I have been in the Veterinary field for over 30 years.
In that time, I have seen, and heard a lot of things. (Crazy, but true- you can’t make this stuff up!) Priceless memories I will share with you…
Some people will not think that some of these stories are funny. I wont apologize for that, ( I’m only recounting what really happened), but if you are or were ever in the same field, you certainly will enjoy the tapestry that is about to unfold. Reading about what happens behind the front desk has to be much better than actually living it in some aspects. Day in and day out…An easy day, as an employee at the veterinary hospital is non existent. Just when someone even whispers that it seems quiet, co worker or client, you know the sh:t is about to hit the fan.
Somewhere along the beginning of the decades of being involved with working with animals, I decided that I needed to write a book, encompassing all of the stories that could be shared. Numerous notes were brought home with little reminders of what could be written in this comedy of a novel. They were stuffed in a notebook, a change jar, scattered across the bureau, on the refrigerator and other random places, at any given time. Now its the dog days of summer, and I have temporarily retired, ( its not all you dream of when there is no bi-weekly paycheck and haven’t won the lottery…) hence the birth of this blog aka “book.”
I’ve met Doctors, coworkers, clients and pets that I came to love. I also came across a few that I began to strongly dislike. ( Hate is such a strong word…which shouldn’t ever be used… toleration is key.) That is a subject for later. Some of my best friends were made through my employment, which I am forever grateful for. We rarely spent a lot of time outside the office together, but it was quality when it occurred. Co workers in a veterinary hospital are like family. More time is spent with them than your own personal family. For the most part everyone had the same “off” sense of humor ( required in the field, although not mentioned at all when you go to school to be tech.) Being that the majority of the technicians in a veterinary hospital are female, we were like sisters who fought with each other periodically, but when it came right down to acting upon an emergency, everyone was right where they should have been, doing what they had to, to get the job done. Menstrual cycles began to synchronize, I swear. It was said once it’s like living on Estrogen Island. Even when there was a male tech in the office, he certainly would have his fair share of PMS.
An important role as a technician, you must be good at playing “Twister.” You have to be a master of awkward positions involving two or more people and a patient. When you are involved or just walking by these feats of loving care for the patient, you are subjected to more ass crack than you bargained for and quickly need to look away with the knowledge of which team member is wearing a thong that day. You must have good knees and be able to and react fast in order not to get bit, scratched, mangled by that retractable leash that 99% of the clients don’t know how to use properly. (Being good at Chinese jump rump, also comes in handy when is comes to the client who cannot control the dog on the end of the leash. I’m pretty certain most people are clueless.)
Blood, vomit, diarrhea and anal glands are things you can expect to see, smell and clean up everyday. (Another thing they don’t tell you in school) People just assume that we play with puppies and kittens all day long. Its not that pretty. Can you imagine if people had anal glands??? We won’t go there…If you don’t know what they are, they are glands located at 4 and 8 o’clock inside the anus. Many dogs never have a problem with them. Some dogs come in routinely to have them expressed. (Ever see your dog carpet surfing or scooting? That is a sure sign that something is going on in that department.) I’ve even seen a few cats with this problem, not many though. That lovely smell is is one you will never forget. Old, dead fish. How many times a day does a tech witness that odor? Too many to want to remember. You clean it off the dog, yourself, the table, the wall even…then you throw away the trash and air the room out. No air freshening spray ever really covers up that odor. Sometimes you even need to change your scrub shirt. Feeling sorry for the owner who has to ride home in a car with these patients, the receptionist at the desk, processes their bill as quickly as possible in order to make the waiting area smell a bit better. A real pro at expressing anal glands can do it alone, double gloves ready and still come out smiling. A friend of mine use to refer to the process of expressing anal glands as “squeezing the grapes.” which actually is quite fitting.
Dog vomit can be quite interesting. Really. It’s always a total victory when you induce vomiting and whatever was ingested comes spewing out. It’s usually a surprise, because that “Fur Baby” (a term I’ve come to really dislike for some reason) wasn’t being watched. Admittedly the one time the owner knew what Fluffy ate, I was a bit skeptical. Sure enough, the whole ace bandage came up! Yes, that dog ate the ace bandage right off herself and swallowed it in one piece. How long is an ace bandage??? The owner had applied it for some reason ( not recommended by the way…) and came home to the dog not wearing it. It was no where to be found in the house and the dog had been acting sick. Amazing that surgery was not required, right?
Chocolate covered espresso beans. Yum! Quite dangerous if eaten in large quantities by your dog though. Chocolate by itself is toxic to dogs. Add in a ton of caffeine and you’ve got big trouble. (Most dog owners are not aware that Hydrogen Peroxide should always be kept in the house. It is used to induce vomiting in dogs. Yes, you just pour some down the ole gullet, then go outside and pray.) The call comes in to the hospital, JoJo ate a pound of chocolate covered espresso beans, and the owner didn’t have any hydrogen peroxide on hand. It was advised to bring him right in. Upon arrival, the magic potion was given and the fifty pound dog was placed in a cage. It may have taken a couple of doses and then- BOOM, up comes the whole load. Can I just say, that was the best smelling vomit EVER! Granted, it was not pleasant to look at, or clean up, but it did smell pretty darn good. JoJo was a very lucky dog. The snack he decided to indulge himself on, could have been fatal. Another case where the owner was alert enough to bring her pet in, in time.