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.