In this episode, Dr. Andy takes you inside the mind of a cat to explore the mysterious things your cat does every day. This episode was generously sponsored by SuperCat from Quaker Pet Group. Check out their entire line at http://www.supercatproducts.com, or search for them on http://www.amazon.com.
Just For Fun
Before my wife and I had children, we got a puppy together. Preparing for the dog was an elaborate process that involved reading everything we could get our hands on, picking just the right bedding and toys, and, of course, choosing a name. We asked friends, made lists, and Googled foreign language baby names to get ideas. The name had to be just right.
Ever since that 1st-time pet parent ordeal, I get a special kind of joy from meeting pets that have been wonderfully named. I love pet names that are descriptive, unique, creative, funny and/or fun to say. Recently, I asked my Facebook fans to share names of pets they know that fit this description. Here are my 25 favorite responses.
|Rambo Casserole||(English Bulldog/Boxer mix who has “lots of muscles like Rambo, but is short and wide like a casserole.”)|
|Pepsi||(Owner’s last name was DiCola)|
|Staphylococcus||(Golden retriever owned by a microbiologist)|
|Strawberry Shortcake||(100lb male American Bulldog)|
|Cat Benatar||(150lb male Mastiff)|
|Granny Clampett||(16 year old Yorkshire Terrier)|
|Kevin the Destroyer||(Cat)|
|Barbeque||(Pot Bellied Pig, owned by a vegetarian)|
|Lord Frumpy of the Pantaloons||(English Bulldog)|
|Penny Pie Sparklepants||(Kitten named by 2 little girls)|
|EggRoll Freyer||(Japanese Chin)|
|Spartacus the Warrior||(Pomeranian)|
|Reverend Phatty McBiscuit||(Cat)|
As the man pulled off his shirt and draped it over his dog, I remember thinking, “I hope my technician comes in right about now. No, wait. I don’t.”
The appointment had been uneventful until I informed the dog’s owner that his dog had a heart murmur. The man replied, “If you think he’s got a heart murmur, listen to this!” and off came his shirt.
While the request was odd, I have to admit I was intrigued. It turned out the man did indeed have a much more impressive heart murmur than his dog. In fact, he was just a week away from surgery to have the heart defect corrected.
As he retrieved his shirt and his dog, I couldn’t help but notice a look of almost paternal pride on the man’s face. It was as if he was considering his dog’s mild heart abnormality and thinking, “Yep, that’s my boy.”
While I’m glad that I got a chance to bring this little family closer, the incident did cause me to stop and consider some of the more unusual interactions between pet owners and veterinarians.
Above and Beyond
As a profession, veterinary medicine is one in which we are used to going to great lengths to meet the needs of the families we serve. Being asked to make a house call, visit a sick patient outside in the owner’s car or stay past closing time are all quite common in our line of work.
Still, even in this business, while we strive to make pets and their people as happy as possible, there are some requests that strike us as a bit much. On my Facebook page, I asked veterinary professionals to tell me some of the most bizarre requests they’ve gotten from pet owners. Here’s what they reported.
Zombie Preparedness 101: Halloween 2011
Originally Published: Exceptional Veterinary Team, October 31, 2011
Don’t let the undead get you down. Zombie-proof your practice with these 6 tips!
As the saying goes: “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail… and possibly be eaten.” If your veterinary practice doesn’t have a contingency plan for a zombie uprising, your staff could suffer grisly consequences, not to mention miss out on a chance to prosper from this rare business opportunity. Don’t let bloodthirsty wandering souls take a bite out of your bottom line or devour the positive culture you work so hard to foster. Put your contingency plan in place now.
1) Institute a strict sick policy.
If there is one thing worse than having an employee who shows up at work looking like death and making all of the other employees worried about contagion, it’s an employee who shows up in that condition, dies, comes back to life and then eats other employees’ brains. Don’t take chances – send your sick staff home. You can assure any employee worried about making ends meet that there will be plenty of extra shifts to fill after the zombie apocalypse is over.
2) Kill the walk-in appointment.
Normally, walk-ins are a great way to fill the waiting room, but now is not the time for an open policy regarding spur-of-the-moment visitors (no matter how quickly they stagger after you). A spray-painted sign on your practice’s front door sends the message about the policy change with just the right combination of efficient clarity and urgent desperation.
3) Expand your boarding service.
It’s hard enough to flee a metropolitan area alone, much less with a beloved pet. Be there with extended boarding options so that surviving clients can pick their pets back up during humanity’s rebuilding phase. Make sure to get full payment up front (for obvious reasons) and realize that the majority of your clients won’t be coming back so you will be feeding and taking care of their pets forever. Charge appropriately.
4) Fortify your practice…with style
Remember: appearances count. Just as you’d keep a neat, attractively decorated waiting room during good times, you should make your practice a perky-looking fortress in times of zombie attack. When it’s time to board up windows and doors, bare naked plywood screams, “Economic distress and poor attention to detail!” and this is no time to show weakness. Have your more creative team members decorate your wooden barriers in bright, cheerful colors. Think big: remember, murals do wonders for morale!
5) Discontinue payment plans
It takes a special kind of manager to accept an IOU during a zombie uprising. Don’t be this person.
6) Leverage social media
When disaster strikes, people go to the Internet. When people go to the Internet, they end up on Facebook. Be there when they arrive with posts on:
Pet Health Initiatives – “Heat stroke is a real problem for pets fleeing zombies. Remember to offer fresh water whenever you reach a safe area, or whenever you have a moment to enjoy the scenery.”
Marketing Initiatives – “Our summer spay special is so good, you’ll come back from the grave for it!”
Witty & Uplifting Observations – “You can’t kill the living dead, but you can kill your pet’s fleas!”
With these killer tips, you will be able to reanimate sales, raise rampaging morale, and bludgeon the competition. Don’t worry if staff turnover increases (or even soars) during these episodes. Those team members will be back, and some of them may even be alive.
Dr. Andy Roark is a practicing veterinarian in Ijamsville, MD, but he is ready to flee the area at a moment’s notice in the event of zombie attacks.
How To Become A Veterinary Villian
Originally Published: DVM NewsMagazine, September, 2011
Maybe being a great doctor isn’t for you. And even though the profession is filling up with “good girls and guys,” you can still be dastardly and rule with an iron fist. With veterinary school admissions offices focusing on turning out good, caring, knowledgeable, helpful—even heroic—veterinarians, many of you may feel that your chances of becoming a villainous doctor have been decimated. However, dastardly veterinarians everywhere are bucking the trend and showing us that being toxic is still easy. Click “next” below to learn their top tips.
1. Know your role
Remind the support staff of your status as the veterinarian at every opportunity. Don’t clean up. Don’t help dispense medications. And don’t do anything that could be classified as “a technician’s job.” Absolutely never restrain an animal. And when things are especially slow, employ tricks like the following to make sure your status is obvious:
Veterinarian: “I’m going to the store. Would anyone like anything?”
Technician: “I’d love a soda.”
Veterinarian: “I don’t think so.”
2. Forget buy-in
Give directives and avoid feedback. Feedback hurts, and who cares what non-doctors think about your ideas, anyway? Order the staff around, preferably in front of clients, and always insist on uni-directional conversations.
The classic evil veterinarian tactic for avoiding dialogue is to issue a command and then pick up the telephone and start digging through a chart before the staff member can respond. If you’re the practice owner, you can use your cell phone with this technique for greater mobility throughout the clinic.
3. Support the brown-nosers Make sure to pick a special staff member who understands and supports your ego requirements. (Note: These people are referred to as “henchmen” in more openly dysfunctional fields.) Now, show this person obvious favoritism. Once you’ve found your brown-noser, refuse to see or address any faults or weaknesses in him or her. If there’s a technician who brings you good coffee on a regular basis without prompting, then you’ve found your Igor.
4. Base your expectations on your mood
Setting clear expectations for team members takes planning and forethought. It also ties your hands if what you decide you want is not what you’ve previously discussed with the staff. Avoid this headache by basing your expectations of staff performance on how you feel. The team will come to know that when you show up with an irritable expression on your face, your previous expectations are meaningless and you’ve raised the bar—again. If you’re concerned the team has not gotten this message, then answer the first question you receive with: “Do I look busy to you?” That should set the tone.
5. Steal the credit
You know you’re amazing, but does everyone else? As the veterinarian and unofficial leader of the team, aren’t you ultimately responsible for the vast majority of the team’s successes? You have a lot of people to impress—clients, staff, other veterinarians, your boss, Facebook friends—so when things go well, make sure that you’re recognized. Remember, everyone loves technicians, and they’re well compensated for what they do. You have a tough job, so you should take the credit for your team’s successes whenever you can.
6. Pass the blame and the angry clients
There are two things despicable veterinarians avoid at all costs: accountability and ticked-off clients. There are probably four or five support staff members for every doctor in your hospital, so if something has gone wrong, statistically speaking, it’s probably not your fault. Still, leave nothing to chance and make sure blame is firmly placed elsewhere when setbacks arise.
On the off chance that a mistake might actually be your fault, it's important to remember that your reputation is much more important than that of your technicians (it’s not like they have a clientele). Occasionally throwing your support staff members under the bus to maintain your own standing makes sense for both you and the practice.
Angry clients, like blame, should always be passed off on others. These irate people affect your emotional state and take up time that could be used to do things you enjoy (like stealing cases, flirting with attractive clients and taking food from the break-room fridge that’s not yours). Furthermore, these angry clients can provide valuable training for technicians and practice managers who need help with their communication skills. Your dastardly job is to diagnose, prescribe, treat and suck the spirit out of your hospital. It’s not to smooth over people’s feelings, so dodge that task every time.
7. Throw something
This is the coup de gras for practice morale. If you don’t have much time and need to nuke your practice culture and wreck the day for your entire team, then yell and throw something. You’ll make a lasting impression.
With these seven pointers, you’ll sink your practice to new lows. You’ll embrace the dark side of veterinary medicine and make a mark on your clinic, your patients and the community at large. And remember, while there is no “I” in “team,” there is one in “evil.”