MMS is Marley and Me Syndrome. Marley and Me, the book, was a great favorite with many of my clients. This book basically gives an account of a yellow lab’s life with all of his faults. Most lab owners could tell similar stories as read in this book. Marley was not as unique as one might think and that is why I hated this book. For me, a veterinarian, it was like listening to a client for a long time—hours, days.
To be clear, I love stories about pets: short stories. I love to hear one or two anecdotes about my patients as I examine them. It is what adds flavor to my day and usually makes me smile. There is the dog that separates out his kibble, by shape, and then eats one shape at a time. There is the dog that brushes his own teeth if you give him a tooth brush. There is the hound who decided, untrained, to monitor his owner’s glucose and wake her if she dropped too low. Who wouldn’t love hearing about all of these cool things?
People who have MMS usually are talking about a dog, have no time restraints, do not rely on communication for an income and are possibly lonely. They usually relate one story after another and another and another, with no room for me to excuse myself. They rarely relate anything unique—they are stories of regular dog behavior, like Marley, that the owner does not realize is common. If you are worried that you may be bogging your vet down by some MMS, here are the signs:
Your vet quits asking you questions.
Your vet is painfully smiling like a baby with gas.
Staff randomly enter the room, repeatedly, asking if anything is needed (the staff is flagging your chart, I promise).
Your dog is no longer nervous and is in fact curled up and is snoring.
A visit has lasted 40 minutes longer (or more) than the 15 minutes for which you were scheduled.
I am sure that there is rehab or a pill out there for MMS sufferers. Admitting the problem is the first step….