As has been previously mentioned, veterinarians are people too (shocking, I know). However, much like young children who seem shocked and amazed when they find out that their teacher doesn't actually live at the school, so do the clients often seem, if not shocked, then at least surprised to see their veterinarian outside of the clinic, doing something as mundane as purchasing groceries, getting the car fixed, visiting the pediatrician's office, or even (gasp) standing in line at the post office.
That's cool. I mean, seeing as how I'm a person, I know how it can feel like a nice pleasant surprise to run into my physician, pediatrician, or clarinet teacher, or whatever other professional type person I've had a pleasant ongoing relationship with somewhere other than his or her office or school. You want to say hello, maybe crack a joke, share a smile - it's all good. Sometimes, though, these encounters go horribly wrong. Last week, I had one of those.
I was at a house of worship, speaking to the administrative office staff there at a time when no services were being held, but some educational classes for children were in session. One of the teachers was planning a teaching module about how helping animals is a charitable act, or something like that, and she had asked me to drop by. So I was standing there in the office chatting with this nice lady at the desk when another woman walked in, looking vaguely familiar. She said hello to the lady at the desk and then she did a double take at me and said "DOCTOR VBB! What are you doing here?"
I said "well, I'm here to meet Ms. Kidwrangler to go over a lesson plan, actually. How are you doing?" She said to me, "oh, it's so kind of you to ask, I'm doing just fine" and then leaned over the desk and said to the receptionist, "remember how I was so depressed after Dingo passed away? Well, Dr. VBB here is the one that killed him! Whattya know?"
Of course a whole bunch of people were walking into the office just at that time.
There was an awkward silence that seemed to last forever, before my client realized what she'd said, and cleared my name, explaining that she'd brought Dingo to see me for euthanasia, after a long illness during which I'd cared for him quite well.
I'm not sure any of those people will ever look me in the eye again, though.