Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Doing It For Free

You walked into my clinic - not an established client with a relationship - but someone who rarely sought any care at all for your pet.  You told me your pet was "up to date" with vaccines but you couldn't provide any proof.  (I have to take this information at face value even though it can potentially put my entire staff at risk) 

You told my receptionist you could pay for the exam.  We believed you.  So I stopped what I was doing with my established, paying client and ran to your emergency.  Just like I always do.

Your little dog was bitten by a bigger dog.   And it was badly, badly injured.  I informed you that its injuries were SO bad, that she needed to see a specialist or be euthanized.  I would get her stabilized and then send you to the surgeon.

You immediately said you had no money for extensive treatment.   Thank you for being honest.  You asked me to just put her to sleep because you couldn't afford treatment.  I thanked you again for not telling me I should treat for free and arguing with me. 


You lied when you said you could pay for the exam.  Your truth was that you had a pack of cigarettes in your purse and a look of crystal meth on your face.   I know that look.  I see it a lot.

So I had to pay for the exam, the euthanasia of your badly injured pet and the cost of disposing of her body because you had no money.  Zero.  None.   Because, yes, I do love animals.  And I hate to see them suffer.

I don't fault you for not having any money. 

But if you realized that this scenario plays out every single day in my practice, you'd realize how much money it costs me.  Actually, though, you probably wouldn't.  You have no idea and you don't get it.  You've made personal choices that don't allow you to take care of your pet. 

You expect someone else to do it for you.  And I did, because I care more for your dog than you did.  I could have said No and sent you to the shelter where they would have euthanized her for $25.  You wouldn't have been with her, holding her while she went to sleep.  You wouldn't have been able to sit in my exam room for an hour sobbing and grieving, making us all cry.

No, instead, I sucked it up like  I always do and I did what I could.  We humanely euthanized her and ended her suffering.

And you didn't pay me one dime.  That bill for the disposal of the body will be here next week,  and the staff who took care of her and eased her anxiety still got paid, and my good paying established client had to wait for a long time while I dealt with you.

I'm the one who didn't get paid.  I incurred 100% of the costs.

So the next time someone tells me I'm greedy or that I charge too much or that I don't care about animals....   Screw you.  You are misinformed, uneducated or downright ignorant. 

This scenario plays out every day in every veterinary clinic in every state of this country.  So articles like the one written below - are fantastic.  Keep pissing us off by making one of the most humane, caring, underpaid professions in the country look bad.  We are starting to congregate and realize that you are doing this to us and we are starting to fight back.


  1. Replies
    1. Oh real nice classy piece of work. I'm sure that will drag in the clients....LOL

  2. I suppose you don't get thanked enough for doing things like this, and my thanks doesn't help you pay the bills, but, nevertheless, thank you. Thank you for opening my eyes to not just the economic issues you have to deal with but the emotional ones as well.

    I often tell my teenage son and daughter that things just aren't like they used to be. People aren't kind or considerate or caring as much as I recall they were when I was their age. I do tell them about you and your good heart and caring soul so that they know that there are still good people out there who are generous and compassionate because it's the right way to be, the best way to be.

  3. Very sad for the animals in these situations, having the caretakers that they do. I can only imagine your frustration (and expense) in dealing with these people who do not deserve to HAVE pets in the first place. (Dammit!)

  4. You people are unbelievable, and all alike really. You are money grubbing thieves and I am extremely happy to know that others are opening their eyes to this. I understand your job is to care for sick animals but when you LIE to people about their pets ability to recover therefore resulting in the decision to euthanize because the owner may not presently have the funds to treat their pet. It certainly does not make someone unfit to care for an animal and absolutely shouldn't call for a death sentence! Now, I see your frustration when people don't pay but to unknowingly assume someone is an addict because they have a pack of smokes and may not look up to par doesn't give you the right to judge. You are a vet and who are you to know the lifestyle of a person just by their appearance? You talk about ignorance? Maybe you should take a look at yourself. I'd also like to point out that your career is overrated and your OVER paid, get over yourself! For one, how many feral cats are there? And they have nobody to care for them and pay for their vet bills. Outdoor cats with no homes get no vaccinations, and I understand that indoor cats live longer but I've seen both live just as long. I don't care about your love for animals because quite frankly; we all do! With that said, I also am quite aware of your salaries so whether you like to admit it or not, you do do it for the money and take advantage of people by doing unecissary tests and charging ridiculous prices for examinations alone. Ive dealt with many different vets and all have different rates. People could believe what they want but I think it's bullshit, excuse my language.. I don't believe that you have to be loaded to care for a pet and give love and nutrition. As long as they are fed quality food, provided fresh water at all times, and given a stress-free environment.. There are too many animals who are homeless for narrow minded individuals such as yourself to be complaining so shut up and keep doing what your doing. I as well as many others agree your all rip offs for people who claim to love animals so much. So keep hating on the American public bonita, it's not going to make you look any better. In fact, it only makes you look like a spiteful bitch.

    1. The beauty of America, Starr, is that you get to choose where you spend your money. Don't want to patronize a "money grubbing [thief]"? Nobody is making you. Feel free to go on your merry way.

    2. Wow. "Ive dealt with many different vets"

      Did you know, that's our FIRST red flag, when we see you coming, that you're probably a horrible client? When you've been from Vet to Vet, it's either because you don't pay your bills, or you don't behave politely to the staff and Vet, or you're simply one of those people who lives for being miserable. When you've had one bad relationship after another with your Veterinarians, don't you start to see the pattern there? The common factor? It's YOU. Perhaps you should try being respectful and appreciative and PAY for the good faith service you asked for when you made your appointment. Maybe you'll find you can actually find a Vet you're happy with, if YOU don't make THEIR lives miserable every time they have to work with you.

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. dr_kitten, I could not agree more!

      Well said.

      And Starr, you are your own reward. Marinate in your miserable life.

    5. Nucking Futs. Totally off your rocker. If I had realized how little I would get paid or how many hours of sleep I would miss just to be able to make student loan payments, I would have done something else. A factory worker makes about as much as I do and they have better benefits AND vacation AND mandated hours worked AND mandated breaks AND they get time to eat. There were shifts that I was literally on my feet for 17 hours straight and had no time to eat. I lost 50 lbs in less than a year due to being constantly ketotic due to not having time to eat. And some years, I had to work multiple jobs just to make ends meet.

      Let's seen how this salary thing breaks down. In my town, a vet that is 10 years out of school might be lucky to make $70K. I was offered, 5 years out of school, $45K for 4 14 hour shifts per week. How fun does that sound? So, $70K, if you are getting taxes taken out, that is about $60 K after taxes. So that is about $5K a month. Now let's figure in insurance if that is not covered. My family pays about $600 per month. Now we are down to $4400. What about student loans? Lets see, $150K means that you are paying about 1500 per month. That brings it down to $2900. Ok, that makes about $34K per year. Now subtract housing, insurance for car, insurance for house, continuing education, books for keeping up, journals for keeping up, my state's professional privilege tax which is $400. And to be licensed: about $375 per year. DEA? I hear it is up to $700. Still looking over paid to you? If so, you are clearly deluded.
      And if your name is really Starr (with the two rrs) I can make a fair judgement about how smart your parents are/were. I would never name my daughter a stripper name.

    6. Wow Starr!

      I'm glad there are people out there like you who care so much about animals and realize it it not at all about money. Since you are SO determined that no animal should suffer due to a heartless vet's unwillingness to work for free, please provide your contact information,and next time one of us 'thieving lying' types sees a client with no money we will call you to provide financial assistance for them. This will help so many animals!

      Oh, and by the way, the veterinarian who wrote this post did not say or imply that they LIED to the pet owner about the pet's ability to recover. The blog said that the client was told the pet was badly injured and needed to see a specialist (which would have been expensive, and the owner had already said she could not afford it), or be euthanized. Where is the lie in that? There was no other option in this case.

      And finally, I love your comment about how the owner may not "presently have the money to fix their pet". You have no idea how many times we have been burned by promises to pay "next week" or "next month". This request is almost always made by people who are not clients, and usually by those who haven't seen a vet in years. They will NEVER have the funds, and if they do, they will NEVER pay us. Been there, done that, would have bought the T-shirt, but couldn't afford it because the deadbeats DIDN'T pay me! There are exceptions of course, and it warms my heart to see them. I've worked with people who have paid as promised, but many many more who did not. If people were all honest, I'd let everyone make payments. This is how the typical scenario plays out: Person brings pet in with a serious and usually preventable condition such as a complicated delivery or parvo. The pet has not seen a vet in years. The client has maybe 10% of the estimated treatment cost. They have asked everyone they know, and no one will lend them money. They apply for a health care line of credit and are turned down. So, I ask you - if a financial institution and family members won't extend credit, what does that tell you about their credit history? If some stranger walked up to YOU on the street and asked for a large sum of money with promise to "pay you back next month", would you do it?

    7. Starr, you exemplify everything that is wrong with some people. There are plenty of reasons for the things you complain about...

      Different vets charge different rates? Yes, they do. Different clinics have different equipment to pay for so it's up to you if you want the place with newer equipment or older. Different clinics have differing amounts of staff, rent, etc. And so on.

      "Unnecessary tests"? I get really annoyed when I hear complaints about unnecessary tests. Do you understand how many possible conditions can be connected to just a few clinical symptoms? And because we can't question the animal directly, yes, sometimes the more tests that are done, the better chance there is of determining what is actually going on. More often than not, clients have the option of less tests and can proceed with the diagnosis but there is a greater risk of an incorrect diagnosis because the client has reduced the potential information available to the vet. Sometimes this happens because the client truly cannot afford many tests - yes, I'm sure that happens. But to call them unnecessary and avoid them because you believe vets are lining their pockets is irresponsible and puts your pets at risk from your own actions.

    8. If I have to see people like you every day, I don't know if I should stay in vet school, lol.

    9. BRAVO Starr...I was just going to comment but you covered most of what the general public doesn't know about slime-ball quacks like the ones posting and replying on here. You know what you're talking about you have them pegged for the grubbers they are. Please post your thoughts at

    10. Ooops... that is

  5. Clearly you have had a bad experience, with someone who thought they could make your pet better but was ultimately unable to do so. You have my sympathy. There is nothing worse than getting your hopes up and then ultimately losing a beloved companion. The fact is that sometimes, we're wrong. We think we can save an animal but they turn for the worse, or the problem turns out to be more serious than anticipated. If things aren't adequately communicated, there can be confusion & misinformation. Being mistaken is one thing. We. Make. Mistakes. There-I said it. We do! We're human too. But lying about a pet's odds of recovery? I doubt that. That's a lose-lose-lose situation, for us, for you, and for your pet.

    I'm torn. I want to commend you for the value that you place on "quality food...fresh water at all times, and...a stress-free environment." Those things are really important, and sometimes owners forget how crucial they are. But in today's day and age, that's NOT enough to meet a basic standard of care. Regular and timely preventative medicine is also important, from a public health standard as well as a pet care standard. Inner city neighborhoods where dogs aren't vaccinated against distemper and parvo lose puppies and adult dogs in heartbreaking fashion to diseases that could have been easily prevented. Heartworm disease runs rampant in warm, humid climates where people aren't willing or able to spend a few bucks a month on prevention. If a client isn't willing to spend a little bit of money on prevention, they don't get my sympathy when they can't afford hundreds or thousands to treat a condition they could have prevented. And no, we can't give it away for free. Where does it say we are a non-for-profit business?

    So now I'm done being sympathetic and polite (for me).

    Overpaid? I went through four years of college and another four of veterinary school. I am a highly trained professional with **$200,000** in loans to pay back for veterinary school. If I'm very lucky, I'll be done paying it back in 30 or 40 years. How exactly does that make me overpaid?!

    I don't make six figures. Most of us don't. I'm not even a practice owner - I can't imagine how screwed I would be if I had to worry about keeping a practice afloat in this economy.

    Do I make good money? Yes, I do, and I am grateful for that fact. Some vets make much more than I do, and some make a lot less. I make more than my parents did when I was a kid, but neither of my parents had an undergraduate degree, much less a doctorate. Years and years of additional schooling and training can and SHOULD earn us more money. I'm terribly sorry if you find that offensive, but how else are we supposed to be able to pay our rent/mortgage, take care of our families (pets include), and pay our loans back? Do you have a money tree that we don't know about?

    Our career overrated? You know what? You're right. It is. In school I was not made adequately aware of how many selfish jerks and liars I would have to deal with as clients. Of how many people were willing to talk on a $300 iPhone while claiming that they weren't able to afford $7 a month to keep their dog from getting heartworm disease. Of how many people would adopt a dog from the shelter and immediately claim that they did not have the funds to provide basic puppy vaccines. Of how many people like YOU who do everyone a disservice by lumping an entire profession in a hateful box just because you have had a bad experience. So yes, it is overrated. There we agree.

    --I just had to interrupt my typing (at 10:20 pm) to answer a call on our emergency phone line. That's a service we offer to our clients. 2 AM emergency? No problem! Why is it that I'm overpaid again?

    We bust our butts for people and their pets every day, just to get dumped on by ignorant people who don't understand what we do for a living. It's too bad.

  6. starr
    Two r's. Really?
    I hope this is some derivative from you name, for you clearly are no star in the true sense of the word. Fucking loser comes to mind, but I'm too polite to accuse you of this with no more information than that which you vomited out here. I bleed for people like you every day. Literally and figuratively. Take your time, look it up, I'll wait. Years and years and years spent taking care of your pets while you dance through life screwing things up. You are precisely the person we address when after years and decades of dedication and sacrifice, we finally speak up and call you out. Glad you recognized yourself when you were featured in our little essays. Allow me to let you in on a little secret. We work to help lots of people and their pets. We bust our butts for these folks. We try to tolerate the likes of you, but we don't like you. You hurt us. You fatigue us. You insult us. But your very presence here validates everything we've been trying to say on this space. So thanks...and fuck you very much.

  7. One of the most amazing vets I know said it best....Try going to your local grocery store and filling your cart and tell them you dont have any money to pay...see if you walk out with the groceries. try it with your electric company..i mean they should be sympathetic to your needs....see how long your lights stay on

    Dr Reed you are the best

    my should take all the with and wisdom you have within and go to vet school. Upon graduation you can open a veterinary free clinic. The multitudes will flock to you daily. I mean why should they be responsible for their pets should be free. see how long your doors stay open. So seeing that would be an epic fail you can reopen as a LOW COST clinic. You can pay 35.00 for a test and only charge the pet owner 10.00 because they are pet owners why should they pay 38.00 for the test. see how long you stay open.

    and finally when the university you attended calls and says they have to have payment on your tuition...just tell them you dont have the money to pay.....they will say okay and waive the amount cause thats how they should do it in your world

  8. Years of coping with the public at large teaches many lessons. One of the first I learned was that the people who are first to call you a liar, tend to be liars. And those who will call you a thief, tend to be thieves. It's one of those quirks of the limited mind to go straight to the things they know best. Now on this site I have noted some of the doctors calling people thieves and liars. Do I think that these doctors are thieves and liars? Nope. Because these doctors are referring to specific individuals who have lied and stolen. They are not inditing an entire group of people that they have never met. And they have actual evidence of the crimes and betrayals, and not simply ignorant speculation. I'd be willing to testify that I have never lied to nor stolen from this starr person. Now ask me if I resent being called a liar and a thief by someone I have not met. starr should be ashamed to behave like this in public.

  9. Wow, starr, same old tired BS that people just like you heap on us on a daily basis. Being thrown under the bus because it's easier to blame the vet for your financial problems instead of discussing them with your significant other, after ridiculously going out of our way to save you money...bitching me out about how much gas you have to spend to come in for a free recheck, & how it's so unfair to pay for more meds, after I drastically decreased your treatment estimate for euthanasias for suffering pets which we have ALL done...yep, we sure are money grubbing biznatches here.

    Starr, you aren't the first, & won't be the last, of your kind to heap it on me & my profession. Guess we really must love what we do to keep taking it up the butt! Good luck finding a vet! I do hope they frequent this website & have read your generous comments ahead of time...

    Can I see a puppy now? :)

  10. woah Starr who pi**ed in your cornflakes today...

    Starr sounds like troll to me, new yahoo account... yup a troll..

  11. Stupid, ignorant, and hateful is no way to go through life, Starr. But I guess that ship has sailed.

  12. Starr, please give me your number, so I can call you at all hours to help out people who come in the ER without funds. I'm sure you will be happy to give me your credit card number to cover the costs for all these poor people. Thank you !

  13. I love you all so much! Except Starr, frakkin moron.

    Just got off the phone with someone who wanted xrays for their pregnant dog but no exam. They actually hung up on me after I stated we couldn't do any diagnostics without the vet examining the patient. UGH.

    Don't breed your freaking dogs if you can't afford cost of care for pregnant dog and pups. I'm sure they won't do any vaccines or health certificates even though that is required here in FL.