Thursday, June 8, 2017

All The Crazy People

Summer is the time for light things. Light food. Light clothing. Light conversation. Light work schedules (hopefully). And light reading. My most popular posts by far have been the heaviest and darkest ones. I'm not sure what to make of that. Regardless though, it is summer now and you are hopefully on your deck with a gin and tonic and, damn it, you should read something light.

As I've mentioned before, veterinary medicine may be fundamentally about animals, but it is also far more about people than you might expect. The world is full of all manner of interesting people, but it seems that the "most interesting" ones all own animals. This is why veterinarians make great dinner party guests. If you can prevent them from telling gross-out stories (oh, but the urge is so strong...), they often have some fantastic crazy people stories. Before I tell a few of mine (in point form to keep it light!) I should make a couple disclaimers.

First Disclaimer:
Don't be alarmed. If you are reading this you are almost certainly not featured in the stories below. None involve regular clients. If you think you are crazy you are probably not. The truly crazy generally don't realize it.

Second Disclaimer:
The use of the word "crazy" is a shameless and amateurish attempt at click-bait. Most of these people have something else going on like intense grief, or intense anger, or intense stupidity. But some are definitely full-on bat poo.

So, in no particular order, here are the inductees to my Crazy People Hall of Fame:

- The young man who had his beloved dead ferret freeze-dried and mounted on the mantlepiece in what he described as a "heroic pose".

- The elderly woman who kept an astonishingly detailed diary of her perfectly healthy cat's eliminations on reams of loose leaf and then would proceed to try to read two months worth aloud to me. "On March 13 he had one regular sized bowel movement at 6:03 in the morning and then..."

- The man who threatened to punch my partner when he remarked that the man's dog was overweight. The man was seriously going to assault Bob. The dog was seriously obese. Bob calmed him down. The man never came back.

- The man who missed his appointment because the bus driver wouldn't let him on. He had had his sick four foot long ball python draped around his shoulders.

- The woman who came to visit her dead dog the day after the euthanasia in order to groom him before the crematorium picked him up. He was a very large dog. She bathed him, shampooed him, blow-dried him and brushed him out, humming all along. It was heartbreaking.

- The young woman who began to un-button her pants, saying she wanted me to tell her whether the bites she had were from fleas. I declined saying that all bug bites look the same.

- The woman who brought her budgie in wanting to know why it wouldn't sing or eat. It was dead. Cue the Monty Python sketch...

- The couple who were astonished to find out that their young cat was pregnant. "How could that happen? She doesn't go outside and the only male around her is her brother!" (I'm sure every vet has run into this at least once.)

-  The woman who phoned and in a very high squeaky voice said, "I have always had the ability to smell cancer. All my friends say I can smell cancer. And I smell it on Billy. I want to bring him in so you can find it and get rid of it."

The last one and one that you may not want to read aloud to the kids:
- The woman who, with an entirely straight face, asked whether venereal diseases are transmissible between humans and dogs.

I have left the very best one off this list because it deserves an entire post of its own, and I'm still wresting with whether to let it out into the public domain yet or not. Let's just say that it involves a teddy bear. Don't even try to guess - you'll be wrong. I apologize for the cruel teaser.

Now you can return to your gin and tonic and the next piece of click-bate.


  1. Lots of good ones, but here are two of my faves from my personal experience:

    1. Young couple brings male cat in for check lump on belly. I spend a great deal of time thoroughly examining the ventral surface of the cat, after which I ask the couple to point out the mass. Male owner puts his finger on it. "Sir, that is his nipple". Female owner smacks the male and says "I told you!!! Best $50 I ever spent."

    2. From my pre-vet days: Vet is showing an x-ray of bladder stones to the owner of the dog, who is a school teacher. She begins to argue that it is impossible, because her dog never eats rocks. Cue basic biology lesson....

    1. Excellent! I've had something similar to 1, but 2 is fantastic!

    2. I had the exact same "eating rocks n' bladder stones" comment! ..about 15 years ago..

  2. HA! Omg...I snickered out loud (but didn't snort at least!)and given the week so far, that is a major accomplishment! Well done on the light reading! lol
    And I really should not BE laughing becuz I totally AM one of those crazy pet owners...I fear it's only a matter of time before I make the list..sigh... Great blog post!

  3. The following comments are cut-and-pasted from my Facebook page where my colleagues shared their own "All The Crazy People" stories:

  4. "Oh there's a about the multi ferret owner who sadly lost a few in a house fire....we were holding them pending cremation, but the owner had us unthaw them so she could do a little Christmas themed photo shoot. With tiny Santa hats and in stockings...."

  5. "Also the client whose cat licked rocks - so she licked it as well to see why he liked them so much and if it was "salty", later on with another cat she purchased a teddy bear and brought it to us and asked if a specific sexual position of it may be pleasing to her cat."

  6. "There are so many! One that sticks out in my mind was the mature long haired female collie cross that was rushed in with a laceration on its back end. After carefully examining the dog and not finding any laceration, I had to ask the owner if she could show me what she had seen. She then pointed out the dog's vulva. The owner was a nurse."

  7. "Probably one of my more profound client moments was when I found walking dandruff on a patient and advise the client that it is a zoonosis. At that point they proceeded to drop their pants and ask if they needed to be checked. There was also the woman that when I advised her I suspected her cat had an upper respiratory tract infection caused by herpes she informed me the both her cat and herself were virgins!"

  8. "Early in my career as a solo practitioner, I covered the lunch hour. Two ladies came in with their cat for an appointment a little early, and I showed them into the exam room while I answered the phone. While I was booking an appointment, I overheard the ladies say... I don't think we're alone in this room. LOL, I forgot that I had let the clinic chinchillas stretch their legs in the room so I bounded in laughing as the ladies were shreiking thinking they saw what appeared to be a furry creature scuttle past the table. We all had a good laugh as I caught the little rascals😝"

  9. "Many years ago after leaving my first 3 year job in a mixed practice I did some shifts at a Winnipeg Animal Emerg clinic. After midnight if not much was going on the support staff would go home and an answering service would screen calls and only "put through" the serious ones to the Vet in the hospital. One full moon when I was working I had a middle of the night call from somebody who wanted to bring their dog in because the dog would not stop looking at them!"

  10. "Nipples.
    I ventured into an exam room for a pre-surgical consult for a mass removal. Little beagle cross.
    Me: (after staring at the ventral abdomen for some time, parting the hair this way and that way) Where's the mass you want removed?
    Client: There. This thing.
    Me:(after looking around to see if this is a candid camera situation) Uhhh...that's a nipple.
    Client: but he's a BOY dog
    Me: (resisting the urge to lift up his shirt) Uhhh...well, boys have nipples too."

  11. "Receptionist hands me the phone...
    Me: Can I help you?
    Client: Yes, can people take horse dewormer?
    I am immediately suspecting this is one of my smart ass friends. We used to prank each other, usually at 5 minutes to close with ridiculous requests and scenarios." Yah, hi, my husband is on his way down with our pet squirrel. Our son ran over him with his bike and now one of his nuts is hanging out." And the like....

    So I say: Horse dewormer? Sure, if you weigh 1000 pounds. HAHAHAHAhahahah..heh..heh....he. I realize that the person on the other end of the phone is not laughing. This is not my smart ass friend. This is a serious inquiry.
    He goes on to describe in great detail the parasites under his skin....he can feel them but no one can find them or believe him. I tell him I definetly believe that you believe you have parasites. Best of luck. Don't take horse dewormer."

  12. "Then there are all those awkward moments when you explain to the owner that their dog is clearly showing signs of marijuana toxicity."

  13. "We also had a lady buying bags and bags of prescription cat food, yet not feeding it to her cat. She was saving it for the apocalypse."

  14. "Or the time you have a client bring in his male dog because it has " swollen lymph nodes " on his belly but now they are gone and you have to explain to the young man that his dog got a bit too excited/aroused and the bulbus glandis swelling was normal."

  15. "Or the best is when "Joyce " a cat that stayed at the clinic for an extended period of time recovering from a large wound calls to let us know how she is doing. Her owner puts her on the phone to talk to us 😳"

  16. "Trying to explain to an ecstatic client that even though her Bird laid an egg ...and there was no "daddy bird" present she was not going to be a new "grammy"!"

  17. "Daily occurrence, somehow they seem to keep happening. Just today, cat went outside with family dog. Came back in not using front leg properly. Removed cat from carrier. Removed collar which now encircled neck and front leg. Miracle cure - cat could now use leg properly! Nice to be a superhero vet."