Thursday, January 26, 2012

The House Call Vet

I started my practice doing house calls full time. The pets are often less stressed and clients treat you like a guest in their home. I really got to know these people well in this setting and have some fond memories.

One particular couple, The Clays, crack me up every time I think of them. They were both in their 80's the first time I came out to check on their farm dogs. The wife had grown up on the farm, was actually born in the house. We got there and did what we needed to do for the dogs and were wrapping things up to get to my next call, a euthanasia. Before we could leave though, the husband and wife decided we needed to take a tour of the house and all the out buildings. I got to see 80 years of items collected in dusty out buildings, pictures, antique furniture, old boating equipment. I got to hear stories associated with said items. Very long, informative stories.

While I love to chat it up with clients, I was getting anxious because of the euthanasia scheduled in less than an hour. It was at least a 30 minute drive. I don't like to make my clients wait- ever- especially a euthanasia appointment. I don't want them to have to stress any longer than necessary. When Mrs. Clay started to play the piano for me, I knew I had to step in and let them know I had to go on to my next appointment. Mr. Clay asked what the appointment was for. I told him a beloved older pet was to be put to sleep and I didn't want to make the owners wait. He said with laugh "Oh, let the dog live a little longer! Honey, play them a little Missouri Waltz!"

I politely listened and edged my way out of the house. Mr. Clay followed me outside and just as I was loading up my truck, he mentioned he had recently had surgery. Before I knew what was happening, he had flipped his overall clasps off and was standing in his yard in only his undershirt and underwear, overalls at his ankles. He just wanted me to take a second and look at his scar - on the inside of his thigh....

I can't even remember how I got out of there, I think I have blocked it out of my brain. I did make it to the euthanasia appointment on time.

The Clays were great clients from that time on. Their dogs passed away and they moved into an assisted living facility. Their old farm house has since been torn down and new houses replace it.

Every time I drive by that area, I hear the Missouri Waltz playing in my head.


  1. House calls are the best! It is my favorite relief job. Mostly really nice, appreciative clients, and I like getting to see inside their lives a little. And then the weirdos are so much weirder at home than at a clinic (usually in an interesting way).

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  3. Thanks for this post. It is very intersting work. I like very much.