a daily basis and I thank you.


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