Saturday, August 4, 2012

Size matters

Your dog is big. So are you, really - I mean, you're about 6' tall & relatively muscular. I'm not petite by any stretch but you're bigger than I am, and your 100 lbs of aggressive guard-dog could definitely take me down. So, in the size contest - points to you.

You came in asking me to run some tests. Happy to oblige, but it's not clear which tests you want done. When I saw your dog last week and spoke to your wife, I referred her to a specialist. I subsequently spoke to the specialist to advise her of the incoming referral and discussed your dog's history and recent findings. The specialist told me we had done all the tests required so far & nothing further was needed. This is why I asked you which tests you wanted, and when you told me that "the specialist says we need a full blood panel - whatever that means - just do all the bloodwork you can," I got somewhat confused. That's when you told me you'd spoken to two specialists and it was the second one - not one I had spoken to - who recommended the "full panel." So I started to explain what various tests are available, which ones we had already run in the past six weeks, and which others might or might not be useful at various stages, and that's when you decided your innate size advantage wasn't enough. You had to make me feel even smaller. You had to tell me that I was obviously being obstructionist, I was obviously trying to prove that I am smarter than you are, that I was obviously feeling defensive because the specialist made recommendations I didn't understand, and that you should probably just leave without doing any tests.

It's funny the way you intended that to sound like a threat. You know. As if somehow, removing from my office a dangerously aggressive dog who does not actually require any tests to be done is going to ruin my day. GUESS WHAT? I didn't want to see this dog in the first place, and I don't want to take your money for tests that we don't need to do, so leaving really makes no nevermind to me. In fact, I'd prefer it....

What's sad though is that it did kind of ruin my day. I feel like a failure. I failed to communicate effectively. Your experience here was not positive. I replay the incident in my mind and I don't know how I could have done anything differently. I mean - I could have just smiled and said "full blood panel? Sure, no problem!" and then run a gazillion tests for no particular reason - but that feels really wrong to me.


  1. Being a dickhead should be painful. Sorry he ruined your day.

  2. I thought you vets were all about the money? This sounds like you hit the jackpot and turned it down!

  3. Sometimes no good deed goes unpunished. You did the right thing.

  4. It's hard running in circles with clients about stuff (no matter what it is!) It's not your fault the client wasn't patient or willing to listen to the facts. And it's also NOT your fault that there were too many other vets in the process confusing the client, so their frustration was probably only about 20% from you, you just got the heat from everything else going on.