The Right Thing To Do

Schuylkill Veterinary Hospital recently got an unflattering online review from an unhappy client. It is never fun to read these reviews, but I understand that people get upset when outcomes are not what they desired. Veterinarians are not magicians. We can only do our best. I also get it that people do not understand when payment is necessary. Veterinary hospitals are just like any other small business in that we have tons of bills to pay to stay in business. But this recent one didn’t make sense to me.

This hospital has boarded animals for years for people who want to go on vacation, go out of town for business, funerals and the like. Or when people need to leave the dog just for a day for some reason. Most of the pets that come frequently enjoy their stay. The team at the hospital makes sure they are kept clean at all times, kitties are given boxes to sleep in, dogs are given favorite treats; we take seriously our job to care for these pets. This includes monitoring stress levels, health issues, appetites and elimination habits.

Every now and then, an issue is observed with a pet in our care. For instance, if a dog has an ear problem, we make a courtesy call to the owner that we will treat the ear while in our care. I cannot have a pet that is unduly stressed or uncomfortable for any reason under my care when I know I have the ability to make it better. Most owners really appreciate this level of care. After all, I certainly would want my animals to have the best care. A number of years ago, a veterinarian did some work for me for a short time. He stated that Schuylkill Veterinary Hospital was the only place he would have ever felt comfortable leaving his pets of all the places he had worked due to the level of care we provide.

So  what was the cause of the recent poor review? A lovely little dog was left in our care for a week while his family went on vacation. An issue was observed shortly into his stay. The family was contacted. We always try to contact the family, even though our release form states that should a problem develop, it will be treated at the owner’s expense. The client declined treatment. That is not an option when left in our care. I simply cannot have a pet that is clearly uncomfortable or painful staying with us. It was not a life threatening issue, but it certainly affected the quality of this pet’s life. Generally, clients are happy that their pet is taken care of and that they do not have to worry about it. This client was not. I regret that the pet needed treatment, but I do not regret treating it. It was the right thing to do. The health and comfort of the dogs and cats in the hospital’s care have to come first.