Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Form letters

I know people are busy. Especially this time of year. But there should be some point where the mindless envelope-stuffing should end and human oversight kick in.

I just opened two separate letters from the veterinary center where Muzzy and Harley were put to sleep. Each contained a paper ornament (for us to label/decorate) and a letter inviting us to the tree-lighting ceremony they will be having, remembering the pets who passed on in 2006. Each was addressed exactly the same way. Each said exactly the same thing, except that the name of the pet was different. Each was signed by the same person. So NO ONE thought to check, at any point in the chain of command/custody, to see if multiple pets passed away for one owner? This isn't the biggest clinic in the land, by any stretch. And even if it was, that's no excuse.

Any good feelings I might have had regarding their desire/willingness to acknowledge and commemorate the animals who left us this year were totally obliterated by having to deal with the double gut-punch they dealt me by not taking the freaking time to manage their mail better. It was bad enough getting the one for Harley, but minutes (and several pieces of mail) later having to deal with it again for Muzzy? Lots of people have multiple pets, and it is hardly rare that they lose more than one in the same year. Why even bother doing something like this, if they (the clinic) can't take the time to consider this issue? It's not right. It's not right. It's not right.

They should know and do better.


risa said...

i'm sorry :( they definitely didn't think it through.

Lj said...

Yeah--that makes me furious (a strong word for a total stranger)! Mostly because a very similar thing happened with my vet a few years back. My little story...

My dog was acting strange (I later found out it was a seizure) and I was freaking out. I rushed her to my vet--they said she was fine and basically did nothing AND told me I could bring her in later in the week to run hundreds of dollars of tests. So they didn't care at the time but they wanted to do these important tests whenever they got around to it (aka they did want my money). I left the office bewhildered but too emotionally overwhelmed to make sense of what had happened.

Well, of course, my dog was not fine. The next six hours were unbearable as my dog was falling down, had gone blind, and I had to restrain her to protect her. I called my aunt in the middle of the night, bawling, and she helped me go to her vet the moment they opened the next day. Long story...my dog had a serious brain tumor and had to be put to sleep that same day. She had already had one operation and had that brain tumor removed so this meant that it was growing far too fast to be turned around. By putting her to sleep that day, the new vet assured me that she wouldn't be feeling the pain yet--but she would if I waited. Even though I really wanted to give myself a day to let it sink in and say goodbye, I made the decision to let go since it was the only gift I had left that I could give her. Hardest thing I have ever done. Devestating.

So starting about a week later, I start getting these harassing calls from my first vet--the vet that was so unhelpful. It was a survey wanting to know how I would rate their service! Malpractice and inexcusable veteranarians was what I told them and I poured out my story and asked that they never contact me again. I got four more phone calls from survey people--four. Each time they gave the same sing-song opening monologue and then waited for me to answer their questions. Even if I had a good experience with their company, this would have been unacceptable. Certainly, having them bother me on my cell phone to remind me of that horrible day and that false diagnosis was worse. And you know the best part--each time I told the person giving the survery what my experience had been and each time a new person called with no idea that I had already been called. Obviously, this place just did not care--they didn't even write down "don't call again" in my records--much less my whole story.
I hate that place so much that to this day when I see a corporate sponsored ad for the company (PetSmart) I get a little bile in my throat. My anger about the surveys was bad. Worse was the feeling I have always had that if the diagnosis had happened that first day, I would have had that night to say goodbye and to let go. Instead I only got a few minutes. And a lifetime to think about what I wish I could have said if I had known sooner that she was about to die...Lj

Trina said...

R - thanks, sweetie.

LJ - I am so sorry for what you went through. There is NO excuse for any of the shortcomings of the clinic and the phone service they hired. And I'm sorry for your loss, as well.