A Second Chance at a First Impression

10 Dec

About 14 years ago when Gary and I were just engaged, I took his dog, Duggan, to the vet. Duggan, a large collie-shepard mix, had come to live with me in my stair-less home when his health and legs were failing.

My regular, fantastic, favorite vet was not at the clinic that day, so I agreed to see another. The doctor assigned to us was, for my tastes, a little too loud, enthusiastic, overbearing and (again, from my viewpoint) a little too quick to diagnose. I was frustrated that she didn’t seem to hear me express my concern over Duggan losing weight at an alarming rate. But, I took whatever meds she gave me and turned to leave. Just as I approached the door, she ran after me saying that she was going over Duggan’s chart and realized he had lost 12 pounds in 3 weeks! I almost punched her. But since I am all talk and no action, I quietly followed her back in while she prescribed some high calorie food for our sick old guy.

By the way, have I mentioned I have 3 dogs and 2 cats? Have I mentioned that since they are all rescues that they (and all those that came before them) have issues? Health, trust, behavior, fright, allergies, you name it – we’ve got it. So, as you can imagine, we are regulars at our veterinary hospital. But for the past 14 years, I have refused to see her – the vet who wouldn’t listen. Anytime at all that we have been unable to get in with our regular, fantastic, favorite vet, I would ask to see someone else – anyone else but her.

Except for today. I needed to take Lucky, my beautiful shepard/chow mix, to the vet for a weird cough he’s had for a couple of days. When I called, I was told my regular, fantastic, favorite vet was not in today, though I was welcome to bring Lucky to one of the other vets. Because my dog was in need, I agreed. Guess who was the only vet with an opening at 2:15?

I took a deep breath, and loaded Lucky into the car. My 50-pound dog has never gotten over his fear of cars – he can scale a six foot fence to get to a ground hog, but somehow can’t muster up the nerve to step into the back seat of a car. I told myself if Dr. Perky bounded in with too much enthusiasm or volume, I would ask her to tone it down, as Lucky is a pretty soft dog. I practiced being patient, but unforgiving and a little stern and “get down to the business of healing my sweet dog without any small talk or chit chat”.

The door opened and there she was – a decade older, much calmer, unbelievably kind and totally tuned in to Lucky’s symptoms, history and housemates. I am sure she had zero recollection of the last time she saw me. She saw that we were also the owners of Gus, our latest rescue (a bull terrier/beagle mix) who came to us with heartworm and Lyme disease. She asked all about him and how his treatments were going. She saw that we have cats and asked how everyone got along (not well, I’m sad to say). She was so incredibly great -Lucky took to her immediately and….what’s this? So did I!

She took Lucky for an x-ray and I heard her telling the vet tech about the really great lady in Room 7 (Me!!!!) and how we rescue all these animals and on and on….when she returned, we chatted some more and then off we went with a bunch of medicine to treat Lucky’s bronchitis, a few treats to take home to our other sweet pets and a very large receipt for those antibiotics.

But I came home with even more. Another essential life lesson…. I learned that for 14 years, I may have been holding onto something that wasn’t even real. I let one frightening incident – maybe one fluky mistake – keep my thoughts about this woman negative for 14 years. What a waste!

And tomorrow, when I call the vet because my little Rusty (a long-haired, stubborn dachshund) seems to have picked up Lucky’s cough, if my regular, fantastic, favorite vet isn’t available, I will look forward to seeing my new second favorite fantastic vet.

One Response to “A Second Chance at a First Impression”

  1. Barb McLaughlin January 2, 2013 at 1:55 pm #

    Love this, Ter. So true, so true.

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