I don't know one veterinary hospital worker — whether it's the kennel help or the big kahuna — who hasn't received strange requests from the practice's pet-owning clientele. Which always amazes me. I mean, what might pass for strange or awkward at another professional's office is seemingly de rigueur at the vet clinic. What's up with that?
Is it that our clients feel more connected to us on the animal solidarity front? Or is it, rather, that pet owners are a tad more … well … special than the average bear. I'd like to think it's a bit of both, but your guess is as good as mine.
Anyhow, here are my top ten most interesting interactions on the request front:
1. "Would you say this mole looks suspicious?"
As she pulls up her shirt. (I wonder if her dentist gets the same treatment?)
2. "I hear you have lots of pets. Can you babysit mine at your house while I'm on vacation?"
Uh, yeah, I have loads of time for that. Between my twelve-year-old's science project, nineteen animals and seventy-hour work week, I'm sure I can squeeze them in. Thanks for asking.
3. "Is there any way we can stuff Fluffy after she's dead?'
Well, I know of a service that can have her freeze-dried for you ... but truly stuffed? Not so sure.
4. "Can you vaccinate me against rabies, too?"
Perhaps not so odd a request given that this client worked with lots of feral cats. Still, you'd think, like #1, it'd be a physician-only request.
5. "Is this ringworm?"
In case you're wondering, this happens a lot. Having an owner remove her pants and pull down her undergarments, however ... not so much.
6. "Can I keep his testicles?"
I've gotten this request more than once. But I only ever got the next one once.
7. "Can I keep her [insert body part here] after the necropsy?"
This isn't Burger King, you know. Can't have it all your way. Luckily, I was able to talk this bereaved owner out of keeping her dog's parts in a jar by her bedside. Creepy.
8. "He needs his clothes, so please don't take them off while he's there."
No, ma'am, he will not be wearing his clothes while he's being hospitalized here. Here he will be a normal cat (yes, this was a cat). Actually, we did keep his top on. We drew the line at the hat and diapers.
9. "We need an X-ray to find out if Fluffy ate the hamster."
Yes, really. For the record, Fluffy had not eaten the hamster. At least not within the last 24 hours or so.
10. "Can you drill holes into those teeth so I can put them on a chain?"
Actually, this can be done with some extracted teeth and I personally don't think it's as creepy as it sounds. Not as long as they've been cleaned up nicely after a long soak in hydrogen peroxide. I will, however, be tacking on a jeweler's fee for my efforts.
Ever lodged a special request with you veterinary hospital? Overheard one? Received one yourself? Fess up.
Dr. Patty Khuly