Thursday, November 7, 2013

Where is the personal responsibility?

A dog limped into my office the other day and informed me that he'd avulsed his gastrocnemius tendon. Well, ok - he didn't actually SAY it with words, but it was pretty obvious from looking at him. Anyway, his person described the history:

Doctor, last night he was FINE! I let him outside, and he was out there for a while in our fenced-in yard. Nothing can get to him out there. He was out there for a while and then when he came back in, he was like this.
Pretty typical, really. So, I told this dog's person that I'd like him to see a surgeon, as I wouldn't be able to fix this here at VBB Satellite Office. She looked at me, apparently shocked beyond my expectation, and remarked "Well! Someone's going to have to pay for THAT!"

Now, I am not known in my social or professional circles for having any real degree of tact. I try to be sensitive to people's needs, but generally I say it like it is for better or for worse. So I replied "yes! Someone is going to have to pay for that, and I expect that someone will be you!." She was quick to correct me. "Oh no, this wasn't MY fault! I didn't do this to him!" and I explained that I in no way intended to confer blame on her, but simply financial responsibility for her pet. She reiterated that since she wasn't culpable, she was not going to pay, and she would be contacting the breeder because the breeder had never informed her that this type of injury could occur to a dog who was "just out playing in the yard."

I'm pleased to report that, in the end, the dog received the care that he needed. I have no idea who is paying for the care, though.


  1. See, that's the problem. This guy should be responsible. Everyone knows that you NEVER let a dog go outside.

  2. There's a dog I'm treating with a broken leg. The leg is in a spoon splint, and I've told the owner repeatedly that the dog should not be let outside, it needs to be kept quiet, etc, etc.

    The dog's splint has slipped. Because the owner does not keep it indoors/confined. She's told me, 'Oh, I let her out with the other dogs and they just run around and play. She's fine.'

    But now the splint has slipped, and she doesn't want to pay for us to resplint the dogs leg. It's our fault, she claims, that the splint has slipped. And even though she's had people donate money for the care of the dog, she doesn't want to pay anything for it... even though she has a credit on her account that isn't her money to pay for the dog's health care.