Sunday, July 14, 2013

we joke about it...

We at VBB central often joke that when "money is no object," it's because the owner has no intention of paying anyway. Gladly this isn't ALWAYS the case or we'd all be closed by now, but it happens often enough. In this case, one of our Dear Readers reports a time when Buck the Pony's owners weren't quite on the same page, maybe. In the end, the result is the same...

Dr. Pinkie Pie writes:

"Buck", an adorable little pony was in bad shape. He was skinny and not putting on weight, despite the feed being offered. He'd been de-wormed, put on pasture and was still thin. No one at the farm knew why Buck was so skinny, so I was called out to have a look at him. "Anything Buck needs" was the request.  I soon found Buck's problem, and fortunately it was one that I could do something about.
The pony's teeth were in very bad shape. The upper molars and premolars had sharp points that had made deep, non-healing gashes in the cheeks. The tongue was cut on the underside from overgrowth on the lower teeth. The smell was terrible, and most powerful, as the dosing syringe rinsed out his mouth. Globs of poorly-chewed hay and grass fell onto the ground in a foul-smelling green slime. The pony was thin, as he could not eat enough to sustain himself with a mouth so infected and sore. To make matters worse, this was a tiny little gelding with a tiny little mouth. The big tools just wouldn't do. The female owner was shown that damage and she agreed to treatment and the estimate. "Anything Buck needs" was the answer.
Sedation went well, only a few top-ups to keep him quiet yet standing. To treat those teeth with hand tools took a long time, about 40 minutes, and there was a little bleeding. Those sharp, pain-inducing points were gone, for now.  The teeth in Buck's mouth did not line up like a horses' teeth should, so the teeth would never wear properly on their own.  That mouth would require yearly care for Bucks' comfort, much like other horses with mouths that don't have good tooth alignment. No matter how many times the question was asked, the answer was the same. "Buck will need annual dental care." Buck was given pain control. He soon woke up and sauntered off, just a little wobbly, into his field and rested in the shade near his horse friends. The charges were tabulated and the owner paid the bill without a word. I packed my tools and left for the next call. All seemed right, as the tedious work would make a world of difference to that sweet little pony.
It was a few hours later that the problems started. The male owner was very angry that the cost of Bucks' treatment. Note that the estimate was only slightly lower than the final bill, a fact that was stated clearly before treatment started. He wanted his money back now, as he said the bill was too high and he had been ripped off. The service, according to him, was worth 100 dollars and no more. Buck is a rescue, after all. The shouting could be heard several feet away from the phone.  After belittling the receptionist, likely to the point of exhaustion, the call ended.
A few minutes later, the female owner called back, again demanding money back. There was no talk of Buck doing poorly - the pony was doing very well.  More accusations of billing to high and money-grubbing. The receptionist stood her ground against the abuses showered upon her; I have a lot of respect for her ability to deal with such people.  Sadly, the abuses did not end.  Bad reviews and comments continued to appear on social media regarding price gouging and ripping off good, hard-working people. My only hope is that honest people will see through the anger and lies.
As for Buck? I know I helped him, at least for the time being. I hope he does well and his little mouth continues to get the care it needs. Buck is a very sweet little pony.


  1. If you rescue, you need to be able to pay for care and not expect a discount because you took it upon yourself to rescue. If I had all the money back I have put into rescued animals, I may not have the car note I have now and possibly even more in my savings account. But, I choose to take in animals and I choose to pay my vet what the practice charges me for the care of that animal. It can be hard, and it certainly doesn't fit into a budget because you can't plan "This week of the month we'll see x dog on side of road to rescue, that will be kept x weeks, and adopted at x specific time." Oh the "This needs to be discounted because it's a rescue" makes my hackles stand!

  2. If the animal is in your possession, it's your responsibility! I don't care if it was rescued from a Maoist dog meat farm or bred in the queen of England's kennels the fee is the fee! If there is any wiggle room or discretion on my part any stupid attitude of entitlement on your part erases any chance of consideration!!!!!! On the other hand informing me before we embark on treatment that financial limitations are present will result in my making every reasonable effort to accomodate you or if there is no middle path to at least inform you of that fact. Good intentions don't pay tech salaries, light bills, house notes ect. Yes I love animals, no I can't subsist on a diet of good karma!

  3. I had a complaint a few weeks ago that my completely appropriate treatment for a puppy with a loose tooth and some oral bleeding (sedated the pup, applied pressure and epi, pulled the deciduous tooth) was inadequate. The young lady's mother called to complain that my services were a waste of money because the area started bleeding again that afternoon. The triage nurse that took the call recommended follow up with their day practice veterinarian (I work as an ER vet), which they did not do. I called to check on the pup the next night when my shift started... Still bleeding off and on. Pup came back in, now PALE and only THEN did the owners feel it might be worth mentioning that one of the dogs in the house had gotten into rodenticide, but they were "pretty sure it was the other dog." Welp, several hundred dollars, a coag panel and a blood transfusion later, they were proven wrong. Headdesk.