“Uh oh!” I look to my right, and a distressed stranger is pointing at the ground next to me.
I’m standing at the front desk of a veterinary clinic, so I look down cautiously. (You never know what could be on the ground at a hospital, and I am admittedly only cut out for the business side of vet med).
There is a river of dog urine closing in on my favorite suede booties. It’s coming from my friend’s senior Weimaraner, Callie.
“Oh my god. I don’t know her,” I joke, shooting my friend my best judgmental look. (Obviously, my dog never does anything embarrassing).
My friend, however, is completely mortified. “SHE NEVER DOES THIS! I AM SO SORRY! CAN I CLEAN IT?” she exclaims.
The customer service representative stares at her blankly. “I mean, there’s paper towels over there.” She motions to a station across the store, and my friend obeys the direction.
Unfortunately, there are about 2 towels left on the roll, and we are dealing with a 60 pound dog amount of pee.
“Kind of seems like a mop situation. Callie really committed to this,” I say to the customer service representative as two more appear behind the desk. More blank stares. As a former practice manager, my head starts to slowly spin. How are they not getting that they should offer to help?
“Well, there are probably more paper towels at another one of the cleaning stations,” the CSR finally suggests. My friend dutifully ventures off to find them while I try to go to a zen place in my mind.
“Not my practice, not my staff, not my problem,” I repeat over and over in my head. I wonder if I’m overreacting, or if my friend is as horrified as I am by the team’s response.
We move on to the exam room, where my friend expresses her concern about the public urination incident to the veterinary technician. She isn’t communicating that she’s upset about cleaning it up. Instead, you can tell she’s worried something is wrong with her aging dog.
“Ya, we’ll check her bladder when we bring her in the back,” the veterinary technician responds. My Wendy Meyers fandom makes me cringe at the term “the back”, but I’m even more concerned about the general lack of concern for my friend’s feelings. Again, I wonder if I’m overreacting.
Callie gets admitted to the hospital, and my friend and I return to the car to debrief.
“They really weren’t very compassionate, huh? It makes me wonder if they’re, like, going to yell at her if she barks while she’s there or something.”
And this is when I realized this is more about a puddle of pee coming dangerously close to my beloved Steve Madden boots. It’s about trust.
My friend felt embarrassed about her dog’s accident, and no one reassured her. She felt concerned about her dog’s unusual behavior, and no one comforted her.
Callie might receive the best possible medical care while admitted at that practice, but my friend’s trust has been lost. No matter how good your medicine is, remember that building trust can start with simply mopping a pee puddle.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the DrAndyRoark.com editorial team.
Danielle K. Lambert is a former veterinary practice manager and the founder of SnoutSchool.com, a website dedicated to teaching veterinary hospitals to use social media effectively. You can get her 5 favorite social media tools here, or follow her on social media to see excessive photos of her Brussels Griffon. She’s @DanielleSnout on Snapchat, Instagram & Twitter.