July 31, 2008 :: A quart low.
Monday night I came home with the intention, and, uniquely, also the motivation to clean the house. Blake was out with a friend, the dogs were acting fairly well-behaved in the front yard, so I broke out the Method spray and the swiffer and the vacuum and got down to it. An hour or so later, laundry in arms, and with Ollie (now inside) trailing merrily behind me, I rounded the corner from the bedroom through the hallway toward the kitchen (where the laundry machine lives). I did this with the grace and calm of an adult human. Ollie, on the other hand, made this maneuver with the spastic, jelly-legged entropy of an 8 month old puppy. Totally appropriate, but not without consequence.
In her crazy joy, she slid into the 50 pound mirror leaning up against the back wall of the hallway, and brought it down on her--glass shattering and splintering into every crevice on that side of the house. I heard it fall. I saw her run ahead of me. And then, I saw the blood.
Catching an excited puppy in the best of situations is not easy. Catching an excited, bleeding puppy on the verge of shock as you yell obscenities at the situation (though, for all she knows, you're yelling at her), is nearly impossible. She made it through the kitchen and entire living room, trailing crazy wisps of high-velocity spatter before I caught her. As I give her the once-over, slippery with dog blood, I'm wondering if she's lost a whole LEG. But, it seems she's only bleeding (though profusely) from a 2-inch gash on the lower part of her right hind leg. And she's being ticklish as I check her out. Squirmy. Playful. Dorky. I think "good god, dog. If you do bleed out, at least you'll go out having a great old time."
At 7:50 in the evening, the options for emergency veterinary services are slim in ITP Atlanta. The vets are all closed. The one place I knew of, the "24-7! 365!" variety didn't have a vet on call that night. (I think they should change their advertising.) So, I broke down and called Banfield, the Pet Semetary....er..um...Hospital.
I've had run-ins with them before. One particular run-in with both the dumber-than-a-bag-of-hammers reception staff and the impatient, defensive vet that I'm fairly sure got my name flagged in their computer system as raving b**ch #1.* But I deferred to the bleeding dog on the floor next to me, and called anyway. Huge mistake.
The woman that answered sounded as if I'd woken her from a nap. I told her, hurriedly, breathlessly, that my dog had been in an accident, was bleeding quite a bit, and could I bring her there. She said I had "8 minutes". I asked them if the vet could wait maybe 2 more than that? She said, with a sigh, "call (previously mentioned not-quite-24-hour vet)." I said "they don't have a damn vet on call right now!" My tone was, well, probably exasperated at this point. She told me "not to cuss at her." I reeled, and said, uh...ok...well, so can I bring her to you or not? She told me not to yell at her. She then put me on hold. For at least 3 minutes. I don't know, because that's when I hung up.
I'm imagining calling 911 and getting this response. I'm imagining speaking with an officer at the scene of a bloody accident and being walked away from. I'm running over in my head all the MUCH BETTER ways this woman could have handled my panic and my rushed tone. Much better than being concerned that I was bothering her in the last 8 minutes of her shift. Also, in what universe is "damn" a word so bad that you'd need to call a person on it? At this moment, Ollie still bleeding, running out of options, I'm considering this awful woman the worst person on earth. I don't like the feeling, but I'm hoping she's now panicking on her end, trying to explain to the vet how she might have just killed someone's dog.
Rant over. Another phone call got me to a local boarder/vet who was cleaning up for the night. She was calm, helpful, sympathetic, and told me exactly where I should take Ollie. We ended up at a gleaming, bustling, friendly ER-heaven for pets - a giant teaching hospital attached to what I'm guessing is a veterinary school. They were awesome. Expensive as hell, but awesome.
Ollie will be fine. She has stitches, she's a cone-head for the next week or so, and we have no way to see ourselves full-length after we dress in the morning. But all is well.
Except in my head, where I still can't believe uncaring wastes like the Banfield receptionist exist.
*Briefly, here's that story. The lovely miss Jane, my other dog, was a stray picked up by a charitable but non-dog-compliant friend. She had early-stage heartworms, barely adult worms, just above the level where they give the dog a couple Heartguards, a shot of Jim Beam, and send them on their way. Upon finding this, Banfield apparently saw both a sick dog and a huge sucker before them--and proceeded to double-treat jane with Ivermectin (the insecticide that kills the worms), as well as trump up charges, overnight stays, extra exams, and countless duplicate services they apparently figured I wouldn't notice. I called them on it--pointed out charges that made no sense, and test after duplicate test. To say they were defensive was an understatement. I told them what I thought of their idiot staff and their money-grubbing policies, and took all 4 of my pets at the time elsewhere. I also canceled the bank card from which they were getting payment on the "wellness" plan they'd also suckered me into. They dropped the plan and left me alone. I think I made my point.